This Old House painting expert, Mauro Henrique, travels to Oklahoma to help a homeowner paint her front door without removing it from the hinges.
When a homeowner wanted to give their home’s front door a makeover, paint expert Mauro Henrique knew just what to do. Rather than disturbing the 70-year-old door, he shows the homeowner how to paint it in place to give it a fresh new look that will pop against the home’s brick exterior.
How to Paint a Front Door: Project Step-by-Step
The following steps will explain how to paint a front door. For older doors, it often makes more sense to paint them in place than to remove them from their hinges and strip the hardware.
- Start by taping off any areas on the door that shouldn’t be painted. This includes around the doorknob, deadbolt, and any glass in the door. Use tape and rosin paper to cover all the glass to prevent any accidents. Also, slide a drop cloth under the door to prevent any drips or other accidents. Be patient during this process, as it will determine how the finished product looks.
- Mix a two-part, exterior-grade wood filler on the end of a putty knife. Press it into any holes or cracks around the door. This wood filler can also be used to replace any missing bits of trim, though it has to be sculpted and sanded to shape.
- Once the wood filler dries, sand the surface of the door lightly. Sand down the wood filler and scuff the surface of the wood. Use a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.
- Apply the primer with brushes and a paint roller. Be sure to cut in along any edges and hardware before rolling. Also, if the door has any detailed trim, use a brush to work the primer into the detailed profiles. Allow the primer to dry.
- Once the primer is dry, apply a coat of the exterior-grade oil-based paint. Use the brushes to cut in around the edges and fill in any details. Also, cut in around the door knob and hardware with the brush. Allow the coat to dry.
- Apply a second coat of paint to the door. Try to use a different pattern than the previous coat. For instance, if you started on the rails (horizontal members of the door) earlier, start on the stiles (the vertical members) this time, or vice versa. Allow the paint to dry.
- Carefully remove the painter’s tape before the paint cures. Grip the end of the tape and pull it away from the edge slowly and carefully (a 45-degree angle works best). Once removed, you can enjoy the new look on your old door!
To protect the glass and door hardware, Mauro carefully covers the glass with sheeting and adds painter’s tape over the hardware. To protect the surrounding area, Mauro lays out a drop cloth onto the floor.
Mauro uses a small metal putty knife to fill in large cracks with wood filler. After allowing the wood filler to fully dry, Mauro sands the entire door with 220 fine grit sandpaper. To remove dust particles, Mauro wipes the door with tack cloth.
- Rosin paper
- Drop cloth
- Wood filler
- 220 fine grit sandpaper
- Tack cloth
- Oil-based primer
- Oil-based exterior paint