How to paint a metal front door?

Ginny Wathen
by Ginny Wathen

How do I paint my front door? It's metal.

  56 answers
  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Sep 03, 2018

    Clean, sand, prime with exterior oil primer. Then 2 coats exterior oil paint in any color you want.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Sep 03, 2018

    Hi Ginny! Clean it first, , sand any rough spots, use primer intended for metal, then paint it with the color you want. I recommend Rustoleum.

  • Tom Detomaso Tom Detomaso on Aug 22, 2018

    sand it down lite sand paper, prime it, then paint it.

  • Becky Lock Becky Lock on Jan 03, 2018

    Try some appliance paint from the hardware store,works great.

  • V Smith V Smith on Jan 03, 2018

    I like the small foam rollers. they leave a low texture finish.

    Because the door is metal prime it with oil based primer made for exterior application. After the primer you can use water/latex based paints on either side. I like something a little slick on the outside so that you can just hose off the dust and bug guts that accumulate in the summer. If you use the foam rollers it will not be as slick as a sprayed application. Finish all your strokes in the same direction, especially if you go with a gloss.

  • Lina Splichal Lina Splichal on May 28, 2018

    Make sure to use quality outdoor metal paint and seal it against the elements with polymer. I did a metal bed frame and did not seal it. Guests left their wet towels on the footboard and took all the paint back off.

    Also, either spray or use a roller, otherwise it is very easy to see the brush marks.

  • Landsharkinnc Landsharkinnc on May 28, 2018

    Rustoleum makes great metal paint for outdoor surfaces - in lots of colors!

  • William William on May 28, 2018

    You need to use DTM (Direct to Metal) paint.

  • Dfm Dfm on Sep 18, 2018

    spray painter with flotrol or similar additive. on metal use a lighter color...I had primed and painted a metal door barn red , but it faced the evening sun. the metal expands some and it started peeling.

  • Just make sure you pick an exterior paint that's good for metal and follow the directions. Don't forget to tape off the glass and anything else you don't want painted.

  • Ajohnsonfamily Ajohnsonfamily on May 01, 2019

    Used Modern Masters and painted directly on to door after cleaning door thoroughly! Be sure to remove hardware and tape off areas that don’t need to be painted! Good luck hopes this helps....

  • Mogie Mogie on May 01, 2019

    Prep is key and I would use a spray paint for a better and more uniform look. Just sand, prime and apply some Rustoleum. Remember to do many light coats so it doesn't run.

  • Janice Janice on May 01, 2019

    Just go through the appropriate preparation steps to insure a great product. Usually spray painting, especially on metal results in a better outcome (no brush or sponge brush marks). Be sure to mask off any areas you don't want painted. Black will be sophisticated! Take your time and be patient in the process.

  • Renee Brown Renee Brown on May 01, 2019

    I have the same door. I took it all apart and spray painted it after cleaning with asetone. It took 2 to 3 cans of $5 white spray paint from HD. I setup saw horses in back yard and did one side at a time. Paint in 3 thin layers to avoid drips. Use sand paper to remove dried drips or mistakes. Worked great and has no peeling and no scratches for 3 years now.

  • Darlene Williman Darlene Williman on May 01, 2019

    All of the answers above are correct, the only thing I would add is to make sure that you remove any loose chipped or peeling paint then clean the metal part of the door thoroughly. Let dry and paint with metal paint. If there is a gloss finish on the current paint you may want to run fine grain sandpaper or clean with TSP to remove gloss so the new paint will stick better. As noted remove hardware and tape off glass and areas you don't want painted. Also, as you are going from a dark color to black you might not need to prime but it wouldn't hurt, just adds a step. I did my front door which is south facing about 5 years ago and it is standing up well. Good Luck

  • MEG MEG on May 01, 2019

    Use an automotive paint that will withstand all the elements/weather and last a lifetime..

