Painting Your Front Door

This isn’t rocket science. Everyone knows a touch of paint to any room adds a little spark to the space, gives it a fresh new look. So why not do it to your front door. Sprucing up your curb appeal with a simple coat of paint seems like a no-brainer to us.

The trick is, though, you need to pick your colours wisely. Bold and bright or neutral and safe, the choice is yours. A freshly painted front door will certainly draw in more eyes and could be the difference that sets your home apart from the others. No pressure, though.

Water vs. Oil

First things first. Is the existing paint on your front door oil or water (latex) based? If you don’t know, or can’t remember what you used last time, here’s a quick and easy trick. Dab a bit of nail polish remover on a cloth and rub it on the door (or paint). If it comes off, it’s water or latex. And if it doesn’t, it’s oil.

Now that you’ve determined what type of paint you HAVE on your door, you need to establish what type of paint you WANT on your door. Oil leaves fewer brush strokes creating a smoother finish, however drying times are longer and there is an odour that goes along with oil. While water-based paints make it easier to clean up, and there’s definitely less of a smell, drying times are much faster.


The fun, but hard part is choosing a colour. There are several factors to consider, like the style of your home, the exterior’s colour, the roof, and the overall look and feel you want. Do you want to pop with a bold paint colour, or do you want the door to blend in with the rest of the house? Consider how different colours will look at different times of the day and evening with varying light. Remember, your door is just a door and can easily be repainted if you decide to change colours in a few months.

The Paint

Aside from oil and water-based paints, you also have to select an exterior paint that will weather the seasons, as it were. And different qualities of paint will run at different costs, however higher quality paint will certainly last longer in the end.

There is also gloss, high gloss and matte finishes you have to choose from. The glossy look will help the door stand out and reflect light in the daytime. Glossy also is easier to clean with the wipe of a damp cloth, whereas matte finishes will show brush marks and other marks more readily.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind when getting ready for painting your front door.

  • Remove the hardware from the door before painting. Door knobs, hinges, peep holes, etc. are best left unpainted and in their natural elements. If you cannot remove them, be sure to tape really well around them.
  • Wash your door before painting to make sure any dust and debris doesn’t get caught under the paint. If you have a wood door, try sanding it and then removing the particles to allow for a cleaner paint job.
  • Prime your door before painting. Whether you’re sticking with the same type of paint (water to water-based) or going from oil to water-based, you should always use a good primer to ensure the paint properly adheres to the door.
  • Paint the edges of the door first so they have extra time to dry, and paint the door from top to bottom.
  • Lastly, be sure to give your door a good chance to dry properly before you close the door to avoid any sticky mistakes.

About Neb Aleksic

Neb grew up in the garage door business. Since joining Doorcare he has moved up in the ranks, and now oversees a team, in addition to Doorcare's marketing efforts. He is passionate about what he does, and enjoys the small things in life.
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