I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve always wanted a yellow front door. A shade so inherently happy that no one can help but smile and have their spirits lifted. For me, the perfect shade exists somewhere between sunshine and mango, sweet yet confident, bold yet welcoming. And so, when I found Behr’s BLAZING BONFIRE, it was only a matter of time before it’s bright hue graced my front door.
Now, I have to tell you, painting an exterior wooden door is NOT for the faint of heart. Plan for a day that’s less than 90*F, less than 60% humidity, and when you have nothing but time.
Step 1: Pick a color! This may seem easy – but I went through several before landing on my perfect shade. Use a piece of cardboard to test the color on — it’ll read more true if you’re starting with a stained or varnished wooden door, and is less committal than a test spot. Look at it in rain and shine, dawn and dusk, and any other lighting conditions – this is a big undertaking, and you don’t want to be second-guessing yourself two coats in.
Step 2: Determine what kind of paint / stain / varnish is on your door. Consult a professional (and/or the Google) on how to best remove or paint over the existing finish. I had varnish, so I sanded with fine (120) grit paper – always in the direction of the wood grain. You’ll be surprised how many nooks and crannies you find in the details of your door — be prepared with a smaller sheet of extra fine (150) grit paper that you can use over a block or with your fingers.
Step 3: Vacuum and wipe down your door. I used Windex on a cloth rag (because, #natch) to pick up every last bit of sanding dust (and bug particle). While you’ve got the Windex out, clean the glass (if you’ve got it).
*PRO TIP: If you’ve got glass, wipe it down with RainX or another water repellent. (I didn’t, but I’ve got good aim and quick reflexes when it comes to paint.)
Step 4: Lay out your floor covering, get an object behind the door (so you can press on the door without marring your wall or constantly moving), and use that tape. You’ll want to paint the hinge-edge of the door if your door opens inwards, the deadbolt edge if your door opens outwards (if you’re not painting the entire door, like me). You’ll want to tape off the edges to ensure no drips. You may want to tape the bottom weatherstripping, too.
Step 5: Paint paint paint! Be sure you allow ample time between coats. Latex paint (as most outdoor paints are) has a tendency to get super gummy before it dries – so too quick of a second/third coat may leave you with a giant, sticky, peeling blister. I used a fan and had about 3 hours between coats – and that worked for me. This is where outside temperature and humidity comes into play – so test a corner before you lather up that roller.
I used this handy guide to help me with painting order.
Step 6: Use an exacto knife to score and peel off your tape. Even if you think you’ve got it without the knife, score anyway. Remember that bit about latex paint coming up in a giant, sticky, peeling blister? Don’t ruin your hard work now!