How to Paint a Front Door
If you're looking for simple ways to beautify the front of your house while also protecting it, painting your front door should be at the top of your list. Whether for resale or for your own enjoyment, a newly painted front door boosts curb appeal and gives the whole house a fresh look. Because front doors bear the brunt of weather extremes, painting the door increases its durability and extends its lifespan.
Basics of Painting a Front Door
Nearly any front door that is made of wood, fiberglass, or steel can be painted. Many exterior front doors are sold unpainted and otherwise unfinished, with the expectation that the owner will paint it. Front doors with peeling, cracking paint can usually be successfully refurbished and re-painted.
The key to an attractive, long-lasting paint job is to thoroughly prepare the door. The door should be cleaned, sanded, patched where needed, primed, and then painted. Painting over peeling paint, dirt, dust, or cracks and holes will significantly reduce the paint job's lifespan.
Removing the Door
Ensure a great front door paint job by removing the door from the hinges and painting it flat on sawhorses. Painting the door horizontally reduces drips. Additionally, removing the door gives you access to the hinge-side and bottom edges of the door.
Front Door Paint
Oil-based paints take longer to dry than water-based latex paints, stretching this from a one-day to a multi-day project. Plus, oil-based paints and related tools must be cleaned up with paint thinner or mineral spirits. However, oil-based paints are more durable than water-based paints and help to reduce brush marks.
Water-based latex paints are easy to work with and they easily clean up with water. Unlike oil-based paints, latex paints can be found in low- or no-VOC form, making them green and eco-friendly.
Semi-gloss or glossy paint sheens offer better cleanability. If you value the look of flat or matte paint for a more contemporary look, just know that they scuff more readily than glossy paints. For flat/matte doors, it helps to have a can of paint on hand for quick spot touch-ups.
Codes and Regulations
Building codes and permits generally are not applicable to front door painting projects, though you should double-check with your local permitting agency. If your home is in a homeowner association-controlled neighborhood, you should clear your color choice with the HOA board. Many paint manufacturers maintain a homeowner association color archive on their websites. If you live in an HOA, check the paint manufacturer website to see if your particular HOA is listed.
When to Paint Your Front Door
Schedule your painting project during warm, dry weather since your house will be open and exposed. Start early in the day since you need to lay down a second coat of paint before re-installing the door.
If you want to replace the door the same day, paint the exterior side and the four edges first. Then, if you run out of time to paint the inside of the door horizontally, paint it after it has been re-hung. To devote more time to this project, you can board up your home's front door entrance with plywood.