Black exterior doors are like having that little black dress in your closet. It dresses up your home’s exterior beautifully. Here is a quick before and after of my black front door on our previous house.
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.
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.
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! There are also so many cool door knockers to choose from that reflect your own personal style. I found skulls, birds, dogs, people kissing…all kinds crazy options online. Here is the one that I picked for under $12.00, called French Lace: