Q. What is the best way to remove paint or varnish from a fiberglass door?

A.Former painting contractor Ed Fillbach responds: Before removing the door from its hinges, wash the door with warm water and common household detergent. Rinse the door well, and allow it to dry. Remove the door to a cool area (55ºF to 65ºF) and lay it across sawhorses at a comfortable working height. Be sure to cover the floor area to avoid damage from spilled paint remover. Remove the door hardware.

The best paint removers are citrus-based, and can be bought at any paint store. They’re effective for removing either latex or oil-based paint and won’t damage the fiberglass.

Apply paint remover to a small area (4x4 inches) to test the time needed for the paint remover to work. Depending on the number of layers of existing paint, it can take from 5 minutes to an hour for the paint remover to work.

When the test is complete, brush a liberal amount of paint remover on the door, brushing in one direction. Remove the residue with a small nylon scrub brush, which will help remove any paint remover remaining in the fiberglass grain. Rinse well, according to the paint remover manufacturer’s instructions.