How to Paint a Wooden Door Transom Frame

What You'll Need
Paintable caulk
Oil-based primer
Exterior paint
Painters tape
Paint brush

A door transom is a decorative inset above a standard door frame. A decorative glass window is usually the focal point of the transom. Transom door frames are easy to paint, but the paint job does normally take longer than a standard door frame. With a few tools and materials, you can completely change the look of the front of your house simply by painting your transom door frame. 

Step 1—Sand Door Frame

You are going to want to sand the door frame before you apply any paint or primer. After years of wear and weather, the wood will probably be rough. Go over the entire door frame with the sandpaper. If there are any nicks or holes, fill them with wood putty. Once the wood putty has dried, you should sand the putty down flush with the frame.

Step 2—Caulk Door Frame

You want to add a bead of caulk to the openings in the door frame. Where ever you find wood butting against wood, you should add a small bead of caulk. Where the door casing meets the face of the house, you should also add a bead of caulk. 
Make sure that you don’t open the tip of the caulk very wide. You want the bead to be small. You can smear the caulk bead with your finger to make it blend in with the surface. Make sure that you buy paintable caulk.  Otherwise, the primer and paint won’t overlay.

Step 3—Tape Glass in Transom

The glass in the transom is going to have to be protected from paint. You should tape the perimeter of transom with painter’s tape. This will protect the glass from overspray or accidental touches with the paint brush. This prevents you from having to go back once the paint job is done to clean up the glass.

Step 4—Prime Door Frame

Using an oil-based primer, you will now prime the entire door frame. Use a paint brush that is suitable for work in an oil-based medium. Apply a heavy coat of primer to the door frame.  Let it completely dry before proceeding. 

If you are changing the trim form a dark color to a light color, you may need to apply two coats of primer. Otherwise, one coat will suffice.

Step 5—Paint Door Frame

You will want to use an exterior paint for your door. If your door is exposed to extreme weather, you may opt for a heavy duty exterior paint.

You will need a brush that is suitable for exterior latex paint. You can paint right out of the paint can, however, using a paint tray ensures that you don’t contaminate the entire container of paint if something happens to get on the brush. 

You should apply two coats of paint to the door. Don’t apply the second coat until the first has dried completely.