Top-notch bullet proof companies ship their wood and steel bullet proof doors unfinished, so that on-site contractors can paint or stain them to match the decor of the installation. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to see a $3000 ballistic door with a finish that’s not even worth ten bucks.
“You actually run into this a lot,” explains Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards, “Especially with the nicest doors, and it’s a shame. We send out instructions, but sometimes finishers don’t have experience with a given material, or believe there isn’t really a difference between staining a solid core door and a veneered door” and make a real mess of this final step.
PROPER FINISHING FOR WOOD VENEER BULLET PROOF DOORS
Properly finished wood-veneer ballistic doors look terrific, offering full-fortress security without compromising a professional atmosphere. But that comes at a price: These are the most labor intensive doors to build, and have a price tag to match.
Jim has seen all manner of mistakes made in finishing wood-veneer bullet proof doors. “You need to be a little more adept to do veneer. It soaks stain up differently, and can really be tricky. There isn’t a margin for error.”
It’s not uncommon to see doors where the stain has badly streaked or pooled because the contractor skipped the pre-finish. Additionally, the final urethan coating will age very poorly if it’s put on in a single thick coat (which ultimately results in cracking).
FOOL-PROOF FINISHES FOR BULLET PROOF DOORS
Steel-clad and all acrylic bullet resistant doors are significantly less tricky to properly finish. Jim ships his steel bullet proof doors primed and ready to paint on site–something any contractor should be able to finish in short order. Nonetheless, Jim still advises facility managers take care in selecting the paint color and finish for their steel doors.
“We had a customer who wanted to do a set of glossy red doors once, and that turned out to be a nightmare, trying to get a decent finish on them. A gloss paint is going to highlight any little imperfections,” especially under fluorescent lighting. It might look great when the paint dries, but after a week every scuff and ding is really going to draw the eye.
In terms of cost and convenience, it’s hard to beat the all acrylic bullet proof door (provided it fits your facility’s decor). Because the acrylic is fully fabricated and flame polished at the factory, and the door ships with all hardware installed, there is virtually no on-site finishing to worry about. Then it’s just a matter of proper cleaning and maintenance to maintain beautiful doors for the long haul.