Front Door Makeover

You have probably seen it a hundred times; the transforming power of paint. Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time at my parents’ house, where they have lived for 43 years. It has gone through a couple of facelifts, each an upgrade on the last. But a few days ago, Mom said she wanted to liven up the latest look by painting the front door blue. I decided to accommodate and Dad said, “Whatever she wants.”  By the way, she liked the front door so much, she had me paint the door to the garage too. 



 1.  Remove what hardware you can.

2.  Wash the door with TSP (Trisodium phosphate) to get any grease and dirt off. Rinse. 

3.  Tape off any remaining  hardware.  

4.  If you are not priming the door, sand lightly, especially if the finish has a sheen.

5.   For wooden doors, fill blemishes with paintable wood filler then prime.

6.  If you do not have a storm door or screen door, you will want to protect your house and project from the elements, dirt particles, prying eyes, and bugs. Hang a plastic drop cloth on the outside of the door opening.


7.  Choose a high-quality paint. I tried Behr’s alkyd paint which is a synthetic oil paint that washes up with water. It is supposed to be self-leveling but it was hard to tell because I painted the door in position. It may have worked better if it were laid flat. But it did go on really well and I liked it better than regular latex. By the way, the Porter/Glidden rep is the one who recommended the Behr product.

8.  I learned the following tip from my friend, Sharman. Paint a large sample on poster board, or my favorite, foam board. That way you can get a really good idea of how the finished product will look next to the other colors on your house. It sure beats a paint chip!

9.   Use a high-quality brush. My preference is angled,  2 1/2 wide.

10.  If your door has a paneled detail, start with the insides of the top panels and move to the outside and centerpiece then work your way down the door doing the same thing.

11.  Apply a second coat. The weather was perfect so I managed to do both coats in one day.

12.  Remove the tape from the hardware and do any touch ups, or scrape where the paint seeped through. 



13.    Complete the look by adding a new door mat, planting flowers, and hanging a colorful wreath. (By the way, wait for about a week before hanging anything on the door. The paint needs a chance to cure.) Also, if you have a handwritten "please knock" sign, upgrade by making one on the computer with a pretty font.

14.    It was a 1 ½ day project all together that has made my mom very happy. Totally worth it!