Painting external doors

Painting external doors

When we choose an external door, we want one that will last us for years to come but that doesn’t make we don’t occasionally want a bit of a makeover.

Can you paint external doors?

You can absolutely refresh your doors with a paint of coat. You’ll need to take the material of your door into careful consideration to ensure you choose the right paint type for the job. Once you’ve done this, it’s a fairy simple job.

Can you paint uPVC doors?

You can paint uPVC external doors but it requires a little extra preparation. The main problem is uPVC is an incredibly smooth material so you need a paint that is able to properly adhere.

With uPVC, it’s important to consider the age of the door. UPVC doors less than a year old will secrete resins used in the manufacturing process which stops paint being able to properly bind to the surface.

Can you paint composite doors?

Composite doors can be made of a variety of different materials including wood, metal and uPVC. They have a solid timber core which is then topped with either uPVC or glass-reinforced plastic. This means, like uPVC, it isn’t the easiest material to paint but it can be done with the right materials.

What paint should I use for external doors?

When finding the right paint for your external door, it’s important to choose a paint that specifically states it is suitable for exterior use. External doors face a lot more wear and tear than internal doors due to having to deal with the great outdoors. Cold, rain and snow all leave their mark on your door so you need a hard-wearing paint that is made for purpose.

Keep in mind the location of the door you’re painting as well. South facing doors will receive much more sunlight so it’s a good idea to look for a paint with UV resistance. This will help prevent the colour of your door fading from sun exposure.

You can use both oil paint and acrylic paint for external doors.

The right paint for uPVC and Composite doors

As uPVC doors have become more common, you’ll find there are options specifically designed for uPVC exterior doors that don’t require primers. You can also use an acrylic latex primer to create an even base for your topcoat which will give you more options on your topcoat paint. Primers that can be used on uPVC are often described as ‘universal’ primers.

The right paint for wooden external doors

There are many paints on the market specifically that are suitable for application on wooden doors. Look for paint marked as suitable for use on external wood and metal. Some paints will not need a primer whereas others will.

How to paint external doors

When painting an external door, you only need to paint the front of the door so it’s a surprisingly simple job! If you want to paint the internal side of your door as well, use our guide to painting internal doors.

Here, we’ve put together the most comprehensive step by step guide for achieving the perfect finish:

What material do you need to paint external doors?

Before you get started, make sure you have all of the right tools at hand.

  • Exterior wood paint and primer
  • Paint stripper, if your door has been previously painted
  • Painters tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Roller and tray
  • A flat scraper
  • A clean cloth
  • Medium-grade sandpaper
  • A drill or screwdriver
  • A dust mask
  • Eye goggles

 How to paint your door:

●      Remove the door from it’s frame and take off any hardware

If you have a hardwood external door, try and get someone to help you remove the door as they can be surprisingly heavy! Place the door on a sawhorse, making sure it lies flat. This stops paint running and leaving marks.

If your door has a built in letterbox or any glazing, tape these up as well. This will keep your paint lines clean and stop paint getting where it shouldn’t.

If you’re unable to remove your door, still remove the hardware but use painters tape to mask up as much of the doorframe as you can.

●      Clean the door

Use a wet cloth to remove any debris and stains on the door. This is especially useful on wooden doors as the water will swell the wood slightly. This brings any chips or splinters to the surface making it easier to sand.

●      Scrape off old paint and sand the door down

If your door has been previously painted, consider whether you need to remove the previous paint. Some primers are able to be used on top of existing paint whereas others need to be applied to a fresh surface.

To fully remove paint, consider a paint stripper. If the paint is old and flaking, use a flat scraper to create an even surface. After this, use a medium-grain sandpaper across the entire door surface. This will help your paint bind to the doors surface.

Important tip: Doors painted before 1960 often used a lead-based paint which can be dangerous to remove so do a simple lead test on older doors.

●      Wipe down the door

If your door has a lot of detailing, you can use a hoover to get into those hard to reach areas, otherwise use a wet cloth to wipe up any sawdust. Before you’re able to move onto the next step, you’ll need to leave the door to fully dry.

●      Prime/undercoat

A primer or undercoat is a really important step in painting your door as it will create a uniform surface for your topcoat.

If you are drastically changing your door’s colour, a primer will block out the previous colour so it doesn’t bleed through. While it can seem like an unnecessary step, it will save you time and coats of paint in the long run.

If your door has any detailing, or panelling, use a small paint brush in these areas and then roll it out with a roller and brush. A roller ensures an even finish and should stop you leaving behind brush marks. Work in long strokes, back and forth, across the door for an even finish.

While your paint dries, clean your brushes. Oil based paints are cleaned with white spirit and acrylic paints just need soapy water.

Before your primer dries, remove the low-tack masking tape. You should reapply fresh painters tape between every coat of paint. If paint dries it will create a film and when you remove the tape, it will also pull paint from your door.

●      Apply your topcoat

Once you’ve given your door enough time to fully dry, it’s time to apply the topcoat!

If your primer brush and roler aren’t dry, wait or use a different brush and roller. The water can create air bubbles which will leave an unsightly finish.

Use a brush to paint the edges of the door and any detailing. Use your roller to fully coat your door. Try to work in long brushes to avoid roller marks and don’t over-roll.

If you need a second coat, wait for the first coat to fully dry. You can use clingfilm to wrap your roller and paintbrush and store them in the fridge between coats. Remember to remove your painters tape after each coat.

●      Add the fixtures back on

Once dry, you should be ready to replace your fixtures and replace your door! In just a day, you can make your front door look brand new!

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