How to Paint An Exterior Door 

Do you have a front door that’s just kind of “blah”? Today I’m going to show you how I transformed my builder-grade front door into something elegant and beautiful. 

Black Front Door. How to paint doors black

This post may contain paid ads and affiliate links from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full disclosure here.

What you will need to paint an exterior door



  • Paint 
  • Door hardware 

I had a very good reason to start this project. Long story short, my door malfunctioned a few weeks ago and the handle wouldn’t open. So, I had to get my neighbor to help me break into my own house! It worked, but we broke the door jamb and the trim pulled away from the wall on the inside. It all needed to be replaced. I’d never replaced a door jamb before, so this project was a first for me. And it seemed like a good opportunity to paint the door itself too. 

Easy front door upgrade with paint. How to easily paint your front door black.

Step by Step instructions to paint an exterior door

remove all door hardware

I decided to replace everything except the door, so the first step was to take all the door hardware off. I left the door in place to paint it. 

Cut in all the edges with a brush

Some of you might remember I have a goal to paint all my doors black! Here’s another one off the list. I used the color Dark Engine From Dunn Edwards Paints and cut in all the edges and small spaces with a brush and then rolled the rest. I got the painting done in a day, which was nice and fast!

Once I was done painting, I put on the new handle.  

How to paint doors without removing them.

Replacing the door Jamb

Then I had a bigger job to tackle: the door jamb.

I used a small crowbar and hammer to pry the trim away from the wall first. 

Getting the jamb out was a bit trickier because I didn’t want to damage the wood right next to it on the exterior part of the house. I used a chisel and a hammer to gently separate the piece of wood that I wanted to remove from the wood I wanted to keep. It took a long time, but it worked!   

Then it was time to put the new jamb in place. There were a couple of little problems to deal with for this part! There was no stock in the pieces I wanted, so instead of one tall piece for each side of the door, I had to buy two small ones and cut one so the two together were the right height. I didn’t realize until I got the new piece home that the old jamb had an extra piece of wood attached to it on the exterior. So, I took the extra piece off the old broken board, and glued it to the new board, and then nailed it on with my nail gun to make sure it stayed put.

Once this was done, I got the whole piece up and nailed it into place. Then I put wood filler into all the nail holes and sanded it down when it was dry.

The next step was putting the trim up around the interior frame of the door. When I pulled the trim off the wall, it pulled some of the drywall off with it. So I used plaster compound to repair the trouble spots.  

While the plaster dried, I caulked all the edges on the new exterior pieces of wood. The plaster still wasn’t dry when I finished that, so I went ahead and painted the new outside trim. I painted it the same color it was before, using a can of paint the previous owners had left for me. This meant I only had to paint the new pieces, which was nice! 

When the plaster inside was dry, I sanded it down and installed the new trim with my nail gun. I filled the holes with wood filler, sanded them down, and then painted all the interior trim the same shade of black as the door.  

Isn’t it beautiful? The black paint really elevates what is actually a very standard exterior door. And I love the look of the new hardware too.  

Do you have some front door before and afters? Tag me @designingparkside, I would love to see them! 

Similar Posts