How to Paint a New Front Door

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • 120-grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
  • Mild detergent
  • Rags or sponge
  • Razor knife
  • Primer
  • 2- or 3-inch brush
  • 6-inch trim roller
  • Roller pan
  • 2-inch angled sash brush

Whether your new front door is steel, fiberglass or wood, it probably was quite expensive. You'll want to do it justice with a glossy, professional-looking paint job. Save money by painting your new front door yourself. This is not a difficult project, and with a small investment in quality tools, primer and paint you'll have a glossy entry door that will welcome people to your home for years to come.

Remove door handle hardware and other attachments such as the peephole, mail slot and weather stripping, using a flat or Phillips screwdriver.

Sand the door lightly with 120-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge. Wipe it down with a damp rag and mild detergent, rinse and allow it to dry.

Cut excess caulking and weather stripping from around door windows and sidelites with a sharp razor knife. This may not be necessary, but new doors often come from the factory with a little excess glazing material oozing out onto the glass.

Prime the door, even if it has been primed by the manufacturer. This step is especially vital if the door won't be sheltered by a porch. Use either a fast-drying oil-based primer, or a good-quality water-based primer. Use a two- or three-inch brush for a paneled door or a six-inch roller for a flat door.

Caulk any visible gaps, no matter how narrow, around panels, trim and at the joints. Apply a bead of caulking compound to each gap, then immediately smooth it with a damp rag or your fingertip. Allow caulking to dry for at least an hour.

Paint the door with at least two coats of 100 percent acrylic paint. "Cut in" edges and corners first with a two-inch angled sash brush, then roll flat areas with a six-inch trim roller, first pouring a little paint into a roller pan. Brushing first minimizes the appearance of brush strokes. Allow the paint to dry for at least two hours between coats, or as indicated on the paint label.


  • Front doors look best when painted in a satin or semi-gloss finish. It's impractical and unnecessary in most cases for a front door to be removed from the hinges for painting. If you paint it before installation, pound two long nails into the bottom and top edges, then rest the door by the nails on two sawhorses. This allows you to flip the door over for painting both sides without waiting for it to dry first. Have the paint store tint the primer to the approximate shade of the finish paint. A quart of primer and a quart of paint will be enough to paint an average-sized door and trim. Choose a dry, warm day for painting an entry door so the paint will dry quickly.


  • Check the door manufacturer's warranty. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if the weather stripping is painted or if you use the wrong type of paint.