How to paint a wooden exterior door

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Project overview

There’s no point replacing a door when a lick of paint can make it look brand new again. Make a statement with a bright colour or opt for a classic white, cream or grey. First things first, you don’t need a primer with our 10-Year Weatherproof Wood Paint which helps to make this job even quicker. So once you’ve prepped the wood, you can start painting immediately.

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Is it better to paint an exterior door with a brush or roller?

Both brushes and rollers can be used to paint an exterior door. Some painters like to use both brushes and rollers!

We recommend using a brush, as it's great for detailed work and can easily get into corners and hard-to-reach spots. Brushes also tend to be better for applying thin coats of paint, which can help prevent drips and runs. On the other hand, a roller is faster and more efficient for painting large, flat surfaces, and can help ensure a more even coat of paint.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on the specific door and your personal preferences.

How to paint an exterior door

Prepare the wood

  1. Remove any metal fixtures and fittings including the numbers, door handle and post box if you're painting your front door.
  2. Clean the door using a diluted all-purpose general cleaner to remove any grime and dirt.
  3. For bare wood, use 120 grit sandpaper to sand in the direction of the woodgrain and smooth out the surface. This helps the paint stick to the surface.
    • For previously painted doors in good condition, lightly sand them with 240-grit sandpaper.
    • For wooden doors with flaking, cracked or peeling paint, use 120-grit sandpaper to sand away the paint down to the bare wood. We recommend using an electric sander to make a quick job of it but you could use a flat scraper.
  1. Once the dust has settled, wipe down your door with white spirit.
  2. If you spot any holes or cracks, fill them in and cover knots with a knot blocker to stop them from showing through your new paint.

Prime the wood

Tip: If you’re using our 10-Year Weatherproof Wood Paint, you don’t need to use a primer so you can skip this step.

  1. If using another product, apply your primer to the door and leave it to dry. Make sure you cover it thoroughly so your paint sticks consistently.


Apply the paint

  1. Give your paint a really good stir so the colour pigments are thoroughly mixed.
  2. Apply the paint with a synthetic brush in the direction of the grain.
  3. Leave it to dry for four hours.
  4. Apply a second coat of paint.
    • If your front door is bare wood, you’ll still be able to see the grain after two coats so will need a third one for solid colour. The last coat will be weatherproof in only one hour!

For best results, we recommend using our 10-Year Weatherproof Wood Paint. Not only does it add colour, but it also protects from harsh weather, without the need for primer, keep your wood in tip-top shape for 10 years!

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