Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How To Paint Your Front Door

A Cautionary Tale

Several weeks ago (and I mean several), I decided I wanted to repaint our front door. Ultimately, I want to repaint the entire exterior of our house, but for now, I’ll settle for the front door accent. I am drawn to red or blue doors all the time. I think they’re magnificent. They add the perfect punch of color and to me, just scream Americana. After careful consideration of the colors I want the exterior to be, taking into account the color of the existing roof (blueish gray), and the surrounding neighbors (beige, beige, pink, beige, blah), I decided a deep Navy Blue would suit perfectly. Off to Home Depot I go…
Holy monkey! So many blues! I should have remembered this from when we painted Mickey’s room last year. It was impossible to choose a blue for that project, too!
I tested a few samples on the door.
Then decided on Behr Peaceful Night.
I bought a quart of the paint in Exterior Satin.
Knowing the door would put up a fight switching from Ivory to Blue, I started with a coat of Kilz Latex Primer (always have this on hand- you never know which project might need it). Let me point out, our front door is original to the home (1978) and it’s really the only thing with a little bit of character. It’s fairly ornate, and I knew it wouldn’t exactly be a cinch to paint. I got out a regular paint brush and a small artists brush to do the job.
I painted one coat of primer. Then I decided another coat of primer wouldn’t hurt. I painted a second coat of primer. Let that dry overnight. Came back the next afternoon to start with the actual color. I successfully painted one coat over the flat portions of the door, then started in on each carved section. EACH SECTION TOOK 20 MINUTES! I’m not joking, I timed it so I could estimate how long it would take to finish the door.

8 panels X 20 minutes = almost 3 hours.

After one coat, it looked awful. Had I made a terrible mistake??? I set out to add my second coat the next day… 3 hours later it looked like this:
Seriously? That’s not right. I have so far painted 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. 8 hours of my life on this door and it’s not done. I ended up painting 5 coats of paint, 2 coats of primer (read: 17 hours of work!) and then it looked like this:

I meant to blog about this door a gazillion days ago! You can see why I haven’t been able to. There was no way I was going to show you an unfinished front door! Last night, I added the SIXTH coat of paint and decided that’s enough for me (for right now). I need to move on to another project so here’s what it looks like now:
It’s not bad, but you can see it still needs another coat in a few places. Sorry about the flash “hot spot”, as you can imagine, I’m painting at night (work during the day, take care of child, put child to bed, begin Mommy projects). Thankfully, I LOVE the color. It’s the perfect classic navy blue and it’s the perfect depth of color. Eventually, we will add this color to the accents on our house (columns, window sills, etc). For now, I will sleep peacefully tonight, and set out on my next project tomorrow.

Have you ever had a project that took WAY longer than you expected?

And one last thing: Today’s Favorite Pin!


  1. I painted my front door red, I love it. Great job:)

  2. Thanks Julia! Red doors are awesome!

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