Asked on Jun 25, 2013

How do I paint a metal entry door to withstand extreme heat & sun?

Leslie D
by Leslie D
I was so proud of myself. I stripped my front door of layers of bad and cracking paint from the previous owners (it was like stripping bubble gum), sanded, bought a high quality primer and exterior latex paint, as recommended by my SW paint professional, painted it about 6 months ago (2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint), and the door is now bubbling in the Summer heat. I'm in Vegas, with regular 110 degree temps, and the metal door gets extremely hot in the afternoon direct sun. What did I do wrong? I'm going to have to redo it again, and would like this to be the last time for a while!
  38 answers
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 25, 2013
    I should add that I did not strip back to bare metal. I know that metal doors come with a factory primer that shouldn't be removed.
  • Shari Shari on Jun 25, 2013
    I'm in Florida and have the same kind of problem with an exterior steel door that faces south and gets direct exposure to both the morning and hot afternoon sun. The paint just doesn't last very long (although fortunately, my last paint job did last more than 6 months). The color also fades terribly. Looking forward to following this thread to see what advice other HT members might have for you that I can benefit from.
  • Kat =^.^= Kat =^.^= on Jun 25, 2013
    hey try a little chalk paint, find a small metal piece and paint away, i always wax with minwax or johnsons, ive had bubbly like that before, dont give up! good luck! ps i mix my own chalk paint with paint water and plaster of paris, make consistency like cake batter :) and paint away on your tester
  • Kat =^.^= Kat =^.^= on Jun 25, 2013
    hey leslie, im in boulder city, nv, same heat! are ya ready for Sunday???? 116 degrees! ARE THEY KIDDING ME!!!!!!!! LOL
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jun 25, 2013
    Hi, Leslie. With your temperature extreme, I suspect that the latex paint is not very compatible with your metal door. I think you're going to need a different paint. Perhaps you could ask a knowledgable person at a paint store in your area for some advice/recommendation?
  • Shari Shari on Jun 25, 2013
    I have concerns about the chalk paint in this application. It is my understanding chalk paint needs to be "sealed" with wax for it to be durable. (Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.) Wax + direct hot sun = 1 big sticky mess, I would think.
    • Virginia Virginia on Apr 19, 2015
      @Shari You can also install a polyurethane finish directly over chalk paint rather than the wax for hard use areas like kitchen cabinets.
  • The Blue Heron Studio The Blue Heron Studio on Jun 26, 2013
    I would see how much it would cost to have a body shop put a coat of paint on it! Saw this idea on a metal cabinet on HGTV several years ago.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 26, 2013
    Strip back to bare metal and use some oil based spray enamels...primer then paint. Think of it as the hood of a car...which sees lots of direct sun and heat. Latex is not designed for these types of conditions. After all people use "heat guns" to strip latex paint. Apparently the SW tech did not fully grasp the situation
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 26, 2013
    We actually thought about that, Blue Heron. KMS, you're absolutely right. The SW tech told me that latex would be best, because it was flexible and wouldn't dry out in the sun. It's flexible all right...flexible enough to make bubbles, and flexible enough that it's "blocking" and making the door stick during the hottest part of the day. Should have waited until my normal SW guy was there, the one I've dealt with for 10 years. Guess I'll wait 'til Fall when it's not 116 degrees out, remove the door again and start over. I am going to look into a body shop coating, or maybe even a powder coat. Thanks for the suggestions!
  • Accentuations! Accentuations! on Jun 26, 2013
    You didn't do anything wrong! I am surprised that the SW dealer did not recommend a heat proof paint from their special coating department! This door requires an oil based product that will withstand the heat-not latex. Ordinarily I would suggest a Rust-o-leum product that is heat resistant. You will need to sand again. Bare metal is NOT an issue as you can purchase an automotive metal primer even at Walmart! After you have cleaned and primed then use a heat resistant paint. Automotive paint is great for this application and there are a lot of color options! For that it would be a simple trip to an auto supply store. You can do this!!! Let us know how it turns out! Good Luck! Sallie
  • KrysFL KrysFL on Jun 27, 2013
    I would sand, then remove the door, prime and paint with heat-resistant spray paint (like the kind they sell to paint grills, etc.). You may be limited in color but at least it will last (then you can always add color with a pretty wreath or something).
  • April E April E on Jun 28, 2013
    i agree with krysfl i would use heat resistant paint then you would have no problems i have used this stuff to repaint a grill and have never had a bubble or blemish also it doesn't fade
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jul 01, 2013
    I'll have to see what I can find that conforms to our HOA on colors. Thanks for all the tips!
    • Gary Lynch Gary Lynch on Apr 17, 2015
      @Leslie D Did you end up painting the door? What did you use? How has it worked out? My wife is so frustrated with our bubbly front door...
  • Sue Davis Thompson Sue Davis Thompson on Jan 28, 2015
    We used Rustoleum on A west facing scaldingly hot metal door. Only had to repaint every 5 or 6 yrs due to fading. Must wash door really well first. Paint never cracked or peeled or bubbled.
  • Bill Croley Bill Croley on Jul 02, 2015
    Rustoleum is the answer for metal doors......It does not crack or bubble. Just prime the door properly and paint it in the color you love.
  • India Mattox India Mattox on Aug 29, 2015
    My husband has used rustoleum on a similar door seveveral times & still bubbles! We were told that under the extreme heat conditions (south facing, Mobile, AL, glossy black, metal) the foam insulation has prob deteriorated & no matter how you do it the same bubbling/cracking will occur. I have thought about taking off all hardware and attempting to use the spray foam crack filler to reinsulate the door. Any ideas if this vould work or how to best do it? At this point, my husband just thinks we will buy a new door, but it will prob happen again and I'd rather spend on something fun!
    • Kmags Kmags on Sep 06, 2017

