Black Front Door Paint: My Lessons Learned


Black front doors are like having a little black dress in your closet. It’s classic and it dresses up your home’s exterior beautifully.

Black Front Door Paint by

Here is a quick before and after of my black front door on our previous house.

Now that we sold this house, it seems to hold true that black doors truly do add value to your home. I even painted my interior doors black and the new owners loved it!

Black Front Door Paint Tips

I did learn that achieving this type of finish requires a slight amount of pre-planning and skill. Here are some things to consider in order to achieve this look.

Painted with Heirloom Traditions Paint “Iron Gate”. My new favorite paint for interior and exterior doors.

1. After sanding, your new paint selection matters:


If you prefer a high-gloss look, use a power sander, then wipe down the door. Then, prime. (You don’t want to add a high-gloss finish over bird poop).  Rustoleum makes an awesome paint with self-leveling tendencies. Self leveling means that the paint tends to blend within itself, leaving very few brush strokes. This is ideal if your door is removed and painted while face up. Since I’m impatient, I did this while the door was on the hinges, and have a few drippy areas that I will need to sand out…but, other than that, I like the changes.

2. Time of day & weather conditions matter too: Don’t paint when it’s too hot or in direct sunlight because the paint will dry way too fast. (I learned this from the purple door project several years ago). Pick a cooler day when the door isn’t in direct sunlight. In my case, I had to paint my door in the evening and waited until temps were under 70 degrees since my house is east-facing and we get direct morning and afternoon sun. Because of evening temperatures being cooler, our paint dried so slow that we had to get creative in locking up the house overnight.

3. Paint the panels first: If you have a door with panels I suggest painting these first. I used a nylon 1″ trim paint, then filled in flat surface area with a roller…followed by brush strokes. I suggest painting the bottom panels first and work your way up. Make sure to blend out the paint to disguise your stopping & starting points (in other words, keep a “wet” edge”).

4. Brush strokes vs. rolling it: Here is what I mean (see pictures below). I rolled the paint on the interior. Why? It seemed to blend with the rest of the interior. But on the outside I decided I wanted a higher gloss finish, so adding the step of smoothing the paint with the brush makes it much shinier. To do this, I worked in small sections, first rolling on the paint, then dragging a nylon brush (continuous) in a vertical line. Be sure to drag the brush in the same direction.

Front door interior paint, rolled on with sponge roller.
Front door exterior, rolled on then quickly brushed it for a shinier, finished effect.

5. Have I mentioned–work fast? Since you’re working in smaller sections, this helps. Don’t slap paint on the whole door and expect an even finish. Focus one area at a time, blend it into the areas that come next. Do your best to keep the area wet to keep the paint workable until you achieve an even look, but not too much. I spent about 5 minutes (or less) in each section trimming, then rolling on the paint, followed by dragging the brush strokes. Then I would move to the next section. At some point, the paint will start to dry and glob so don’t overdo it.

6. Paint edges of door first, then from bottom up, sides last: Had I taken my own advice (again, lesson learned), I would have a nearly perfect finish. The top of my door looks like glass, but the bottom had drips that I did my best to fix. It’s not awful, but I’m my own worst critic. We will be fixing this soon with a light sanding then a redo.

7. Accessorize! Check eBay and Etsy for cool door knockers: I mentioned that I’m adding a brass kickplate, and I did invest in a new door handle ($99 from Lowe’s) as well. This is certainly the fun part!

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  1. I like it! Im not a purple fan though, so I’m bound to prefer the black. Mine is red, but I’ve been wanting to change it to black for a while. First, I need a new front door and I need to ditch the screen door.

  2. Mine was red when I moved in, and I outgrew the purple for awhile now. Thanks for the comment!

    1. Jenevieve says:

      What paint brand and color is that? That is exact what I want to do!

      1. This is Rustoleum oil based paint.

        1. Hello, I have plastic doors, will this paint be accurate for such ones? Thanks.

        2. Is this the Rustoleum oil based paint can that says 7779 Gloss Black?

          Thanks & Blessings!

