Can automotive clear coat be used on residential exterior doors?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ March 7, 2013 ~ No Comments

I have an exterior door that I want to stain and then put an automotive clear coat on. Is that possible? Not many clear coats hold up, but this is the process the client is requesting.

Lee C. -- Naples, Fl.

Jeffrey Anderson

Lee, I'm not sure why a homeowner would want to use an automotive clear coat in a residential application when there are so many more appropriate products available. My guess is that they either like the sheen that automotive clear coatings can give a car's finish or perhaps they feel the coating will provide superior protection.

If it's the shine that makes the automotive product seem attractive, there are many high and semi-gloss finishes for stains that should provide the same appearance. The major difference being that they were designed specifically for that type of use. The same is true when protection from the sun and moisture is desired -- there are many residential clear coat finishes formulated with that purpose in mind.

However, if the automotive clear coat manufacturer warrants their product for that type of use, I don't know of any reason why you couldn't put it on your customer's door. Of course, the product also needs to be compatible with the stain you plan on using and the type of exterior door. An automotive clear coat might be fine on a metal door, but not do so well on wood or fiberglass.

I believe a good solution might be to take your client to a local paint store. Many of the people who work in those types of establishments have years of experience and are very knowledgeable about the different types of paint products. They should be able to steer your customer toward a varnish or urethane that provides the look and protection they desire, but is better for that sort of application. They might even say that using the automotive clear coat is perfectly fine.

Either way, you should be protected from having to redo the exterior door because it didn't turn out the way your customer had hoped. It could also save you from having to make a warranty trip to their home sometime in the future.

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