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How To Paint A Front Door

How to Paint a Front Door: A Step By Step Guide

Your front door is essentially your house's first impression on someone. How you paint your front door can vastly enhance the appearance of your home. But learning how to paint a front door is no rocket science, and you can do it yourself without hiring a professional. You only need proper planning and the right set of instructions to turn your front door into a marvel.

Tools Required

  1. 220-Grit Sandpaper
  2. Screwdrivers
  3. Caulk
  4. Solvent, such as mineral spirits (for metal doors)
  5. Sponges or Rags
  6. Painter's Tape
  7. Painting Tray
  8. Stir Sticks
  9. Small Foam Roller and Frame
  10. Small to Medium Brush
  11. A Cut-Bucket
  12. Wood Paint
  13. Primer
  14. Goggles
  15. Gloves
  16. Dust Mask

1. Choose The Right Time And Day To Paint

The weather needs to cooperate to help you paint your door so that the paint dries and cures properly. Pick a time when you get a couple of warm, dry days without any unsteadiness in temperature. Wet or overly humid weather often leads to a poor finish.

Try painting the front door in the garage or some area where you have excellent control of lighting and minimal air movement since you are likely to generate a lot of dust in the process.

2. Remove The Door

Insert a screwdriver between the hinge and the hinge pin. Keep it upward at a 45-degree angle, and tap the end with a hammer for the hinge pin to come out. Unfasten both hinges this way to remove the door and lay it horizontally before you start to paint.

Use a pry bar or wedge for assistance if the hinges are stiff, and get an extra pair of hands on deck since a front door can be quite heavy for one person to handle.

3. Remove Additional Hardware

Remove all the hardware/accessories like the door handle(s), knocker, hinges, and latch using a flathead screwdriver. Any other hardware can get accidentally damaged when cleaning or painting the door, so it is best to remove all of them.

If you want to know how to paint the front door without removing it or the accessories, you need to follow the same instructions. The only difference is that you need to first cover all the hardware with painter's tape or cloth. Not removing the door saves you a lot of time and work, but painting a front door is harder when it is vertical and fixed.

4. Fill In The Holes And Cracks Of The Door

If you find any cracks or holes from nail marks or drill holes, cover them with Bondo or wood filler and use a putty knife to level them. Remove any loose wooden splinters or pieces attached to the door. Leave the filler to dry; the exact duration would depend on the type of wood filler.

For larger irregular holes, use an epoxy wood filler mixed with hardener. Trowel it into the hole till you get a smooth finish, and leave it to dry.

Once you've done this, use a paint stripper to remove the existing paint from the door.

5. Clean And Sand The Door

If your door is wooden, sand the door thoroughly with medium-grade sandpaper and repeat with fine sandpaper (220 grit). To speed up the process, you can also rent an electrical sander but do it manually in intricate or soft areas like ridges or grooves.

Although you don't need to sand a metal door, you should clean the surface properly with a mild solvent like dish soap to remove dirt, grime, and rust. A solution of 1/4 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate) per 2 gallons of water works well for cleaning wooden doors. Wear protective gear to avoid touching the solution and dip a cloth in it to wipe both sides of the door.

6. Cover Windows And Hardware Using Tape And Newspaper

If you are not able to remove any hardware on the door, cover it with a rag, newspaper, or painter's tape before painting. In case you have not removed the door from its hinges, tape the adjacent walls, windows, door frame, and the hinges.

In general, cover any area where you don't want the paint to splatter with old newspapers or clothes, which makes it easier to clean up once you finish.

7. Choose A Paint Color For Your Front Door

You might be concerned about what type of paint to use on the front door. This matters from an aesthetic and technical point of view since different paints have different properties.

For example, water-based paints dry faster than oil paints, but oil paints provide better protection for the surface. Moreover, it is best to use the same type of paint when giving your door a fresh coat.

When it comes to choosing the colour, it is, by and large, your personal choice. You don't need to stick to a dull, standard shade and can experiment with bright and fancy paints. But be sure to pick a colour that doesn't get stained or damaged easily, given that your front door faces much more variable conditions than the interior doors.

8. Choose And Apply A Prime

The purpose of a primer is to help the paint get better coverage and adhere to the surface easily. An oil-based primer followed by latex paint is the commonly used primer-paint combination, while acrylic paints are suited for metal doors. The colour of the primer is typically a lighter version of the door colour.

Apply the primer using a paint roller for the main sections (top, sides, and bottom) and an angular sash brush for tight corners. If you have removed the door, wait for the primer to dry on one side before starting the other side.

Another pro tip is to apply two coats of primer, with one round of sanding between the two coats. Doing this gives your door a smooth finish and allows you to apply the paint coat with ease.

9. Paint The Front Door

While painting your front door, use a clean paint tray to hold your paint and use a roller to apply the coat. Use a small brush if you just want to test how the colour looks on the door. Depending on the type of door, there are a few things to remember:

  • Panel Door

Start with the panels, the surrounding mouldings, the cross-rails, outer verticals and, finally, the three exposed door edges (except the bottom).

  • Glazed Door

For a glazed door, use masking tape to protect the glass. The painting order is the same: mouldings, cross-rails, outer verticals, and door edges.

  • Flush Door

Divide the door into eight sections; use a pencil to mark them. Start painting from the top left and work your way to the bottom, gently blending one area into the next when the paint is still wet. As a finishing touch, paint vertical strokes in line with the grain.

When the first coat of paint has dried, it is good practice to sand the door once and apply a second coat of paint to get a solid, even colour across your door.

10. Let The Paint Dry

When you are pleased with the paint job, let your door dry in a cool, well-ventilated place without too much sunlight or moisture. Keep a fan or heater near the door, and in some intricate areas, use a hair dryer.

Oil paints generally dry much slower than other types, while acrylic paints dry relatively quickly. As a general rule, it's best to wait two days before you rehang the door.

11. Fix The Hardware And Rehang The Door

Once everything is dry, pull the tape and newspaper off from the hinges and hardware. If you have removed the hardware, you can use this opportunity to clean or polish the fixtures before fitting them back in.

After screwing the hinges back on, prop the door back up. Drop the hinge pin into place and securely tap it down with a hammer or screwdriver. Seek assistance if the door is heavy. Open and close the door to double-check if it works smoothly; if not, oil the hinges and try again. You have now successfully finished the job of painting your front door!

Here is another video tutorial on painting a wooden door. Although it's an interior door, most of the steps written here are shown in detail.


These simple instructions on how to paint a front door equip you for this home improvement project. You can get creative wherever possible, but remember to maintain safety standards first. Read all the instructions before you get your tools out, and follow the steps to give your door a fantastic makeover!

The video guide below gives you a quick insight into how to paint your front door. Each step is described in detail below.

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Author: Shabana kauser

Shabana Kauser, the Director of Emerald Doors, brings over 20 years of invaluable expertise in the door industry. Her visionary leadership has steered the company to new heights, offering an extensive range of internal and external doors while prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction. The website's glowing reviews stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence. To learn more about Emerald Doors, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.