Painting metal doors – how to do it correctly and not spoil anything?

Painting metal doors – especially entrance doors – can significantly improve the external appearance of your home. However, this work requires special care, because the paint is not absorbed into the metal as in the case of wood. If this process is not carried out correctly, you can get a rough and unsightly texture on their surface – and in extreme cases, it may turn out that the door requires thorough grinding, because, to put it mildly, its appearance has been destroyed.

As with most do-it-yourself projects, success depends on surface preparation and the use of the right products and tools. This guide shows you how to go through the whole process step by step and easily achieve the desired result.

Effective painting of metal doors

Step 1: dismantle the door from the frame and remove its accessories

For best results, first remove the door from the frame. Although it is not absolutely necessary – it will make it much easier to achieve the best possible finish. Then remove any hardware from the door, such as the letterbox, doorknobs, hinges (if the door has been removed from the frame), knockers, etc. Applying paint around these elements will slow down your work. If you can’t remove the hardware from the door, tape everything you don’t want to paint over carefully to ensure a clean finish.

Step 2: Clean the door with a degreaser

For a smooth finish, make sure the surface is clean before applying the paint. Thoroughly clean the door with a degreaser and a cloth to remove any dirt, oil, grease or grime from the door surface. After cleaning, wipe them with a dry cloth and let them sit for an hour or two before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Remove the old paint

painting metal doors

This step depends on the current state of the painted door. If they have peeling paint on them, you will need to remove it with paint stripper or a heat gun. It is important not to use abrasives to remove old paint. They can damage the metal and leave scratches on its surface that will be visible after painting. Ensure adequate ventilation as the paint stripper gives off harmful fumes.

Step 4: Sand the door

Once the old paint is removed, or if your door is already stripped of paint, the next step is to sand the surface. This will allow proper adhesion of the primer and paint. Slowly and gently sand the door with fine sandpaper – 400 grit sandpaper is ideal. Make sure to quickly wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust.

Step 5: Apply primer

Choosing a high-quality primer will protect the door and create a durable protective barrier against corrosion. The choice of primer depends on the paint that you plan to use. If you intend to use latex or oil-based paint, a universal primer for a variety of surfaces will suffice. To apply the primer, you will need to use a paint roller for the main surfaces and an angled brush for panels and corners. The drying time of the primer depends on the species and is usually from one to three hours. Reading the foundation’s instructions for use is not a bad idea and will avoid any surprises. After the primer dries, a second coat is applied if necessary. Never apply primer on a wet layer!

Step 6: Apply paint

A paint roller is used to apply a coat of exterior paint to the flat surfaces of the doors, and an angled brush to the panels and corners. It is necessary to use only paint intended for external use, such as satin or semi-gloss paint. It is best to apply at least two coats for a uniform finish that will last. As with the primer, the first coat must be completely dry before applying the next coat. The instructions provided by the paint manufacturer will give you information on the number of coats you will need and the drying time for each coat.

Tip: If you are painting both sides of the door, work one side at a time as wet paint can be damaged if it comes into contact with another surface too quickly. After painting, allow the door to dry completely for a minimum of 12 hours.

Step 7: Assemble the fittings and hang the door on the frame

painting metal doors

When the paint is completely dry, the painter’s tape is carefully removed and the fittings are reattached to the door. The last step is to hang them back on the frame.

The best paints for painting metal doors

You can use water-based paints (acrylic or latex) and oil-based paints intended for metal painting. Choose a paint that is rated to resist rust and fade, as the front door will be exposed to the elements and UV light, which effectively degrades the color.

Exterior acrylic or latex paint is the most popular choice for painting metal doors because it is easy to clean and has great resistance to fading over time. It is also easier to apply, dries quickly and is safer to use than oil paint. However, oil-based paints are more resistant to rust, so if the door is exposed to rain or snow (since it doesn’t have a canopy), it may still qualify for repainting after a few years.

When is it worth using the services of a professional to paint metal doors?

If you still have doubts whether painting metal doors yourself is within your competence, it is worth consulting a professional. The products listed above are safe to use at home, but they can be expensive and require a lot of patience and a steady hand. If the door has a layer of paint that contains lead, it is strongly recommended that you contact a professional. Removal of such paint (and primer) must be carried out in a controlled environment.

There are costs associated with using the services of a professional, so it is worth determining whether it is within your budget? If you are new to painting, you will most likely get better results in a much shorter time by using someone who does it professionally.

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