Meet Robin Daly, owner of Robin Daly Color & Design. Robin is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things paint related. From primer to paint brushes, she makes it interesting and uses analogies everyone can understand. A personal favorite, from her wealth of tips and tricks, was this one, "Curb appeal is like sex appeal for your house, and painting your front door is like adding a fresh coat of lipstick." Robin. Is. Amazing.

how to paint a front door

Did you know that different colors have different meanings when it comes to entryways. Red means welcome. I’m not sure what the color is for go away, but come on guys let’s try to be friendly....

Painting your front door is a 3-day process composed of three steps: prep, paint and prime. It’s important to leave time in between each step. Though paint may feel dry to the touch it may not have cured completely. Cured is painters' jargon for dried all the way through. It's a chemical reaction that happens to the paint as it hardens from the inside-out. It will feel dry to touch earlier, but it's best to wait longer in between coats for best adhesion, and to allow the moisture to evaporate before applying more primer or paint.

You know how sometimes you paint your nails and they feel dry but you go to pick up something and the polish smudges, well that’s because your nails haven’t coalesced (another Robin-ism). In the same way, rushing through these steps could cause some major smudging on your door and that would be a shame.

Step 1

We start with prep. Begin by deciding how you want to paint your door. There are two options. You can remove the door and set is on a set of sawhorses with a drop cloth underneath, or you can leave it in the door frame and simply place a drop cloth under the door. We went with the second option.

preparing your front door for paint

Step 2

If your door has any windows give them a good clean. This way when you’re finished you won’t run the risk of spraying windex on your newly set paint.

materials for painting front door

Step 3

Tape over or remove your hardware. It may also be time to upgrade your hardware. If that’s the case stop by Dunn Lumber to pick out your hardware. You can get expert advice on what hardware is right for your home and how you should go about replacing it. Tape off any windows (which you have already cleaned as mentioned in Step 2.taping door for paint

Step 4

It’s time to wash your door with Krud Kutter Pre-Paint Cleaner. This is a non-toxic product that is designed to lift the dirt and grime from the painted surface of the door. Let dry for about 15 minutes.

front door cleaner

Step 5

After your door has dried being sanding with 180 or 220 grit sandpaper. Follow with a light wash or dust the door well. Note: The reason you sand AFTER you wash the door is so that you do not grind the existing dirt into the surface of the door with the sandpaper. So, wash first, then sand.

sanding front door

Step 6

Now it’s time to Prime. Prime your door with with C2 One latex primer. Let the primer dry for at least 4 hours before re-coating. This primer is a dream! It’s important to prime because paint is transparent. Prime acts as the base coat to ensure your freshly painted door doesn’t have a translucent quality.

primer for front door

red paint on front door

red paint on front door

Step 7

After priming, patch any holes. Does the door have nail holes or cracks that need patching? Patch after priming. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but priming the entire surface first allows for better moisture resistance for the entire door.

red flower

Step 8

WAIT! Let your primer dry for 1-2 days. Remember, though, paint may feel dry to the touch it may not have completely cured. We used this time to add some additional panache to our stoop with a gorgeous potted plant. Our friend Angela Gayle of Iris and Enso, helped us create a beautiful container garden. If you're interested in your own, be sure to email Angela for all your home, business, interior, and exterior garden needs.

Step 9

It's day two. Now it's time for your first coat of paint. There are several methods to applying paint. We used a paint brush and a roller. Watch the video to see the correct method of applying paint. It will ensure you don't leave a streaky finish in your wake.

red door paint

Step 11

WAIT! Let your first coat of paint dry for 1-2 days. While you're waiting take a minute to evaluate your front door, could your house numbers use a face lift? Ours could. We removed them, cleaned them, sanded them, and coated them with several coats of black spray paint. We chose black as the existing silver clashed with the gold hardware on the door. There was already a black lamp, so black tied the whole project together. We allowed the house numbers to dry for an hour or so then put them back. WOW! They really pop!

home address numbers

sanding numbers for front door

house numbers

Step 12

Now it's day three and time for your final coat. Re-watch the video for a reminder of proper application techniques.

final coat for front door

Step 13

And now, my favorite, the before ...

painting front door before

and after!

painting front door after

Robin Daly and her trusty sidekick Dan joined Kirsten and the DIY team to bring some pizzazz to this little South Seattle front door. If you’re interested in getting some help from the pros, stop by Daly’s to plan your project. A Daly’s employee will gladly walk through the three step process (prep, prime, and paint) and make sure you have all the materials you need to turn your DIY Door into a DIY DREAM!