How to Paint an Exterior Metal Front Door without Brush Marks

Many homeowners believe that painting an exterior metal door is the same as any other type. So they paint it as normal until later on when they see unattractive brush marks. This can work for some homeowners if they accept it as part of its style. Most homeowners would hate looking at it, so they’ll spend more time, effort, and money to correct it.

A metal front door is supposed to be sleek and smooth. This is why brush marks will defeat the purpose of having this type. Brush marks may look nice on a wooden one. Still, they will trigger your obsessive-compulsive personality if you see them on a metal door.

Make sure also to read our articles on removing plaster and how to repair hairline cracks.

Table of Contents

How to Paint a Front Door without Brush Marks

The easiest way to paint a front door without brush marks is to hire a professional. Professional painters have already been doing this for a long time. They know what to do from preparation to finishing. You can sit back as you watch them do it for you. Once done, you can enjoy your metal front door that’s newly finished, minus the brush marks.

But since you’re reading this article, you want to learn how to paint a metal front door without brush marks. It’ll make your exterior look beautiful! We have this covered. Here’s how to do it.

metal door

How to Paint an Exterior Metal Front Door without Brush Marks

  1. Remove the door.

    Swing it open and looking for the hinges that connect it to the frame. Locate the hinge pin and position a screwdriver against it. Hammer the screwdriver lightly to loosen the hinge until it’s removed. Do the same for the other hinges. Most will have 2 or 3 of them.
    Pull the door away from the frame. Ask for help if necessary. Place it down slowly and safely on a flat surface.

    This is also when you remove all the attached hardware to avoid getting paint on them. Remove whatever you don’t want to get that new layer of color. For example, you’d want your door knocker to remain shiny stainless steel.

    Use a screwdriver for this task, and don’t use power tools. This calls for more delicate tools.
    NOTE: This step shouldn’t be necessary, especially if you live in an area where it’s cold. The cold weather will make it longer for the paint to dry. No matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, you wouldn’t want an open invitation for would-be robbers. A missing front door is an open invitation for criminals.

  2. Prepare the area.

    The surface has to be clean and free from grease. This is why it’s recommended that you clean the surface using a degreasing cleaner. You must know that grease will make it harder for the paint to adhere to the surface properly and completely.

    A spray cleaner will work just fine if the door is not too greasy or a new one. Just check the label to make sure that it can work on whatever surface your door has.

    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the cleaner. Ensure that you protect yourself accordingly using goggles, gloves, and the like. Once you’re done, use a dry and clean cloth to dry the surface.

    Next, tape the parts you don’t want to be painted on. Since you’ve already removed the fixtures, it’s just a matter of taping the sides and the edges. When the design calls for some surfaces to remain unpainted, tape those surfaces. Of course, if there are fixtures that you can’t remove, like windows, tape them.

    Take this time to inspect the door properly to see if there are dents that you’d like repaired. Sand down the dents using 80-grit sandpaper before using a patching compound to cover the dents. Allow drying for at least 40 minutes before leveling them using 150-grit sandpaper. Do so until the dents are not that obvious anymore.

    Once you’re done, it’s time to sand the entire thing using 400-grit sandpaper. The goal here is to roughen up the surface, just enough for the primer and the paint to stick. Don’t put too much elbow grease on this task, or you may damage the door.

    There should be a lot of dust, and you need to remove them. Wipe it using a damp and clean cloth, ensuring it’s dust-free once you’re done. If there’s a lot of dust, vacuum it first before wiping it down.

  3. Prime the door.

    You have to know that the paint wouldn’t stick well to metal by itself. They’re not designed to bond well together. This is why the use of the right primer is important. In this case, the primer will act as double-sided tape. The metal door will stick to it and stick to the paint.

    Make sure that the primer is designed to be used for metal. Make sure that it’s also compatible with the product you’ll be using. If unsure, make sure to ask the store before buying.
    Using a small roller, coat the entire door. Leave it to dry for 1 to 3 hours, depending on the primer and the weather conditions. Apply a second coating once dry. Make sure that it’s really dry before advancing.

    Since you’re probably painting both sides, you should prime one side at a time. Once you’re done with the 2 coats, you can work on the other side.

    NOTE: Some options don’t require a primer. If you happen to find one in your area, you can skip this part and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply it.

  4. Apply the paint.

    This is the crucial step if you want to avoid brush marks. It’s this simple. If you don’t want the appearance of brush marks, don’t use a brush! The best way to apply the paint is with a professional sprayer. This is the one used by professional and experienced contractors. This ensures uniformity.

    As an alternative, you can also use a foam roller. Use a smaller roller like a 3-inch one. Resist the temptation to use a bigger one to cover more areas per roll. A smaller roller allows you to work around edges and lines. You can use a bigger roller if you have a flat door.
    You should also use a roller cover if you’re using a foam roller. Don’t use something with more than a 3/8 inch nap or run the risk of poor texture.

    Note that the glossier the paint is, the more important it is to use a sprayer.
    It’s also important that you use a product designed for exterior use. If the can says semi-gloss or exterior satin, it can be used for the exterior metal door.

    Apply the first coat using the sprayer or foam roller. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you still need to use a brush. This is for hard-to-reach areas like the grooves. As a consolation, it’s pretty hard to notice the brush marks in these areas.

