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Shut the front door!! Why did it take me so long to paint our front doors? Why didn’t I do this sooner? I mean, just look at the before and after!
Our front doors were in dire need of a refresh. It’s hard to see just how bad they were in the pictures, but the paint was wearing off in spots. They looked dirty and grungy. They just looked plain tired.
Not to mention that our home is a raised ranch. Raised ranches are notorious for their lack of curb appeal and strangely laid out interiors. (That was one of the reasons I neglected to look at this house when it first came up for sale. However, once we saw the backyard and toured the inside of the house… we fell in love. You can read more about that here.)
So you put some outdated, dingy front doors on a raised ranch…. let’s just say the outside ain’t so pretty.
I managed to find a few hours one day (kid-free, I might add!) and decided to go for it. Your front doors are literally one of the first impressions people get of your home. And I know the first impression of my home was probably not good. While I’d love to completely replace these front doors one day with something with a little more character, just sprucing them up with paint did wonders!
We were worried how painting the doors would look with the gold inlay in the glass and I’m happy to say I think the paint actually downplays the gold. We are kind of stuck with the color scheme of our home (for now anyway). Our brick is an orangish brown, our roof burgundy, and our trim white. Not a whole lotta options for a door color in that scheme.
If we had a neutral roof color there would be a lot more options. In fact, trying to decide on a door color is what took me so long to do this. With a double front door, doing something bright and bold is hard to do. Double front doors create even more of a wow factor, if you will. I had played around with a coral color (which Jeremy quickly shot down), tried to find a shade of gray that worked, and even considered a gel stain.
Then, one day I came across the Sherwin Williams color, Urbane Bronze. It was absolutely perfect. It’s this rich bronze color that can almost read a little gray. I love how it plays off the colors in our brick. It almost makes our house seem more brown than orange which is just an added bonus. And I am so in love with how the chunky white molding (that got lost with the white doors) now pops out at you.
Here’s how I painted my front doors while they were still hanging on the hinges. I had already painted the front door at our old house so I knew this method would produce good results.
- Behr Exterior Paint and Primer in One- 1 quart color matched to Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze
- Good quality angled paintbrush like this one here.
- Painters tape
- Liquid Sandpaper like this here.
- Chemical Resistant Gloves
- Old Rag
- Small foam roller like this here.
- Disposable paint trays (for easy cleanup) Click here.
- 4 hours + additional 2 hours drying time
How to Paint Your Front Door While Still on the Hinges
Step 1: Prep and clean the doors for proper paint adhesion.
This is the most boring and dreaded step for me with painting projects. I don’t know why. I just want to get in there and get it done but unfortunately, this step is necessary.
My doors are fiberglass, not wood, and getting the paint to adhere properly to the surface is the most important step. This is where the liquid sandpaper comes in. You could also use TSP (which is a strong chemical cleaner) in addition but since my doors already had been previously painted, I just stuck with the liquid sandpaper.
The liquid sandpaper essentially removes the top layer of a painted surface to help the paint adhere better. And, don’t let the name fool you. It does not take the place of regular old sandpaper.
Don your heavy duty chemical resistant gloves, douse your old rag liberally with the liquid sandpaper, and go to town wiping down your door. This step only took me about 20 minutes or so.
Sand out any rough spots for a smooth finish.
Then, I took my coarse grit sandpaper and buffed out some of the spots where old paint had been caked on, where I saw brush strokes, and around the door handle we replaced where I could still see the outline of the old door knob.
Next, wipe the door down again with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust particles.
***It’s also important to note: Make sure if your doors were previously painted that they don’t contain any lead. My home was built in 1979 so I knew it was safe, but if your home was built before 1978 (which is when the government banned lead paint) always check. You can purchase a lead test kit like this one from Amazon for dirt cheap. We’ve learned this lesson the hard way.
Use painter’s tape to protect your door knobs and such.
Then, all that’s left for prep work is to tape off any areas of the door that need it. I taped off the glass inserts and the door handles. You also want to consider your hinges and floor underneath your doors.
Or if you’re a rock star and don’t need any tape, just keep on keeping on.
And finally, Urbane Bronze front door!
I cut in with my angled brush first, then rolled on the paint for the rest of the door. Here’s what it looked like after 1 coat.
Painting always looks the scariest after the first coat. Even though I knew it would look better after the next coat, I still thought, “What have I done?”
The key is not to glop on the paint just to get it done quicker. I ended up putting on 4-5 thin coats, letting the paint dry to the touch in between.
Then, after my last and final coat, I left the doors ajar letting the paint fully cure before closing them. I actually planned to leave them open longer but my four year old shut them trying to be helpful. So I just went with that.
And here’s the final product.
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