DIY Front Door Color Change

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From the day we moved into this home, my wife has been asking me to change the colour of the door to black. I’ve literally done everything but that – finished a basement, converted my garage to storage, and then reconverted it again to a workspace, painted the house, put trim in, etc etc. Given the state of our current pandemic, I was literally out of excuses.

Okay, one more thing. To be honest, the most stressful part of changing the colour of your front door for any DIY’er is that your work is naked to the world. I mean if you mess up a home paint job, no one will know – but if you mess up your front door, I mean that’s weak. Anyways, here we go.


  • Wood Front Door that needs an uplift or change in colour
  • Exterior Paint (see type below).


  • Sanding Paper or Orbital Sander
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint Brush
  • Paint Roller


What type of paint. Part of the prep work is to figure out whether your previous layer is latex or oil. Most homes nowadays use latex, but if you aren’t sure you can either put some nail polish remover on a rag and run it across your paint or call your builder. I did both just to be safe. Latex paint will rub off on your nail polish rag, whereas oil will have no reaction. Go ahead and run this test now.

Prime or Prime & Paint Combos. Obviously, there’s a right way to do it and there’s what you can get away with. The best way in my opinion is always a separate primer from paint combo. This ensures even spread, adhesion and will get you closer to the actual colour you want. That being said, nowadays there are lots of paint and primer combos (which I don’t normally recommend on brand new surfaces) which would work for my not brand new, but relatively new surface so I opted for this paint and primer combo.

In short, you could go the route of prime and paint combos only if the paint you are going with is darker or the same as what is on the door currently, if you are going from latex to latex, and if you have minimal sanding to do. If your previous door is oil based, then unfortunately you got to prime (make sure you get a good quality one with specific bonding properties). Again, I know it comes on white so people don’t care for it but proper primer is so that the new paint adheres to your old and not just wick off.

Oh and for those who aren’t sure, yes you have to buy exterior paint.

Sheen. This is really up to your preference. Semi-gloss & gloss sheens are traditional go-to’s as they have masking properties, lower maintenance and take wear better. However, current trends opt for less shine and more matte finishes. I settled on a satin latex finish. Update. Don’t use Satin on exterior as it shows way too much dirt and dust. It looks beautiful but not worth it.

Remove or keep door. Lastly – to remove hinges or not. My thoughts on this is there is no need if the job is small.

Now we are ready to go.


  1. Inspect the job and snap some photos. Once you start your work, your door will never look the same. Take some photos to show your kids in the future.
Sanded front door
  1. Get your sander or sandpaper out and sand the door. Hopefully you don’t have major imperfections here, but basically run your hands along the door and if you have paint flakes or chips, then smooth them out. If you have dents or holes that you want to cover, use a bonding agent or filler to cover (wait til dry, sand, blah blah blah). I took the hard flakes out with a 120, and smoothed out with a 220.
  2. Do a quick wipedown to get the heavy stuff off, then do second wipe with some dishwasher soap and water mix in a clean rag. Wipe dry.
Taped front door ready for paint
  1. Tape your windows with painters tape.
  2. Remove Hardware.
Paint stroke directions for front door
  1. (Optional) Stir your primer, start painting. Actually there’s a method for how to apply the paint.. Sherwin Williams actually has a great picture. It doesn’t have to be perfect since its only a primer, but make sure you clear out any streaks or runs of paint.
  2. Once dry, scan the surface area to make sure there are no streaks or runs of paint. If there are simply sand it off lightly.
  3. Paint. You can apply two coats of paint the same way you primed. Try to stick to the painting pattern but it’s not life or death. Your main objective is to ensure you don’t have heavy brush strokes, bulges or runs. If you do, just feather them out with your brush.
  4. Once done, take a thin exacto knife and cut the painters tape where it meets your trim. Cut this gently at an angle so you aren’t degrading your glass pane. Latex can come on thick and if you don’t cut the bond prior, you will pull off the paint. Remember, the object here is to simply separate the cured paint.
  5. Take off your painters tape, snap some photos, upload to instagram and enjoy.
Finished front door paint job

If you are looking for more weekend projects, hit up our weekend project category for more ideas. Hope you enjoyed this project!

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