How To Paint Wooden Front Doors

Your front door makes a lasting impression on both you and your visitors so it’s worth investing some time and attention. Despite it being a small project, good preparation and application will ensure that your new door colour lasts for years to come and our 1829 Gloss finish is perfect for this job. There are a few things you need to consider and some important tools you’ll require.

Pullman Green is a great choice next to red brickwork at Chorlton House.


  • Sandpaper - it's useful to have a variety of grades. Electric sanders can be useful if you have a lot of sanding to do.
  • Sugar soap for cleaning – we recommend Selleys.
  • Protective equipment – dust sheet and masks.
  • Masking tape – to mask off edges and protect areas from paint.
  • Wood filler – to repair any cracks or holes.
  • Synthetic brush – we have a selection of detail brushes for this job.
  • Undercoat to prepare surfaces if you are making a radical colour change or if your wooden door is currently unpainted.
  • Your chosen top coat.

Highly recommended. Our 1829 Gloss finish is a water-based, low odour, quick drying paint which creates a stylish and long-lasting finish.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!

As with all paint projects, this stage is crucial to achieve a result which not only looks great but lasts throughout regular use and changing weather conditions.  These instructions are only relevant for wooden doors, if your door is made from UPVC or composite materials then we would recommend a specialist paint. 

Setting up for Success

It is possible to paint your door whilst it remains in place, by choosing a dry, warm day and by protecting the surrounding surfaces well.  However, for the best result possible we recommend removing your door from the hinges and laying it on a table or trestle legs.  By laying the door flat you will find it easier to achieve a smooth finish, work across the details of the door and are less likely to experience dripping paint.

We also recommend removing all the brass work including letterbox, handles and door numbers.  These can be cleaned thoroughly using a recommended metal cleaner before reattaching to your newly painted door. 

Painting Bare Wood

Unfinished wood is likely to need just a light sand, following the direction of the grain.  Any knots in the wood should be treated with a knotting solution using a brush or cloth which will prevent the natural oils bleeding through the knot and staining the final paint finish.  The next important step is to clean down the surface, removing all dust and dirt before the application of an undercoat. We have two colours of undercoat in our 1829 collection – which one you choose will depend on your topcoat colour, this can be found on our colour pages and in our colour card.

Refreshing Painted Doors

For doors that have been previously painted you’ll need to spend a little more time repairing the surface.  Remove any peeling or flaking paint with a scraper and then begin to sand down the surface.  Depending on the level of damage you may decide to strip the door right back to the bare wood using an electric sander and then follow the guidance above. Special precautions should be taken during surface preparation of pre-1960’s paint surfaces over wood or metal as they may contain harmful lead. If your door is in relatively good condition, sand down the surface with a medium grit sand paper and fill any cracks or holes with a wood filler.  Once the filler is dry, give the surface another light sand to smooth the filler and then clean the door down with sugar soap/white spirit.


Our 1829 Undercoat is a quick drying primer which is suitable for walls, ceilings and woodwork and will provide a sound surface for subsequent painting.  If you are making a drastic colour change from dark to light, an undercoat layer will also help cover the old colour.

The Topcoat

Give your tin of paint a good stir, getting right to the bottom of the tin and then select a synthetic brush to apply the topcoat.  A detail brush will help you get the paint around all the intricate areas without leaving unwanted excess paint.  Work in the direction of the wood grain and once you have covered the entire surface, ‘lay off’ the paint by working quickly, using very light pressure and without reloading the brush, in the same direction.  This will ensure you have good, even coverage and no visible brushstrokes.

Dry time – its important that you follow the dry time as stated on the packaging.  The adhesion of the paint will be impacted if you don’t allow it to fully dry. 

Apply a second coat and once again leave to fully dry.

The last job is to reattach your brass work and hang your door back in place.

Finding Your Front Door Style

If you need a little inspiration on colour, take a look at this article, written by interior designer and front door enthusiast, Liz Engelsen.

Our Top Tips for Paint Application

  • When painting, always ensure good ventilation, this will also help with the dry time.
  • The ideal method is to remove the door fully and lay flat for painting.
  • Take your time and carry out good preparation. You will be glad of this once the job is complete and you stand back to admire your hard work.
  • Before each coat of paint, ensure the previous coat is completely dry.
  • When you are ready, give the paint a good stir, getting right to the bottom of the tin.
  • For woodwork its best to use a synthetic detail brush. Lightly wet your brush first as it allows it to absorb more paint. Avoid overloading the brush as applying too much to the surface may cause drips or lines in the finish.
  • Do not apply paint in temperatures near freezing as this will seriously slow down the drying and may destroy the structure of the paint.
  • Always store in a frost-free place, it’s important not to allow the paint to freeze.
  • Our 1829 range is water-based which means the clean-up job afterwards is easy. Remove as much paint as possible from equipment before cleaning with water. Your tools will thank you when you come to your next project.
  • Please dispose of unused paint and container responsibly. Do not empty into drains or watercourses. Some local authorities have special facilities for the disposal of paint.