Tip 1: Commit and set time aside
The thing with a front door is that it always seems to end on the back burner. If you decided that this is for you, make the time and commit at least two of your valuable weekends to get the job done. It is summer and the warm weather is ideal for this little DIY project. Think how inspired you will feel every time you walk into your palace or pondokkie. A new door is truly like a new start and let it remind you of that daily.
Tip 2: Prepping and planning
Get all your gear ready before you start. Here’s what you’ll need:
80-120 grit sandpaper – It is always better to buy these in rolls so you always have some on hand for projects, but if you feel this is truly a once off thing for you to tackle DIYs, then you can easily get sheets as well. Head on over to your local hardware store.
Rags – it’s a dusty job and you’ll need to rub off dust while you work. Have a vacuum cleaner handy too.
Plastic dust sheet for your porch or hall. If someone opens your back door while the front door is open, you’ll pull a dust cloud through the house.
If you are a true plastic surgeon of doors and your door is in a pretty bad shape, then you will need to use wood filler before starting the undercoat. Note – decorators caulk is not ideal, as it’s not appropriate for front doors.
Get the best paint primer and an undercoat from a Paintsmiths near you. This is to prepare your surface. However, you won’t need both of these separately if you get a primer undercoat.
Paint for the door.
You’ll mostly use a 5-7 cm synthetic bristle brush. Paintsmiths stock an in house brush range that is perfect for this job, but you can also use Hamilton’s brush or Academy brush. These are all available at your local Paintsmiths store.
Remember to get some brush cleaner for cleaning brushes.
Stanley knife blade – very useful for cleaning spots of paint off glass – just don’t cut your fingers.
Tip 3: Choose a quality paint for a quality door …and decade!
If you’re painting your front door, you’ll need exterior gloss. Paintsmiths has the best range under the MIDAS brand. Remember that a quality product will ensure that your front door stays this amazing for at least another decade! We are fans of colour so of course we will tell you to be a brave soul. Imagine that your house becomes the landmark in your area. You know, when people say “ The house with the red door” “Choose a strong colour to make a strong statement.” If you are a ‘play it safe’ type of person, well then we will respect that too.
Whatever paint you choose, make sure you get the same brand primer undercoat to go with the top coat. Paints are designed to work together for the best results and, in some cases, can be completely incompatible between brands.
Choose Paintsmiths products for lasting quality.
Tip 4: Paint in the right order
Prepare the outside of the door on day one, by removing all the door furniture then sanding it all over (being careful not to scratch your glasswork), wood-filling if necessary and dusting it down with your rags. Start painting early in the day to get maximum drying time.
Don’t overload your brush with paint – you’ll get drips all over the floor and it’ll run on the door. First, paint all the moldings and cut into the windows (if you have any) using the Paintsmiths/Hamilton’s brush. As you look at the door, you’ll see horizontal lengths of wood – ‘rails’ – that fit into vertical lengths called ‘stiles’. Often down the middle of a door, you’ll also have a length of wood called a ‘muntin’. If the door has them, paint the muntins first, using long, sweeping motions, then start ‘laying off’ the paint using one long, continuous stroke back into the paint you’ve put on the door.
Next, paint the rails. Once you’ve painted all the rails, you can paint the stiles, so that the edge where each rail finishes is painted over on the stile – this will give you a good finish. While you’re painting the stiles, paint the hinge edge of the door at the same time.
Tip 5: Drying time
For a front door, we use two layers of primer undercoat and one coat of gloss. The undercoat is touch-dry after two hours, but I always leave the door open for as long as possible, before closing it to go to bed. I let it dry properly for 18 hours, then give the door a fine-sand, rub-off with a rag, and repeat the process.
Use a wedge to prop the door open while it dries and if you need to be elsewhere in the house, put on the internal security chain. For the gloss layer, it takes 24 hours to dry properly, so you will need to sleep with the door very slightly wedged open and the internal chain on. If you don’t want to risk that, leave it for as long as possible, but you may need to do some touching-up the next day.
Once everything is dried and set, you can re-fix your door furniture and you’re done. Incidentally, while you’re painting your front door, you tend to meet just about every neighbor in your road – just don’t get roped into painting theirs for them!
Lastly, remember that this is your statement, your door and yes, your decade!