Painting The Front Door Red DIY

I’m very happy and thankful for our house and I’m slowly chipping away at making it “ours” in every way possible. I’ve always dreamed of owning an English-storybook-meets-Victorian-style house with a peaked roof, brick chimney and climbing roses over a gated arbor. But for less than a million bucks inside the city? I think not…

I guess you could say we settled for a typical Montreal abode, a basic rectangular brick number, attached on both sides. Needless to say, I felt the urge to inject some personality into an otherwise drab facade and had been flirting with the thought of painting the front door a bright red for several months. Over a recent long weekend, I finally took the plunge and here’s how I did it:

painting front door red DIY before and after Behr exterior paint and primer in one red geranium


-exterior paint in your preferred colour and finish
-paint tray
-foam brush and roller
-all-purpose cleaner
-painter’s tape
-painting drop cloth or plastic
-screw driver
-paper towels/cloths

painting front door red DIY taking off hardware

1. Remove the hardware on the door.

You only need to remove the parts that stick out on the outside, unless you want to paint the entire door (inside and sides too). I kept them in a ziplock bag to keep from losing all the pieces.

painting front door red DIY cleaning door

2. Clean the door surface really well.

This was honestly the most time-consuming part. But probably because I have never cleaned the outside of the door for as long as we’ve lived here and there was sticker residue in two different places. That took forever to get off. By the way, using acetone-based nail polish remover does the trick, if you’re wondering.

painting front door red DIY sanding

3. Sand down surfaces you want to paint.

I used 120 grit sandpaper and really just roughed up the surfaces so it wasn’t so slippery. Make sure you get in the little crevices too if you can. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth after you’re done sanding.

painting front door red DIY plastic cover

4. Lay down some drop cloth or plastic around the door.

This is optional. If you’re a super neat painter, you can probably skip this part, but I know myself and I knew by the end of it, it would look like I had murdered someone in our front entryway. I was not wrong.

painting front door red DIY painter's tape

5. Tape off the parts of the door that you don’t want painted. 

You could also skip this part if you wanted. I taped off the sides of the door, the top, the hardware holes that were now exposed, the glass, the mail slot and a small part of the interior door jam because re: I know myself and I knew I’d get paint on the door jam when I’d lose control of my foam roller. Again, I was not wrong.

painting front door red DIY foam brush Behr Exterior Paint and Primer in One Semi-gloss Red Geranium

6. Using a small foam brush, start painting the smaller/harder to reach areas, grooves and crevices. Once you finish that, use a small foam roller to apply paint to the rest of the door. 

I was going from a white door to a red door so I used an exterior paint and primer in one from Behr in semi-gloss. But if you’re going from a dark door to a light one, you may want to prime it first.

painting front door red DIY foam brush Behr Exterior Paint and Primer in One Semi-gloss Red Geranium one coat (1)

7. Allow paint to dry according to the can’s instructions and add more coats as needed.

I don’t know if you can tell, but the first coat was pretty streaky. I may not have sanded well enough so the paint had a hard time adhering to the door in certain spots, like the vinyl trim around the glass. I ended up doing three coats and got it all covered pretty well.

To be honest, when I saw the colour for the first time (called Red Geranium), it kind of freaked me out. I thought I had made a big mistake. It was so much brighter than I thought it would be. And much more of a warm-toned red than I was expecting. It doesn’t really go with the brick of the house. But then again, our house is made of a really pale pink brick with pretty decent sized what look like white quartz stones sticking out, so…. I’m not sure anything really “goes” with that…

Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. My goal was really to make our front door more fun, more colourful, and more of a statement. I would say that’s mission accomplished.

painting front door red DIY after Behr exterior paint and primer in one red geranium

What do you think of our new door? Is it too crazy or just crazy enough? Let me know in the comments!




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