How To Paint an Exterior Door

Follow these steps for painting your front door to boost curb appeal and update your home quickly.

Sometimes, all you need to do is complete a small, inexpensive update to fall in love with your home all over again. By painting a front door a vibrant color, you get the most bang for your buck and it's easily changed for future updates or owners. This medium-scale weekend project is simple for most homeowners, and 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. 

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What You Need

  • Painters tape
  • Sponge
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • High-density foam mini rollers and brushes
  • 1 quart adhesion primer
  • 1 quart satin or semigloss exterior paint paint (we like PPG or BEHR)

Step 1: Remove and Prep Door

Remove the door and place on sawhorses outside or in a well-ventilated area. 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 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, a trip to The Home Depot for a chat with a paint desk associate can help. Also, 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.

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 to remove the dust.

Step 3: Prime and Paint the 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.

Using the same technique, apply paint. Let dry. Don't be alarmed if after the first coat you can see brush and roller marks on the door. 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.

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.

Step 4: Reinstall the Door

Hang the door and reattach 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!

See more DIY front door ideas!

2 Comments

  1. Whats the best way to secure the house while the door is removed?

    1. I did not remove my door. My door was a dark brown before I painted it green and I new it would take several coats of paint. (3 to be exact) I locked my storm door and left my door open for a few hours after each coat. If you put vaseline around the door frame, it will prevent the door from sticking when you close it. Hope this helps.

  2. Should we never paint the window trims or door trims a contrasting color? All of your examples show all trim same color as door. ...Cruz



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