Do I paint front door with roller? – and other door maintenance tips


Everyone deserves a ‘WOW!’ front door, and it is a lot easier to achieve than you might think. You may be hoping to breathe life into your trusty old door or wish to make your new purchase look blemish-free for as long as possible- Whichever it is we have a some simple maintenance tips to make your front door look fresher for longer!

We asked professional ‘DIY’ers’ from across the globe to answer a question which is tapped in to the Google search bar by you guys on a daily basis:

Do I paint front door with roller?

As usual, our experts didn’t let us down and had a wealth of information between them. From painting techniques to general front door maintenance they covered it all.

Here’s what they had to say:

Preparation is paramount…

“Prior to any paint being applied preparation is paramount! Only when you have a smooth surface free from imperfections will you create a perfect finish.

Preparation will require abrading the surface, priming, and filling imperfections. More light abrasion with finer sandpaper prior to applying the second and third coats of paint is also a good idea, and you also might like to apply coats of either gloss or satin very gently, also between coats.

Door furnishings (numbers, knockers etc.) are usually removed prior to any painting, whereas hinges stay on for the duration. Hinges should be cleaned and protected with masking tape, and then lightly oiled on completion of your door maintenance.

Prevention rather than cure is key, particularly with varnished or stained doors which often look fine but have problems lurking below. The suns UV rays denature the wood underneath layers of paint and varnish so regular inspection and maintenance can save money in the long run.”

-Sean Wilkinson at

When should you use a paintbrush?

Barbara from Decorators Best agrees with Sean by also recommending thorough sanding.

“The Front Door is the first impression visitors get of your home and sets the tone for house’s interiors. Hand painting your door with a brush and sanding between coats gives the smooth and luxurious finish which breathes elegance.

In order to ensure a smooth finish and for easy maintenance I recommend sanding the door in between every coat, painting with a soft bristle brush, and painting in the direction of the grain. Also, consider using Benjamin Moore Advance paint which is specifically made for doors and trim, use a mildew additive with a high quality primer, and use 2-3 coats of polyurethane to protect the painted finish.

Barbara Karpf at

And Nigel from DIY Daddy reminds us to work with the crevasses which make up the structure of most front doors:

“Painting a front door is best done with a brush. This is because most front doors have wood and/or glass panels and a roller would not be able to paint in the panels the same way that a brush would to give full coverage.”

– Nigel -

It is important to consider the type of paint you are using…

“Your decision to use a roller or a brush may depend on the type of paint being applied. When applying a wood preserving varnish or oil a brush would work best. People normally opt for rollers when painting a door due to its size but the finish tends to have (fish eyes) bubbles and orange peel (dimples in the paint) when using oil based products.”

Home Handyman Gareth then went on to explain the importance of paintbrush technique...

“The main disadvantage of using a brush is the streaking but if you use a bigger brush and apply the correct technique you can minimise these. When using a brush, use both sides of the brush in a fluid motion and not to apply too much paint or varnish in one layer. Apply one layer and do not paint for coverage, apply another twenty minutes later and the last twenty minutes after that. Each subsequent layer will rewet the paint underneath and produce a smooth finish.”

- Gareth Greathead-

When should you use a roller?

“At LULU Paint Design we almost always using a foam or velour whizz roller to update front doors for maximum impact and efficiency. We do several thin coats using high quality exterior paints and brush lightly around trim or detail as needed. Thin coats of paint are key to a professional finish and so if you can achieve this with a roller then why not!

–Lulu Danzig at

Should you ever use both?

Lulu from LULU Paint Design mentioned the importance of using a brush to add the finishing touches to your front door, and Michelle at The Painted Hinge agrees: "You can paint a door with a roller to save time, but you will want to follow it up with a brush to smooth out the paint and fill in any spots missed by the roller."

-Michelle at

Working with Stencils

“Your door is the first impression guests get of your home so why not use the opportunity to make them feel welcomed into something special. For some of our more design minded clients we've gone as far as using scale appropriate stencils on entry doors to create a one of a kind moment that leaves people wanting to go inside!

–Lulu Danzig at

For the artistic ones among you, you might like to take your designing to the next level…

Give your door furniture a make-over

“You can breathe new life into outdated doorknobs, knockers and hinges by using spray paint to update the color and finish. Be sure to use a spray paint that is designed for use on metal!"

-Michelle at

Finally, to hang/rehang you front door…

“Always make sure you select the correct hinges for the style of door you are looking to hang. A solid core entry door will need a heaver duty style of hinge and three fitted to the door - one at the top, middle and bottom. This is opposed to an internal lightweight hollow core door you can get away with two small hinges. If the door size is greater in height and width than a standard 2040mm * 820mm door then a forth hinge would also be recommended closer to the top of the door to help carry the extra weight.

One very important step in hanging a new door is to insure the door is completely sealed around all edges before fitting into position, especially the top and bottom of the door, as this will prevent any swelling of the door.”

-James Mason at

So, what are the main points you should take from that advice?

Our experts suggest that if you want to get the job done ASAP then a roller can be used to paint your front door, as long as you apply the recommended three layers, use high quality paint and are prepared to spend time touching up any edging with a paintbrush.

However, if you have the time available then using a paintbrush is perhaps the more appealing option. A brush allows thinner layers of paint to be applied and reduces the chance of the paint bubbling and dimpling. A brush will also ensure full, even coverage across the entire door, including across panels, resulting a professional finish.

Finally, don’t forget to give your entrance some extra love! Oil your hinges, seal its edges and if you feel like your door deserves the ‘Wow!’ Factor then why not try your hand at spray painting your door’s metal furniture, or using a stencil to add that extra bit of personality!

Photo credits: Black and white paint tray : photo credit: Tray, brush, roller, paint via photopin (license)