A Beginner’s Guide To Painting Exterior Doors

Painting a door is easy, right? You just buy some paint and a brush, and coat it and let it dry. While the basic premise might be correct, there’s actually a lot more that goes into painting an exterior door especially. An exterior door is going to be exposed to all kinds of factors, from weather and precipitation to debris and even insect activity.

The type of paint, the application process, and quality of your materials can go a long way in determining whether or not your paint job stays intact and helps protect your door. Here are some tips for the beginner on painting exterior doors.

Always Buy The Right Materials

Before you prep, paint, or let dry, the first thing you need to do is buy the materials. Making sure you use the right type, and the right quality of paint makes a huge difference in the final product. Paint brushes, paints, and primers come in all varieties; from the most expensive, high-quality materials, to the cheapest materials. As with anything, you get what you pay for when it comes to paint and supplies.

Your local hardware store’s name brand may not be of the highest quality in comparison to some of the major brands. If you’re painting your front door, the color will be important if you plan to match or accent your house’s style.

First, figure out what color you want to use. If your house has dark siding, bright yellow might not be the best option. Choose a color that blends well but also retains its own independence apart from the house. Something that says “I fit in, but you’ll notice me”.

Next, you’ll want to pick a primer. Primer prepares your freshly sanded surface to receive (and hold) the paint. It helps your paint apply evenly across the entirety of the door. You’ll probably want to take your door off its hinges for this process as well as for the final painting. This ensures a professional looking paint job and prevents drips and runs.

Purchasing high-quality brushes will also help apply the paint evenly. Cheaper brushes tend to be made of lower quality materials. Not only do they break down sooner, but they don’t always hold the paint as they should. You don’t need the most expensive brushes, but some higher quality name brand brushes would be a good option for this project. Be sure to get some sandpaper or a sanding block as well.

Research Brands

It’s very important to compare brand prices and quality when you look for your materials. Behr, Valspar, and Sherwin Williams are some of the biggest names in the business, and for good reason. Each of these companies has a reputation for value and high-quality materials.

It is your home, after all, so you want to use something that will last and grant you a decent return on your investment. Painting an exterior door shouldn’t be a “break the bank” project, but nor do you want it to be too inexpensive.

Remove the Old Paint & Prime Your Door

Using a large grit sanding block or sandpaper, sand away the old paint and finish. After you’ve sanded away the bulk of the old finish, use a fine grit sanding block or paper to finish the job and smooth everything out.

Next, you’ll want to take a damp rag and thoroughly clean the door off, getting rid of any excess dust, dirt, and sanding material. Let the door dry completely, then apply your primer.

Make sure the primer is applied evenly. Take your time and do this step the right way, so your paint sticks properly when you’re ready to apply it. Patience is key when it comes to painting anything.

Let the primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Painting The Door

You’ve made it through the prep process and your primer is totally dry. Time to paint! Depending on the look you’re going for, you can paint the entire door with the brush, or you can use a roller for the majority of the work and a hand brush for the fine details.

You can also use a roller for the first coat, and then after you’ve applied the number of coats you want, you can use a hand brush for the final coat, which will give the door that nice hand painted look.

Patiently apply your paint, letting it dry between coats. If you’re using stain, 2-3 coats should be enough for most doors, but you can put up to 5 coats on a door that’s exposed to the elements. Even brush strokes help the paint dry evenly and prevent clumps.

Let The Door Dry and Rehang

After you’ve applied the final coat, let it dry for a few hours at least before rehanging it. Re-attach the door’s hardware and hang it once more. Take a step back, and admire your hard work. You’ve successfully painted your first exterior door!

Patience Is Key!

Painting can be boring or relaxing. Either way, having patience with your brush strokes and making sure to coat the entire door evenly will mean the difference between a professional looking paint job and an amateur one. Put on some music while you paint, or your favorite radio show to help relax you into the mood. Even with the right materials, an impatient job can quickly turn sour without the patience to do it.

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