Painting Your Exterior Wood Doors

Your exterior wood doors should be the most eye-catching aspect of the outside of your home. However, if they have not been treated to a new coat of paint for a while, they could be catching the eyes of passers-by for the wrong reasons.

With a fresh coat of paint, your exterior wood doors can look as good as new once again. And whether they're in the front, on the sides, or in the back of your home, some TLC is really the least they deserve having kept your family safe and warm through the years.

If you have some experience painting, picking out the right color might be the hardest part of the job. However, if you're less familiar with the process, you might want to read a handy guide.

One like this, that tells you how to get ready to paint, what you'll need to do to prepare your door, and how you can prime and then paint your exterior wood doors.

Getting ready to paint your wood door

Despite it appearing to be extra work, many people prefer to remove their exterior wood doors before painting. If you want to do so too, the first step is to use a flathead screwdriver and a hammer to tap the pins up out of the hinges, and then carefully remove the door.

Lay the door on some sawhorses; preferably somewhere out of direct sunlight. If you're going to paint the door outside, take note that wind could blow dust and debris onto your fresh paint where it could stick. Remember to place a tarp or paint cloth down under the door to catch any dripping paint.

Remove all of the hardware: the doorknobs, hinges, and locks. You could tape them and paint around them, but removing everything will make the job much easier and will result in a better finish.

Preparing your wood door for painting

Check the door for thick or flaking paint spots, old tape, and any other damage. Use some fine sandpaper to lightly sand away the bumps and flakes, or gently scrape with a putty knife if necessary. Be careful not to make any gouges or scratches in your wood exterior doors.

If you have glass inserts in the door, you can cover them with newspaper to protect them from the paint. Just tape down some newspaper over the glass with painter's tape.

If you have any deep scratches, dents, or gouges, you can fill them with wood filler or putty. Sand these areas afterward. Smaller cracks around panels and windows can be filled with caulk, although these should not be sanded.

Once you're done sanding, wipe down the door with a rag, which you can dampen with mineral spirits for a more thorough clean.

Painting your wood door

It's best to use a primer before painting your exterior wood doors with the color of your choice. You will not always need it, but the color will usually come out best if you do.

Carefully paint the door with the primer, starting with the edges. Paint along with the grain. Then move on to the door panels, paying special attention to the areas around the locks. Work on the centers of the panels first, and move towards the outsides. You'll usually only need one coat of primer, unless you're drastically changing the color of the door.

Once the primer has completely dried, apply the paint the same way. Two coats of paint will usually look best when using primer. Be sure to be thorough so you do not leave any spots.

Wait until the door is completely dry, which could be up to 24 hours. Then replace all the hardware, and re-hang the door on its hinges.

A new coat of paint can brighten up your exterior wood doors, breathing new life into them and ensuring they catch the eyes of passers-by for the right reasons.

Start with the proper preparation, removing your door and finding a good workspace to paint in. Then prepare your door for painting by sanding, cleaning, and getting rid of debris. Finally, paint your door; first with primer, then with paint.

Remember, your exterior wood doors do a great job looking after you and your family. So it's only fair you do the same for them, right?