Grab your favorite exterior color and follow these steps for a professional-looking front door paint job.
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Sometimes, all you need to do is a small, inexpensive update to fall in love with your home all over again. By painting your front door, you can quickly introduce vibrant color to your home's exterior for a fresh new look. Plus, front door colors can be easily changed for future updates or new homeowners. You don't need any special painting skills to tackle this medium-scale weekend project, so if you're new to the DIY game, this is a great place to start! Take a look at our helpful steps below and give your front door a refresh in just a few hours.

bright yellow front door on house with blue siding and plants
Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

How to Paint a Front Door

Looking for an easy exterior update? Grab your favorite paint color and get started with your front door makeover!

Supplies Needed

Step-by-Step Directions

Once you've gathered your supplies, it's time to start painting your front door. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

Step 1: Remove and Prep Door

To paint your front door, we recommend removing the door and placing it on sawhorses outside or in a well-ventilated area. This will prevent drips and runny paint. Before you remove the door, be sure to prep your painting area with a drop cloth. If you plan to paint outside, you'll also want to check the weather so that surprise rainfalls or extreme heat don't ruin your hard work.

Remove the hardware and hinges with a screwdriver. Be sure to label the pieces of hardware so you can remember exactly where they should be returned. Cover any glass accents or windows with painter's tape.

Editor's Tip: If you're not sure what type or color of paint is best for your project, contact your local hardware store to chat with a paint desk associate for help.

using sanding block to smooth blue paint on door
Credit: Jacob Fox

Step 2: Sand Surface

Clean the door by scrubbing the surface with a wet sponge, then lightly sand the surface. The sanding will remove any rough spots or dirt, making the surface as clean and smooth as possible for the paint. Once the sanding is finished, wipe down the door again with a damp sponge or tack cloth to remove the dust.

Step 3: Prime Door

Apply adhesion primer to the door using a foam roller in even strokes, working from one end of the door to the other. Use a foam brush to paint any raised or depressed panels. Let dry completely.

Editor's Tip: It's important to paint the door out of direct sunlight to avoid the paint drying before you have a chance to properly roll or brush it on.

using paintbrush to paint panels on beveled door front
rolling paint in stiles between beveled panels on door
Left: Credit: Jacob Fox
Right: Credit: Jacob Fox

Step 4: Paint Exterior Door in Sections

Next, apply paint. If you have a paneled front door, work in the following order:

  • Paint trim around panels with a small foam paintbrush
  • Paint any raised or depressed panels with a roller
  • Paint the center vertical strip
  • Paint all horizontal areas
  • Paint the outermost vertical strips
  • Finish by painting the vertical side that faces the doorway

Don't be alarmed if you can see brush and roller marks on the door after the first coat. Once the second coat of paint is on, none of the initial brush and roller marks will be visible. Apply a second coat for a flawless finish.

Step 4: Reinstall the Door

Let your door dry thoroughly before hanging and reattaching the hardware. Finally, enjoy the look of your freshly painted door, and add decorations if you'd like around your entry for even more curb appeal!

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
March 10, 2020
Good info., but excludes the hoe to for a metal door.