          1. Jeanette, DIY Blog says:

            I believe that’s the right one, yes! Good luck!

  3. robert gunter says:

    what color is your siding – actual color name? also do you have black shingles

    1. I would also love to know what color your siding is! Thanks :)

      1. It’s grey from the builder – I don’t have the exact brand name or color, I’m sorry!

  4. My door is black, but I’m thinking about a dark purple. Your door looks so pretty in black, now I’m not sure! :)

    1. Thank you Vanessa….I like the versatility of the black door–especially during the holidays. Purple was always so pretty in the spring, summer and fall…and in spite of what I was warned about, the black door stays and looks fresh and clean. It’s been up for 2 years and it looks as new as the day I painted it.

      1. Michelle Baker says:

        Can you please give a link for door handle? Looks great!

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  6. Carol Mungovan says:

    Would love to know what color gray you used! We are in the process of painting our house and the color we chose is not working (BM platinum gray). Scouring the web for another color to try and yours is stunning!

    1. Carol I sent you an email too, but the exterior grey color came from our builder (Ryan Homes). Our home style is an Esquire (built in 2005). I don’t remember the actual color…but maybe it’s on their website. It was part of the package when I built the house :)

  7. Thank you for the tips! Your door turned out awesome! I love that you used a glossy finish. I’ve been wanting to paint my front door black ever since before pinterest was around and just never thought it’d look good with my house color. I think it looks so classy! ;)

    1. Thanks Michele, I think my door will be this color for awhile, I’m in love with the high gloss. Keep me posted on your project!

  8. Too funny! I bought my house and the door color was that Purple (with red shutters). I immediately turned it glossy black and added a kickplate. Might take the faded red shutters and paint them black. Next year? Thanks for the tutorial. I will be doing the side and back door myself. I let the painter do the front door because I didn’t want to obsess over my paint job.

    1. You bet, Carol. I also never posted this but our shutters faded in the sun, so we removed them all and spray painted. Ahhh the joys of home ownership!

  9. Jeanette would you use the rustoleum black high gloss for the inside front door also?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Dee! Yes I definitely would. I just rolled the interior because I painted it during a different time of year (much cooler)…and the Rustoleum has strong fumes. So if you have good ventilation and want the same shiny black look for the interior – I say go for it!

  10. Your door is lovely! What is the finish of your handleset? Is it brass? The link to Lowe’s is not working for me. Thanks so much!

  11. Trouble is all the imperfections stand out, like where your panel seams are, I think Im going with semi gloss
    Yea she wants black shutters too

  12. You door looks great! I want to paint mine black too! Some questions, is that a wood or steel door? What color trim is around your door on the inside? Thanks!

  13. Teresa Clanton says:

    looks beautiful as does everything you touch. I was in Lebanon two weekends ago and ran across your shop at the Market ! I painted my door which was purple when I moved in to black gloss, so I was nodding my head at all your tips. Now, it’s a medium grey for about 4 years now. I love black doors myself.

  14. wait I’m confused, did you paint this with Rustoleum or Heirloom Traditions Iron gate? under the picture it says Iron gate.

  15. Suzanne Jantzen says:

    Would you be able to tell me where you got the hardware for the door? (Gold with glass door knob)

  16. This is NOT advice for color. My front door is covered but faces the sun 3 hrs a day. Should I be concerned about heat gain/fading? It is a fiberglass door with wood veneer. With TWO black doors under your belt your advice would be greatly appreciated!

  17. Jay Crowley says:

    Can you share the brand of the brass door handleset? I can’t find it on the Lowes site and can’t read the brand on the pic you shared. I love it!

    1. Jeanette, DIY & Decorating Blogger says:

      Hi Jay, thank you! I also saw your question and replied on Instagram. It’s the Bravura handleset but I am not sure if Delaney Hardware makes that same handleset in the brass anymore. I tagged them in the Instagram comments hoping for a reply. Here is the link to the Instagram post: — thank you for being here! :)