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How to Paint Your Front Door

By Jan Soults Walker

Boost your home's curb appeal with this easy painting project you can do in a weekend or less.

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Terracotta Design Build
There are two schools of thought when it comes to painting your front door: Leave it in place to paint or take it off the hinges and lay it flat across sawhorses. It's really personal preference as to which seems easier to you. Either way, while the door dries and is out of service, you'll want to be able to lock a storm door or put up a piece of plywood as a temporary door.

Prior to painting, remove hardware such as the door handle, deadbolt lock, and kickplate. You can also opt to protect these obstacles with painter's tape.

Use a putty knife to remove loose paint. Clean the door surface with a rag or sponge dampened with water and household detergent. Rinse and let dry.

Fill dings and cracks using a putty knife and wood filler or a quick-drying, all-purpose putty. Let it dry according to the manufacturer's instructions and then lightly sand the door surface with medium-grit sandpaper. Finish with fine-grit, if you wish, for an especially smooth surface. Wipe up sanding dust with a damp rag or tack cloth.

Use a paintbrush or foam roller to apply quality primer to the exterior side of the door surface. For a door with recessed panels, use the brush to paint the bevels. For flat surfaces, use a small, foam roller. (Don't forget to prime door edges.) Once dry, lightly sand imperfections in the primer and wipe away sanding dust with a clean, damp rag. Let dry.

Apply two or three coats of exterior paint color. Paint recessed bevels first with a brush, then use a foam roller for flat panels. Next paint the vertical center stile, then paint horizontal rails between panels, and finish with the outer vertical stiles and door edges.

Let the door dry thoroughly. Reinstall any hardware that you removed and rehang the door (if you took it down).

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