9 basic mistakes to avoid when painting your front door | homify

9 basic mistakes to avoid when painting your front door

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Carlton Hill, London Gregory Phillips Architects Colonial style windows & doors
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Opting for a fresh new change in terms of your front door’s colour involves a bit more than selecting between a range of hues. There are many more factors you need to take into consideration, such as selecting the right paint and ensuring that it is applied as smoothly as possible. 

Being thorough is key; therefore, you need to be properly prepared, have the right tools and materials, and a good technique, which can make all the difference between a striking new entrance and a shoddy looking door. 

So, before you open that can of paint, let’s see what mistakes you need to avoid…

1. Not wearing goggles and a mask

As a splash of paint or piece of sawdust in the eye is generally regarded as painful, it is advisable to opt for safety first in your door-painting project. This includes eliminating all chances of you breathing in small flecks of paint and dust. 

Check with your local home improvement store for the best dust mask and safety goggles. And should you plan on using an electric sander, we advise either a good pair of earplugs, or your iPod headphones!

2. Forgetting to wear gloves

Colmeallie, Glen Esk, Brechin, Angus Roundhouse Architecture Ltd Windows & doors Doors
Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

Colmeallie, Glen Esk, Brechin, Angus

Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

Protecting your hands, whether you’re sanding the door, removing paint via a chemical stripper, or cleaning your painting supplies, is definitely advisable. But not just any set of gloves will do – paint will eat right through regular vinyl gloves, so ensure you stock up on chemical-resistant gloves along with your goggles and mask.

3. Not starting with a smooth surface

It’s very simple: if you paint a bumpy door, you’ll end up with a newly painted bumpy door. Paint that’s chipping off deserves some treatment with sandpaper, a heat gun, or paint stripper before you apply that new coating. 

homify hint: Opting for a semi-gloss paint to add some shine to your front door? Then you really need to focus on getting that door surface smooth, as glossy paint emphasises bumps like nobody’s business!

4. Not worrying about paint build-up

Projects louise2 Modern windows & doors



Decades of paint build-up can make a door rub against the jamb or doorstop moulding. The fastest way to get rid of this problem is by using a sharp stainless steel or carbide scraper. 

After scraping, sand the door to smooth the scraped edges. And use power sanders sparingly, as high-speed sanding can cause paint to melt, making it even more difficult to smooth out.

5. Overlooking the details

Don’t assume that new paint will hide tiny dents and scratches in your front door – it may not. In fact, that new paint coating can even highlight the minor flaws in your door’s surface. 

Use a putty knife to force two-part filler into large or deep holes in the door. For small, shallow holes and scratches, opt for spreading spackling compound over those dents.

6. Adding just one coat of paint

Don’t rush your paint job – it will show. Therefore, don’t skimp on applying the necessary coatings to your front door. At least two coats are needed for a sufficient-looking surface. But since you’ll be jamming to your favourite tunes via your headphones, why not opt for a job well done and go with three?

7. Not priming the door before painting

Professional painters do it, and so should you. Unless that door’s current paint is in perfect condition, you should prime it before painting. Primer helps with blocking stains, muting dark colours, and getting the new paint to stick better. It also seals porous fillers, making for a smooth and even surface.

8. Using the wrong tools for a smoother finish

Don’t like brush marks? Then don’t use a brush. A high-density foam mini roller can help to spread those new paint coats smoothly and evenly, avoiding brush marks and ignoring the bumpy surface that standard nap rollers leave. 

Use the roller for both primer and paint. But since it spreads a thinner coat of paint than a brush does, you will definitely have to opt for at least two coatings.

9. Not using painter’s tape

Reinstalling Character and Charm homify Modern windows & doors

Reinstalling Character and Charm


Since this is the front door you’re painting, leaving it open overnight to dry is a no-no. Even if it feels like the latex paint is dry to the touch, that door may still stick to the doorstop or weather-stripping, and peel off when opening the door.  

Either remove the weather-stripping, or cover it with painter’s tape so that the paint won’t stick. 

Careful what colour you pick for that door… Better first take a look at: The Secrets That Your Home Tells.

Did we miss anything? What other tips can you think of when painting a door? Let us know in our comments section, below!

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