Mauro paints a front door

Ask This Old House painter Mauro Henrique demonstrates how to paint a front door with oil-based, high gloss paint. This is part of This Old House: Live—an initiative providing daily programming and opportunities to connect with our experts during these challenging times.

Need a quick and simple project to boost your home’s curb appeal? A fresh coat of paint—especially high-gloss paint—can give your front door a big facelift.

Steps for Painting a High-Gloss Front Door

  1. Remove the door from the hinges and remove the hardware.
  2. Sand the door down to bare wood using 80 grit sandpaper.
  3. Prime the door using an exterior grade oil-based primer.
  4. Allow the door to dry overnight before adding the next coat.
  5. Lightly sand the door using 220 grit sandpaper.
  6. Patch any imperfections in the door with wood putty.
  7. Rehang the door before painting to prevent dust from falling on the door. This particular paint is very thick, so there is no concern about dripping.
  8. Protect the area with canvas and plastic drop cloths.
  9. Paint the door using an exterior grade oil-based paint.
  10. Allow the door to dry overnight before adding the final coat.
  11. Lightly sand the door using 220 grit sandpaper.
  12. Wipe down the door with a tack cloth to remove any dust.
  13. Apply the final coat of paint to the door.

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Mauro painted Jenn’s door using a Fine Paints of Europe oil-based primer/undercoat. It’s a high end, more expensive primer, but Mauro chose it because he needed the door paint to be high-performance and long lasting, especially to preserve the high sheen of the door.

For the paint color itself, Jenn chose an exterior grade, oil-based high gloss paint in the color Seaweed, which is manufactured by Benjamin Moore.

To fill in any holes or imperfections on the door, Mauro used MH Ready Patch wood putty, which can be found at most home centers.


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