What paint sheen did you use for your front door?

SheeshareeIIAugust 28, 2011

I've put this off for a few years now and I just need to buy a quart of paint and knock it off the list.

I'm planning on using SW Wrought Iron (softer black). I know glossy will show more brush strokes than a semi or satin. I'm not really worried about that but now that I'm ready to buy paint I'm wondering if it would look better with less sheen. What did you end up using?

I was planning on buying an exterior paint from SW since the color is theirs and it just seems easier. Anyone have any beefs about their exterior paint?

Also, do you paint that skinny side part of the door (I'm sure it has a name) that you don't see when closed?

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The last two times I painted my door I used BM Exterior Soft Gloss. Not too shiny and not too flat.

I have SW Exterior Duration on the trim of my house and it is great. Well worth the money in my opinion. (I have cedar siding so it is stained. Otherwise it would have been SW Duration.)

Here is a pic of my door. The skinny side to the right is the interior color/stain. The skinny side to the left is the exterior color. I am pretty sure I did this correctly. I remember researching it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Ours was a shinier black semi-gloss when we repainted it and kept it. I do wish we went with less sheen, but oh well. The door has been painted many times, so brush strokes are almost unavoidable. We'd have to totally re-sand it to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 8:40AM
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I like some shine to my front door - not too shiney but not flat. I'm not sure what we used, it's been a while. We have a metal door with leaded glass insert. I don't use a brush, I use a roller with a foam roll. No brush strokes.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:11AM
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Same as kk - the Ben Mo Soft Gloss.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:38AM
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We haven't done any exterior painting here yet; at our former house, I used a Fine Paints of Europe dark green, like a hunter green, on the front door and some Whatever on the back door. I didn't follow FPE's preparation suggestions, but the front door still looked fabulous. We had an intown Victorian with the front door up a short walkway from the sidewalk and under a porch. Even with the door under the porch roof, you could still see the glossy sheen from the street.

We have to have the exterior of this current house done, and we're thinking about doing all or some of the trim in FPE. The doors are a near certainty.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:45AM
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I have been using the same quart of Duron's "Duraclad" polyurethane enamel (black; gloss) since 1996 (if you can believe it!) and this summer I sanded it down again, filled the dings, and painted it (two coats) for the third time in 15 years. Between paint jobs (about 7 or 8 years apart) I have tried various processes to get the paint shiny again, because the poly, although it's tough and never peels, it does lose gloss. To my extreme surprise, this time around the paint dried to a semigloss level. I guess we all get old ;-)
I briefly entertained the idea of adding a coat of high-gloss varnish, but I have better things to do; the lower sheen (unless it fails entirely due to some chemical breakdown of the paint in the can) actually looks just fine.
I'm still hoping I can someday afford a quart of Fine Paints of Europe "Hollandlac Brilliant" in black, because that paint is so shiny it looks wet.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:58AM
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I'm so glad you brought this up as I have the exact same question. I also want it marked off my list. The front door on our previous house was a satin softer black and I loved it. I'd like to bring the same look to our current door.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 1:49PM
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My door is painted SW Tricorn Black in a satin finish.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 8:57PM
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I have a quick question.... with all the black front doors mentioned, don't they get hot when the sun is on them? Our door is a mahogany look fiberglass and it heats up in the summer. Then door handle gets even hotter. It was the first time I lived with a door so dark. I would only go with lighter shades in the future so am surprised at quite so many black door fans.... BTW - I am in NY so not even a tropical climate...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:44PM
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My door's under a porch; the door is wood. It sees sun in the Sept to March period when the sun is lower. In the summer it's in complete shade. I can see where a black steel door would get ridiculously hot without a porch.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:52AM
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Benjamin Moore Soft Gloss.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Any steel door in direct sun gets ridiculously hot, anyway, even if it's white. I know this from experience. Alas.

Ours is gloss (red) and I love it. Can you remove the door and apply the paint with a roller? Our paint was applied with a roller while the door was horizontal, and the surface is perfect - no brush strokes.

Since our doors are metal, we used Rustoleum High Performance Protective Enamel, in "Regal Red." It is an oil-based paint, and we used the kind that comes in a can, not the spray paint. We just did two more doors, but our front door, which was painted almost 4 years ago, is still in perfect condition, no fading whatsoever. I believe this works on wood, too. The only problem is that the colors are very limited. Fortunately, Regal Red is perfect for us.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Black High Gloss.

With a very old brass door knocker and brass kickplate.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:04AM
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Just to add... I don't think there's any one right answer as far as sheen goes, and I'm not just referring to different tastes. I think the exact location of the door (how much light it gets), the colors on the rest of the house, the surroundings, etc., all affect what the door looks like.

I know it's a lot of work, but can you paint up a test panel with a sample of paint, if you're unsure?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:06AM
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Thanks for suggestions everyone!

Sounds like BM Exterior Soft Gloss is like a satin?

Kelly - Thanks for the guide about the skinny sides and the feedback on SW's exterior paint. Was your door off when you painted? I can't remove ours and I'm try to think how this is going to work.

Tina - Does your door have any recessed areas? I'm thinking a foam roller would be tricky for that. I could try to use a brush there and foam roll the rest.

Casey - That's an amazing quart of paint!

Teacats - I love how your front door looks!

