How to Paint your Front Door

How to paint a front door

In the previous articles about doors, we’ve taken a look at how to choose the right door for your home, and how to measure and hang a door. In this article we’re focusing on the fun part – painting!  You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but the secret to a beautifully painted front door is all about the preparation, plus the right kind of paint and a dry couple of days.

Sprucing up your front door with a fresh coat of paint is a job which could easily be completed in a day or so by even a novice DIY-er, so just follow our step-by step-instructions for a brand new front door look in no time.

Which colour to paint a front door

Via Pixabay

Step One:  Choosing the paint

Perhaps the trickiest part of carrying out a front door makeover is choosing the colour. After all colour says a lot about you – are you an introvert  or an extrovert, love classic combinations or modern design, want to fit into your street or really stand out?

Think about colour within the context of your whole house as well as the houses that surround it. You can use colour to highlight the best features of your property or disguise an ugly door that you hope to replace in the future. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration take a look at our Pinterest board or for some quick tips, we think sage green looks beautiful against a pale stone exterior and is a classic combination. Alternatively if your house is traditional red brick consider balancing its rich colour with an opulent hue of dark royal blue. Once you’ve decided on a colour, why not visit one of your local Bradfords. The majority of our branches can mix paint to pretty much any colour using high quality trade paint as a base. If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry, our friendly team will be able to give you advice.  

Quick Tips from our expert: 

Tony Pell, our doors expert from Jeld-Wen, mentions you should consider choosing your colour not only for preference but to think about whether it’s constantly in direct sunlight. The darker the colour, the more the paint will absorb the heat of the sun, particularly if your door is in full sunlight for most of the day. 
Whatever you decide to go for, the important thing is to choose the right paint for the job. Specialist exterior paint is absolutely vital as it will protect your door from the elements. 

Traditionally, exterior paint is oil based as the oil creates a tough water resistant barrier. However, it can be tricky to work with and takes a long time to dry. Modern exterior paints tend to be water based and take only 2 hours to become touch dry, making the task a lot more straightforward. Water-based paint also has the added benefit of being better for the environment compared to solvent based paints, Tony notes. You can choose from aclassic gloss which has a highly reflective finish, or an external eggshell that has a more muted, mid-sheen satin finish.

You will also need a good quality primer that is the correct tone for your chosen finished colour.

Doors expert, Tony, also mentions that your location has a lot to do with the type of paint you need to choose. If you live near the sea, for example, then the paint on your front door will erode much quicker than that of a city-dweller. Your front door also stands up to rain, sun, snow, knocks, bumps and slamming – so this is one job where skimping on the quality of the paint is simply not worth it.

Step Two:  Prep your door

It sounds obvious, but always check the weather forecast before you start. The ideal conditions are between 10o and 30o degrees centigrade, with no rain forecast for 24 hours. Avoid painting in extreme temperatures or full sunshine, and try to start the job first thing in the morning to allow for drying time throughout the course of the day.

The first step is to prepare your door ready for painting. Ideally, it’s best to remove the door from the frame and take off all the hardware – the doorknob, hinges, knockers and peephole. If your old door has many layers of paint then it’s a good idea to scrape this off before painting, especially if it’s in poor condition. If the paint is in a relatively good state, then you can paint right over the top after sanding.

Quick Tip: 

If it’s a brand new door with a bare wood finish, then you should treat any knots so that the resin doesn’t bleed through and ruin the final finish. Take a look at the video below for more information:

Give your door a good sanding all over so that it has a good ‘key’ for the primer. Patch any cracks with a quick drying wood filler, wait for it to dry fully, then sand again. 

Give the door a wipe down with a sponge and water, plus a drop of washing up liquid and wait for the door to completely dry. This stage is really important as it provides a blank canvas for the paint and contributes to that mirror shine of the final finish.

Apply a coat of primer or undercoat and let it dry. Tony, our doors expert, says that for a truly professional finish, give the primer a final light sand and wipe down, just to get rid of any bits of dust.  Once you are happy that the primed door is pristine then you’re ready to start painting.  

Painting a front door
Step Three:  Start painting

If your door has glass panels, cover these with newspaper and tape around the edges. On a panelled door, begin painting the panels first using an angled brush and modest amounts of your chosen colour, starting from the top and working your way down to the bottom panels. 

Next, using a small roller or wide flat brush, paint the rest of the door, beginning with the middle panel and working your way outwards. Wait for the first coat to dry fully before applying any subsequent coats.  Depending on how dark the colour is, you may need more than two – using the correct primer really helps here. If you need any help, ask a Bradfords expert!

Take a look at this great video below for a more thorough step-by-step guide, and a quick and easy way of painting your front door:

Step Four:  Wait!

The trouble with painting your front door is that you’ll want to close it as soon as possible!  However, resist the temptation to close it until the drying time is up. It’s better to wait until the next day to do another coat than to be impatient and end up closing the door too early.  

Think of drying time as the perfect excuse to put your feet up and have a well-earned cup of tea.

Step Five:  Put it back together

Now the paint is dry on your door, it’s time to attach the door furniture and hang it back in the frame. A new knocker, letter box plate or house numbers can help to dramatically change the look of your front door and complement its new colour.  

Now you can stand back and admire your work!  

If you have found this article useful in your front door make over, why not share your before and after pictures on our Facebook page?