I typically use a good quality exterior latex. normally in a matching or complimentary trim color of the same sheen.
picture 5 in this project set shows the front of our rental. The door used to be purple color...when I updated all of the black window trim to green I carried it over to the door as well.
Latex or 100% Acrylic, in a semi-gloss finish. make sure you wipe it clean with a mild detergent to remove oils from fingers and such before painting. A qualtiy quart of paint will cost $12-$15. Also, pick a day to paint when you can keep the door ajar a bit, until the paint is fully dry (not just dry to the touch), if you close it too soon, the weatherstrip can stick to the new paint.
Steve, oil base will give you the nicest looking and most cleanable finish on metal; think automobiles. This is because it levels so nicely as to not show brush marks and it is so hard as to clean up easily, like tile. But only as long as the door gets no sun, in which case it would oxidize or chalk quickly.
There are also many good metal latex paints available from a paint store like Sher-Wms.
Steel doors like to rust from the bottom, so paint it or protect it there, possibly with a retro fitted drip edge to keep the water from cupping under the built-in bottom gasket.
It the door is not new, you may need to metal prime it.
Wondering if anyone has ever taken a door like this to an autobody shop and have them paint it using their high end spray equip. and automotive type paints?
the paint on my truck has held up very well to 15 years of sun and rain and snow
Very timely post for me. I'm painting my steel door this coming weekend. I'm curious about Peace Painting's statement about oil paint oxidizing/chalking in the Sun....my front door faces North, so it gets very little sun, but is exposed to the extreme heat of Las Vegas (up to 117 degrees). Will that make a difference in the paint I use? I don't have to worry about rust...nothing rusts in Vegas.
People do take metal doors to autobody shops for painting, will need to be clear coated also, to protect the paint. Can be expensive. As far as brush marks, most people paint the steel door parts, the same as if it were a wooden door, with the grain. Hence, find a picture of a bare wood door, in a style similar to yours to see the different grain directions. The idea is to make it look like a traditional wood door that has been painted. Easiest way to find a picture, Google: 6 panel wood door, and click on "images" on top row menu of Google page. Also, visit www.simpsondoor.com
Leslie, latex or oil have no disadvantages holding up to the heat, just apply them in the cool of the day.
A mini mohair or foam core flock roller can put it on fast enough to keep a 'wet edge' going and not leave lap marks. These will sometimes even do the panels, if they are not too deep.
Thanks so much, Charles. It's great weather (low - mid 80s) to do it tihs weekend. I appreaciate your help!