How to Paint a Metal Door in 6 Easy Steps

how to paint a metal door

Do you happen to be an enthusiastic DIYer who has a metal door that is peeling, rusting, or who is simply tired from the old metal door paint? Then you have come to the right place! Here, you will find the ultimate answer to how to paint a metal door.

Painting exterior or interior metal doors has its own tricks, because of the way metal behaves. It is sturdy and safe, but it can rust and does not absorb the paint (unlike wood). But you do not need to worry about that. In this guide, we are going to cover the process step by step while including the most important tips.



How to Paint a Metal Door Exterior?

Let us have a quick view of what you are getting yourself into and what you need for painting metal door:

  • Your working time is going to be a few hours, but the total time would be one or two days.
  • This how to paint a metal door is not exclusive for professionals. Even if you consider yourself a beginner, you can paint such doors.
  • Your cost should not exceed 100 dollars.

The products and tools you need include:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Degreaser
  • Paint stripper
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint roller and angular sash brush
  • Primer and exterior satin or semi-gloss paint
  • Dust mask and safety glasses

Back to our how to paint a metal door guide. Follow these steps:


1. Remove the Door and Its Hardware

For an easier experience, which also offers better results, remove the door from its frame. Then, remove all hardware including the letterbox, door handles, hinges, knockers, etc. In case you were unable to remove the hardware, tape over anything you do not want to be painted.

Q: How to Paint a Metal Door without Removing It?

As mentioned, removing the door will increase your speed and improve the final result. However, removing the door is not necessary and if you are fine with painting around these items at slower paces, leave the door where it is.

Painting a metal door without removing it is not that different from painting a door that is removed. So, you can follow the rest of the steps even if you are reluctant about removing the door and hardware.

Do not forget to tape over the parts you do not want to paint as well to ensure a clean finish.


2. Clean the Door (Soil, Paint, and Rust)

You what the metal door paint to feel smooth, right? So, you need to completely clean the surface before applying the paint. Using a high-quality degreaser and a clean cloth, remove any dirt, oil, grease, or grime from the door’s surface.

When done, wipe it down with another clean (and dry) cloth. Leave the door for one to two hours and then move on to the next steps.

Q: How to Paint a Metal Door That Is Peeling?

Depending on the door’s condition and if it is not already paint-free, you may want to know how to paint a metal door that is peeling. So, if there are flakes of paint on the door, you need a paint stripper or heat gun to clean them off. Do not use abrasive materials that can damage the door.

If you have done the first step and removed the door from the frame, remove the paint stripper in a well-ventilated area as they emit fumes. And if the door is left attached to the frame, make sure to ventilate the room. In both cases, wearing a dust mask and safety glasses for lung and eye protection is recommended.

Q: How to Paint a Metal Door with Rust?

If the rust has not caused holes or breakage and the door is still structurally sound, there is no need to replace the door entirely and you still can give your door a new color, but how to paint a metal door with rust?

In this case, you need to sand the rust spots and treat them with a rust inhibitor. There are also homemade alternatives. For example, you can dip a sponge in vinegar, dab it onto the remaining rust after sanding and leave it for 30 minutes. If you noticed any trace of rust, make a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the area, and wait 30 minutes.


3. Sand the Door Down

Sanding down is a crucial step in a ‘how to paint a metal door’ guide. Because it is only after that the primer and metal door paint can adhere to the surface.

Wear a dust mask and safety glasses and start sanding the door slowly and lightly. 400-grit sandpaper would be ideal. Once you are done, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust.


4. Prime the Door

If you have a new exterior door, is it probably pre-primed and you can apply the paint directly. In any other case, a high-quality primer forms a protective barrier in the door. To apply the primer, use a paint roller for the main sections and an angular sash brush for panels and corners. All primers need some time to dry (some more and some less). On average, you will need to wait for one to three hours.

Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions and apply a second coat if necessary before applying the metal door paint.

Q: What Is the Best Primer for Metal Door?

Depending on your metal door paint, the primer is different. For example, if you are using latex or oil-based paint, a good multi-surface primer will work just fine.


5. Apply Metal Door Paint

When the primer is completely dry, apply a coat of metal door paint on the flat areas using the paint roller. Use the angular sash brush for paneled areas and corners.

When painting an exterior metal door, apply a minimum of two coats for a consistent and durable finish. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see how many coats you will need. But before applying the next one, make sure each coat is completely dry. The manufacturer’s instructions are likely to inform you about this as well. If applying metal door paint on both sides of the door, work on one side at a time.

Once the painting is done, leave the door for at least 12 hours to dry completely.

Q: What Kind of Paint Do You Use on a Metal Door?

  • What kind of paint do you use on a metal door?
  • What is the best paint for metal front door that gets a lot of sun?
  • What is the best paint for exterior metal door?

These are all common questions for anyone who wants to know how to paint a metal door. Exterior-grade satin or semi-gloss paint is among the best primer for metal door for the exterior.

Q: How to Paint a Metal Door without Brush Marks?

By taking the door off its hinges, sanding down the door, and using a paint roller, you are taking the most efficient steps to avoid this problem. If using brushes or deciding not to remove the door, remember these tips:

  • Choose the right metal door paint, and use a conditioner instead of water to thin it. Thin paint offers longer coverage, even finish, and proper leveling.
  • Sand after applying each coat of paint, and thoroughly clean after that.
  • Close doors and windows and turn off the HVAC system so the paint levels better.
  • Turn off overhead lighting and use a work light that you can position close to the door.
  • Roll paint in the direction of the door’s grain while avoiding applying thick coats of paint.
  • Level out paint using conditioner. Also, avoid painting when temperatures are over 90 degrees Fahrenheit or when there is too little humidity, which causes the paint to dry too fast without proper leveling.


6. Attach the Door

When the metal door paint has dried completely, remove the painter’s tapes, reattach the hardware, and rehang the door if you removed it.



How to Paint a Metal Interior Door?

Painting a metal interior door is not actually different than painting an exterior one. In fact, due to the lack of sun exposure, you have more options when choosing paint.



Final Thoughts

Metal doors are safe yet beautiful options that are quite common. As sturdy as they are, they require an occasional repaint over the faded one.

You may face some challenges when removing and rehanging the door (due to the heavyweight) or when painting around hardware without removing the door. But the result will be worth your time!

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