AdvicePainting and decorating

How to paint a front door

It doesn’t always take much to revitalise your home – even something as simple as adding a fresh lick of paint to your front door can make a big difference. If your front door is starting to look a little worn and tired, painting it a new colour will do a lot to change the appearance of your home’s exterior.

If you’re thinking of picking up a paintbrush and you’re looking for some advice on how to paint a front door, here are some key pointers to bear in mind.

Picture of a person painting a front door blue

Preparing your door

Before you set to work, it’s important you carry out the proper preparation first. The first thing you need to do is remove the door from its hinges before you try to paint it. Remember, front doors are hefty, so it’s best to have another pair of hands to help you with this task. Take any appendages – such as the door knocker and the handle – off the door before you start work on it. Make sure you take the hinges off the door as well so that paint doesn’t get on them.

Once you’ve done that, visually inspect the door for surface cracks and other defects. Look for old paint drips on the door and use sandpaper to remove them. Use a quick-drying wood filler to patch over any cracks. Once it’s dry, sand it down so that the filler fits smoothly in with the rest of the door surface.

Picture of a tradesperson sanding a front door

Priming and painting

With all that out of the way, you’re ready to get down to business. But before you attempt to apply the paint, you may need to prime the door first – that way, the paint will adhere better. If the older paint is still in good condition, you shouldn’t need a primer. Otherwise, make sure you prime all six sides of your front door, giving each a thorough coating. Once you’ve applied the primer, be sure to give it time to dry completely.

Using an angled sash brush, paint the corners of the panels first. Your best bet is to start with the top panels and then work your way down to the lower ones. Then take a roller and apply the paint to the raised panels – painting with the grain. After that, paint the rails and stiles (the former go across the door, the latter up and down) and take care to paint with the grain rather than going across the seam. The number of coats will vary depending on the colour you choose; as a general rule, the darker the colour you’re going for, the more coats will be required.

Picture of a tradesperson in gloves applying paint on a front door with a roller

Happy painting!

If you’d rather not go down the DIY route, post a job and get quotes from professional painters/decorators. We’ll send you links to their profile pages and you’ll be able to use their ratings and reviews to help you choose who to hire.

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  1. Whoever wrote that rubbish is most certainly NOT a professional decorator. No sanding down to provide a key?, roller? roll in the direction of the grain? removing the door? Absolute tosh.

  2. paint too thick. Need to remove very discoloured 20 yr old
    gloss but would rather a chemical dip to remove all and start from scratch. Any where does this you can suggest?

  3. Terraced house windows (sash windows, 2 in front and 2 I back,plus sills/front and back doors need re- painting- not been painted for about 20 years, so sills in particularly poor condition, with paint blistering.

    1. Hi Kim, To post a job and find a tradesperson to help, you’ll need to post your job using the webform on our homepage ( After that up to three tradespeople will get in touch to quote and you’ll be able to look at their ratings and reviews when we email over their profile pages, to help you decide who to hire. Good luck!

  4. Interior enamel paint is tough and durable, but don’t make the mistake of painting your exterior door with it. The best paint for exterior doors is exterior acrylic paint because it is flexible and contains mildewcides designed to protect your door from harsh conditions. No paint will stick to dirt, grease or rust, so you will have to clean the door before you paint.

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