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 01, 2019

    When I painted mine I sanded the rough spots, primed with a spray timer Rustoleum makes and then spray painted my color. Easier to do it outside. Tape any glass or you will be scraping the paint off with a razor.

  • Carol Rigby Carol Rigby on Sep 01, 2017

    Sand the door making sure everything is smooth the use a trenchant paint.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 01, 2017

    Lay old newspaper under door edge and around. Use Metal paint - be prepared to leave the door ajar whilst it dries...........

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Nov 01, 2017

    Tape the surrounding area with painter's tape and protect the floor with a drop cloth. You'll also want to protect the door knob and hinges. I have painted my steel door recently without removing it and that's what I did. I also removed the door knob/lock set so I could paint it with a metallic spray paint. I used a small roller and a paint brush to apply the paint. I changed it from blue to white and it looks great! The exterior door is the one with the light over it.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Nov 01, 2017

    Sand the yellow coat down, add a primer, then a finished coat or two. Make sure you tape around the hardware and the frame trim first.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Nov 13, 2017

    You need an oil based primer. Put that on first, let it dry and then paint.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Nov 14, 2017

    After sanding, clean the door thoroughly, then use a good primer to help the paint stick. If you are painting the outside, I'd use an outside paint or a paint for metal.

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on May 07, 2019

    I have used interior paint as well a spray Rustoleum.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 07, 2019

    I have painted mine (exterior doors) several times. I don't remove them from the frame. Clean and dry. If interior, you can use any interior house paint but recommend a paint & primer in one. If exterior, make sure you purchase a metal door paint for the best result. I always use a brush.

  • Valerie jones Valerie jones on Feb 07, 2019

    I have same and painted with American Decor Curb Appeal paint I got at JoAnns. It’s holding up beautifully

  • Rebecca Taylor Rebecca Taylor on Feb 07, 2019

    Hi, The most ideal way to paint metal is to use oil based paint. Rust-Oleum, Glidden and Behr all have oil based paints available. The Rust-Oleum oil- based paint comes pre-tinted. Glidden’s “Trim and Door” paint is an extra high gloss, gel paint and also comes pre-tinted. Behr’s oil based paint comes in a semi-gloss finish and can be tinted to any Behr color. I would recommend highly that you use an exterior grade, oil based primer also.

  • Hi! I can tell you how to paint your door with Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint! :)

    It is super easy to paint with Dixie Belle:

    Step one: Clean with White Lightning

    Step two: Apply two coats of Slick Stick

    Step three: Paint one to two coats of Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint

    Step four: Use Gator Hide for a water-repellent finish

    No sanding required!

    Here is a great YouTube tutorial about painting a door

  • Easy! Wash the door with TSP. Let dry. Then choose a primer and paint formulated for metal. Then paint away. Easier if you can take the door down, for me just as easy to leave the door on the hinges, just make sure if is an exterior door that you start painting early in the day in order for the paint to dry as it will need to be open all day. Make sure small children and pets will not be able to escape either.

  • FL FL on May 21, 2017

    Clean the door inside and out very well. Give a once over with fine steel wool or or sandpaper. Wipe again. Cover all hardware with tape or remove altogether. Use metalpaint, spray paint ot in a can with a brush or roller. Let dry. Untape hardware or re-attach hardware. hang door backup. Good luck!

  • Sharon Sharon on May 21, 2017

    Use Rustoleum paint that stops any metal deterioration. Be sure to put some wax paper under the door if you paint with door in place. Prevents any sticking in case you get a drip. Keep propped open until dry.

  • Marlene Wojciechowski Marlene Wojciechowski on May 22, 2017

    When my husband painted our metal bifold doors he used a foam brush. A regular paint brush left brush strokes but the foam didn't

  • Florent Florent on May 23, 2017

    You first need to brush you door with metalic brush to remove any rust or dirt. Then you'll need to apply an anti-rust treatment to block rust to come again. It does exist in paint, varnish, treatment, or any other solution wich will suit you. Finally, according to the location of your door, choose a indoor or outdoor paint for metal surfaces, and if possible with anti-rust resistance.

