How to Paint a Front Door Red


A red front door makes a house seem cheerful and welcoming to passersby, and increases curb appeal for houses listed for sale. As with any painting project, proper preparation makes working with an intense color like red easier and makes achieving a stunning end result easier, too.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Utility knife or razor blade
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Mild detergent
  • Rags
  • Bucket
  • Vibrating orbital or palm sander
  • 80- or 100-grit sandpaper
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Bondo (optional)
  • Oil-based primer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Remove all hardware from the door with screwdrivers. Take off the knobs, doorknocker and strike plates. Remove weather stripping if possible. If you cannot remove the weather stripping, use masking tape or painter's tape to cover it.

    If your door contains window panes or side lights, remove the excess glazing using a single-edged razor blade or utility knife, scoring the glaze down to the frame. Scrape the glaze, being cautious not to cut the frame. You may need to employ the use of a paint stripper or commercial solvent like denatured alcohol to clear the door of all glazes. Place painter's tape or masking tape around the windows.

  • Clean the door. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a capful or two of mild detergent to create suds. Dip rags into the bucket, then wipe them over the door's surface to remove any dirt, debris or fingerprints. If the door is extremely dirty, wipe the door with rags dipped in denatured alcohol. Allow the door to dry thoroughly.

  • Sand the surface area of the door and frame. Load 80- to 100-grit sandpaper onto an orbital or palm sander, and sand until the surface is smooth. Once level, switch to 150-grit sandpaper, then finish sanding with 200-grit sandpaper. If the door is badly scratched or has dents, apply auto body filler like Bondo to the surface to fill in dented areas on the door's main surface or frame. Sand over patched areas to create a smooth surface.

  • Prime the door using a quick-drying, oil-based primer. Primer will expose any remaining damaged areas. Sand these by hand with 150-grit sandpaper until the damaged areas are no longer visible.

  • Apply the paint with a paintbrush. Paint the upper part of the door first and work down the door on each side. Paint from the edges of the door toward the interior of the door, using long, even strokes to avoid drips and to coat evenly. Allow to dry for 8 hours or overnight.

  • Paint additional coats--allowing ample drying time of at least 8 hours between each--if any bare or uneven spots appear through the first coat, or if you want to achieve a more intense red.

  • Allow the paint to dry before using the door. Replace the hardware and strike plates once the paint is dry, and the project is complete.

Tips & Warnings

  • If hinges keep you from accessing every part of the door to be painted, remove the door from its hinges before beginning.
  • Use an acrylic paint--they outlast oil-based paints and have more resistance to fading from sun exposure.
  • Seal the kick plate with caulk to improve insulation and keep moisture from collecting behind it, which can cause fading.
  • You can use either a spray-on primer or a primer that you can apply with a brush or roller.

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