This weekend was beautiful, but tiring. For a few weeks now, I knew that I was going to be doing some house projects. D had been asked by his parents to help out with some yard work down at their house, so he was going to be there both Saturday and Sunday. I had three things that I wanted to get done this weekend, and ended up getting to two. The first project was to build a planter for some herbs. The second project was to make some baby blankets for a friend who is pregnant with twins, and this is the one I didn't get to. Hopefully I'll have some time this week to work on them.
The third project was to paint the front door. Today, I'm going to walk you through the steps to painting your front door. These directions only apply to wood front doors.
Step 1: Choose your paint color.
My mom has a Sherwin-Williams paint fan deck, so I was going through the colors and found the perfect shade of purple for our front door. It's called Concord Grape, and you may remember it from my Paint Floor Plan. We love the way that purple doors look on homes, and we also thought that it would help bring out the purple stones on the front of the house.
Step 2: Buy your paint and supplies.
I didn't want to go with a Sherwin-Williams paint, just for the sole reason of it's price, so I decided to hit up Lowe's, and take advantage of their color-matching services. I brought my SW Concord Grape swatch with me, and they were able to mix me up a quart of Valspar high-gloss exterior paint in the matching color.
Custom Mixed Paint from Lowe's / Personal Picture
I also made sure to get some primer, paint stirrers, a paint brush, paintable wood filler, and some blue painting tape, because my front door has a window that will need to be taped off. I chose to go with Bulls Eye primer, and made sure that it was water-based. Please make note - if you are using a water-based paint, you have to use a water-based primer. If you are using an oil-based paint, use an oil-based primer.
Bulls Eye Primer from Lowe's / Personal Picture
Step 3: Prep your work space.
So, first up, setup your work space. You should find a table or a work bench that will allow you to lay your door down on a level and sturdy surface. You will be applying pressure to the door, so being sure that it is sturdy is absolutely necessary. Level is important too, because you don't want to take the chance of paint pooling in low-lying areas. Lastly, make sure that you have enough ventilation in your work space. Paint fumes are not good for breathing, so having air flow is important - plus, it speeds up the paint drying process as well. I set up everything in my garage on a work bench.
Step 4: Remove the door hardware.
Next, remove the hardware from the door. This includes all knobs and locks, and the hinges that attach the door to the frame. You should only need a screwdriver for this part. If you're not familiar with the way door hardware is supposed to be installed, take some pictures as you remove the pieces. General Rule of thumb is to remove the latches (the parts on the side of the door) last. For me, I removed the deadbolt first, then the lock, and then the large handle and knob.
Step 5: Repair/fill any holes.
For my door, I replaced all of the hardware and the locks when we moved in. They were originally brass, but not liking the look, I went with a brushed nickel set. The holes didn't match up perfectly with the existing ones, so I knew that when I was ready to paint the door, I would have to fill the unused hole.
The hole that needed filling was the second from the bottom / Personal Picture
I used Elmer's ProBond Wood Filler, and made sure that it could be painted over. I cut off the tip of the applicator, and pushed some into the hole.
Elmer's ProBond Wood Filler from Lowe's / Personal Picture
Using a putty knife, I smoothed it over, but not completely flush to the surface of the door. Since the hole went all the way through to the other side of the door, it was hard to make sure I was keeping as much filler in the hole as possible. I also didn't want to risk using too little, so I over-applied. I let this sit until it was the last thing left to be sanded on the door.
Wood Filler and Putty Knife / Personal Picture
Step 6: Sand your door.
My front door was stained and polyurethaned at one point. It had been done long before we owned the house - to the point that the poly was essentially dry rotted on the exterior part of the door. If you are going to paint your door, it is smart to sand it, even if it hasn't been polyurethaned before, because you want to make sure that you have a smooth surface to work with. Sanding also helps remove all the oil and dirt that builds up on the door from hands and wind.
Next, put a mask on so you don't breathe in the dust and sand down your door. You should also really use gloves to protect your hands, and so you don't get splinters under your fingernails like I did. (PS - As soon as that happened, my first thought was "OW!" followed by "I should take a picture of this for the blog. I ultimately didn't though.)
