Time: (2) 6 Hr Days
Skill Level: Easy
Project Cost: $150-$250
Professional Cost: $945
Tools you Need

Time to learn how to paint a front door.

Learning how to paint a front door is a quick way to increase curb appeal for your house. This is a great project for people looking to sell their home. Below are a few options for how to proceed.

  1. Prime and paint. No repair work. We recommend priming even if you do no repair work because the primer will help the paint stick to the surface. There is a chance your door might have oil paint on it.
  2. Repair, prime and paint. The door you see above has seen a long life. Bauen is going to perform repair work for our How To. We know this won’t be for everyone.

bauen logoottom Line. This is a great project for people looking to increase their home’s curb appeal.


Assess your door before starting your painting project.

1. Does the door have extensive damage, such as peeling, cracking paint? Doors that more exposed to the elements will have a greater chance of this. The door you see in the image hasn’t been painted in at least 40 years and sat behind a screen door. The combination of age and exposure to the elements have cause the paint to crack and peel.

2. What type of elements does your door face? Is the area very sunny? Receives a lot of rain?
You will want to make sure to get a paint that can withstand the elements.

3.Is there a chance this door was painted prior to 1970s?
Bauen performed a lead test on the door above – and it came back positive. As mentioned we had a feeling this door hasn’t been painted for over 40 years, which makes it a good candidate lead paint. How does this affect our door repair?

  1. We are going to perform all repair work outside, which will provide us with adequate ventilation.
  2. We will wear gloves and respirators.
  3. We will not do any sanding directly on the exposed lead paint. Instead we will only scrape. Sanding will come later.

ALL ABOUT LEAD TESTS – Click to learn more.

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bauen logoottom Line. Consider prep work. It’s worth the effort. We highly recommend performing a lead test if you have any exposed old paint.


Prep your front door for painting.

1. Work Outside. If the weather is cool, then Bauen highly recommends you do any scraping or sanding outside, especially if you are working with lead paint. Save your house from the dust.

2. Set the Table. Place your door on saw horses, or any table top surface. Make sure they are steady.

3. Remove Hardware. Remove all hardware from the door. It might seem easier to paint over it, even if it is already painted. We recommend cleaning the hardware and restoring it to its original metal glory. We will cover that in another project.

4. Protect. If you are working inside, cover the floors and work area with drop cloths. Cover any areas on the door that shouldn’t receive paint with a quality painter’s tape. We will be taping the glass window areas later in the project.

Protect yourself.

5. Wear a Respirator.Wear a NIOSH approved N-95 or N-100 sanding respirator when sanding. Even though you don’t see the particles, they are out there.

ALL ABOUT RESPIRATORS – Click to learn more.

6. Wear Gloves. Wear gloves if you are working with lead paint.

bauen logoDon’t skip the respirator if you are doing any scraping or sanding. Sanding and scraping can be time consuming, but it is definitely worth the extra time. It makes a big difference in the finished product.


Scrape and sand.

1 .Scrape and/or Sand. Scrape and sand any loose paint using your painter’s tool. The painters tool is great because it has various edges to help with different types of scraping. As mentioned, we are only scraping due to the lead paint. We are also only scraping away loose paint. We are not scraping the entire door. We will be sanding later in the process.



2. Clean Up. Remove all paint chips and scraping remnants from the door. We used a damp cloth in order to to reduce the amount of paint particles going airborne. You will notice that the front door’s surface isn’t level. That is ok because you will be filling in the areas with a patching putty.

Follow the steps that apply to you.

3. Protect. If you have glass windows, now is the time to protect the glass from patching putty, primer and paint. Apply quality painter’s tape to the edge if the molding and glass. Use your painter’s tool to help you cut the ends of the tape. Our Bauen video



3. Prime – if you have lead paint. Continue to step 4 if you don’t. Prime the door with a heavy duty primer. You can also use an encapsulation paint. The goal is to lock in the lead paint so that when it comes time to sand down the putty filler, you will not be sanding the lead paint. Follow the dry time as specified on the can. You might need to do a second coat based on the coverage. If it seems to thin, we recommend doing another coat.


Store the paint brushes in plastic bags between coats. This will save you from cleaning the brushes. When you are done with the last coat, use soap and warm water to clean the brushes thorougly.

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4. Fill. Fill the holes and depressed areas on the front door using your putty knife and patching putty. We like to use a medium weight putty. It is ok to put a little too much on. Putty can shrink during the drying process, so better to have too much than too little. Allow the putty to fully dry before sanding.



5. Sand. Sand the dried patching putty with your sanding pads. We recommend having 3 different types of sanding grits – medium, fine and extra fine. The medium can use used to cut through the top layers of the compound. The fine and extra fine sanding pads should be used to sand down the final layers of putty until it is the same level as the door. Clean off all the sanding dust using a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Primer and paint need a clean surface to stick effectively.


6. Prime Again. Prime the front door again after you finish sanding the patching putty. The primer will lock in the sanding and help create a consistent absorbent surface for the paint.



7. Paint. Finally it is time to paint! Use a high quality exterior paint. Mix the paint with a paint stick to make sure the color is evenly distributed. We recommend using an angled brush for molding and a flat brush for flat areas. If you are using an oil-based paint you should use a natural bristle brush. If you are using water-based paint, you should use a synthetic bristle brush. We are keeping with the color scheme of our 1929 house and are using a fabulous brown (insert sarcasm).

ALL ABOUT PAINT BRUSHES- Click to learn more.

ottom Line. Prime prior to painting. This will add longevity to your painting job. Definitely use an exterior specific paint. These are built to last.

Ready to start your painting project?

Time to take the guesswork out of what painting products to buy. Purchase our project kit that includes all the tools needed for a successful painting job. You just need to supply the paint.

person painting front door
Price from: $35.89
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