How to Paint Your Exterior Door

How to Paint Your Exterior Door

Whether the exterior doors of your home need a new look or a simple refresh, a new paint job can help enhance the look of your house with minimal effort. But before you pick up your paintbrush and dive right in, we have a few tips to make this project as stress-free and successful as possible.

Choose your time of year wisely

Door painting is best done during the warmer months and, ideally, on a sunny day without rain in the forecast. This will help ensure your paint is able to fully dry without risks of moisture.

Choose your paint carefully

Since painting your exterior doors isn’t something you want to do frequently, think carefully about what color would suit your home best. It might even be a good idea to paint a small swatch of your door first to see how the light throughout the day affects the color.

Beyond choosing the right color, it’s also important to use exterior paint for best results over time. If you’re changing the color of your door, you’ll need to prime it first, so make sure the type of primer you use — oil-based or latex — matches the type of paint you use.

Prep your door before painting

Inspect your door for any imperfections and use sand paper (move in direction of grain) to smooth out any dented or scratch surfaces. Remove dust from sanding with a soft cloth (do not use a blower or damp cloth as you do not want any moisture to get absorbed into the grain of the wood in this step).

Decide your method

Some people elect to remove their doors from the hinges before painting to have a horizontal surface, but this isn’t necessary. If you don’t have a storm door to keep bugs at bay, you can simply paint your door as is, but you’ll need to keep it open throughout the painting and drying process. You’ll also need to remove the hardware before beginning to paint or cover any non-removable hardware with painter’s tape.


Once your primer is dry, it’s time to paint. If your door has panels, use a brush to paint these areas first, then a roller to paint the outer flat surfaces. Let each coat dry before adding a fresh layer. Keep your door open until it is completely dry. Finally, step back and admire your work.

Congratulations! Your exterior door is now looking fresh and good as new.

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