Whether it’s your front entry door or a garage door, steel doors are a great choice for exterior applications. They’re strong, sturdy and affordable, making them one of the more popular choices for exterior doors. Unfortunately, a steel door can be tough to paint. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve seen countless homeowners attempt to paint a steel door with very little success. Avoid the following five mistakes when painting a steel door and you’ll come out with a great looking paint job every time.
Don’t Remove the Door
I used to make this mistake all of the time. Taking the door off the hinges and placing it on a saw horse to paint it. The problem with that is that more often than not, the door doesn’t go back in place the same way it came off. Also, you’ve got to wait too long for one side to dry and a saw horse can easily ruin your fresh coat of paint once you flip the door. Leave the door in place, remove the hardware and cover the hinges with rubber cement. Peel away the rubber after you’ve painted.
Don’t Use a Paintbrush
This is another big no-no when it comes to painting a metal door. Because the paint doesn’t soak into the door, it tends to smear around and leave a lot of unattractive lines in the final paint job. Use a small 4″ light nap roller instead. You’ll be able to knock down any lines or other troubles that a brush gives you. Use a dry brush to lightly brush away any drips or blemishes left from the roller.
Don’t Start Painting without Cleaning
Doors that have already been painted are typically covered with grease from all of the hands that have touched the door. You might not be able to see it, but it’s there. It’s important to wash the door with a quality degreasing agent before you apply any paint, otherwise, your paint could end up peeling off later on down the road.
Don’t Start Painting without Sanding
Peeling and flaking paint pieces definitely need to be scraped off and sanded smooth. Painting over bad paint is a big mistake that can lead to more problems as time goes by. You’ll also need to slightly rough up the coat of the existing paint. A quick pass with light grit 220 sandpaper will be just enough to etch the existing paint so the new paint sticks to the old without any troubles. Be sure to wipe the steel door down with a damp cloth and allow it to dry before priming and painting.
Don’t Paint over Oil-Based Paint with Latex/Acrylic
Back in the day, all painted doors and trim were covered with oil based paint. Today, oil based paint is usually only used for special applications. Modern day exterior paint is often latex or acrylic water based and works even better than the older oil based materials-especially when it comes to clean up. However, if you paint over oil based paint with water based latex/acrylic it will peel off! Cover any oil based paint with a good exterior primer like Kilz or Zinsser before using latex/acrylic water based paint.