How to paint a front door – applying fresh colour to PVC, UVC, wooden and composite doors

Spruce up your entrance with a splash of inviting colour

Does the exterior of your home need a bit more kerb appeal? Do you want to know how to paint your front door? Giving the front door a lick of paint is one of the quickest and easiest ways to bring a whole new look to your home, and set the mood for visitors before they even step over the threshold.

As we start to welcome visitors inside for the first time in months now is the ideal time to spruce up the entrance of your home to ensure a warm welcome.

'Now is the perfect time to upgrade your outside area and your front door is a great place to start,' says Pam Gruhn, founder of Frenchic Paint. 'It can give your home such a ‘lift’ and is of course much cheaper than buying a new front door!' According to a study by Dulux Weathershield, it takes as little as 10 seconds for people to make a judgement about you when they see your front door – is yours making the right impression?

For expert advice to tackle this dedicated DIY and decorating job we've enlisted the help of the experts to share top tips for exterior door painting. Whether your front door is made from PVC, UVC, wood or composite  material you can paint it, with the right material. Here's how to do it.

room with white door and windows

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Painting your front door – what you'll need

  • Flat scraper
  • Filling knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Exterior multipurpose filler
  • Paint brushes
  • Exterior paint
  • 40mm or 50mm brush

How to paint your front door

1. Test out your chosen colour

Before you commit to repainting your door, make sure you're happy with the shade you've chosen. The best way to visualise a colour and test it out is to paint it onto a piece of lining paper or the back of old wallpaper. This will allow you to hold it up against the exterior walls and existing door colour to see the contrast. Explore these front door ideas as a starting point for colour inspiration.

2. Remove any door furniture

Unscrew any handles, letterboxes, etc, before giving the door a good clean using diluted detergent – our how to fit a door handle guide has useful tips for removing and replacing handles. Rinse the door with clean water.

2. Prepare the surface

As Pam explains, it's 'It’s all in the prep!' Use a flat scraper to scrape off any blistered or flaking paint. With wooden doors use an exterior multipurpose filler to fill any cracks or holes on the door’s surface. Once dry, sand the whole surface of the door with medium grade sandpaper, then repeat with fine sandpaper. The Frenchic Al Fresco range works on any door material.

3. Give the door a good clean

Make sure you clean down the door to remove any dirt and dust before you apply any paint, because these will stick to the paint and dry to the door – causing an uneven surface. To give the door a good all-over wash sugar soap solution is best foe the job. You can buy this at all good DIY retailers.

4. Paint the door

Paint the first coat, focussing on any raised door panels first, and then paint the rest of the door. If you are using Frenchic paint, leave two hours then paint the second coat. 

Once dry, refit the door furniture and enjoy the new improved entrance to your home. 'Be careful with the door for 2-3 weeks for obvious reasons,' advises Pam. 'But you won't need varnish or sealant.' 

house with red exposed brick walls and blue front door

(Image credit: Dulux)

What's the best paint for a front door?

'To create a striking front door with a colour that lasts, you'll need an exterior paint that has a UV-resistant formula and provides protection against cracking, flaking and peeling,' recommends Sue Kim, senior colour designer at Valspar. As we've mentioned previously the Frenchic Al Fresco range works on all materials; PVC, UVC, wooden and composite exterior doors, with no need for a primer.

We also love Little Greene's Intelligent exterior eggshell, Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry Exterior Paint and Benjamin Moore's Grand Entrance gloss to do the job.

house with red exposed brick walls and white door

(Image credit: Future Publishing PLC/ David Giles)

What colour should I paint my front door?

The most popular colours for front doors are in the neutral white and brown palettes, however, some bolder hues are not that far behind. 'Teal Façade, Indigo Shade, Feather Flock, Green Glade and Lavender Quartz, have all had growing popularity as a way to add some drama and personal touch to the exterior of a home' say the team at Dulux.

'Our most popular colours at the moment for doors are greys such as Smudge, Stormy, Greyhound, and cream shades such as Cream Dream or Cool Beans. Bright pastel shades are becoming more and more popular such as Parma Violet, Dusky Blush and Wise Old Sage,' says Pam at Frenchic.

If you're not sure where to start...

  • Empty listChoose a shade that complements the other tones and materials present on your home's exterior. If you've got other painted items such as shutters or postboxes, it's a good idea to coordinate with those.
  • Colours tend to fade outside, so the bolder the better when it comes to exterior paint. Test samples in different lights to see how they change throughout the day.
  • Take the style of your door into account. Before rushing into anything, step back and take a proper look at your door, along with the accessories and trim that frame it. Adding a stately shade can make a simple cottage-style door look more sophisticated, while a casual hue can give a formal façade a friendlier feel.

Will you be painting your front door using this handy guide?