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5 Tips for Painting Your Front Door - How to Paint Your Front Door

If you want to make a change to the exterior of your home, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money painting your front door is a great option. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to repaint your front door and it’s a great way to add a pop of color.

before

When I was in college I dreamed of having a bold red front door. It was trendy at the moment and I thought they were so fun. When we bought our home, I loved that the previous owners had painted it a bold red. After living in my house for two years I wanted a change.

Choosing a Color

If you’re thinking about painting your front door, I encourage you to start looking at other homes in your neighborhood or on pinterest. What colors do you like? Do you like bold turquoise? Maybe a robin’s egg blue? A house in our neighborhood has a pink door and it looks so good. Maybe you’re more reserved and want to go with a simple black? Start thinking through ideas!

I also encourage you to look at homes that have similar colors to yours. That pink door looks great on my neighbor’s white house, but would look horrible against my light brown brick. You can Google or Pinterest search “blue front door with yellow brick” to get ideas.

secret cove

If you are extra stuck, you can also look at coordinating colors for a paint color you may already have on your house. We painted our soffits Skyline Steel by Sherwin Williams and one of the coordinating colors they have is Secret Cove, which is where I started!

samples

You need to test samples on your door! If you go to any hardware store you can ask for samples of each color you’re thinking about. They are usually around $3 and absolutely worth testing first. I thought I would maybe go gray. I painted a sample and immediately thought absolutely not. The Secret Cove color also looked a little too baby blue for me, so I went one shade darker.

Choosing a color can be HARD. It doesn’t seem like it would be, but color looks different in the morning and afternoon. It will look different based on its surroundings. A paint chip sample may look totally different when actually painted on your door.

paint

We ended up trying Silken Peacock by Sherwin Williams. It is one shade darker than Secret Cove. We thought that Secret Cove looked a little too baby blue on our door. They also didn’t have any more sample paint at the store, so I just spent $20 for a quart of exterior paint and went for it.

I don’t mean to scare you with all this, but to encourage you to just take the leap and just paint your door. It is almost impossible to predict what the color will look like once it’s actually on your door. Just take a deep breath, paint the door, and if you hate it paint it again.

Clean

wipe

Before you do any painting you absolutely have to clean and prep your door. You want to paint directly over old paint, and not over dust or grime. If you don’t adequately clean your door the paint won’t adhere well and may bubble and peel in the following years. Take ten minutes to wipe down your door with a good soap and give it a good rinse with a hose.

sand

You may also want to sand away old paint drips, dings, or any other unevenness on your door. If there are deep scratches, you may want to fill them in. You want to paint a smooth and clean door for the best results.

When to Paint

Unless you have a storm door you have to be a little picky about WHEN you choose to paint your front door. When you paint your front door you will have to leave it open for a few hours for the paint to dry. Timing this can be tricky, but I have some suggestions.

First off, you have to paint it during a time when you’re okay with having the door open. Heating, cooling, and bugs can be an issue here. February in Ohio is not a good idea. Neither is August. Check the back of your paint can, it will have temperature minimums and maximums that you can paint during.

I encourage you to close your door and paint just what you can see for the first coat. That way you will have an idea if you actually like the paint and I use it as a bit of a “warm up” for my painting skills. I painted our first coat at around 7PM.

You have to let the paint dry several hours before you can do a second coat. (Check your paint can!) I decided to paint the next morning because I knew I would have to leave the door open and early morning was a time when bugs and my child were the least active.

gate

I put up a gate in our doorway to keep our cats/child in, opened the door, and got to work. My paint said it was dry to the touch after two hours. I painted the edges first and then the inside. This allowed the edges to start drying as I was painting the door.

Materials

supplies

  • Exterior Paint

  • Paint Brush

  • 6 Inch Roller (if you have large even sections)

  • Tape (optional)

Taping vs. Cutting In

cutting in

If you feel like taping, go for it. I personally don’t like taping. I find that the paint bubbles under it and I still get paint where I don’t want it. I feel like I can’t trust it to do its job and it also takes time and supplies to tape before painting.

I like to do what is called “cutting in”. You press the paint brush onto the surface and bring it just to the edge of where you want to paint. I always keep a damp rag in my other hand while I’m painting. If I get paint on the door knob for example, I just wipe it away while the paint is still wet. The result is a super clean line, without any prep!

Take off Hardware

hardware

At this point it may also be a good idea to take off the door handle and lock. I don’t suggest going to bed or leaving the house without putting it back on! So plan out when you plan to paint.

I just painted around the hardware, which worked out perfectly fine. If you look super closely, you may be able to notice. It is up to you!

Let’s Paint!

painting If you have a door that has larger sections of flat area, you can roll these areas. Rolling gives a smoother more even look without the risk of having brush strokes. I would choose a smaller roller, around 6 inch. You can wrap it in cling wrap between coats to prevent it from drying out.

You should use a paint brush to paint over the moulding and any other tricky areas that you aren’t able to roll. Because my door has moulding and a large glass pane, I didn’t really think there were many areas that I would easily be able to roll. So I just painted everything with a paint brush. Do what you gotta do!

Here are a few painting tips:

  • Read the can. Your paint will only adhere as well as you read and follow the directions. Follow their dry times and temperature suggestions!

  • Avoid getting paint drips and small “puddles” on the moulding. Make sure that everything brushes smooth.

  • The paint will start drying as soon as you apply it. If you brush over it and it starts to get gummy or really shows your brush strokes, stop and you will have to come back to it on the next coat!

  • Always try to work from a wet spot. Meaning you want to blend the area you’re going to paint into the area you just painted. Don’t hop around from place to place on the door.

  • If you ever spill latex paint USE WATER. Once it dries it becomes so much harder to get off. Use a wet rag or if you’re outside and have access to a hose, hose it down into the grass or something that won’t be stained. I dropped and broke open a sample container all over my patio. I scooped up what I could and then used a hose. After three minutes you would have no idea!

  • You will probably need a second, maybe a third coat of paint. Wait for the suggested amount of time before painting again. If you are having issues keeping your door open, you can do the second or third coat with only the parts of the door that show when it’s closed. Makes things a little easier!

Celebrate

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Take a step back to the front of your yard and take a look at your hard work! Maybe you made a big change and went bold or for a totally different color. Just take a moment to observe without judgement. Sometimes these bigger changes take a while to sink in.

At first I didn’t like our door color. It was a big change from the previous red. I thought it would turn out more teal and gray. I gave it some time. Facetimed some family members and had a few neighbors comment on how much they loved the new color. After a few days it’s really started to grow on me. I think I will keep it!

after2

…for at least a year. Painting the front door was so easy, cheap, and fun that I probably will get a new idea and paint it again, and again, and again. I asked my husband how many layers of paint the door could probably handle. He just smiled and shook his head and walked away.


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