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How to Paint a Front Door Without Brush Marks

A person painting the wooden front door with a paintbrush.

Do you feel that you need to update the outside of your home, but dread spending a large amount of money? One affordable change that you can easily make to improve the look and curb appeal of your home are to paint your front door. That sounds like an easy, quick fix to improving the appearance of your home, right?

Are you ready to buy the paint and brushes and slap that paint on the door? There are important things to know before you get started, including how to paint your front door without leaving brush marks. There are several tips to help you avoid common mistakes and to learn how to paint your door so that it looks like you hired a professional to do the job.

Related: Front Door Dimensions | Front Door Designs | Front Door Visualizer Software Options | Glass Front Doors | Black Front Doors | Red Front Doors | Blue Front Doors

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Painting your Front Door

The first mistake that you do not want to make is to think that there is nothing to painting the front door without leaving brush strokes other than just opening a can of paint and applying it right over the existing paint.

A person painting the white front door with blue paint using a paintbrush.

You likely want to avoid the headaches, frustration, and possibility of becoming the brunt of jokes from the neighbors. Make important decisions before you purchase your front door paint. Do you know the right kind of paint for your exterior front door? Do you know that there are different paintbrushes for different paint jobs, including exterior doors?

What do you think happens if a person throws on a new outfit of clothes without taking a shower? Yes, the funk is still there. You do not want to start painting your front door without performing the proper prep work first, which means thoroughly cleaning the front door.

Perhaps you have had the experience of seeing a front door that has obvious brush marks or roller grain marks. Following the proper steps to avoid this mistake helps you avoid having to do the job over again or hiring a professional to correct your mistakes.

The Four Seasons Matter When Painting Your Front Door

Do you live in an area that has significant changes in the weather from one season to another season? If you live in an area where the temperature drops significantly during the winter months, do not wait until December to decide to paint the front door. Similarly, if you live in an area where the temperature frequently soars into the 90s or gets above 100 many summer days, waiting until the temperature is a bit lower potentially helps you achieve the look you want for your front door.

The Houzz editorial staff quotes a professional painting contractor that indicates that cooler days is a better time to paint a front door. Choose a clear sunny day to paint the front door of your home. If you do not follow this advice, you risk leaving brush marks or the paint drying too fast.

Choosing the Ideal Paint Color and Paint Brushes

Did you know that there are allegedly certain paint colors that hint at the homeowner’s personality? Do you know that there is a history behind painting your front door red?

Painting a door red allegedly means that you paid off your mortgage and are no longer ‘in the red’ in some circles. Apartment Therapy explains that while this is more an urban myth rather than fact, some people still consider the luck associated with the color red.

Consider painting your front door red if you want to generate a sense of positive energy, good luck, and good health. Maybe you just want to paint the door red because it gives the front of your home a pop of color and provides a welcoming appearance to your home.

A look at this house's main entrance with a bright red door.

Another color that gives a welcoming appearance to a home is natural paint options. Giving your exterior front door a traditional wood finish demonstrates your down-to-earth style.

Give your home a pop of color that expresses your fun personality when you choose to paint the door orange, purple, a bold blue shade, or turquoise.

Perhaps you do not believe in these symbols or personality expressions. You still want to consider how a door is going to look after you complete the job. That is a reason to consider whether you want to use oil-based or water-based paint. Although oil-based enamel paint is the traditional choice for front doors because of the long life of the paint, consider the drying time and the possibility that using this type of paint potentially increases the likelihood that you will leave noticeable brush marks.

Today’s water-based hybrid paints offer the look of an oil-based paint with the ease of applying as water-based paint. Consider this option for reducing the chance of leaving brush marks on your front door.

Consider the sheen when you choose the paint for your front door. Do you want a matte sheen or a high gloss appearance to the paint on your exterior door? Consider the fact that a high gloss paint may show more flaws, which is something you likely want to avoid when choosing your ideal paint.

Make sure that you choose a paint that has ‘exterior’ or ‘interior/exterior’ on the paint can label. If you use the wrong paint, you face the possibility that it will not go on right, or that it will chip or peel in a short time.

Choosing the Right Paint Brushes to Avoid Leaving Brush Marks on the Front Door

Choosing the right paintbrush is an important step in painting a front door without leaving brush marks all over the door. You cannot pick up any brush just because it is on sale and you think that it saves money.

Choose high-quality brushes, and make sure that you choose appropriate angle brushes for trim, cutouts, or other detailed areas of the door.

Prep the Front Door Before You Paint

Your front door needs the proper prep, including a good cleaning before you open that paint can. First, protect the area around the door. Place plastic sheeting and drop cloths around your door and anywhere else that needs protection.

Remove all hardware from the door. If you cannot remove the hardware, tape around it with painter’s tape. Tape around all front door glass. Remove weather stripping if possible to do so.

Cleaning the front door does not require purchasing expensive cleaners. Liberty Homes, and several other sources indicate that you can simply use dishwashing liquid and water to remove surface dirt and built-up grime. Let the door dry.

Remove existing paint with a putty knife, and then sand the entire door. Wipe away the dust.

Prime your front door using a roller, and by applying thin coats.

Painting the Door Without Leaving Brush Marks

This is a front view of the house with gray exteriors to make the blue main door stand out.

Lightly load the angled brush and paint trim and cutouts by moving horizontally, left to right.

Start painting the front door one section at a time. Some sources suggest using a roller on flat areas of the front door. If you opt for a roller, you still need brushes to quickly smooth out any running or dripping paint. DIY Network explains that using a brush provides a nice, hand-painted look to the door. Make sure that all door edges are properly covered without leaving brush marks.

Apply the paint by overlapping while the paint is still wet. This helps avoid unsightly brush marks on your front door. Paint quickly and smoothly, yet carefully.

Once you finish the first coat, allow the entire door to dry before applying a second or third coat. Every front door needs a minimum of two coats of paint. Check the paint can to see if there is a recommended drying time between coats of paint. If you try to add additional coats of paint before the first coat completely dries, you risk leaving streaks, uneven paint, and brush marks.

Once the final coat of paint is thoroughly dry, remove the painter’s tape. Look for any areas that were missed or that need a minor touch-up.

Once the paint is completely dry, reattach all hardware. Is the hardware scratched, worn, or damaged? Purchase and install the new hardware at the same time that you purchase your paint and brushes to give your front door the perfectly refreshed look.

Enjoy the enhanced appearance, the new curb appeal, and the beauty of your front door. Pat yourself on the back for a job well-done, all achieved with no brush strokes on your door.