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How to Paint a Metal Front Door

So you’re looking to paint a metal front door? You’ve come to the right place.

Paint is the magic ingredient you need to transform your front door from its outdated and tired style into an up-to-date new look that will be fresh and ready for Spring!

Painting a Metal Front Door
Painting a Metal Front Door

If you’re uncertain whether this sizable project is even possible to do on your own, let us show you a step-by-step guide on how you can achieve this painting project with ease.

This step-by-step guide will cover the best methods to prepare, paint, and seal your metal front door, along with the appropriate materials to use in the process. By following this guide, in the end, your home will display fantastic curb appeal.

So, let’s get started.

Step 1: Is It Even Possible?

The simple answer is yes! You will be able to paint your metal front door using the proper methods, learned knowledge, and appropriate materials found here in our step-by-step guide.

First, using this guide correctly will help you achieve outstanding results to show off this Spring. How exciting to think when your neighbors ask you for a painter referral, you will be able to tell them you completed the project yourself.

Lastly, this isn’t for everyone, so if you ever feel overwhelmed tackling a home improvement project, especially a big one like this, you can always reach out and hire a certified painter.

I’m sure we can all agree there’s nothing worse than starting a project and, in the end, having to hire out a professional to fix and finish the project. So the best advice we can give is only to take on what you know you can handle.

Step 2: Getting Started On Your Metal Front Door Painting Project

So you’ve decided painting this metal door is something you are up to tackling on your own. Let’s get started painting.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to inspect the surface of your metal front door thoroughly. For starters, and this one is self-explanatory, make sure that your door is indeed made out of metal. Wooden doors will require a different painting method.

Inspecting your door’s surfaces is a crucial step; look for any cracks or old paint that is peeling or chipping off. Also, you will need to know if your metal door is in good shape and only requires paint to be refreshed, with no other repairs or replacements.

Step 3: Tools and Materials

Always remember, please use safety first when painting a metal front door. We want you to stay safe, and that’s why we will always highly recommend using goggles, gloves, and a mask for protection while you’re painting.

Tools You Will Need:

  • Shop rags and towels
  • Scrubbing pad
  • Sawhorses
  • Cordless drill and driver bits
  • Paint tray/bucket
  • Sanding block

Materials You Will Use:

  • Brushes–specifically, a 2-inch paintbrush
  • Foam paint rollers
  • Paint specially formulated for metal surfaces–such as exterior acrylic latex paint
  • Primer formulated for metal surfaces
  • Painters tape
  • Tri-sodium phosphate

Step 4: Preparing Your Metal Front Door

Let’s start preparing your metal front door for painting.

First, you’ll want a clean, clear area on all of your door’s metal surfaces. Prepare your front door by washing it down thoroughly with warm water and soap or an all-purpose cleaner. You’ll want to let your door dry out completely before moving forward.

Cleaning Front Door for New Coat of Paint
Cleaning Front Door for New Coat of Paint

Next, you need to apply a degreaser using a shop rag, towel, or clean cloth. Degreaser will remove any additional dirt, oil, grease, or grime from the surface of your front door. When handling degreaser, it’s a helpful tip to invest in rubber kitchen gloves to avoid getting chemicals and filth directly on your hands.

Step 5: Brush Selection and Finding the Right Type of Paint

The Best Paint Brush

When you paint a metal front door, you’ll want to use specifically a 2-inch paintbrush, along with a foam paint roller. Why specifically a 2-inch paintbrush? Well, this paintbrush size will fit nicely along your front door’s grooves and surfaces when you apply paint to the front door. Work smart, not hard, we always say!

Two-Inch Paint Brush Used to Paint a Metal Front Door With Grooves
Two-Inch Paint Brush Used to Paint a Metal Front Door With Grooves

The Best Paint Type

Next, you will want to choose a type of paint made especially for metal surfaces and has waterproofing ability. You will need to also make sure the paint you select can handle the wear and tear from natural elements.

We suggest looking for a paint type such as exterior acrylic latex paint, which will work along with your door instead of against it when it comes to weather and waterproofing capabilities.

Choosing the right kind of paint when painting a metal front door is always essential in achieving the results you hope to have at the end of your project. Take the time to look around at different paint out there before getting started. Also, always read the directions on the back of your paint before beginning your project.

Step 6: Applying Primer to Your Metal Front Door

Next, you want to apply an excellent quality primer as your base. This is because you want your paint to have a solid surface to grab. Having that strong base for the paint to reach out and hold onto will give you the long-lasting finish you desire.

You can use a foam roller to apply your good-quality primer for this step. You will need to apply one to two coats in total. Each coat of paint needs to be given the correct drying time between coats before the next coat is applied.

For front doors with lighter surfaces, you will only need one coat of primer. However, front doors that have a dark finish to them will require two coats of primer, especially if you’re choosing to go from a dark to light paint color.

Step 7: Apply Paint to Your Front Metal Door

Once your primer has had a chance to dry properly and it’s completely dried through, then you will be ready to apply your paint.

Painting a Metal Front Door
Painting a Metal Front Door

Apply your first coat of paint and let it dry. A good rule of thumb is leaving the paint to dry overnight. You will want to apply your first coat of paint evenly in the direction of the referenced diagram shown. It will look its best using these stroke directions over just painting the door in any order.

Lastly, apply your second coat of paint and then allow your paint to dry overnight. Don’t worry if the first coat of paint doesn’t completely cover the surfaces fully. You will have a chance to go back with your second coat to cover any missed spots and ensure it’s completed and thoroughly coated.

Step 8: Apply a Waterproof Topcoat Sealer

Some waterproof outdoor paints out there will have a sealer included, but many will not. So, for this project, check the labels to know for sure.

If the paint you selected doesn’t have a sealer included, then you’ll need to pick up a waterproof topcoat specifically for front doors.
This waterproof sealer by Miniwax is specially formulated for front doors and works really well.

To apply the topcoat, paint evenly, but make sure you are careful not to overcoat the surfaces, then let it dry. You will want to create layers, so use at least two coats of waterproof seal for a long-lasting finish.

There are different colors of waterproof sealer, so watch for that with white or very light shades of paint. You don’t want to end up experiencing yellowing over time.

At some stores, you can find a spray-on varnish if you want to go that route; always follow all directions for the best results.

Step 9: Allow Your Paint to Cure

For best results, allow 36-48 hours for everything on your front door to dry through completely; always refer to the instructions on the back of the primer, paint, and sealer you select. Different types of these products will call for a variety of different drying times!

A Painter’s rule of thumb concerning the curing process allows the surface to cure about thirty days total from the day you finished painting your metal front door. If you can avoid using your surface for that long, the longer it sits, the better your result.

Since we understand it’s a front door, it may need to be put directly back on after application drying times. In this case, try your best not to let the surface come into prolonged contact with liquids or moisture until it’s had time to cure completely. If condensation happens from natural causes, immediately wipe down your surface to help avoid water stains.

Wrapping Up How To Paint a Metal Front Door

This guide has helped you see that, yes, it’s possible to paint a metal front door on your own.

You have learned the right skills to carry out a painting job like this. Enjoy the wonderful feeling of confidence and accomplishment knowing exactly now what to do to carry out this large-sized painting project.