How To Paint A Front Door Like A Pro

A good quality front door paint will protect your door for years to come and make it easy to maintain. Read on to learn how to paint a front door like a pro and the best way to choose the best paint for your front door.

front door paint

These helpful step-by-step instructions will save you a lot of money, time, inspiration, and frustration.

How To Paint A Front Door in 10 Easy Steps

How To Paint A Front Door in 10 Easy Steps

Painting front doors is one of the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to transform your home. Enjoy this how-to complete with front door paint color pictures to guide you on this project.

Step 1. Choosing the best front door colors

First things first: If you’re wondering “What color to paint my front door?” or “What paint to use on my front door?”, here’s how to decide.

Look at the color(s) of your house and the style of your home. You’ll want to choose a color that goes with the rest of the house.

For example, the below shows a warm tone house with a bold nature brown-tan-orange rock face (not a very welcoming hue nor does it have massive curb appeal.) The last thing it would need is a layer of brown front door paint!

That said, it’s important to know that there are no ‘best’ front door paint colors, it is a matter of personal interest!

How to choose the color for front door

Visiting a Sherwin Williams or paint store near you is a start. You can gather paint chips in varying shades and tape them to the door to review.

Step 2. Sanding away the old door finish

Take a bit of 220-grit sandpaper and start sanding your door face, keep your hand loose.

Start by gently sanding the grooves – if your door has any.

DIY Paint Front Door-sandpaper process

Tip: You want to scrape away major imperfections, but you don’t need to spend forever sanding.

Flat surface sand paper front door

Then move on to the flat surfaces.

Light sanding process

When performing a quick sanding, it’s helpful to keep in mind that you’re not necessarily out to achieve a uniform color in the sanding. Some sections are bound to need a bit more sanding.

If you find yourself looking at an area that seems to need more sanding, go by feel instead of by look – stop sanding every few seconds and run your fingers over the area. If it feels smooth, no matter what it looks like, you can move on.

Another tool that you can use in removing the existing door paint is the putty knife. While it is designed to apply putty to fill in cracks and nail holes, a 2-edged putty knife also makes an ideal tool in scraping off old door paints.

But be careful not to apply too much pressure or you might risk gouging the surface of your door.

Step 3. Cleaning up the dust after sanding

Sanding the door can result in dust accumulation. Wipe cleaning the door is thus an essential step in prepping your front door.

You can use something as simple as a baby wipe.

Wipe down the door

Step 4. Protect those precious door hardware by taping the exposed hinges and doorknob.

When your wipe-down has dried completely, it’s time to mask off with a high-quality painter’s tape those knobs, hinges, and hinge pins- these are the door hardware that you don’t want to be painted over.

When your wipe-down has dried completely

Covering the hardware with tape avoids removing the doorknob and lock because those pieces often had to be rather trickily installed by a locksmith.

Remove or put tape on door knob

Also, because you will be applying paint to the inside lip of your door (the face that touches the doorjamb), it’s a good idea to run a piece of painter’s tape down the edge of the other side of the door.

Tape the other side of the door

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to simply remove all hardware before applying a coat of paint if covering up the knobs, hinges, and hinge pins don’t work for you. That way, you can get an even sanding done, and you don’t run the risk of paint dripping on your doorknob or keyhole.

And while you’re at it, you can also try spray-painting your door hardware to spruce it up.

Step 5. Choosing the primer

Grab your exterior paint.

Grab your exterior paint

A combination of exterior paint + primer is recommended to save yourself a step while achieving a uniform paint coat. Otherwise, use two coats of primer and then exterior paint on top of that.

Double check the color you choose for door paint

There’s a method to painting your front door that makes it look great at the end further discussed below.

method to painting a door

The best way to paint front doors is to paint the angled perimeter of a top panel first(one of the six rectangular panels on this door) with a brush.

This first coat should be a light one. Don’t worry if some of the old paint colors show through in parts. You’ll get it covered soon enough with the following ones.

Step 6. Add the color (This example has light blue!)

Paint the entire panel, then move on to the neighboring panel, still with a brush.

Paint entire door panel

Make sure, as you’re going through those panels, that the edges of any new paintbrush strokes are smoothed out immediately. If you leave them, even for 30 seconds, those strokes can start to set making for a very uneven result.

