Add some personality or curb appeal to your home by jazzing up your front door!
I had a dark green color on my front door that I painted five years ago. It made the entrance look even darker and I did a poor job painting it >.< The paint stuck to the door jamb and ripped off bits of paint. The door itself is solid wood and I didn't want to get rid of this piece of craftsmanship. This instructable will show you how to pick a color, prep your door and paint it like a pro!
Make sure to plan ahead. This project will work well for a three-day weekend that someone will be home all the time, since you won't have a front door for a little while.
Step 1: Know Your Home
A vivid door color can bring a cheerful, friendly or a peaceful tone to your home, not to mention curb appeal. The trick is to get the right color for your home and the existing colors you already have (unless you're planning on an exterior makeover).
I own a ranch home built in the 1970's with a brick front. I had dark red, cream and green colors to work with. The best thing you can do is find a color palette that already includes hues that are on your home. Check out some of the Sherwin Willaims color collections at Lowe's or Behr's color combination generator at Home Depot.
Find a palette and choose an accent color to be used with your door. I chose a bright color since my porch shades the door.
Not sure on a color? Get some paint samples and paint a piece of poster board or plywood and lean it up against your house so you can see it in the actual setting. You may have to explore more than one color until you find one you like.
Step 2: Off the Hinges
You can work on the door while it is still on the hinges but it is much easier to remove it. It can be simply removed by pulling the pins in the hinges. There should be three hinges with pins.
Cover the ground and put the door on two sawhorses. Mask off any areas that won't be painted with masking tape. Remove door knob/deadbolt. (I kept my hinges on and just masked over them).
Put on safety goggles and rubber gloves. Pour your paint remover paste (I used Citristrip - it smells okay and isn't as harsh as some other strippers) into a glass or metal container. Brush paste on thickly, making sure to saturate all the little nooks. Let set and let the paste do its magic.
After about an hour the paint should be bubbling up. It looks gross but the layers of paint should slide right off. Use a flat scraper to scrape off paint. There will be areas that don't come up as easily and will require elbow grease. The little panels on the door were the most difficult. Just take your time and use a smaller scraper corner to get down into the grooves. Use some mineral spirits and stripping pads to get any little fragments that just won't give up. Tip - use a shop vac to help you get rid of scrapings as you work in the tight spaces.
Step 3: Sand
This part can also take some time. Start with a courser grade (180) sand paper and sand over everything that will be painted. Finish up with a finer grit sandpaper (220). Blow out all sawdust particles with compressed air.
At this point your door may be damp from the use of mineral spirits. If so, let it dry completely before moving on.
Step 4: Prime
Choose a good quality and apply two coats, letting dry between coats.
One thing you might see happen is some tannin bleed where a brownish color comes to the surface of the primer. If you're seeing this let your first layer of primer dry completely before applying a second. By the time you apply your paint the tannin should be sealed and stop seeping through the layers.
Step 5: Painting on the Color
After your primer is completely dry, it's time to move on to painting. I uses a exterior semigloss latex paint. Latex dries quickly and is relatively easy to clean up.
Using a brush for latex paints, apply paint to panels first, then vertical mullions, then horizontal rails and then finally the wide outer stiles of the door. See chart for help. Basically you are making sure the brushstrokes are ending in a nice clean line. By paying attention to the order in which you paint the sections, you can achieve this.
Apply at least two coats, letting the first coat dry between moving on to the next.
Remove all masking tape while paint is slightly damp.
Touch up as necessary.
Step 6: Hang
I know you think your door will be dry the day you are done, but it is not 100% dry. Let it set overnight at least before reattaching hardware. You can hang the door on the next day but try not to shut it completely. This is why it's best to be home and work on this over a three day weekend. Wait as long as you can before closing the door completely in the jamb.