How to Paint a Steel Front Door

What You'll Need
Denatured alcohol solvent
Large plastic box
All purpose cleaner
Clean cotton rags
Tack cloth
Green painter's tape
Plastic drop sheets
Auto body filler
Putty knife
Sandpaper, 100, 150 and 200 grit
Manual palm sander
Spray primer
Acrylic paint
High-quality paint brush
Low nap paint roller
Airless or aerosol paint sprayer
Eye protection

Add the finishing touch of color to your secure steel front door with a coat of suitable paint. Choose the paint color to match your home's trim, or select a high-contrast shade. Follow the directions below to prepare your steel front door for painting, and apply the paint to ensure durability and long-lasting beauty.

Step 1: Choose Your Paint Color

Note that dark colors fade fastest, especially red, so your door will need frequent repainting if you choose one of these shades. Light colors harmonize well with brick and wood trims.

Step 2: Remove Hardware and Weatherstripping

If you are going to paint your steel door on the frame, remove all the hardware: door handles, lock mechanism and kick plate, and weatherstripping. Pull the weatherstripping gently out of the groove where it is inserted. Put all the hardware and weatherstrips into a large plastic box for easier reinstallation.

Step 3: Check and Repair the Steel Finish

Any dents, deep scratches or other marks on your steel door will stand out under a fresh coat of paint. Use auto body filler and a putty knife to fill these marks, letting the filler dry for several hours. Sand it with sandpaper attached to a manual palm sander. Start with 100-grit, then sand again with 150 and 200-grit sandpapers. Brush off any sanded residue, and wipe over the sanded spots with denatured alcohol on clean rags. Sand the entire door with 150-grit sandpaper to help the paint adhere to the surface, and wipe off the whole door with a tack cloth and denatured alcohol.

Step 4: Mask the Doorway

Cover the door frame with painter's tape. Mask any glass panels beside the doors with plastic drop cloths, held on by painter's tape. Extend the drop cloths onto the floor and the exterior front step beyond the door frame.

Step 5: Apply Primer

Always apply primer over an original oil-base paint job and if you are painting a new steel door. Use a primer suited to the paint you are applying. Acrylic paint is recommended for steel doors. An aerosol primer will give the smoothest undercoat for your paint.

Step 6: Paint the Door and Reattach Hardware

If your steel door has recessed or embossed panels, use a brush for painting. You can get the paint deeply and neatly into all the corners with a high-quality brush. If the steel door has a completely flat surface, use either a low-nap roller or a paint sprayer to apply the paint. Practice on other surfaces with the paint sprayer to learn how to control the continuous hand motion needed to use it effectively. Paint across the top and then down one side to the bottom, down the center, and then down the final side. Reattach the hardware and weatherstripping once the door is dry. Add a bead of silicone around the kickplate before fastening it to keep out moisture.