Can you give me tips for painting my new front door?

by Louise

It's been lying on a table in my project room for over a year and now I'm finally going to paint it. I'm using Zinzzer Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer which I had tinted gray. The door will be a very deep red paint from Sherwin Williams. I've been told I should use two coats of primer. The directions on the can say a coat will be "dry to the touch in 30 minutes & can be topcoated in 1 hour. Full adhesion and hardness develops in 7 days." So my questions are: I should wait 1 hour to apply the second coat of primer, right? And then wait 1 more hour to apply the red? Is the red the top coat? Then, I'm not sure about the drying time on the red paint. The photo below is from the can. This "clock" isn't 12 hours. So just WHAT TIME is it showing for dry time? I can't find drying time anywhere else on the label. After I apply the red, then I wait until it's fully dry before I apply the second coat. But then, it says "hardness develops in 7 days." Does that mean after my second coat of red, I should wait 7 days before having the door hung? Since it seems this is going to be a time-consuming thing, I for SURE don't want to mess it up. I have a bit of trepidation about painting the front door red because if it chips, it will CERTAINLY show. There are no kids or dogs in my house so the door won't be treated roughly. To try to eliminate chipping, should I add a third coat of red?

  16 answers
  • Gk Gk on Mar 06, 2020

    What kind of door are you painting? Metal or wood? I would apply the first coat of primer and wait a "minimum" of an hour before I added a second coat of primer. It's OK to wait even a few more hours rather than just one hour. Then I would apply the second coat of primer and let it dry overnight. Applying too many coats of paint in a short amount of time isn't a good thing. You need to let it fully dry overnight after the second coat of primer. You will get a better finish when you start painting with the red. The next day in the AM you could give it the first coat of red. Then wait until the PM to paint the second coat or even the next day. Let it dry overnight. I certainly would consider letting it "cure" for 7 days before hanging the door. Curing is different than drying. Curing means that the paint is reaching it's maximum hardness. The longer you let the paint dry and cure the less chance you will have of making any knicks in the paint and damaging your finish. is a time consuming thing--lots of time just waiting for the paint to dry! You say you don't want to mess it up--so--take your time with this project. Don't hurry! If you think 2 coats of red has covered your door sufficiently then you don't need to add a third coat. If you do add a third coat make sure you do it after the door has dried overnight from the first two coats of red paint. I would be very careful adding that third coat of paint. Sometimes that third coat is too much paint to dry and cure. I would choose to wait a week to hang it. The red paint may have a longer cure time but I would think that waiting a week to hang the door would be sufficient. If you live in an area where there's a lot of humidity this also affects the dry/cure time. More humidity means longer dry/cure time. You will do just fine as long as you take your time with this door!

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Mar 06, 2020

    Hello. Call the Zinsser Rustoleum customer service line. They are extremely helpful and will give you the perfect solution when using their product.

    It’s a good idea to read your product labels carefully and follow the detailed instructions to get the job done the right way the first time. Best wishes with your painting project

  • Gk Gk on Mar 06, 2020

    Hello Louise! What kind of door are you painting? Wood or metal? I would prime and then wait at least an hour before I primed again. Let the two coats of primer dry overnight. The second coat will take longer to dry. You will have a better finish if you give it good drying time. Paint a coat of red (the top coat) in the morning and then let it dry all day before you paint the second coat. Let it dry overnight. Curing refers to how long it takes for the paint to reach it's maximum hardness. In this case it takes 7 days for the primer to fully cure and probably at least that long for the red paint, if not longer. Yes, I would consider NOT hanging the door for seven days. The longer you leave it to dry and cure the less chance you have of messing up your paint job when you install the door. Adding too many coats of paint in a short amount of time is not a good thing. Let every coat dry well before adding the next. Each coat of paint you add will take longer to dry because of the layers underneath. Make sure your door is laying flat, not standing upright, when you paint. Don't put the paint on too thickly and don't keep brushing it over and over. Yes, this is a time consuming job but it's mostly being patient and waiting for the paint to dry before adding another coat of primer or paint. Take your time and don't be in a hurry. You will be happier with the final results.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Mar 07, 2020

    I agree that you should ask for clarification about the times. Waiting 24 hours between coats has never failed me, if you are worried and can't get a good direction from the paint people. Good luck!

  • William William on Mar 07, 2020

    I prime with two coats. Let each coat dry for an hour till dry to the touch. Too soon with the second coat it will pull the first coat off. The clock is showing 8 hours. So drying time would be one hour for each coat. Two coats should do it. Once the second coat is dry the door can be hung. Curing/hardness time is for how long it takes the paint to fully harden. Paint dries on the surface first.

    • Louise Louise on Mar 07, 2020

      So I could feasibly have the door painted and ready to hang in four hours, right?

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Mar 07, 2020

    Here's a post that might help -

  • William William on Mar 07, 2020

    Once the paint is dry you could hang the door. A few ideas from other Hometalkers

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 07, 2020

    I would wait longer just to be sure. Especially if you have experienced moisture in the air. Be prepared for touch ups.

  • Maura White Maura White on Mar 07, 2020

    I think if you wait an hour between primer coats, that would be great. I'd wait another 24 hours to add the red. And then I'd wait 7 days to hang it up.

  • Dee Dee on Mar 08, 2020

    When I painted my front door which is also fiberglass. I used two coats of primer. I waited about 4 hours between coats. Then I let it sit overnight and turned it over to prime the other side. After both sides were dry I painted the front let it dry for 24 hours, then painted the back. It is much easier to paint a door when it is not on the frame and no hardware to contend with.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 13, 2020

    Have you read the directions on the Zinsser can? That is what you should use as a guide for your door. I agree with Dee, about paining it when there is no hardware involved and it is laying flat. Easier on your back too.

  • Troy Kleasner Troy Kleasner on Oct 14, 2020

    The clock says 1.5 hours, but that is a strange clock alright.

  • Catherine Ballard Catherine Ballard on Oct 14, 2020

    I would say wait until the door doesn't feel super tacky. Drying time really depends a lot on your environment, but I would say painting your front door is going to mean a full day of having it open. Start early in the morning, and check back often!

  • Louise Louise on Jan 26, 2021

    Thanks. It's a brand-new door lying on a table in a downstairs room so it has no blemishes. As to painting, I've painted walls, cabinets, banisters, shutters, etc., and anything else that has needed it all through my house for years and years. I used to love doing that but now it's a chore.

  • Deb K Deb K on Feb 07, 2023

    Hi Louise, on their website it states that it dries to the touch in 30 minutes, can be recoated in 1 hour. Full adhesion and hardness develops in 7 days. Lower temperatures, higher humidity, and the addition of tint will prolong dry and cure time. Allow more time at cooler temperatures. Soi I would think that as long as it is safe to touch without feeling tacky, you should be able to add the coat of paint. Hope this helps you out. ps. the 7 days is for it to be fully cured.

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 07, 2023

    If you have any doubt at all call the company that made the paint and primer both. I would feel better about an answer from them so they could ask important questions like what material your door is made of and the weather conditions where you live. Cooler temps that the paint longer to set up or cure.