Nothing says “Welcome to our home!” more than a beautiful, freshly-painted front door. Here are 7 tips on painting exterior doors from the expert craftsmen at Handyman Connection of Ann Arbor.
- Remove the door for the best paint results. As tempting as it may be to paint the door while it is upright, for a truly smooth finish, you have to lay the door flat and remove the hinges, knobs and hardware. With the door laid flat on sawhorses, you can spread paint more quickly and not worry about drips and paint sags. You can still paint both sides in a day if you rest the door on lag screws. Drill a single 3/16″ hole in the bottom of the door and two holes at the top. Turn 4”x1/4” lag screws 1 ½” into the door. Spread the sawhorses apart just enough so that the door doesn’t touch either side but rests entirely on the bolts. This technique will allow you to paint one side, then rotate the door on the single bolt at the bottom of the door while holding the other two bolts.
- Start with a clean canvas. All of your hard work will be for nothing if you don’t clean your door thoroughly. Exterior doors have plenty of oil and dirt on them (especially around the knobs/handles!) that needs to be properly removed for your new paint to have good adhesion.
- Smooth the surface. Paint buildup can make a door rub against the jamb. Remove paint buildup on wood doors with a stainless steel or carbide scraper. For metal doors, you can use sandpaper. For fiberglass doors, you will need to use a chemical remover.
- Fill in any holes. All holes (from door numbers, etc.) will need to be filled in before priming the door.
- Prime time! Primer blocks stains and helps new paint adhere better. It also seals porous fillers so the topcoat looks smooth and even. Avoid spot priming—it will make the topcoat of paint look blotchy. If you’re covering a color or painting on a new color (anything other than white), use a gray-tinted primer instead of a white primer.
- Sand between coats. Lightly sand the entire door between coats with 180- to 220-grit paper. Use a sanding sponge for shaped areas.
- Cover weather stripping on an exterior door with painter’s tape to prevent fresh paint from sticking to the weather stripping.