Learn How To
Paint Metal Door!

This exterior metal door was peeling badly.

The inside of this exterior door was peeling, too.

I had to learn how to paint a metal door!  When I moved into this house I knew that one of the first tasks was to paint the exterior doors, all of which were peeling both inside and out!

So, like a good DIYer, I researched the steps.  Not too difficult.  I can handle that! 

Click here to see those basic steps as outlined below.

However, with my doors - not so fast!

Glass insets on this door had slipped since the door was installed 33 years earlier.

There Were Gaps at the Top of the Glass Insets!

I could not just simply paint the doors - I had to solve the gaps at the top of glass insets.  The glass was held in place by plastic frames.  The inside supports for the glass were broken allowing the glass to slip down.

Some of the plastic pins holding the frames together were also broken.  So, it was necessary to totally replace the frames holding the glass.

Removing the plastic frames around the glass insets was a serious chore!

Remove & Replace Plastic Glass Frames.

The first step was to remove the plastic frames holding the glass in place WITHOUT breaking the glass. [Yes, I checked.  Nobody makes that size of glass inset anymore.] 

It took about an hour to remove each glass panel.  After removing the first glass inset, I checked how much it would cost to replace the door!

REALITY CHECK!!  Much cheaper to fix the door. . . so back to work on existing door.

Removing the outdated plastic decorations was absolutely essential.

Remove All Plastic Trim.

The exterior of the door had this VERY outdated plastic trim!

Because it would have been almost impossible to match the new trim around the glass with the plastic trim on the bottom 2/3s of the door, that needed to be removed, too.  That left a bunch of holes in the exterior metal that needed to be filled.

Removing the plastic trim left a bunch of holes in the exterior of the door.

How To Fill the Holes?

The dog seemed to be considering this problem, but it took a trip to the auto parts store to find a solution.  I ended up using the filler normally used for auto bodies.  I had never worked with it before, but it wasn't hard to use.  It just took a long time to get the door smooth - about seven applications with sanding in between each layer.

Steps on How to Paint Metal Door.

So, after solving those problems I was finally ready to apply everything I learned on how to paint metal door.

Step 1:  Sand all surfaces.  And orbital sander worked great! Sanding has two objectives.  The first is to remove all peeling paint.  The second is to rough up the underlying surface so that the primer paint will adhere well.

Step 2:  Use a primer paint as a base!  I asked a lot of advice from painters, and all told me to NOT use a primer/paint combination.  Because this was an exterior door, I used an oil based primer, instead of a water based.  If I wanted the paint to not peel for the next 33 years (the time the last paint job lasted), applying the more durable primer was important.  I was told the primer was only needed where the bare metal was showing, but, to be safe, I primed everything!

Step 3:  Apply the exterior paint.  I used the same paint for both the inside and outside for now.  Now that the door is "rehabbed" it will be simple to repaint as more decorating happens.

Step 4:  Apply 2nd coat of exterior paint.

The interior of the repainted door looks great!

Inside of Repainted Door.

I was very pleased with the final result!

The exterior of the repainted door looks great, too.

Outside of Painted Door - Look, Mom, No More Holes!

I was so happy to get rid of the outdated plastic trim!!   And the too dark brown on the outside of the door!  And the too-tan everything on the inside of the laundry room!

This project was a lot of work to complete, but it was worth it!!

It makes me smile at the difference when I walk through the door!

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