Exterior Painting Tips: How do I paint my stained front door?

 In Exterior Painting

I was doing a free painting estimate in Westlake earlier today and I received a great question from Rachel, one of our customers, and thought others might benefit from the answer as well. Rachel was wondering about the process to paint her front door and side lights that are currently stained.

Painting doors can be very tricky, especially if changing from a stain to a paint. First, you would need to sand down the surface area really well with medium grit sandpaper. Most stained doors have a coat of polyurethane on top of the stain for protection and a smooth finish. While sanding down to bare wood is not necessary, sanding through the polyurethane coat and scuffing up the surface is required to give the primer something to grip to.

After sanding, we would recommend priming everything with a stain blocking primer to prevent any discoloration bleeding through the top coat of paint. Once the primer has had a chance to dry, one to two coats of paint should be applied. We typically use Sherwin William’s SuperPaint or PPG’s Fortis 350 for doors as they are good quality products but aren’t very thick coatings. It is already hard enough to minimize brush strokes and roller marks on a smooth surface and a thicker coating will only make that more difficult.

Here is a link to a helpful video showing how to apply the top coat of paint while achieving a smooth finish.

Thanks for the question Rachel! We are excited to see you later this week to paint your siding.

If you are planning a painting project, whether on your front door or entire house we would love to provide a free exterior painting estimate.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Celina

    I’m not sure I need to hire a painting contractor to show me how to paint a stained door. The stain is faded and I think I want to paint this time. These are great tips!

    • Michael Murray

      Hey Celina, a stained front door is very difficult to keep up with. If the door faces east or west and gets a lot of direct sunlight, it is not uncommon to need to do maintenance work every six months or so. Paint will definitely last longer but once you paint, it will be very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to go back to a stained door.

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