Removing Dry Gel Stain From a Fiberglass Door

Questions & AnswersCategory: Fiberglass Door Finishing QuestionsRemoving Dry Gel Stain From a Fiberglass Door
Leonard asked 9 years ago

Painter did a very poor job using a gel stain on a very expensive fiberglass and leaded glass door. It looks pretty bad and I would like to remove the stain and have it redone by someone that knows what they are doing. Is it possible to remove that botched up job and, if so, what does one use to remove the stain?

9 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

Yes, it possible to remove the gel stain. The exact method depends if it is sealed or not.

Not Sealed
If the stain has not been sealed, all it takes is lacquer thinner and rags. The lacquer thinner will dissolve the stain. This is a strong solvent and as such work out doors, plus dispose of the rags properly.

Protected With a Clear Wood Sealer
The sealer will need stripping before the stain can be removed. The most appropriate stripper depends on the clear finish used. If a strong stripper is used it will also remove most or all of the gel stain. Any remaining stain can be removed with lacquer thinner.

In both situations, it is a good idea to have a nylon scrub pad and a old tooth brush handy for tight difficult areas.

Anonymous answered.

What is the best remover for gel stain, and what do I use on the clear coat that's over the gel stain? Need Assistance

Crowder Painting answered.

Peel Away is a good paint stripper and should work on most clear coats. I have tried many paint strippers over the years, including environmentally friendly types, and I find the old smelly metholchloride paint stripper works the best.

Metholchloride paint stripper will burn skin and has a very strong solvent smell. Work with this type outdoors, wear protective clothing and heavy rubber gloves.

Peel Away is a little different. It is applied to the surface then a special paper covers it. This paper keeps the Peel Away wet, allowing it to work.

Both types will dissolve the clear coat and gel stain. Using a stripper on a fiberglass door is easy; apply the stripper and wait according directions, use a scouring pad to help loosen the finish, then rinse well with water. If any stain remains after the door is dry, use lacquer thinner, a scouring pad and rags to remove it.

Anonymous answered.

I am refinishing a fiberglass door for a customer, and have not done this before. The existing stain is bubbling and chipping which leads me to believe that there was no top coat applied. If this is the case I will simply use the lacquer thinner method. However, if I have to use the stripper, how long would you say it should take to strip a fiberglass door and 2 side-lites?(Inside and out). I need to time myself correctly for quoting/billing purposes.
Thank you, Teresa

Crowder Painting answered.

Plan on a day and a half (1-1/2) for stripping, including the final rinse and any prep. You will need to experiment a bit with the fiberglass safe strippers available to you. With the right stripper you should get it done in a day but I would give yourself a little extra time to figure that out. I like to buy from a local auto paint shop (store) as they have a great selection of fiberglass safe stripper.