How to paint a wooden front door

How to paint a wooden front door

Request Your FREE 52-page Tapi Flooring Guide
Need to know more about carpets and smooth flooring? We're making inspiring flooring reassuringly simple.
Get Your Free Guide

Whether your faded front door needs some TLC or you simply fancy a change of colour, a fresh lick of paint can do wonders for enhancing the exterior of your home. Painting a wooden front door to give it a new lease of life is also a much cheaper alternative to forking out for a new one.

Painting a front door is a relatively easy job if you follow the correct process. It can be tempting to be gung-ho and skip the preparation, but if you want a professional-looking finish that will stand up against all weather, it’s important to take the time to do it properly.

To ensure you end up with the best results, follow our simple step-by-step guide on painting your front door from start to finish.

Order free flooring samples
Real Customer Home
Instagram @tale_victoria | Morocco - Fez

Step by step: how to paint your front door

What tools do you need?

First things first, let’s start with the equipment and products you’ll need.

Paint products

  • Exterior wood paint
  • Primer


  • Screwdriver
  • Paint scraper
  • A clean cloth
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Medium paintbrush
  • Paint roller and tray

For safety:

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask

It’s also important to consider where you will paint your wooden front door. A workbench or a pair of sawhorses is the best option for elevating it from the ground and keeping it protected while it dries.

2. Pick your paint 

Next comes the fun part – choosing your paint!

Paint colour

The choice is yours when it comes to the paint colour, but there are a few factors to keep in mind when making your decision.

The key to picking a front door colour is thinking about the overall style of your property, and which colour will complement your brick colour and surroundings.

It’s a good idea to take a look around your neighbourhood for inspiration and see what works on similar houses. Of course, it’s also important to work out whether you want your door to blend in with your neighbourhood or stand out from the crowd.

Paint type

Alongside colour, it’s crucial to choose the right paint for an external door. Here’s what to look for:

Weather resistance

You’ll need to ensure you buy weather-resistant paint that will stand the test of time against all the elements. Rain, wind and sunlight can all deteriorate paint, so it’s important to protect your door through the seasons. Look for paint with mould and mildew resistance and UV protection to help prevent fading.

Paint choice

Latex paint – also referred to as water-based – is one of the best options for external doors due to its flexibility. It dries quickly and is resistant to cracks and chips.

Oil-based paint is a more durable option but takes longer to dry and is more expensive. However, this is the best option for wood types like cedar that bleed, as latex paint can cause tannin stains.


In terms of finish, a semi-gloss is a popular option for doors as it’s a good in-between option. Not only does it have an attractive sheen, but it offers extra durability, hides imperfections and is easy to clean.

Order free samples

3. Remove and prep the door

Now you’ve bought the paint and equipment, you can get started on the prep.

  • Start by removing your door from its hinges and taking off all the hardware with your screwdriver.
  • With your protective equipment on, scrape away any peeling paint, and then use your sandpaper to buff the existing paint layer down. This will create a textured surface that the paint will better adhere to.
  • Keep sanding until the door feels smooth and even – if necessary, swap to a finer grit paper.
  • Brush away any dust and wipe it down with a damp cloth to pick up any leftover particles.

4. Use primer

Next, apply your primer. If you want to be sure of a good result, don’t skip the primer. Even after buffing with sandpaper, if you’re painting over an old layer of paint or gloss, the primer will ensure you get a smooth, uniform finish. It can also help prevent the previous paint colour from showing through and will add another layer of protection to your door.

Simply brush or roll primer onto one side of your door in an even layer, wait for it to dry, and do the other side. If there are any drip marks, buff these lightly with sandpaper.

5. Paint two coats of your paint

Once the primer is completely dry, you can get painting. We’d advise using a roller for the large parts and a brush for the nooks and crannies.

Concentrate on one side first, then do the other side once it’s completely dry. Do at least two coats to ensure the best results.

6. Reattach your door when it’s dry

And finally, once your door is completely dry, you can reattach it, taking care not to scrape or scratch your new paint. You’ll know when it’s dry when it’s tacky to the touch.

Carefully replace all the hardware and secure the door back into place with its hinge pins.

And voilà! You can enjoy the like-new appearance of your front door colour and your increased kerb appeal for years to come. Now you know how to paint a front door like a pro, you can ensure you’re happy with the result, and it will last the test of time.

Real Customer Home
Instagram @cloud_colours | Mackay

Front door paint ideas

When it comes to front door paint ideas, the options are endless. Here are some ideas you can try out:

Timeless classics

If you’re looking for a timeless option, black, grey, cream and white will always surpass trends and work perfectly on both period and contemporary properties.

It’s worth considering that, if you’re thinking about selling your property shortly, these neutral shades can appeal to buyers too. A bright shade might look great to you but put buyers off in future.

Bright and bold

If you’re looking for a stand-out colour, postbox red is a classic front door colour. Royal blue is another great shade that stands out, while bright canary yellow is a popular colour. These paintbox brights add lots of character and will give your home a welcoming feel. This will match perfectly with a bright red hallway carpet or stair runner

Perfect pastels

Alternatively, if you want to add a pop of colour but prefer a more muted version of those bright shades, pastels are also great for creating an inviting exterior look with a calming aesthetic. Natural shades like sky blue and sage green are very popular pastel hues that add a little colour without going too bold. Check out our guide to the Danish pastel trend for more inspiration. 

Whichever colour you opt for, painting a wooden front door is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to update your property and give it a fresh new look. Want to elevate the interior of your home too? Check out our range of laminate or engineered wood to perk up your hallway, or browse our full range of paint at Tapi from our partners Lick. 

Alternatively, for more DIY guides like how to paint your skirting boards, and wallpaper trends for 2023, head on over to our Ideas Hub, which is full to the brim with decor inspiration.

Order free flooring samples

Post author


Published: 01-12-2022