Best Paint for a Front Door

Updated Jun 23, 2024 | Posted Aug 7, 2023 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

If like me you’re house proud, then you’ll agree that the way your front door looks is very important. It’s the one painted surface that everyone sees close up before entering the house. In this blog I’m going to talk about the best paint for a front door. I hope you find it useful.


What do You Need from a Front Door Paint?


The first thing a good front door paint needs to do is look good and suit the style of your house. There are different finishes you can choose from, including gloss, eggshell and satinwood paints.

The other thing a good front door paint must do is protect the door! It needs to be flexible enough to cope with the ever expanding and contracting timber, cope with UV radiation, and withstand a battering from being knocked as you enter your house with handfuls of shopping. That’s quite a lot to ask from a paint really.

It’s no good painting your door with a paint that looks good but won’t last. This is the main reason it’s worth investing in a good paint. You need something that will protect the timber, and keep its appearance for several years.

I think the easiest way for me to guide you through the best paint for a front door is to talk about each type of product in turn (oil-based gloss, water-based gloss, Satinwood, eggshell etc), and then recommend what I think is the best product for each.


The Best Oil-Based Gloss for a Front Door


Gloss is becoming less popular inside peoples’ homes, but it’s still up there as one of the most popular finishes for a front door. It stands loud, proud and dramatic, almost as if your front door is wearing a sharp suit. I love this finish!

I know water-based gloss has come a long way in recent years, but for overall finish, sheen level, and durability, oil-based gloss is still superior.

The best gloss paint for a front door is Dulux Weathershield in my honest opinion. The paint has good opacity, very high sheen level, and really does last for years.

The colours don’t really fade, it’s very durable and it will flex well as needed.

You will need to apply a coat of the Dulux Trade Weathershield Undercoat to your front door before using the gloss. If you use a foam roller to apply the paint to the door, then you will achieve a glass-like finish.

The Best Water-based Gloss for a Front Door


I still think the finish, durability and longevity of oil-based gloss is better suited for a front door, but there are advantages to using water-based. It’s better for the environment, easier to use, and it dries quicker (which is a real bonus when painting a front door). And after all, water-based gloss has vastly improved.

I think the best water-based gloss goes to Dulux again. Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry Gloss ticks all the right boxes. Anyone can use this paint and achieve a good finish.

Just carry out your prep as normal, apply one coat of Dulux Trade Weathershield Quick Dry Undercoat to your front door, then follow up with 2 coats of gloss.

Unlike some other water-based gloss products, Dulux Weathershield doesn’t look cheap and tacky. It’s also quite forgiving when it comes to application, so you don’t need to faff around too much to avoid brush and roller marks. It’s just a good all-round product.

The best water-based gloss for a front door

The Best Satinwood Paint for a Front Door


Satinwood has a lower-sheen level than gloss and suits traditional houses and cottages, as we as some modern buildings. It’s a lot more delicate and adds a subtle elegance to your home.

The best satinwood finish for a front door is probably Zinsser AllCoat. It’s certainly the most popular paint amongst Professional Decorators. Zinsser manufacture an oil-based version of AllCoat, but I prefer the water-based version. I think it looks brilliant on any external woodwork, including front doors.

Opacity in colours is fantastic, although the opacity in white isn’t great (this is only ever a problem when you’re going for a colour change). One of the advantages of using Zinsser AllCoat on front doors is you don’t need to apply any sort of undercoat. This paint adheres well to most surfaces.

The Best Eggshell for a Front Door


Eggshell has even less of a sheen than satinwood and can be used in a similar sort of way.

The best eggshell for a front door is probably Sandtex Trade Eggshell X-Tra, simply because of it’s overall finish and superior durability. Very easy to apply, great opacity, and a very smooth look once completed. This is an oil-based product.

There is one downside, and that’s the drying time, which is extended even further in cooler weather. It can take 6 – 8 hours to harden.

Drying time can be a bit of a pain when painting a front door, so I tend to add a couple of drops of liquid dryers to speed things up (don’t add too much).

You’ll find this paint lasts for years and years on a front door. Once cured, it will stand up to knocks as well as anything else on the market.

How to a Front Door


I thought it might be helpful if I gave you a few tips on painting a front door as it can be tricky. Regardless of which paint product you go for, you still need to spread it over a large area evenly and avoid visible brush or roller marks. Front doors will show every little defect, so take care when painting them.


Carry Out Your Prep.

