Tom Shafer

8 professional tips for painting your entry door

July 06, 2013

If you have recently installed a new entry door in your home and did not pay the higher price for a pre-painted door, it needs to be painted very soon. Most door warranties have a stipulation that the unfinished door has to be painted within one month. Here are eight tips for an easy but professional-looking job.

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  1. Paint quality: Use good quality latex or acrylic exterior house paint formulated to withstand ultraviolet exposure and tolerate temperature extremes. An oil-based paint works well but is thick, making it more difficult to work with -- and cleanup requires paint thinner.
  2. Color: Many people love a black entry door like the one at 10 Downing Street in London. But black absorbs heat and is more susceptible to warping. Dark paint colors typically do not last as long as lighter colors, especially if your door faces west.
  3. Surface prep: A clean door is crucial. Wash the door with non-residue soap and water. Remove bugs, oil and caked on dirt -- a heavy-duty cleaner such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) works well for this. Finally, sand rough spots.
  4. Weatherstripping: You can take the door off of its hinges to paint it, but that's not necessary if you mask the weatherstripping. Getting paint on a section of weatherstripping at the least looks amateurish, and at worst can cause it to deform, allowing for air leakage and water intrusion.
  5. Hardware: Remove door locks and cover hinges with tape. Painting around a circular metal door lock plate can be tricky; getting paint in or on hardware is just plain ugly and, once you do, it's difficult to remove without scratching the polished surface.
  6. Paint roller: Use a small diameter -- about a one-inch foam roller for a smooth finish. It covers well and makes quick work of a door.
  7. Sash brush: Have a sash brush ready to work the paint into any grooves or indentations in the design of your door. To eliminate brush marks, go over the brushed sections with your roller.
  8. Two coats: Giving the door two coats may not appear visually necessary, but it can provide added protection and deepen the color.

With the proper preparation, supplies and attention to detail, most DIYers can paint or stain an exterior door and achieve high-quality results.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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