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How to paint a front door

Find out how to paint a front door you'll be happy to come home to.


By Cleanipedia Team

Newly painted front door in a blue house

Key steps

  • Choose an outdoor-friendly paint in a semi-gloss
  • Cover any areas you don’t want painted
  • Prepare a smooth surface for painting with a coat of primer
  • Use a paintbrush and a roller to apply at least two layers of paint
  • Allow the paint to dry fully before removing any painter’s tape

The front door is the first thing you and your guests will see before entering your home. A bright, spruced-up front door makes a great first impression. Read on for our step-by-step guide for how to paint a door without removing it, whether you want to give it a fresh lick of paint in the same colour or change things up for a new look.

Knowing how to paint a front door means knowing how to protect the surrounding area. Use tarpaulin and painter’s tape to prevent paint getting anywhere you don’t want it.

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How to repaint a front door: A step-by-step guide

What you need:

  • Tarpaulin or old sheets
  • Painter’s tape
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Damp rag
  • Paint brush
  • Roller (and roller tray)
  • Screwdriver
  • Primer
  • Paint

How to paint a door:

  1. First, you need to choose the right paint. Here are our top tips:
    • Always choose a paint that is designed for exterior use.
    • A semi-gloss is longer-wearing, more stain-resistant and best for front doors.
  2. Knowing how to paint a door without removing it is all about knowing how to protect the surrounding areas. Anything you don’t want to paint needs to be covered, from the surrounding walls to the doorstep.
    • Use tarpaulin or an old sheet to protect the floor and steps while you’re repainting your front door.
    • Use painter’s tape to protect any areas to the sides and above your door and door frame (or the door frame itself if you are only painting the door.)
    • Cover up door knockers, bells and handles with painter’s tape to protect them from the paint.
  3. Check if your door needs stripping. If the paint is bubbly or peeling, you will want to strip it before painting over it. For more details on this, check out our guide to removing paint from wood.
  4. Lightly sand over the door to make sure you have a smooth surface to work on.
  5. Add a layer of oil-based primer. This will help your paint layer more evenly, giving you a better finish. Allow it to dry before moving on.
  6. Now, you can start painting!
    • Use a paintbrush to paint around the edges, corners and any recesses or carved details.
    • Use a roller to paint the rest of the door surface.
    • Apply at least two coats to give it the best finish. This is especially important if you are changing the colour of your door and don’t want the old colour to show through.
    • Allow the paint to dry. You will want to leave the door open for as long as possible, but always take into account the safety aspect of leaving a front door ajar.
  7. Once the paint is dry, remove any painter’s tape.
  8. Now you’ve given your front door a new lease of life, why not sort out your windows too? Click here for our complete guide to painting frames, sills and exteriors.

With this simple guide, you now have all the steps you need for repainting your front door and giving it a new lease of life.

Originally published