    Leave it to dry for at least 6 hours. Sometimes, it may take up to 18 hours for the surface to dry. Don’t apply a second coat or work on the other side before it’s completely dry.
    While applying, make sure that you fix any uneven areas or drip marks. Do this before it dries.
    Once the first coating is done and dry, it’s recommended that you apply a second coating. The additional coating will improve its resistance and appearance. Apply additional coatings until you’re fully satisfied with the appearance.
    Once you’re done, you can work on the other side.

    You may be tempted to use a heat gun or a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Don’t do this. This will lead to uneven parts.

    The best time to apply the paint is early in the morning or evening. This prevents the chemicals from drying too fast before you get the chance to ensure evenness. If it dries up before you’re finished, you’d have to repaint.

  5. Re-attach the door.

    Remove the tapes and attach the fixtures that you removed. Re-attach the door to the frame. If there’s weather-stripping, remove it after re-attaching the door. It will give it enough space to dry completely without pressing against the stripping. You can re-install it after a couple of days.

Front of a house

How do I Remove Paint from a Metal Door?

Do you need to remove paint from a metal door? Yes. Even if you’re using latex paint, you can’t apply your product on top of the door as is. It has to be bare metal.

You have to worry about whether you’re about to remove lead paint or not. It’s the same way that you may have to consider the presence of lead in old radiators. Removing it on your own is very hazardous. We recommend buying test kits to check if it’s safe to remove or not.

Here’s how to remove it:

  1. Using a brush, apply paint thinner on the various surfaces. Use a pressure washer set to 80 psi and operate via a sweeping motion. Stop every now and then to check how you’re progressing. This task will be very easy if the paint was applied using a spray applicator.
  2. Heat the surface using a heat gun. This will lead to the surface curling up, making it easier to remove. Once it has curled up, you can use a scraper to scrape it away.
  3. Apply thinner again. Scrub the remaining part using sand paper or a wire brush.
  4. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the remaining part using a nail polish remover with acetone.
  5. Rinse with water.

Make sure that you’re careful! Consider buying bulk lead paint test kits if needed or have someone come out with a portable XRF device to check the door for lead.


Make sure that you test an old door for the presence of lead paint. It was previously added to make the surface more durable.

NameInstant Lead Test
Country of Origin‎USA
Easy/difficult to useEasy
Item Weight‎1.6 ounces
Product Dimensions‎0.65 x 4.05 x 7.8 inches
Quantity2 – 48


  • They’re easy to use.
  • Cheap if you only need a few surfaces
  • Reliable


  • They leave a mark on the surface they’re tested on.
  • They’re not reusable
  • The price has gone up significantly.

Check out 3M

We’ve already discussed how to paint a primed steel door. At this point, some of you may still be wondering what primer to use. It’s best to use an oil-based one or rust-resistant latex.

After choosing, it’s just following the manufacturer’s instructions.


NameDoor Paint
Finish TypeSemi-Gloss
Paint TypeEnamel
Size32 Fl Oz
Surface RecommendationMetal,Wood


  • Trusted brand
  • 5 colors available
  • Fade resistant
  • Easy to use
  • Dries fast


  • Not for indoor use if you ask us.
  • It’s very smelly as it’s applied.
  • Some people have received damaged deliveries.

Check out Rust-Oleum

The hidden dangers in your home

Did you know that there is a chance certain things in your home will have dangerous substances that will potentially be dangerous to you? 

If you have kids living at your place, you want to ensure that it doesn’t contain any dangers you don’t know about, right? 

The chances are that you are taking your precautions. There are still going to be things you probably haven’t thought about. There may have been product recalls you weren’t aware of. Perhaps the specific product had a higher lead content level than what is permitted. 

Perhaps you weren’t aware of the procedure for properly removing plaster installed back in the day when they would put all sorts of nasty things in the walls. When you decided on removing the plaster, all of that dust suddenly went straight into your lungs as a consequence. 

There is a reason why people are as focused on ensuring that they have a safe pregnancy and avoid things like alcohol. They ensure that you aren’t being exposed to potentially harmful VOCs and other elements affecting air quality

Even if you are renting the place that you are living at. You have to deal with a landlord. You still are interested in making sure that things are done properly. Hairline cracks are dealt with if they cause any issues, and lead is encapsulated or removed.

Lead is safe if:

  • It’s removed
  • It’s encapsulated
  • The paint is in good condition.

Using proper tools

You won’t simply be able to use any paint stripper if you have found that there are issues with the paint in the home that you are in. You also don’t want all that potentially dangerous dust to be unleashed upon you and your family. There are a bunch of measures that will need to be taken when dangerous paint is discovered. 

The rest of this article may be wandering a bit off the topic of painting your exterior metal door. You must know about some of the various dangers in your home. It’s especially since you may have bought this metal front door when regulations were less strict than they are today. 

You are taking every measure that you possibly can to ensure that your newborn baby is safe and can sleep safely. Did you know that it is estimated that there are more than 20 million cribs in the United States that are dangerous for one reason or another? Although they may not all have an increased risk of suffocation, many other concerns may be the case too.

Did you know that more than 11 million recalled units between 2009 and 2011 related to early childhood life? It’s because these units posed some threat to your child? That includes cribs and other bed items that were dangerous for your kid. These items should honestly just be thrown in the dumpster to ensure that it doesn’t hurt anyone.

How would you feel if you found out that you accidentally exposed your kid to a range of unwanted things? It could come from things like mattresses containing harmful chemicals you may not even be able to smell.

Metal gate

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