Unless you are trying to get a very thick layer of paint or polyurethane off, you will only need a Medium grit sandpaper. If you are going to paint over paint, you don't need to remove what is there completely. You should be able to paint over it with just a light sanding on the surface. The purpose of sanding is to get a smooth and clean surface so that your new paint layer has something to adhere itself to.
Make sure that when you are sanding down your door, you follow the grain of the wood. Sanding in the opposite direction from the wood grain will leave scratches in the wood, which will be visible, especially after painting or staining. If you did use wood filler, check that it is dry before going over it with the sandpaper. Refer to the instructions on the filler container if you are unsure of how long to wait.
When sanding is complete, use a vacuum to get all of the residue off of the door. Be more precise than normal, because you don't want any dust to get into your paint.
Half vacuumed door after sanding / Personal Picture
Fully sanded and vacuumed door / Personal Picture
Step 7: Tape off your door.
If you have glass in your door, you will want to tape it off using painter's tape. This will make it so much easier in the future for you to get the paint off. Get as close as you can to the wood, and just tape it off, making sure that the tape is pressed firmly to the glass.
Step 8: Prime your door.
If you have a raw wood door, like mine, or if you are going from a dark color to a light color of paint, it is important to prime the door before painting it with your chosen color.
The process for priming and painting are the same. Start with any decorative moulding that you have first, then do the inside of the panel, then all of the flat parts. Make sure that you are going light and even with your brush strokes. You do not want to be able to see any air bubbles in the paint, but you also don't want too thick of a layer, otherwise it will be prone to being too tacky, never drying, and being dented or damaged by fingernails or hardware. Don't forget to also paint the sides of your door, unless you don't want those the be the color that you choose.
Also, as a cool little trick, use a large rubber band around your paint can to wipe your brush on. This helps keep the paint out of the rim of the paint can.
Rubber band around the primer can / Personal Picture
Door primed and tape around the window / Personal Picture
Full door primed / Personal Picture
Allow your door to dry according to the amount of time suggested by the brand of primer.
Step 9: Paint your door.
Shake up your can of paint, or stir it with your paint stirrer. Following the same directions as with the primer, paint the door starting with the moulding. Again, use enough paint that you can't see the primer or bubbles, but not so much that it is pooling or drying too thick.
Valspar Custom-Mixed color from Lowe's / Personal Picture
Started with the moulding and moved my way out / Personal Picture
Once you have the whole door painted, leave it to dry, again, referencing the can for the most accurate amount of time to wait before coats of paint.
Waiting for it to dry after the first coat / Personal Picture
Apply additional coats of paint as you think is necessary. Remember, the more coats of paint, the darker the color.
Paint coat number two / Personal Picture
Closeup of the color - Deep purple although most of the pictures make it look really bright / Personal Picture
Dry and ready to hang! / Personal Picture
Step 10: Hang your door and attach hardware.
To hang your door back up on the hinges, it is easiest to screw the hinges into the door, first. Then, attach the second part of the hinge to the door frame. Have someone help you lift the door to match up the hinges, and then slip in the pins that hold them together.
Attach your door hardware next, testing it out with the key to make sure that it works properly.
Door hung back up with the hardware added (nighttime picture) - I forgot to remove the painter's tape! / Personal Picture
Door hung back up with the hardware added (daytime picture) - And I STILL forgot to remove the painter's tape! / Personal Picture
And that's it! Easy enough, right?
Just remember to read the can of paint fully before you start painting. My cans said not to paint if temperatures were under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which it was for most of the mornings this weekend, so this put me off schedule a bit. If you're working indoors, this shouldn't be a problem, but I was in my non-insulated garage, so it did alter my plans a little.
Next, enjoy your work! I am so happy that I decided to do this, and already love the way that it looks. I'm going to have to get some better pictures though, because these don't do it justice!
Final product! / Personal Picture
Did you paint your front door? How did the process go for you? Were you adventurous with the color like us?