How to Paint an Exterior Metal Front Door without Brush Marks

A lot of homeowners are under the impression that painting an exterior metal door is just the same as painting any type of door. So they paint it as normal until later on when they see unattractive brush marks. While this can work for some homeowners if they accept it as part of its style, most homeowners would hate looking at it so they’ll spend more time, effort and money to correct it.

A metal front door is supposed to be sleek and smooth. This is why brush marks will defeat the purpose of having this type of front door. Brush marks may look nice on a wooden one, but they will trigger your obsessive-compulsive personality if you see them on a metal door.

Make sure to also read our articles on removing plaster and how to repair hairline cracks.

How to Paint a Front Door without Brush Marks 

Actually, the easiest way to ensure this is to hire a professional. Professional painters, especially the experienced ones, have been doing this for a long time already that they know what to do from the preparation to the finishing. This way, you can just sit back as you watch them do it for you. Once done, you can enjoy your metal front door that’s newly-painted minus the brush marks.

But since you’re reading this article, you want to learn how to paint a front door without brush marks. We have this covered. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Remove the door.

Swing it open and look for the hinges that connect it to the frame. Locate the hinge pin and position a screwdriver against it. Hammer the screwdriver lightly in order to loosen the hinge until it’s removed. Do the same for the other hinges. Most doors will have 2 or 3 of them.

Pull the door away from the frame. Ask for help if necessary. Place it down slowly and safely on a flat surface.

This is also when you remove all the attached hardware to avoid getting paint on them. Basically, remove whatever you don’t want to be painted. For example, you’d want your door knocker to remain as shiny stainless steel, right?

Use a screwdriver for this task. Don’t use power tools. This calls for more delicate tools.

NOTE: This step shouldn’t be necessary especially if you live in an area where it’s cold because the cold weather will make it longer for the paint to dry. No matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, you wouldn’t want an open invitation for would-be robbers. A missing front door is an open invitation for criminals.

  1. Prepare the area for painting.

The surface has to be clean and free from grease. This is why it’s recommended that you clean the surface using a degreasing cleaner. You have to know that grease will make it harder for the paint to adhere to the surface properly and completely.

If the door is not too greasy or if it’s a new one, a spray cleaner will work just fine. Just make sure to check the label to make sure that it can work on whatever surface your door has.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the cleaner. Make sure that you protect yourself accordingly using goggles, gloves and the likes. Once you’re done, use a dry and clean cloth to dry the surface.

Next, make sure to tape the parts that you don’t want to be painted on. At this point since you’ve already removed the fixtures, it’s just a matter of taping the sides and the edges. If the design calls for some surface to remain unpainted, then tape those surfaces as well. Of course if there are fixtures that you can’t remove like windows, tape them as well.

Take this time to inspect the door properly to see if there are dents that you’d like repaired. Sand down the dents using an 80-grit sandpaper before using a patching compound to cover the dents. Allow to dry for at least 40 minutes before leveling them using a 150-grit sandpaper. Do so until the dents are not that obvious anymore.

Once you’re done, it’s time to sand the entire door using a 400-grint sandpaper. The goal here is to roughen up the surface a bit, just enough for the primer and the paint to stick. Don’t put too much elbow grease on this task or else, you may end up damaging the door.

There should be a lot of dust and you need to remove them. Wipe the door using a damp and clean cloth, making sure that it’s totally dust-free once you’re done. If there’s a lot of dust, vacuum it first before wiping it down.

  1. Prime the door.

The first thing that you have to know is that by itself, paint wouldn’t stick well to metal. They’re not designed to bond well together. This is why the use of the right primer is important. In this case, the primer will act as some sort of double-sided tape. The metal door will stick to it and it will stick to the paint.

Make sure that the primer is designed to be used for metal doors. Make sure that it’s also compatible with the paint that you’ll be using. If unsure, make sure to ask the paint store before buying.

Using a small paint roller, coat the entire door. Leave it to dry for 1 to 3 hours depending on the primer and the weather conditions. Apply a second coating once dry. Make sure that it’s really dry before advancing.

Since you’re probably painting both sides, you should prime one side at a time. Once you’re done with the 2 coats, you can work on the other side.

NOTE: There are paints that don’t require a primer. If you happen to find one in your area, you can skip this part and just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply it.

