How To Paint Exterior Doors

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

Hello everyone!

We are currently knee-deep in our foyer renovation… So much paint! If you follow me on Facebook you know that I have a few little critters that sometimes like to “help” with the process… which usually just results in lots of hair in the paint…

Dogs and Paint

So while I scurry to complete that project over the week, my beautiful mother Tami is here to guest post! Take it away Mum!


Hi Nest of Bliss readers! My name is Tami, as you may know by now, I’m Brandi’s mother!
When Brandi asked me if I would like to share my door project this week, I was so excited!

I recently decided to paint my three front doors on my house after they had been a burgundy shade for the last 15 years. They were scratched and faded. It was time.

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

The first thing I did was research on YouTube how to go about this, as the reason it took me so long to decide to do this, was that I thought it was a complicated process and would have to remove the doors to get the painting done. Thank you YouTube! They showed me that I could leave my doors on! Hooray!!!

To paint exterior doors you will need:

Deep Degreasing Cleanser
Rubber Gloves
Fine Grit Sanding Block
Painting Tape
Primer for Steel Doors (Water Based)
Paint for Steel Doors (Normally Oil Based)
Paint Thinner (for Clean Up or Spills)
Paint Brush
Paint Roller

The first thing you need to do is clean your doors. It recommends that you use a degreaser such as TSP. Well, I went looking for my TSP only to find I did not have any (of course!) Off I went to search the internet again to see if I could substitute it, and I managed to find a substitute online I could make that I had the ingredients for.

Baking Soda Cleaner:

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

An all-purpose cleaner is made by combining:
1. ¼ cup baking soda
2. ½ cup vinegar
3. ½ gallon water.
4. One-half cup borax can be added
5, Add more water to increase the water to 1 gallon.

Step 1: Once the Doors are clean rinse off with clean water. (Remember to wear rubber gloves)

Step 2: Sand doors and wipe lightly with a damp cloth to remove the dust from sanding. Let dry.

Step 3: Tape off any areas on the door with painter’s tape:

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

Step 4: Apply your primer coat of paint on the doors. It says to wait 24 hours before doing the second coat. (Umm to impatient for that…waited 5ish maybe?

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

Step 5: It is now time to apply the paint. I chose Black (flat) TREMCLAD Paint as it is recommended for Steel Doors. Make sure you put a drop cloth down in case you drip some paint, remember this is oil paint and not as easy to clean up – So be sure to also have some paint thinner/cleaner and paper towel handy in case you need it!

It is recommended that you put two coats of paint on. Wait until the paint is thoroughly dry before adding your second coat… and whatever you do once you have your paint on DO NOT go back and try to patch or roll a spot out… oil paint is not friendly like latex!! You will end up putting a third coat on as you will see where the roller or brush was used. Yes I am speaking from experience…had to do that with the garage door hahaha!!

Step 6: I had one door that has a window and the white around it that has yellowed over time, and this became more noticeable once the black paint was on. I then set out to fix that with spray paint… well let’s just say that turned out to be a challenge as I had a defective can of spray paint the first go around. I was not a happy camper!

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

If I had have known I was going to paint the white of the window I would have done this when I put the primer paint on. Live and learn!

Because the two coats of black paint was on the door already, I had to use painter’s tape and newspaper to compete this task… and this would have worked, if the can of spray paint was not defective. I had drips and runs on the door down below where I had not taped or covered up. I sent the hubby to the hardware store to return the defective can. ( He informs me that he told them he was doing it because I was too mad to go in, which I suppose was true!) He came home with another can for me too use.

I was able to use this second can sucessfully! But then I had to fix the rest of the door. First I had to sand off the paint that had dripped and ran on the door. Once that was all cleaned up I was able to put a third coat of the black on and all was well!

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

I think they turned out quite nice which makes me wonder now why I waited 15 years to tackle this. It was easier than I thought :)!!

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

DIY - How To Paint Exterior Doors! - Nest of Bliss

Overall it only cost me about $55 to do all three doors!

Thank you for checking out my project! It was great stopping by!


What a great project! Isn’t my mom handy? I can’t wait until I visit and see this in person!

If any of you try this yourself at home, I would love to see photos!

Have a great day!

Remember to ‘Pin’ to come back later!

Follow Nest of Bliss on FacebookPinterestGoogle +, and Twitter!


Linking up to:
Suburbs Mama


  1. Wow what a dramatic change. This is such a good reference, thanks for sharing your failures (defective can) with your successes. I am pinning for the future.
    With Love,

  2. Great job on the door makeovers! I too just completed my front entry door! So happy with the results!

  3. Wow. I’m always amazed at what a huge difference a bit of paint can make.

  4. Beautiful! I have been wanting to do my front door this year too. I have all the materials. Maybe with the stretch of dry weather we have coming up, I should get it done…

    The black looks terrific by the way! Very nice.

    • You should definitely give it a go! She has since informed me her husband sealed it with water protectant as well. 🙂

  5. Michelle Ross says:

    What a great project, as Tami’s neighbour I can tell you the doors look awesome!
    Great blog, Brandi! Love your taste it’s so similar to mine I am really enjoying your posts! Keep up the great work!

  6. Norine says:

    I am enjoying your blog and doors look great. I was wondering do you still have to sand a steel door if it has never been painted, original from the store? Thanks Brandi!!

    • Hi Norine – It probably wouldn’t hurt to give it a light scuffing. It may not make any difference, but if it does rough it up a little bit that ‘s always helpful. 🙂

  7. What a fantastic transformation!! Aren’t moms the best!!! The color first he house perfectly as well. Nicely done.

  8. You did a fantastic job. It is really important to clean the door, indeed. Actually this is the hardest part. Last year I let my 8 years son to paint our front door. He coped with it. I was so proud. Greetings!

    • Thanks, we are pleased with the result. Awesome that your little one was able to take on that project, no wonder you are proud! 🙂

  9. Okay, that’s it! I am officially chalk painting some ugly old wood furniture in my house! Thanks!

Speak Your Mind