How to Keep a Freshly Painted Exterior Door From Sticking

There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint to liven up the outside of your home. While painting the exterior walls, you will probably want to paint exterior doors as well. Windows and doors are two common places where problems can develop with sticky paint from inadequate drying time. Here are a few things you can do to prevent a freshly painted exterior door from sticking.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw horses

  • Hammer

  • Straight-edged screwdriver

  • Paint scraper

  • Palm sander

  • Sandpaper

  • Paint brush

  • Exterior-grade paint

Painting The Door In Place

Step 1

Leave the door wide open after you have finished painting it. Keep the door open for as long as it takes to allow every little nick and corner to become completely dry. This could well mean planning your day so that the door is painted in the morning hours and allowed to dry all day.

Step 2

Let the door dry completely. Be sure to examine the corners of the door frame and the edges of the door before you decide that the door is dry and it is time to close the door. The edge areas of the door and the adjacent door jamb are tight places that do not receive natural air circulation, so they will take longer to dry than the front of the door.

Step 3

Use an oil paint if you are painting the door for the first time. An oil paint takes longer to dry, but the paint surface dries harder than a latex paint. Latex paints can remain tacky over time, especially if weather conditions are overly wet. When painting an exterior door, always prime bare wood with an exterior-grade primer paint.

Step 4

Choose ideal weather conditions to do your outdoor painting. It is best to paint outside during a prolonged period of dry weather.

Remove A Door Before Painting

Step 1

Remove the door from the hinges and set it on a pair of sawhorses and then proceed with your painting. To take the door down you will have to remove the hinge pins first. Do this by taking a straight-edged screwdriver and placing it under the head of the hinge pin. Then tap on the bottom of the screwdriver with the hammer until the pin pops loose. You will probably need an assistant to help you take the door down. Remove the bottom hinge first and the top hinge last. The door will have to be painted one side at a time, but both the jamb and the edges of the door will dry quicker once the door is removed.

Step 2

Sand and/or scrape the side of the door and the door jamb with a paint scraper or electric sander. This is especially advisable if the door already has one or more coats of paint and you are already having problems with the door sticking. If you scrape down to the bare wood you will need to prime the bare wood before applying the top coat of paint. When you scrape or sand, try to remove one coat of paint at a time, if possible.

Step 3

Rehang the door. Put the door back on the hinges and insert the top hinge pin first. Once the two hinge plates are properly aligned, you can then insert the hinge through the slots. You may need to tap on the top of the hinge pin with a 16-ounce hammer to get it to go. This is also a good time to lubricate the hinge pins with some machine oil. Do this before you insert the hinge pin. After the top hinge pin is inserted, move on to the middle hinge and then do the bottom hinge pin last.


Paint dries slower in places with poor air circulation. Always prime bare wood with an exterior-grade primer paint.


Make sure the door is properly hung. If the door is not properly hung, check for problems with the foundation settling or the frame of the building sagging.