How To Paint A Front Door Without Removing It? [5 Steps]

Is your front door in need of some TLC? You're considering giving it a fresh new look with a coat of paint, but you really don't want to go through the trouble of removing it from its frame. The good news is you don't have to remove your front door to paint it. We've researched, in-depth, how to paint a front door without removing it, and have a few steps for you to follow. You'll have a freshly painted front door in no time.

In order to paint a front door without removing it, you must:

  1. Clean it- Remove any dirt and grime. 
  2. Prep it- This includes taping and sanding the door. 
  3. Prime it- Apply a layer of primer to your door.
  4. Paint it- Begin painting.
  5. Seal it- Finish the door by sealing it.

Above are the basic steps on how to paint a front door without removing it, but keep reading as we go into detail on how to do each step, what equipment you might need, and other tips on how to choose the perfect color for your front door.

blue repainted front door with Christmas wreath hang, how to paint a front door without removing it


How To Paint A Front Door Without Removing It

Follow the steps below to enjoy a fresh coat of paint on your front door:

Step 1: Clean Your Front Door

Cleaning wooden door handle during pandemic covid-19

You do not need to remove your door handle unless you are replacing it. If you have chosen new hardware, remove the old one prior to cleaning. If you are not changing your door handle, the very first thing you need to do is clean your front door. Since one side of a front door is always exposed to the outside and the elements, dirt can build up pretty quickly.

Use a cloth to scrub your door with an all-purpose cleaner to remove any dirt or grime. Once it is dry, use a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining dust or lint. Consider laying down a tarp or drop cloth under your door area to catch any drips of paint.

Step 2: Prep Your Front Door


So you've cleaned your front door, and now it is time to prepare your door for paint. If you aren't brave enough to paint the edges of the door around your hardware or glass freehand, now is the time to apply your tape. Most painter's tapes will work for this task. 

Click here to see frogtape on Amazon.


In order to get a smooth finish on your front door, you will need to sand out and fix any imperfections. If your door is already pretty smooth, use fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for your paint to adhere to. Use medium-grit sandpaper if it has tougher areas that need sanding down more, and then go back to your fine-grit sandpaper for a once-over before painting. Make sure you wipe your door down after sanding to remove any leftover dust.

Step 3: Prime Your Front Door

Though you may be tempted to use a paint that includes a primer, you should use a separate primer for a more professional look. Use a wide paintbrush to apply your primer to your front door, being careful to avoid drips. If your primer does drip, make sure to smooth it out with sandpaper after it dries. 

Step 4: Paint Your Front Door

painter painting the door white

Now that you've prepped and primed your front door, it is time to paint! Use a paintbrush to begin painting around the edges and any hardware or glass. Next, paint any crevices the door may have. Once you've painted the edges and the crevices, you can use a roller to finish the job.

Most paints are going to require two coats, so take a look at your door and decide if it needs at least one more coat and repeat the process. Leave your door open to dry for at least 8 hours so the paint isn't ruined by the seal of the closed door. 

Step 5: Seal Your Front Door

Not all paint will require sealing. If you have used exterior-grade paint, you can probably skip this step. Make sure to follow the recommendations provided with your paint. If you used a different kind of paint, consider using acrylic or water-based varnish. This will seal your door and help protect it from the elements.

Check out Rust-Oleum varnish on Amazon.

And that's it! If you follow the steps above, you'll be on your way to a newly revamped front door without the hassle of removing it. If you are still trying to decide whether painting your front door is the best option, check out our blog post, Should You Stain Or Paint A Front Door?

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Front Door?

You will want to choose a paint type that can withstand the elements, so make sure to choose a suitable exterior paint. The most common type of paint used for front doors is latex-based paint with a semi-gloss finish. This is a highly recommended finish for a front door.

If you have your eye on a paint that isn't an exterior-grade paint, that's okay too. Just make sure you follow step 5 and seal your door with a varnish. If you want to play it extra safe, choose a paint specifically for doors.

Click here to see Rust-Oleum door paint on Amazon!

Is A Brush Or Roller Best To Paint A Front Door?

You will want to use both a brush and a roller to paint your front door. A wide brush will be needed to apply the primer. A smaller brush will be needed to paint the edges and any smaller crevices. You can use a roller to apply paint to the wider areas of the door. 

How Do You Choose A Front Door Color?

Two women picking a color before painting their currently red front door

The color you choose to paint your front door is completely up to you. You may decide to be bold and creative and select a bright color such as orange or red, or you may go with a more contemporary, cooler color such as blue or gray.

Maybe you want to match your front door with other painted features of your home, like the shutters. Or maybe you've accessorized your front porch and want your door to match that. Check out some of our other blog posts on how to choose a front door color here!

If you plan on selling your home, you might want to consider a more neutral color or one of the colors currently trending in order to appeal to more buyers. If you plan to live in your home for years to come, feel free to get creative and truly tap into the colors you like.

What Front Door Colors Are Trending 2020?

modern Front Door

Last year, bold, warm colors, and any shade of gray were the hot choices for a new door color. This year, it seems gray hasn't gone anywhere, but bold and warm colors have been replaced with dark and moody—think inky blacks, dark blues, and purples. 

Can You Just Paint Over Your Front Door?

If you are changing colors, we do not recommend just painting over your front door, especially if you are choosing a lighter color. But don't fret, as you've learned in this post, prepping your door to give it a new paint color isn't as complicated as it sounds.

Happy Painting!

Following these 5 simple steps will lead you to complete a successful paint job of your front door without ever having to remove it from its frame. Pick out a paint color that complements your home and satisfies your vision. You're sure to enjoy your freshly painted door for years to come.

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