Also, be on the lookout for paint drips and drops! As soon as you notice one, immediately brush it out with your handy-dandy paintbrush.

use foam roller on flat surface around sections

Step 7. Apply the first coat of your chosen paint color

Next, for the first coat, you can take a high-density foam roller and paint the flat parts around the two panels you’ve just detailed.

Again, watch the edges of your new paint swipes. If there is even a small bit of excess paint that is left to sit there, it will start to set up and make an ugly bump or line when you paint over it later.

Paint inside door panel

Don’t forget about the inside of the panels, if applicable.

Continue this order – brush grooves, check paint edges, roll perimeter, check for paint drips, roll interior, watch out for weird paint globs – for every panel on your door and trim.

Paint inside lip of door

Let everything dry (typically for about four hours, if you did as you were supposed to and kept the first round of paint a light one).

Let the paint dry around 4 hours

Step 8. Sand after applying a fresh coat of paint

Grab your 220-grit sandpaper, and do a very light sanding all across the door.

You’re not trying to sand through this paint layer, you simply are sanding away any slight paint bumps if they came up because you forgot once or twice to smooth out the edges of your new paint swipes.

Again use the sandpaper

Step 9. Apply the second coat of your chosen paint

For the second coat, continue the same paint application method I shared with you when you did the first coat of paint.

Paint as though you’re following a wood grain, even if there isn’t one on your door, or if it’s buried under 28 other coats of paint.

Brush along an impregnator

The only exception to this is the horizontal lines created by the top and bottom angled edges of each panel; paint those sideways. (Or, really, however you prefer).

Step 10. Removing the protective tape

Carefully remove any tape after your last coat, whether that’s the second or third, while it’s still wet.

Remove any tape from door carefully

Let it dry.

Closer picture with painted door
Admire your new painted door

Stand back, give space, and close your door so you can see it with the rest of the house.

Beautiful front door design

The color always looks a bit different when actually painted on. We love this example, though, because the door frame adds a cool, contemporary element to the surrounding (dated) rock face and shutters.

Modern painted front door

The color always looks a bit different when actually painted on. We love this one, though, because it adds a cool, contemporary element to the surrounding (dated) rock face.

Beautiful front door painted

How to Choose a Front Door Paint Color

Before you start sanding and preparing your front door for painting, you need to pick a paint color. Picking a paint color isn’t always easy, especially when you are looking for a fresh and new look.

Here are some tips to help you pick a front door color for your home.

Tip 1: Check with the HOA

Some neighborhoods have restrictions on the color you are allowed to pain your front door. Be sure to check these before you buy the paint otherwise you will find yourself needing to make a return.

Tip 2: Contrast the Surroundings

The last thing you want is a door that looks just like the wall it is attached to. Work to find a color that both blends with your front porch aesthetic while also standing out enough for people to find it easily.

Tip 3:Select a Style

You will want to also match the style of your home as you pick a front door color. For example, a farmhouse style home will typically look best with a white front door, while something a little more modern will let you select a darker color.

Tip 4: Match the Garage

An easy way to keep your front door within your home’s aesthetic is by matching the garage door. These two features will accent each other seamlessly and help your front door fit in no matter what color you paint it.

Tip 5: Look at the Colors Outside

Your front door is most viewable from the street, so no matter what color you are considering, be sure to take a look at it in the natural light before making your final selection.

Tip 6: Go Neutral

If all else fails, it’s hard to go wrong with a neutral front door color like brown or tan. Just ensure you paint the trim an opposite color to make your door really pop even when it’s a simple color.

How to Paint a Front Door Without Removing It

The hardest part about painting the front door is finding the time, and manpower, to remove it, paint it, let it dry, then get it rehung before you need to leave the house. Save time instead with these easy steps that allow you to paint a front door without removing it.

Step 1: Protect the Hinges

Use painters tape to cover the hinges so paint can’t get onto them. It’s also a good time to put some on the doorknob and any other door ornaments you may have (i.e. a built-in knocker). Use an X-Acto knife to remove any excess tape.

Step 2: Sand the Door

Just as you normally would, sand the door prior to painting it. Vacuum the door to remove loose particles after sanding.

Step 3: Prime the Door

Use a brush and primer to cover the entire door in primer. You can also use a roller for the flat portions of your door.

Step 4: Paint the Door

Once the primer is dry, use a brush and roller to apply paint to the door using the same method.

