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How to paint your front door

by Michael Boyle on June 12, 2019


Giving your home a fresh new look and some added vibrancy could be as simple as just painting your front door. It’s a great way to introduce a splash of bright colour to the exterior of your house, and it’s a job that can be done expertly in just a couple of hours, even without any in-depth DIY knowledge.

What you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Knot sealer (if required)
  • Filler and filling knife (if required)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Sanding block
  • Sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Paint brushes
  • Primer or undercoat
  • Paint!

Some guides recommend that you remove the door completely from its hinges before beginning to paint, but this makes the project more cumbersome and more difficult for inexperienced DIY-ers. It’s perfectly possible to paint your front door while it’s still in place – just be sure to lay down a good-sized drip mat on your hallway floor first!

So, now that we’re ready to go:

Step 1: Fixtures and fittings

Remove all fittings such as front door knobs, knockers, key covers, etc., rather than trying to protect them with masking tape. They generally screw off quite easily and can be easily re-attached when you are finished painting.

Step 2: Filling and sanding

You need to start with a good smooth surface, so check your front door for any blemishes or cracks that may have developed since it was last painted. Fill them with a suitable filler, and allow to harden before proceedings. TIP: Sometimes it’s best to leave the filler overnight, and return to the project the following day.

Then sand the whole door down, using a hand-held block of sandpaper rather than an electric sander, which may be too abrasive on your door. Brush the door down afterwards and wipe it with a soft cloth to remove all dust.


Step 3: Make a plan

Stand back now and have a look at your door, to decide your plan of action on how you will paint it. It’s not as simple as just going top to bottom. If there are panels, it’s generally best to paint them first, and then go back and paint the surrounds. If there are glass panes, protect them with masking tape.

Step 4: Apply undercoat

Use an appropriately-sized brush to apply one coat of undercoat or primer. Choose a colour that’s the best match possible for the colour you will eventually be painting the door. Leave to dry.

Step 5: Sand again

Now use some fine sandpaper to rub over the fresh undercoat/primer. Again, brush and wipe it down afterwards to remove dust.

Step 6: Get painting your front door!

Now’s the time to get busy with the paint. Make sure you’re using the right type, such as satin or gloss paint if it’s a wooden front door. TIP: Gloss has a high sheen, while satin has a mild shine – whichever you use is a personal choice.

Use a suitable brush, and work slowly and smoothly according to the painting plan you’ve drawn up. Once it dries, we recommend that you apply a second coat, so repeat steps 5 and 6. Then re-attach the knobs and knockers, and admire your home’s new look!