How we paint a front door: no.1

The first in our series of detailed posts on preparing and painting a front door to a high standard — read them for inspiration and guidance, or to gain an insight into our working methods.



Everyone has high expectations for the impact a well-painted front door can make. We favour satin and eggshell finishes for interior woodwork, but seek the highest gloss available for exterior woodwork, particularly the front door itself.


The candidate

This door is a large Edwardian London classic, dating from the early years of the 20th century. Despite some of the original stained glass having gone astray as the decades passed, the joinery is still in fantastic shape. We’ve previously encountered front doors a fifth of the age in much worse condition.

Trim Decorating -- Edwardian front door redecoration



Step 1

While the underlying condition of the door itself was excellent, the condition of the paintwork — a faded black gloss — was only fair. Brushmarks were conspicuous, perhaps evidence of a poor quality brush having been used; limited prep of the underlying surface also appears to have been a factor.

The letterplate and large doorknob were removed and the whole door and frame were sanded thoroughly: 80-grade Abranet for the stiles and rails, 80-grade conventional sandpaper for the mouldings.


Step 2

The door was dusted down, and Bonda Decor Fill was used to fill all visible surface damage; the filler was then sanded flat. Next, a rag dampened with white spirit was used to clean the door thoroughly.

Trim Decorating -- Edwardian front door redecoration


Step 3

We are now ready to apply the primer: we selected Sikkens Rubbol BL, a waterborne product with fantastic opacity. We ordered this from Holman Paints, who tinted it correctly for our chosen top coat, Basalt by Little Greene (also in a Sikkens finish, which we’ll discuss in the next post).

If you’re tackling a front door for the first time in a while, you can easily check online for guidance about the order in which to carry out the painting.

Trim Decorating -- Edwardian front door redecoration


— Sand the door thoroughly, clean the door

— Apply 2-part filler, sand back, clean the door

— Apply primer

We’ll be back soon with the next steps…