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Finishing FAQ's

How do I obtain stain?
Stain kits can be bought through your local Lowe’s store.

Do I have to take the door off its hinges before finishing?
No. The weatherstripping can be pulled out of the jambs, so it can be closed and locked during the drying period. Weatherstripping can be pushed back into the jambs after topcoat or paint has dried.

How much will one kit do?
A single door unit with sidelites, a double door unit or an 8' door unit, inside and out.

What does the Therma-Tru stain kit include?
Everything you need to clean, stain and topcoat your door. Mineral spirits, stain, topcoat, brush, rags, gloves, stir sticks and two skin samples.

What do I use to clean a Classic-Craft or Fiber-Classic door with?
Using a clean, dry rag, clean the entire surface with either the provided mineral spirits or an all-purpose cleaner such as Top Job, Mr. Clean or Pine Sol. Rinse soap off thoroughly. Allow to dry completely. The doorlite frames around the glass should be wiped with a clean cloth or a tack cloth only.

What do I use to clean a Smooth-Star door with?
Clean the entire surface with an all-purpose cleaner such as Top Job, Mr. Clean or Pine Sol. Rinse soap off thoroughly. Allow to dry completely. The doorlite frames around the glass should be wiped with a clean cloth or a tack cloth only.

Which Therma-Tru doors can be stained?
Classic-Craft and Fiber-Classic doors.

What stain/paint should be used on Therma-Tru fiberglass doors?
To stain, we recommend using only the Therma-Tru Finishing System. The doors can be painted with a high quality acrylic latex, alkyd oil or solvent oil-based paint. For more information please see our Finishing Instructions.

Do I have to prime Classic-Craft or Fiber-Classic doors before staining or painting?
Priming is not necessary if you are staining. However, the doors must be primed with an alkyd or acrylic based primer before painting. For more information please see our Finishing Instructions.

Can you stain wood components on Classic-Craft and Fiber-Classic doors?
Yes. Door edges, astragals, wood frames, doorlite frames, brickmould, decorative panels, jambs and mullions are all door components that can be stained. Please refer to step one in our Finishing Instructions.

My jambs are white. How do I stain them?
Use the same Therma-Tru stain as you used on the door. The white primer will accept the stain. Apply as instructed in our Finishing Instructions.

My wood jambs are clear and I want to stain them. Do I do anything different?
You can apply a thin layer of a wood sealer on the jambs so the wood will not absorb the stain as fast or you can wipe the jambs down with mineral spirits before applying the stain. The stain is a heavily pigmented stain and could stain the jambs darker if you do not apply a sealer or use the mineral spirits first.

What if I don't like how the stain looks and I just finished it? What can I do?
If you have just finished staining and it is too dark or you want to start over, then use mineral spirits on a rag and wipe the stain off. Or if you just want to lighten it a little, then use your brush with some mineral spirits on the tips and lightly brush the stain. Wipe the excess stain onto a clean rag.

Why do I have light and dark areas?
Perhaps too much pressure was applied while feathering. Go back and apply more stain to the lighter areas, wait a little bit, and then feather lightly. Remember to lightly brush through the section being stained.

Can I apply a second coat of stain to make it look darker?
Yes, but wait until the first coat is dry (48 hours).

Can I mix stain colors?
Yes, as long as you are mixing Therma-Tru stains together. Our stain can also be tinted with "universal" tint to achieve a certain color. See your Lowe’s store paint department for assistance.

How long does it take the stain to dry?
At least 48 hours. It is best to do the "skin" sample test, as instructed. It must be completely dry before applying the topcoat. (See Finishing Instructions).

How do I clean the brush?
After staining, use the mineral spirits. After topcoating, use soap and water.

Why does my door look "milky" in some areas?
This can happen when the topcoat is applied too heavily. Sometimes this happens in the corners of panels. You can dab on a little more stain over the milky area by using a cotton swab or an artist brush. Let dry, then reapply a fine coat of topcoat over the restained area, again, using a cotton swab or a small brush of 1" or less in width. Blend as needed, but do not over brush.

How long does it take the topcoat to dry?
3-5 hours. It takes a least one week to totally cure, but it is dry to the touch in 3-5 hours.

How can I get a "high" gloss finish?
Try applying 1 or 2 additional layers of the Therma-Tru topcoat to increase the gloss level.

Should I apply a coat of wax over the topcoat?
No, because it already contains some wax and silicone in the formulation. Water will bead up on it and run off.

How do I maintain the topcoat?
Before the topcoat fails, reapply a fresh coat of the topcoat. When you notice the topcoat beginning to fade or lose its gloss, then clean the door with either mineral spirits or an all-purpose cleaner, rinse and let dry. Then reapply one very thin coat of the topcoat to all surfaces of the door. Refer to the Maintenance section of the Finishing Instructions.

What paint should I use on the Classic-Craft or Fiber-Classic and Smooth-Star door?
These doors should be primed and painted with either a high quality acrylic, alkyd or oil-based exterior house paint. Primer and paint should be produced by the same manufacturer and be made to work together. Paint all exposed sides, edges and ends of the door.

Can I stain my Smooth-Star door?
No, it is a "paint-grade plus" door and can only be painted. After cleaning, paint with a high quality exterior grade latex or acrylic house paint.

Do I have to prime my Smooth-Star door?
No, it is not necessary to prime the door, but if your door has a doorlite in it, then the molding around the glass should be primed with an acrylic or alkyd - based primer. Wipe the frame with a clean cloth first. Then prime and paint.

How do I repair nicks and scratches or scuffs on a stained Classic-Craft or Fiber-Classic door?
Clean first with mineral spirits or an all-purpose cleaner. Then use a small artist brush or cotton swab to apply stain to the nicks or scratches. Carefully wipe excess stain, let dry and then apply a thin coat of the topcoat over the repaired area. Refer to the Finishing Instructions under "Repairs".

We feel we have answered almost any question you have about Therma-Tru doors. If not, call us toll-free at 1-800-843-7628 (Monday through Friday 8.00 am – 5.00 pm Eastern Time).

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