  1. Apply the paint.

This is the crucial step if you want to avoid brush marks. It’s this simple. If you don’t want the appearance of brush marks, don’t use a brush! The best way to apply the paint is with the use of a professional sprayer. This is the one used by professional and experienced contractors. This ensures uniformity.

As an alternative, you can also use a foam roller. Use a smaller roller like a 3-inch one. Resist the temptation to use a bigger one so you can cover more areas per roll. A smaller roller allows you to work around edges and lines. You can use a bigger roller if you have a flat door.

You should also use a roller cover if you’re using a foam roller. Don’t use something with more than a 3/8 inch nap or run the risk of poor texture.

Do note that the glossier the paint is, the more important it is to use a sprayer.

It’s also important that you use paint that’s designed for exterior use. If the can says semi-gloss or exterior satin, then it can be used for the exterior metal door.

Apply the first coat using the sprayer or foam roller. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you still need to use a brush. This is for hard to reach areas like the grooves. As a consolation, it’s pretty hard to notice the brush marks in these areas.

Leave it to dry for at least 6 hours. Sometimes, it may take up to 18 hours for the surface to dry. Don’t apply a second coating or work on the other side before it’s completely dry.

While applying, make sure that you fix any uneven areas or drip marks. Do this before it dries.

Once the first coating is done and dry, it’s recommended that you apply a second coating. Additional coating will improve its resistance and appearance. Apply additional coatings until you’re fully-satisfied with the appearance.

Once you’re done, you can work on the other side.

You may be tempted to use a heat gun or a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Don’t do this. This will lead to uneven parts.

The best time to apply the paint is early in the morning or in the evening. This prevents the paint from drying too fast before you get the chance to ensure evenness. If it dries up before you’re finished, you’d have to repaint.

  1. Re-attach the door.

Remove the tapes and attach the fixtures that you removed. Re-attach the door to the frame. If there’s weather-stripping, remove it after re-attaching the door to give it enough space to dry completely without being pressed against the stripping. You can re-install it after a couple of days.

Spray Paint Steel Door

In addition to preventing brush marks. Spray painting steel door leads to more even results. It’s also easier to apply paint using a spray applicator.

Can I Use Latex Paint on a Metal Door?

Yes! Actually, latex is the most common type used for a metal door. It’s used even by professionals. It helps that it’s readily-available.

You do have to choose the right type because there are paints that are designed for interior use. In this case, you have to buy one that’s designed for exterior application. This type has additives that help against changing weather conditions.

What is the Best Kind of Paint to Use on Exterior Metal Doors?

You can check out brands like RustOleum. Check out their oil-based paints. Choose one that has a semigloss finish. This is very important since this is an exterior application. Semigloss paints will make it easier to clean the doors.

Do Primed Steel Doors Need to be Painted?

This is a common question because primed steel doors may look good even without being painted. However, it’s important to note that a primer’s main job is to help the paint adhere to the surface. The primer doesn’t have the protective qualities that exterior paint has. Simply put, it can’t help protect your door against the weather which is very important especially for an exterior door.

How do I Remove Paint from a Metal Door?

Do you need to remove paint from a metal door? Yes. Even if you’re using latex paint, you can’t apply paint on a layer of paint. It has to be bare metal.

One important thing that you have to worry about is whether you’re about to remove lead paint or not, the same way that you may have to consider the presence of lead in old radiators. Removing it on your own is very hazardous. We recommend buying test kits to check if it’s safe to remove or not.

Here’s how to remove it:

  1. Using a paint brush, apply paint thinner on the painted surfaces. Use a pressure washer set to 80 psi and operate via a sweeping motion. Stop every now and then to check how you’re progressing. This task will be very easy if the paint was applied using a spray applicator.
  2. Heat the surface using a heat gun. This will lead to the paint curling up, making it easier to remove. Once it has curled up, you can use a scraper to scrape it away.
  3. Apply paint thinner again. Scrub the remaining paint using sand paper or a wire brush.
  4. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the remaining paint using a nail polish remover with acetone.
  5. Rinse with water.

Make sure that you’re careful! Consider buying bulk lead paint test kits if needed or have someone come out with a portable XRF device to check the door for lead paint.

How to Paint a Primed Steel Door 

We’ve already discussed how to paint a primed steel door. At this point, some of you may still be wondering what primer to use. It’s best to use an oil-based one or rust-resistant latex.

After choosing, it’s just a matter of following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The hidden dangers in your home

Did you know that there is a significant chance that there are certain things in your home that will have various things in them that will potentially be dangerous to you? 