  • William William on Nov 02, 2020

    For metal doors DTM (direct to metal) paint is the best. Sherman Williams does sell it. Metal doors do get hot and cold more than wood. Expand and contract more than wood.

  • An oil based paint such as Rustoleum will wear best in an outdoor situation.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 02, 2020

    I've had great luck with Sherwin Williams and Behr paints that are specifically formulated for metal exterior doors.

  • Dee Dee on Nov 02, 2020

    I have used 2 methods. Exterior House paint on the outside as well as the inside. I have also sprayed with Rustoleum on the outside. It lasted 9 years before it needed to be resprayed. Easy Peasy.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Nov 07, 2020

    Hi! I prefer Rustoleum paint for metal. Prep is always the key, cleaning and repairing first. You will get a much nicer outcome if you the door on sawhorses. Good luck!

  • Pamela Pamela on Jan 24, 2019

    Try spray paint !!! It is best to take your door off its hinges and lay it flat so you don't get drip marks ! I did that to my door , I wasn't looking for a smooth finish , I used a

    Rustoleum spray paint , hammered bronze it looks great ! First clean down the door , wait until it is dry . Tape over the Windows and doorknobs and lock . Then use even long swipes with the spray paint , let it dry .do a second coat if needed . It is always better to do 2 light coats over doing 1 heavy coat . Good luck !

  • Lisa Sinclair Lisa Sinclair on Feb 20, 2019

    I sanded mine, and painted with regular latex exterior house paint. I've done all 3 of my metal doors this way, and never had a problem. There are so many beautiful colors, it's hard for me to pick for you. A colonial blue would be my choice, because blue is my favorite color, and makes me happy! Good luck!

  • Donald Eisenbarth Donald Eisenbarth on Jun 12, 2017

    Auto enamel should give a long lasting finish. Clear coat it and it should last for years.

  • Sylvia Sylvia on Jun 12, 2017

    Gel paint works well

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Sep 05, 2017

    Metal Primer, Undercoat and Top coat

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Jan 31, 2022

    I would use good primer and continue with paint of your choice . Home improvment stores offer a lot of deals

  • Anderson Santos Anderson Santos on Mar 20, 2022

    You can use a DTM Paint (Direct to metal). I always use without any problem

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Mar 31, 2022

    prime with oil primer and then paint anything you want

  • Cbr68616737 Cbr68616737 on Jul 30, 2022

    The first question should be what kind of coating does it have now? Did it come primed.? Is it old and needs new paint? Most doors do not come with raw metal.

  • Just use a good exterior paint and you should be fine. Just make sure you prep well. That's the key.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 08, 2022

    Hello, hope this helps you out.

  • Judith Judith on Dec 06, 2022

    I painted our metal front door about 20+ yrs ago and it's still holding strong. Follow the directions to sand THEN BE SURE TO USE A TACK RAG to clean the dust off. Prime and use 2 coats of a good quality outdoor paint. I used Pratt & Lambert. It faded a little after 12 + yrs and repainted same color. ZERO issues with it but we do also have a storm door.

  • Dee Dee on Dec 27, 2022

    Use a good exterior paint, such as Sherwin Williams or Benjamine Moore. Or you can use Rustoleum. Buy the spray on primer, then lightly sand and either roll on or spray on

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 05, 2023

    Hello Ginny: A lot depends on whether the door gets a lot of sun, wind and/or rain. Check these sites for help:


  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 31, 2023

    Mrtal Primer and a metal paint. Best finish wiould be to spray paint. Maybe car paint?

  • Janice Janice on Mar 26, 2024

    You might consider using the best metal spray paint you can afford or even take the door to an automotive body shop and have them do it for you for true long-lasting results.