      Me too, I just finished sanding mine. I used rustoleum. I live in the midwest.

  • Kat Kat on Sep 24, 2015
    I have a question for you- did your metal door have dents from years of pushing it open with feet when hands were full? I have a metal front door also exposed to heat that I want to repaint but want to fill in the dents first so door looks new...
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Nov 22, 2015
    Hi all, I lived in Arizona with a metal front door that faced the hot afternoon heat and let me tell you even the door handle got too hot to touch. I sanded the door with 150 grit, wiped off the dust with a damp rag, let dry, applied a thin coat of Kilz2, let dry, then painted with water based paint. I applied a thin coat of primer and thin coat of paint that worked beautifully. Never had a problem in 10 years. Maybe I was just lucky, but I only had to do it once. Good luck.
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Nov 22, 2015
    Me again.......forgot to offer this suggestion.......Minwax wipe on poly in satin finish. I used an old tee shirt to apply the poly. It was easy. Seriously, the door held up well in all the dry hot heat.
    • See 2 previous
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Sep 07, 2016
      Kim, Minwax is the brand name...they sell the products at HD, Lowe's, CT, HH, Rona, Walmart, just about everywhere in stores and online in Canada.
  • Clou77 Clou77 on Jun 14, 2016
    An oil based paint, I believe .
  • Barb Reimer Barb Reimer on Jul 06, 2016
    why not find something to REDUCE the amount of sun the door absorbs ! Possibly covering the inside of the door with a sheet of heat resistant material (ask at a home reno place )or Home Depot for the right material !I don't have this problem , but would seek answers like this !
  • Moxie Moxie on Jul 06, 2016
    Paint it white to help reflect the heat in lieu of absorbing it will help alot as well
  • Kathy Haines Cramer Kathy Haines Cramer on Sep 07, 2016
    A paint with ceramic additives? Or high temperature paints?
  • Missy Burch Missy Burch on Dec 16, 2016

    i have a white metal door as well & live in se texas. i'd love to paint it another color, but have been unsure of what to use. all of this has been really helpful. it seems rustoleum & a good sealer is the answer.

  • Lynn Lynn on Dec 16, 2016

    Metal door? I would prime and paint with auto engine paint or bar be que grill paint. It is high temp. It is spray also, so several light coats. I would also take all the paint/ cans back to your SW paint professional and get your money back - always save receipts.

  • Larry shriver Larry shriver on Dec 17, 2016

    Like Lynn could buy a paint that is used for auto exhaust manifolds; where the temperature gets hot enough to turn them red. Just make sure that you have the surface completely free of any moisture or any contaminant which could cause the new paint job to bubble eventually.

  • Colomedicaid Colomedicaid on Jan 22, 2017

    High heat appliance spray paint and primer.

  • Deanie Winter Deanie Winter on Jan 26, 2017

    On a metal door receiving that kind constant heatl, I would use high heat pain found in all auto repair supply stores.

  • Claude Claude on Mar 18, 2017

    Is there a storm door on the outside? My interior steel front door has a disclaimer if you use a glass storm door insert...but I never saw the result. I never used the glass insert...just the screen part. Wow...I would definitely try a high temp metal paint. You did nothing wrong. See if you can get your $ back. Bring the picture. Good luck.

  • Lyncat1 Lyncat1 on Aug 01, 2021

    I'd 'move'!

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Sep 30, 2021

    There is special paint made specifically for front doors. This paint is stronger and resistant to the elements.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 27, 2023

    I have never had this problem as I don't have metal doors, but wonder if a Car Paint would do the job?

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 06, 2023

    Why not make a design feature of the raised metal and paint it Silver/gold/bronze or infact any colour that takes your fancy? You could also maybe try Rustoleom or Hammerite Paint directly to rusting items to get a fresh look. They come in many colours.

  • Dee Dee on Oct 08, 2023

    RustOleum make a high heat paint.

  • Elaine majewski Elaine majewski on Apr 25, 2024

    I just had my threshold painted w fireplace paint. I hope it doesn’t bubble

  • Janice Janice on Apr 25, 2024

    After all the trouble you've gone to and then to have the paint bubble, I'd be done with trying to do it myself and contact a car body shop to find out if they would be able to refinish the door for you. They have the appropriate tools to sand blast the door, then prime and paint using a commercial sprayer...probably several thin coats of body paint made to survive all temperatures and weather conditions. Sometimes you're ahead to just pay a pro!