gardens4 min read

How to paint a front door

Front doors

WordsMaha Elley


We all know that a fresh lick of paint on the walls can transform the appearance of a room, but what about the exterior of your home? Spice up the outside of your property by painting your front door. First impressions matter and it’s the first thing your guests (and you) are going to see. 

Not quite sure where to start? Here’s all you need to know about how to paint your front door.

What to use

Tools and materials-wise, here’s what you need: 

  • A tin of weather-resistant exterior and masonry paint.

  • Paint stripper 

  • Sandpaper

  • Painters masking tape

  • Paintbrush

  • Cutting in paintbrush

  • Paint roller and paint tray 

  • Wide scraper 

  • Sponge and bucket of water 

  • Safety goggles, gloves and a protective mask 

How to prep your wooden exterior front door for paint

The secret to a flawlessly painted front door? Putting in the time to prep the surface before you even reach for that paintbrush. Trust us, it’s worth putting in a little extra time so you can spend the rest of your days showing off that smooth, beautiful finish. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  • First, get that old and flaking paint off. Slip on your gloves and goggles and start by applying the paint stripper with a brush. Work it into every nook and cranny and leave on for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of time. 

  • Time up? Try scraping a small patch with a sturdy scraper. If the paint comes off easily, continue to scrape away until you’re left with a bare wooden surface.

  • Wipe down the surface with a sponge soaked in warm water.

  • Put your dust mask on and sand the surface smooth using a piece of fine sandpaper. 

  • Once the stripping and sanding are done, it’s time to remove the door handle and wedge the door firmly open.

How to prep your uPVC and composite front door for paint

If your front door is made of plastic or UPVC, just make sure that you lightly sand the surface before application. This will give the paint something to stick to so it lasts for longer.

How to paint a wooden exterior front door

  • If the wood is new or well-weathered, apply a diluted first coat (a mixture of 70% paint and 30% water). This first coat is the most important one for long-lasting results.

  • If the wood is new and treated, we’d recommend leaving it for at least 6 months before painting, as the treatment needs time to weather first. Non treated front doors can be painted straight away (starting with the thin coat first). 

Note - some woods will stain and bleed through light colours. For Plywood, red cedar and very resinous woods, apply a stain blocker first.

How to paint different types of exterior front doors

Time to paint: 

For panel doors: Start by applying paint to the inner panels and the surrounding mouldings. Next, tackle the central areas working your way from top to bottom. Finish with the outer edges, including the exposed door edges right at the end. 

For glazed doors: Affix masking tape around the edges of the glass panels to protect it from drips of paint. Start by painting the mouldings surrounding the glass, using a small angled paintbrush to cut in (learn how to cut in paint). Moving on to the outer edges, working from to bottom before finishing off with the exposed door edges (check out our tips for painting using painters tape).

For flush doors: Tackle in smaller sections, working your way from top to bottom in horizontal strokes. Carefully blend each section into the next while the paint is still wet, leaving the door edges for last.


Hurrah, all done! If you can (security permitting) - leave your front door open for as long as it takes to dry.

Wondering how to choose the right front door colour? Or which colours to paint your house to increase its value? Choose the best exterior and masonry paint colours for you with a little help from Lick.