Bare timber should be primed using an appropriate primer. Large repairs can be made using Oxera Resin Repair Filler. Smaller repairs can be made using caulk, or any exterior wood filler. HB42 filler would be my recommendation, but other products are available.


Remove Dust

Next, completely remove dust from your front door before you paint it. I do this using a dust brush and a tact cloth.


Paint Your Door

Then work on one section at a time with your chosen paint; cut-in small areas with a brush, and roll the larger sections. This will help you achieve an even coat. Foam rollers are ideal for gloss, and The Two Fussy Blokes Rollers for basically any other product. Finish off by gently ‘laying off’ your rolled paint by gently passing your paintbrush over the top. Do this and your front door will look spectacular!


Final Thoughts


I hope this has given you a little bit of insight into the best paint to use on a front door. Even if you don’t go for one of my recommendations, at least you now have some insight into the different finishes available so you can choose the one that suits your house.

As a Decorator, I love painting front doors. They’re so vibrant and fun! Not just that, but everyone notices a door. It’s the focal point of any exterior painting to a house, so it’s important you get it right.

Examples of Work Carried Out by Other Decorators

Mark Hicks

I used Zinsser Cover Stain to prime this front door to help with adhesion. I then followed up by applying an undercoat and 1 coat of Dulux Weathershield Gloss in Post Box Red. It looks sharp!

The white surround was also painted in Dulux Weathershield gloss, this time in white to enhance the contrast between door and the rest of the house.

I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

front door painted with gloss paint

Johno White

We painted this door using Zinsser AllCoat. The colour is Little Greene Leather, which we got matched at an online trade supplier. The door frame is also Zinsser AllCoat, but we used black to make the door pop.

We hand painted everything, which is something you can do with satinwood. We loved painting this, it’s unusual and funky.

Zinsser AllCoat is a great paint for a front door. It’s durable, fast drying and looks fantastic. There aren’t many water-based products on the market that perform as well as AllCaot.

An unusual front door painted pink

Lewis Michael

I sprayed this front door because I wanted to achieve a factory finish. It’s composite rather than wood, so any defects like orange peel and brush marks would have stood out a mile.

We used Zinsser Bullseye 123 as the adhesion primer. This is a water-based product that works well on this type of surface. It carries on curing long after you’ve finished painting your door.

We then applied two coats of Zinsser AllCoat in Satin. This is the best paint for a front door in my opinion. It has great adhesion, you can spray, or you can brush. And the finish is always good.

Soor painted in black satin

Tynemouth Decorators LTD

This front door was painted using Johnstone’s Aqua Undercoat, which is quick drying. By using this, we were able to close the door sooner.

However, we used oil-based gloss for the finish coat, simply because of the overall sheen and durability.

This front door is a proper statement. We mirrored the door colour in the centre of the porch ceiling, and contrasted everything with a crisp white gloss.

Tynemouth Decorators LTD

blue front door

Aaron Bond

Dulux Weathershield gloss is the best paint for a front door in our experience. Especially in dark colours like this black! The sheen level is unreal, and the colour doesn’t fade over time like it does with other paint products. It is expensive, but well worth it.

We painted this front door a while ago and it looks great.

front door painted black

David Brook

We painted this door using Dulux Trade Weathershield Gloss, which is always brilliant in black. We sanded it right back before painting, but I think the last decorator used some sort of tar brush to paint it. The brush marks were horrendous.

But with a bit of work, we got the door looking brand new. I’m quite proud of this one.

It’s important to get a front door looking good. Other than the back of the door in your toilet room, it’s the one that gets looked at the most.

black gloss front door

Brett Goulty

I’ll take you through the steps I took to paint this front door.

First, we sanded everything down, filled, caulked, then removed all the dust.

The we applied 2 coats of Sandtex OB flexible primer / undercoat to the door.

Followed by 2 coats of Sandtex Eggshell X-Tra.

The top coats were slightly thinned, applied with Two fussy blokes rollers.

I know we put a lot of work into it, but it came up absolutely lovely.

door painted in white eggshell

Adam Hanson

We used Bedec MSP in white to paint this doorframe.

The door was painted in Sandtex Eggshell X-Tra.

The black and white contrast is always a winner when it comes to exterior doors and frames. I know the paint finishes are softer than a gloss would be, but the colours make it really pop.

white and black front door

Updated Jun 23, 2024 | Posted Aug 7, 2023 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.


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