If you have kids living at your place, you would especially want to make sure that it doesn’t contain any dangers that you don’t know about, right? 

Well, chances are that even if you are taking your precautions, there are still going to be things you probably haven’t thought about, or there may have been product recalls that you weren’t aware of because, perhaps the specific product had a higher lead content level in it than what is permitted. 

Perhaps you weren’t aware of the procedure for properly removing plaster that was installed back in the day when they would put all sorts of nasty things in the walls, and when you decided on removing the plaster, all of that dust suddenly ended up going straight into your lungs as a consequence. 

There is a reason why people are as focused on making sure that they are having a safe pregnancy and avoiding things like alcohol, but additionally making sure that you aren’t being exposed to potentially harmful VOCs and other elements that affect the air quality. 

Even if you are renting the place that you are living at and you have to deal with a landlord, you still have an interest in actually making sure that things are done properly and hairline cracks are dealt with if they cause any sort of issues and lead paint is encapsulated or removed. For instance, you won’t simply be able to use any sort of paint stripper if you have found that there are issues with the paint that is in the home that you are in, nor will you simply want that all that potentially dangerous dust is unleashed upon you and your family, why there are a bunch of measures that will need to be taken when dangerous paint is discovered. 

While the rest of this article may be wandering a little bit off the topic of painting your exterior metal door, it is important that you know about some of the various dangers in your home, especially since you may have bought this metal front door at a time when regulations were less strict than they are today. 

For instance, while you are taking every single measure that you possibly can to make sure that your newborn baby is safe and is able to sleep safely, did you know that it is estimated that there are more than 20 million cribs in the United States that are dangerous for one reason or another? Although they may not all have increased risk of suffocation, there are a bunch of other concerns that may be the case too. Did you know that there were more than 11 million units that were recalled between 2009 and 2011 related to early childhood life because these units posed some sort of threat to your child? That includes cribs and other bed items that were found to be dangerous for your kid, items that should honestly just be thrown in the dumpster to make sure that it doesn’t end up hurting anyone.

How would you feel if you found out that you were accidentally exposing your kid to a range of unwanted things, like mattresses that contain all sorts of harmful chemicals that you may not even be able to smell? 

The worrying thing is that there are as many product recalls as there are, despite the fact that serious measures have been taken to ensure the manufacturing standards and make sure that these products do not in fact pose any risk to you or your family. For one, if you have been following allowing on this blog, you will know that there was serious legislation that was initiated in both 1977 and 1992, first surrounding the use of lead paint in homes and subsequently following the use of consumer products, the legislation which followed in 1992. Despite of that, you can see that there are a bunch of products that have been recalled because of the amount of lead content in them – just check out this page on the CPSC’s website, where we have specifically tailored the search to include lead paint violators. You will additionally find that a lot of these products are sold on major retail sites like Amazon and Hasbro. If you are now repainting a metal door in your home, there is a very big chance that you are doing so because it’s old, and when that is the case, the risk that it contains lead goes up exponentially, why we are encouraging you to make sure that you are doing so in a safe manner, especially when you have kids in the house!

Besides the risk of lead paint, especially in homes that have old metal doors, or older homes in general, there are various things that may be a cause for concern when it comes to the well-being of your loved ones. 

One of those various things goes hand in hand with deteriorating lead paint as they are all reasons why you should be concerned about the air quality in your home.

If you do have the habit of smoking, you aren’t unfamiliar with the fact that these have a lot of pollutants in them, and it isn’t our place to tell you whether or not you should be engaging in this behavior. However, if you care about protecting those you love from inhaling this damaging smoke as well, you may just want to step outside as you are indulging in your guilty pleasure. With 4,000 various compounds in cigarettes, you are bound to find some of them that are truly damaging, especially to growing people. In fact, more than 40 of these are carcinogens, and while your exposure may be bigger than the exposure of someone who is inhaling it as second hand smoke, they are at least compounds that you will want to get out of the house to improve the safety and air quality for people residing in there. 

Some of the other things that you should be concerned about when it comes to ensuring the best air quality in your home, includes making sure that you air it out properly and that you address any mold concerns that you may have. The sooner you address mold concerns, the more easily this can also be done. Properly airing out a bathroom after a long shower is an easy thing to include, even if you are a little bit stressed in the morning. 

Either way, we hope you enjoyed this article on painting your metal doors, as well as other safety measures we encourage in your home!

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