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How to Paint a Wooden Front Door

How to Paint a Wooden Front Door

If you have a wooden front door that is starting to wear down and doesn’t look as good as it once did, you might be thinking about replacing it. But before you go spending hundreds of dollars on a new door, you should consider adding a fresh coat of paint instead. Painting a wooden front door is a lot easier than you might think. In this post, we will provide an overview of the steps you should take to prepare your front door, as well as how to go about applying a fresh coat of paint.

Choose Your Paint and Color

Choose Your Paint and ColorPainting an exterior wooden door will usually need at least one quart of paint. When looking for the right paint, you’re going to want to use paint that is made specifically for the exterior of a house. Because your front door will be exposed to the elements of rain, sun, snow, and wind, choosing high-quality exterior paint is going to be important if you want the door to maintain its shine over time.

Exterior paint is also mold-resistant, which is critical for the durability of your front door. Most exterior paints are either acrylic resin or latex-based with a semi-gloss finish.

Latex-based exterior paint is the most adaptable and popular paint on the market. It is very versatile and can fill in large imperfections and cracks on a door’s surface. It is also resistant to cracking and chipping once dried. When painting a wooden exterior door, it is usually recommended to use a semi-gloss finish because it is easy to clean and offers a bright sheen that contrasts nicely with the facade of the home.

Aside from latex-based paints, there are also other options. If you want to avoid using primer, you can choose an all-in-one paint. Additionally, you could also choose an oil-based exterior paint for your door. This option is less popular; however, it can provide your door a high-gloss finish that will make it stand out against the backdrop of your home’s exterior. Oil-based door paint is also very resistant to chipping and is fast drying.

Remove the Door to Prep it for Painting

Remove the Door to Prep it for Painting

After you’ve settled on an exterior paint type and color, you can begin the painting process by first removing your front door along with any hardware on the door. You can do this by using a flathead screwdriver or chisel that you will place in the joints between the hinges on top of the hinge pins. Once placed in the proper position, strike the base of the screwdriver with a hammer to loosen the hinge pins. Once loosened, pull out the pins and have someone assist you in carrying the door outside. Set the door on a pair of sawhorses and use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove any hardware on the door.

Once the door has been removed, you will need to have a temporary replacement door in place while the exterior paint dries on the main door. Exterior paint can take a while to dry, so having a temporary door to protect your house will be essential. You can either use an existing storm door or a large piece of plywood to secure the door frame.

After you’ve secured the house with a temporary door, you can begin the process of sanding down your old wooden door. To get a smooth surface, you will want to start by scraping off any peeling pieces while sanding down the rest of the old paint until the surface of the door is even throughout the entire door. It is recommended to start with 120-grit sandpaper and gradually work up to 220 grit paper. If the door is still feeling rough, you can finish the sanding process off with a fine-grade 320-grit paper. It is important to wear a dust mask and safety goggles for your protection when sanding a door.

The next step after sanding will be repairing any cracks or imperfections in the door. To do this, use caulk and fill in any cracks with a putty knife. After the caulk has dried, sand the caulked spots until they’re smooth to the touch.

Finally, make sure to get rid of any dust from sanding before you begin the priming process. You can sweep or vacuum any leftover dust and then proceed to wipe the door down with a damp cloth.

Priming the Door

Once you’ve sufficiently prepared the door’s surface, the next step of the process will be applying a coat of primer to the door. To do this, start by brushing a single coat of primer with a wide paintbrush. When applying, make sure to cover the front and side edges of the entire door. Using a primer will prevent the door from retaining moisture and helps the paint maintain a smooth texture. After the primer has dried on the front, flip the door over and proceed to prime the back. Make sure to sand any dried drips or chunks of primer after the door is dry. This will ensure that your surface is completely smooth.

Paint the Door

Paint the DoorAfter the primer has completely dried, it is time to apply your first coat of paint. Start by stirring your paint to an even consistency. Once stirred, begin to paint the door from top to bottom using a wide brush for corners or indentations and a small roller for flat panels. Make long brush strokes and clean off any visible lines with a dry cloth. As with the primer, turn the front side of the door over once it has dried to complete the other side. You will want to use at least two coats of paint and can increase it to three or more if you want to increase the color saturation of the door.

The door’s sections should be painted in a particular order. It is recommended to start with the bevels, then move to the panels. After that, move on to the center stile, rails, and outer stiles.

Dry and Reinstall

Once the paint no longer feels wet or sticky, you can proceed to reinstall the door. Start by replacing all the hardware and have someone help you reattach the door to the front of the house. Align the door with its hinges and reinstall the hinge pins.


Painting a wooden front door doesn’t have to be a difficult job. Simply follow these steps and you’ll be surprised at how fresh and clean your door will be.

With the right tools it may be easy but if you need some help you can always count on us to get the job done.

Hiring professionals can ensure that the painting is done properly from start to finish. Professionals like us can help you to purchase the right paint or provide you with the best information because we know exactly how to paint a wooden door.

Here at BEST PRO BUILDERS we can help you with a full range of professional services. From full design/build services to installing that backyard patio and outdoor kitchen you’ve been dreaming of, you can trust our team to deliver.

No matter if you need construction, remodeling or some other home services, count on us to make your life easier!