Step 5: Let it Dry

Let the paint dry, repeat step 4 to add multiple coats to achieve the desired color tone. Remove the tape when you are finished and admire your new door.

Tips for How to Paint a Front Door

Ready to conquer painting your front door a whole new color? Check out these tips before you begin.

Tip 1: Lay the Door Flat

If you can, it is best to remove the door from its hinges and lay it flat to paint it. Paint both sides at the same time by suspending the door between two sawhorses using shallow nails in both ends.

Tip 2: Clean the Door

You are painting your door to give it a whole new look, start by cleaning the door before you begin. Otherwise, dirt and grime may show through the pain and require extra coats of paint.

Tip 3: Sand the Door

Although it may seem easier to just paint over the previous coat of paint on your door, this can cause paint buildup which is difficult to correct later. Instead, sand the current coat of paint down using a sander and scraper before you begin.

Tip 4: Fill Cracks

Not only do cracks soak up paint, but they also will only continue to get worse until you fill them While you have the door down to paint it is the perfect time to fill in any cracks you may come across.

Tip 5: Prime the Door

Priming a door makes all the difference when painting. Prime both sides of the door, as well as all edges you plan to paint. Priming will save you both time and money later.

Tip 6: Tape the Doorjamb

The worst thing that can happen after you finish painting your door is someone comes along and closes it, getting the door stuck to the doorjamb and making a paint mess. You can avoid this by applying painter’s tape to the doorjamb once you finish painting the door.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What paint color should I paint my front door?

Colors set the mood for a home’s interior and exterior spaces, so before deciding on what paint color to use on your front door project, the first thing you have to do is to consider the following:

– the architectural style of your house and front entry
– the atmosphere you’d like to create
– the kind of first impression you want to give.

Recently, gray has taken over as the new neutral paint color. But if you’d rather choose not to be too trendy with the gray door color or simply want a classic look, opt for blue front door paint colors instead. There are plenty of front door paint ideas to explore.

But with all these tips, choosing the right paint color for your front door all boils down to what you truly prefer for your project.

You can stick to choosing your favorite colors and go for nature-inspired front door paint colorslike green or if you’re a bit extra, you can even go for a vibrant red front door. Or visit Sherwin Williams to ask a specialist on what paint will match your home decor best.

What type of paint for the front door should I consider for my next project?

While choosing the type of paint for the front door depends on your style and preference, we highly suggest the use of high gloss paints. This type of finish is the most preferred option for doors and trim, simply because high gloss paints boost the curb appeal of these pieces and the home’s exterior as a whole.

What color to paint the front door of a beige house?

The beauty in having neutral paint color for the exterior of a house like beige or even white house is that it’s relatively easier to choose the right color that would go well with it.

For a beige house, instead of choosing bold Sherwin Williams front door paint or Benjamin Moore color paint, a soft shade like light blue and a darker shade like dark brown are the ideal choices. But if bold is your taste, try painting the front door black or an orange and dark green! (Find inspiration online for the best black paint for a front door, Pinterest is full of this!)

How to paint a steel front door and screen door? (Or how to paint a metal front door?)

The steps and materials needed in painting a steel front door or painting a metal front door are the same as the steps outlined in this guide. You can even use the same steps in painting a screen door. Pro tip: If you have rails, you can match them to your door and even your shutters! Try a fun, nature-approved green.

Do I Need to Prime the Front Door Before Painting?

You should always start with a primer when painting your front door. Starting with a primer saves you time and money because it will require you to paint less coats of paint to achieve the color tone you desire.

Should I Paint My Front Door With a Brush or Roller?

For best results, you should paint your front door with both a paintbrush and a roller. Use a roller for the large parts, and a paintbrush for the smaller details. If you want a hand-painted look, be sure the last coat of paint is done solely with a brush.

Do You Paint Both Sides of a Front Door?

You will want to paint both sides of a front door, but you don’t need to paint them the same color. Just be sure you paint the exterior side of the door a color that matches both the interior and exterior.

How to Paint a Front Door Conclusion

Here’s the grand takeaway: painting your front door is easy. It can actually be extremely rewarding, challenging, and fun. Plus, you save lots on DIY than paying for services (after all the cost to paint a front door can be a few hundred!) and provide your neighbors some inspiration. After all, it’s your front door and you can do whatever color or look that you want to give it.

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on some of the finer details in creating a gorgeous front entrance.