A DIY guide to repainting your front door

Contrasting colors on the exterior of the house adds curb appeal


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When you walk up to your front door, is it dirty? Dingy? In need of repair? Does it scream “go away” instead of “welcome? Give your front door a well-deserved facelift by repainting it.

“Your front door is the portal to your home and should stand out with a harmonious color and signify a sense of character and beauty,” says Scott Harris, COO and co-founder of Building Construction Group.

Harris suggests painting it a complimentary, but opposite color to the home's trim and the easiest way to find out what is an opposite and yet complimentary color is to look at a color wheel, found at many home improvement stores.

“For example, if your home is in the warm beige tones, look to the deep blues on the color wheel,” he says. “Or, if your home is in the green tones, have fun and try a deep burgundy or wine-colored paint. It's a place to be bold and have fun.”

However, be careful about picking a dark color.

“If you pick a dark color, such as a black or dark blue, it can cause a door to warp during a hot summer day and may ruin your warranty,” Harri says. “On the hottest day, the sun is beating on the dark color and absorbing the heat. However, on the flip side of the door, it's cool. These indifferent temperatures can cause a door to warp.”

Remember to test a paint sample before repainting the entire door.

You can either tape a paint chip to the door and see how it looks or purchase small cans of paint samples and paint a small section of the door.

“Look at it all times of the day as the natural lighting will affect the color throughout the day,” Harris says.

Once you have selected and purchased a gallon of your favorite color, it's time to get to work.

“Wood doors should be sanded and if they are showing signs of wear, you may need to apply some wood filler,” says William Lee, senior project manager at Taconic Builders.

“This all is very easy to do as long as you are patient and take your time. If there is damage to the door remove it and, depending on how bad it is, it may require some carpentry. Apply wood filler, sand the area smooth and let dry.”

After the wood has dried, it's time to add primer.

First, remove all of the hardware. You can either remove the door from the hinges before applying the primer and paint or leave it where it is.

“When you're happy with the door prep, simply roll on the highest quality exterior-based primer available using a very low nap roller,” Harris says.

“The paint stores will typically carry better primers than available at large commercial home stores. Have your paint store add some tint to the primer. If you use a standard white primer under and the door shrinks or moves, the white primer will show.”

Don't trust your steady hand to paint around the hinges and door hardware.

“Take the time to fully cover them with painter's tape and when done, peel off the tape and you will look like a pro,” Harris suggests.

Repainting a door is typically a one-day project.

“On a nice summer day, it can easily be done in a few hours,” Harris says. “Your front door is not only symbolic, but one of the most iconic visuals of a home, so why not make it special? Repainting a door is a great project that makes an immeasurable visual impact.”

It's also the first thing that your visitors see. “It says a lot about the home and reflects upon you the homeowner,” Lee says.



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