Is your front door looking a little drab? Or maybe you’re just looking for an easy way to give your home a quick makeover? No problem! Spray painting your front door is a super simple way to update its look in no time. And best of all, it’s inexpensive! Here are the steps you need to follow to properly spray paint a front door and get the job done right.
Last summer we completed a large list of outside projects: a new walkway, a new front yard, painting the house, painting the concrete front porch, and adding flower boxes. Now it was time to add a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
The outside of my house was in desperate need of painting and it had seen better days. The metal exterior front door had faded from the direct sun shining on it all day long. This is embarrassing to know we let the outside of our home get this bad before taking on our outside curb appeal project.
Although the door was faded, it was still in great shape, and I did not want to spend the extra money on a new door. So, I opted to do a front door makeover with paint.
Supplies for spray painting an exterior door
- Painter’s tape – My favorite brand is Frog Tape, and I use the green one for most of my painting.
- Sandpaper – Use a light grit sandpaper like 250 or 300.
- Metal Primer – Using a metal primer is a must in order to help the paint stick to the metal. If you are spray painting a wood door, I recommend 2x Ultra cover primer.
- Spray Paint – Choose a quality brand like Rustoleum or Krylon. My favorite is any of the Rustoleum brands. Please avoid buying cheap spray paint from the dollar store or Walmart. They are cheap and not the best paint to use for a quality paint finish.
- Sealer – I highly recommend a sealer after painting. This helps to protect the finish and also gives increased durability.
- A Putty Knife is needed to help secure the painter’s tape to the surface.
- Razor Blade is used to apply a clean cut to the painter’s tape.
Spray Painting Door Trim
The first step is the prep work. This tends to be the hardest part as it took more time to tape and seal off the trim around the door frame than to paint. I needed to start with spray painting the metal trim before I removed the door. This would keep the spray paint fumes and spray dust outside since the door was still on.
It was very difficult to get a good clean line with the tape on the black, so we opted to paint the strip of blue (to the left of the white trim) by hand. The strip of blue became black by hand-painting 2 coats of paint using exterior black paint. The white section was the metal trim that I primed and spray-painted using 2x Ultra Cover in White.
Spray Painting the Front Door
I opted to remove the door to paint it. I thought it would be easier to paint it off the hinges due to the overspray and not wanting to tape off the freshly painted trim.
My decision to use spray paint was because it is oil-based paint and I figured that would hold up longer to the cold winters and daily sun exposure on the front door. I may have chosen a different type of paint if I had a storm door on the front of our house.
The second reason for choosing to spray paint the front door was because it is easier to spray and I did not have to deal with brush marks.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to other options and paints available for painting your front door. If you are considering hand painting your front door check out how to choose the proper paint sheen for doors.
I started on a beautiful day and removed my front door early so it had plenty of drying time between coats of paint. First was taping off the glass windows, removing the door handles, and lightly sanding using 300-grit sandpaper.
Thoroughly clean the door to remove all dust and dirt before applying the first coat of primer. I used this metal primer with this handy spray nozzle that fits on spray paint cans. This is the best way to spray paint anything, as it allows you to get better coverage since it is hard on your finger when spray painting. You get a smoother finish since you have more control by using this attachment.
I did 2 light coats of the metal primer and lightly sanded between the coats of primer. Make sure to remove any dust particles before spraying the second coat of primer.
Next, I applied an even coat of colonial red and allowed it to dry a few hours before applying the next coat. I applied 2 coats in order to get full coverage and only need a few slight touch-ups in sections. The door sat in the shade drying all day before we attached it back on the hinges at about 10:00 p.m.
I wanted to make sure the paint was good and dry so it would not leave a line from being closed overnight. Since we do not have a locking screen door, it was a good idea to put my front door back on before going to bed. If I did have a locking screen door, I would have left the door to dry overnight as well.
The next day, I applied 2 light coats of this sealer, in a satin finish to help protect my front door from the harsh elements.
Here is a close-up of the trim work next to the door. I love the pop of color on the front of our house and am so glad that I chose red as my front door paint color. This fresh look was long overdue. What color is your front door?
Questions about spray painting a front door
- Can I spray paint without taking my door down? Yes, you do not have to take the door off the hinges to paint. However, you will need to tape off your interior somehow. The door opens inward and you will actually be spraying inside your home. This is why I choose to take the door off.
- Can I spray-paint my wood door? Yes, you will need to properly prep the door by sanding it down and using a primer that is best for wood doors.
- How many cans of spray paint will I need? I used 1 can for priming and 2 cans for the red color. This was only for the 1 side of the door.
- Why did you prime since you used a prime and paint in one? I wanted to use a metal primer since my door gets direct sunlight all day long. The more protection the better.
- How long did your spray paint last? It still looked great after 3 years. It needed to be painted in year 4, however we moved and the new owners did not paint it until year 5 or 6.
So there you have it! The steps I took to spray paint my front door. I hope you found this post helpful and that you will give spray painting a try. If you’re feeling adventurous, I also encourage you to experiment with different colors and finishes – the possibilities are endless. And if you need any help along the way, be sure to check out my other posts on how to paint furniture like a pro. Happy spraying!
Also, check out my insider furniture painting tips and tricks if you want to tackle some furniture pieces next.
I always encourage others not to be afraid of messing up those DIY projects. If you need more courage, check out a few of these other DIY projects we tackled.
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