How To Paint A Front Door

Create the best first impression possible of your home

The first impression someone gets of your home is via the front door, and giving it a fresh coat of paint can make everything feel revived and invigorated. It’s the perfect job for a spring or summer day and a great place to start when it comes to redecorating.

What You Will Need:

1Remove hardware from your front door

The great thing about painting a front door is that you don’t need to do anything as complicated as remove it from his hinges. But you will need to remove door hardware such as letterboxes, door knockers and door numbers, in order to make your paint job as thorough as possible.

To do this, simply use a screwdriver. Afterwards, keep all the hardware and screws in a place where you won’t lose or forget them later!

Top Tip

Don’t remove things like locks, hinges or keyholes - we’ll get to those later!



2Sand down your front door

Using sandpaper on your front door before painting not only helps lift loose or peeling paint, but also gives the surface a rougher texture that allows for better adhesion.

If the paint currently on your door is water-based, then a light sanding will be enough. If it is oil-based, you will want to give it a more thorough and intense sanding, to really create that texture.

Top Tip

If you don’t know whether the paint on your door is water- or oil-based, apply some rubbing alcohol to cotton wool and use it to wipe the door. If the paint comes off on the cotton wool it is water-based, if not it is oil-based.

3Clean your front door



Once you have finished sanding your door, take a dust cloth to wipe away any debris. Then, use your sugar soap solution and sponge to properly clean it. Make sure to get in round the edges of your doorframe so that when you start painting it’s onto an entirely fresh surface.

4Protect areas with masking tape

At this point, it’s a good idea to use masking tape to protect parts of the door you don’t want to get paint on. If you have glazed or glass panels, outline them with tape to keep from accidentally painting them, and use tape to cover hinges and locks.

5Apply paint primer to your front door

Applying paint primer before your top coat helps to ensure the longevity of your paint job. This is something that is especially important when it comes to an outdoor surface that is subject to all kinds of weather conditions!

If you’re changing your door from a dark to a light colour, it’s best to use a white primer to begin with, to stop any of the original paint from showing through your final coat. Other options are to simply use a primer that is a close match to your main paint.



6Paint your front door

You are now finished with all the prep and it’s time to get painting your top coat!

How you do this depends slightly on the style of door you have - namely, whether it is panelled or not.

How to paint a panelled front door

If your front door has panels, those are the parts you should paint first. Use a paintbrush to cut in, then a small paint roller to fill in the centre of the panels, making sure to keep a wet edge. Then, paint the centre verticals - AKA, the section going down the middle of your door, between the panels. Finally, paint the cross rails. These are the top and bottom sections of the door, above and below the panels, and the horizontal in between the panels.

How to paint an unpanelled door

If your door is flush, or with no panels, it’s still a good idea to work in sections. Imagine your door is split into eight equal squares, starting at the top left corner, and paint these one at a time with your roller. Keep the edges wet and blend each section into the next for a smooth finish.

Whether you have a panelled door or not, the last thing you paint should always be the three door edges that are exposed when the door is open.

7Wait for you front door to dry

Abby Door

It’s important to wait and make sure that the edges of your front door are dry before you try to close it, and that the entire door is dry before you reattach the hardware.

Our external wood paint is quick-drying, and when combined with a sunny day you shouldn’t have to wait long!

Once dry, you can decide whether your door needs a second coat of paint, or whether it’s time to move to the final step.

8Reattach the door hardware

Fetch the hardware you removed at the start and reattach it to your front door. If you’re feeling detail-oriented, give them a proper clean and shine first. You could even take the opportunity to replace them and give your door some new features!

If you’re in the mood to keep decorating after you’ve finished painting your front door, why not take a look at our blogs on how to paint a ceiling and how to decorate your living room?