How to paint a front door
Sometimes the idea of updating our home is so refreshing, but the experience isn’t quite as cleansing as you first hoped.
Tasks such a painting a door might sound pretty straightforward, but there are a number of problems that can arise, tainting the experience and leaving you with an entrance door that screams amateur.
To avoid this happening to you, take a look at our top 10 tips for how to paint the doors to your home.
1. Lie down
That’s the door, not you! If you paint the door whilst it’s upright on its hinges then the chances are you'll get drip marks and the finished product will be blotchy. Removing knobs and hinges may sound inconvenient, but if you take the time to do this and lay the door flat, you can spread the paint more quickly and you're far more likely to achieve a smooth, impressive finish.
Tip: Sawhorses and lag screws can allow you to paint both sides without having to rest the door against a surface. Nice!
Feeling smug because you painted the door in record time? Chances are you took a few shortcuts and if you painted over dirt then, over time, it will fall off and leave the colour looking patchy and horribly uneven. Don’t be lazy! Wash the door as best you can to achieve greater adhesion with the paint. Also, make sure you allow the door to dry before painting.
Tip: Dirty hands are oily and can make areas around the handle (adults) and the lower door (children) quite difficult to paint, so make sure you scrub the entire door with a heavy-duty cleansing product.
3. Prepare smooth foundations
Old, hard blotches of paint should be scraped off the door to stop it jamming and/or causing damage to the frame. We also recommend you scrape any flaking paint. Steel scrapers are great for wood but sandpaper is better for metal doors.
Tip: Wear a protective mask to prevent breathing in harmful fumes, which can be found in some older paints.
4. No damage too small
Dog scratches, deep cracks, hollow dents – all defective areas of the door need a little TLC before you even think about painting. Fill large holes with putty and spread spackling compound over scratches and smaller areas of damage. These problems will not magically disappear by covering them in paint. It might actually draw more attention to them!
Tip: Mix your chosen solutions in small amounts to save throwing away excess amounts of hardened filler products.
5. Get yourself in prime position
Always look to prime before painting – even if the door’s in good condition. Primer blocks will cover stains and watermarks as well as mute dark colours. On top of this, it actually helps your paint to stick better and gives the door a smoother finish. Priming should be performed over the entire door to avoid “spot priming,” which can again leave an undesirable blotchy effect.
Tip: White primer should be used on white paint. Any other colour should be covered by grey-tinted primer.
6. Check the pores for flawless doors
Although we’re sure your handiwork has been top-notch, it’s always worth double checking in greater detail once the primer dries. Once again, spackling compound can be used to fill small scratches and pinholes before you prime the affected areas for what should be the last time.
Tip: Shine a torch, or some other form of light, over the door to highlight any less obvious damages the door might have suffered.
7. You can never be too smooth
Between each coat of paint, you can gently sand the area again. Ridges and bubbles will nearly always appear to some extent, but by sanding the entire door post-primer and between coats you should ensure the smoothest possible topcoat finish. This might seem like overkill, but it should only take 5-minutes each time and who’s gonna be laughing come the end? You are, you good little DIY-er, you!
Tip: You only need to make sure each surface feels smooth and even, which non-clogging sanding sponges can help you achieve.
8. Get the accomplished look
If you don’t want brush marks, don’t use a brush. Foam rollers are far more beneficial for achieving a professional look regardless of your painting ability, meaning you only need to use a brush to reach edges and tricky corners before rolling your way to an impressive finish.
Tip: You can use your rollers for the primer as well as the paint.
9. Don’t rush
Logistically, you’ll want the doors back up as soon as possible, but even when certain paints look dry, they can still spring a nasty surprise by coming off and marking surrounding areas. If you are painting an interior door, we recommend leaving 48-hours before reattaching the door to the frame. With external doors, which is what we’re mainly talking about here, either remove the weather stripping or use painter’s tape to prevent the paint from sticking.
Tip: When working on external doors, get working on it as early as possible so the paint has as much time to dry as you can possibly allow before refitting.
We believe in giving credit where it is due, and if you are the type of person who has refused to give in to shortcuts and completed each of these steps with a smile on your face and enthusiasm in your heart, then by rights you have earned the freedom to stand tall, puff out your chest, and look to anybody who comments on the door with a wry smile and proudly say “I did that.”
Tip: Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re a winner!
'How to paint a front door'