How To: Paint an Exterior Door

Change is good. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or just want to add a little pizazz, why not paint your front door? While spring has officially sprung in Calgary, the weather isn’t quite ideal for exterior painting so wait until temperatures are 10 degrees above Celsius throughout the night. Not sure what colour to go with? Go to any local paint store and there’s literally thousands of colours to choose from. Be your own designer or employ the services of a colour expert to find a colour that works with your homes overall palette. Bust out some sandpaper, a brush and your favourite painting duds and you’re good to go.

A door is a door is a door
When starting out, it’s important to keep in mind what substrate you’ll be working with. If your door has been previously painted, you’ll want to sand any peeling or flaking sections in order for the best adhesion of your new paint colour. If sanding reveals either the metal or wood surface beneath, it’s best to prime the surface before painting. If you’re going with a brighter or darker colour, primer can be tinted for better coverage. If your door is new, galvanized steel doors usually come with a white factory finish. You’ll want to scuff sand the door to allow best adhesion for your primer and a good base coat for your paint.

Going with the grain
If you have a wood door and you’d rather stain than paint there are a couple of options for you. Most paint retailers will offer up tinted stains in a variety of colours. Be sure to chat with your paint retailer about your project as some stains are a one-coat application while others allow for multiple coats to get more depth of colour. Stains should be applied with a natural bristle brush for best coverage and remember, go with the grain. Another option for wood doors is a gel stain. Gel stains cannot only be used on natural wood but on fiberglass doors as well. Gel stains come in a variety of colours and can be applied with clean rags. Be sure to top coat your wood stained door with an exterior clear coat for added durability and protection.

Colour me happy
Once you’ve selected a new colour for your door, it’s time to think about what finish you’d like to apply. Most exterior paints come in either flat, low lustre or semigloss finishes. The higher the sheen, the more durable a paint will be which is why most paint experts recommend using either low lustre of semi-gloss. If you’re the kind of person who prefers the depth of a flat paint, you can certainly apply the finish to your front door, you’ll just want to use a matte clear coat over top to allow for the utmost durability.

To brush or not to brush
When applying either paint or stain, there is the question of using a brush or a roller. If your door is flat, without insets, rollers can help make quick work of the job. Foam rollers allow for the smoothest finish, but be sure to roll the roller through the paint thoroughly before beginning to paint as a roller that isn’t fully saturated may produce bubbles on the surface. Doors with insets are more easily completed with a brush. Again, with stain use a natural bristle brush but with paint use a polyester nylon brush with smooth even strokes. Two coats of paint are recommended for the utmost durability and colour fastness.

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