I'd really like a red door but it won't work because of the color of the shutters. They're pretty new so we're not going to paint or replace them at this point. The door is under a porch so I think it won't be too bad with the heat.

Lizzie - I didn't even think about Rustoleum's paints. It'll have to stay in place for the paint job.

I normally always buy paint samples but I'm not this time. I've seen the door photoshopped black and it worked but with everything else I think the softer black will work better. If I were doing any other color I'd be testing.

Tonight I'm leaning towards a satin finish. I'll let you know what I end up with. Probably will get the paint sometime this week.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:54PM
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From a TECHNICAL ONLY standpoint...

>>> The Glossier the better Higher sheens are a tighter/smoother film, meaning- better able to keep out the elements.

There's a VERY good reason why the old European doors are ALL glossy...
Properly prepped, a door done in FPE's Hollandlac Brilliant (Gloss Oil) will make you CRY.
I played-around with "Coach Green" in the above paint.



    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:51AM
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I have double metal entry doors. I learned from this forum several years ago to have the doors painted at the auto body shop. I took the doors to EconPaint; they added a deglosser to the paint so it wouldn't be as shiny as a car finish. They sanded, prepped and painted the outside dark green and the inside and jam ecru.

They have looked fabulous for a long time but could use a touch up on the edges. It wasn't that expensive and was well worth it.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:28AM
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The second time I painted the door it was on the hinges. I just opened the door and painted two coats in one day. (It dried pretty quickly.) I have a storm door so no issue with any dogs going out or anything/one coming in.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:12AM
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Shee, our door does have some recessed areas and molding, etc. I used one of the really small rollers for those areas. It's been a while since we've painted it, and I can't remember if I used a brush any or not. I forgot to mention - with a dark or bright color, it was recommended we use a tinted primer (our door is dark green). Not sure it would matter on your door now, unless you are doing a drastic color change???


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:19AM
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We also used the Rustoleum "Regal Red" but ours is a wooden door. Our front entrance is very shady and dark so the High Gloss is nice. We used brass door hardware including an 8" brass kick plate. I love it!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 6:28PM
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We used a Ben Moore paint in a finish recommended by the sales associate. I can't recall the exact finish but I know it was on the satin side. I really regret not going with a glossier finish. I personally think it looks better and is much easier to keep clean!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Sorry to threadjack!

Would any of you use gloss black on the interior of an exit door?
I've been going to do this for so long!
I have one metal door that is painted black on the exterior and one wood door that has never been painted (opens into the garage).


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:46PM
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I would probably not do a high gloss finish in black on the interior side of an individual door, unless it was in a vestibule.

I may consider doing a high gloss finish on all interior doors if I had the right kind of house and decor (usually formal/classical or slick contemporary). But I would probably not treat a door in a typical house too individually.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:32PM
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I wish I went glossier. I have Colonial Blue satin on the outside and BM White semi-gloss on the inside and I miss the high gloss I used to have that always looked richer and cleaner. But then again, I love high gloss trim and baseboards and I am sorry that I let the last painter convince me to go with semi-gloss since my walls are a pearl finish (in between egg-shell and satin).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 12:48AM
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Well... I decided on gloss. I called about pricing for Duration and it only comes in gallons and is $41.99 on sale right now. I don't want a gallon of paint.

The guy recommended the Resilience but the reviews are pretty bad online and I'm not in the mood for another SW paint issue.

I was all set to try the BM Soft Gloss (doesn't look like it comes in glossy) and the place I buy BM doesn't carry any exterior paint. Awesome.

I don't know what I'm going to do now but the door's going to have to wait yet another week. I don't want terrible paint on the door so I may end up buying Duration. I also don't feel like ordering any online (BM) but I'm going to check that out next.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:04PM
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I put satin on our front door and totally hate it (stupid lowes valspar- supposedly top of the line in their brand). It's always dusty and looks old. Next time, I'd love to use FPE in brilliant on it. I'd really like a shiny finish. It's looks classic. I think their front door kit is like 125, but includes everything you'd need (brushes, etc). If not, I'd go with pratt and lambert paint in Semi gloss (I really like their paint). I could do rustoleum in gloss though. I used it on our hand rails and they look beautiful on our stairs (stinky, though). That would be a great suggestion.. now that I think of it. :) BTW, I used seed pearl (pratt and lambert) semi gloss on the back of the door. It looks beautiful. I totally want to paint all of our doors shiny black. I think that they look very classic. Here is a link to someone who painted her doors black. pretty!
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: black door.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 12:21AM
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I also painted all of my interior doors black. We had cheap, hollow, builder-grade doors and I cannot begin to tell you what a difference a coat of semi-gloss, oil-based black paint made on them! They look like a million bucks and all of my kids grubby handprints not only show up far less, they wipe off so easily!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 9:16AM
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We use black automotive paint, it's glossy and looks great. I think hubby sprays this on, no brush marks. It's easy to clean.
We had our doors painted at an automotive shop. I should have picked the color, because we are now repainting. MEN!!
The inside is also painted black, but most of the door is a frosted glass design, so the black just frames the glass.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 4:26PM
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To echo tinam61 - we also used a tiny roller... the kind that is foam and has a small hole in the cover, designed to fit over a roller with a single rod of metal (as opposed to one with a larger hole, designed to fit over a roller with larger metal structure.) The foam is for painting things which require an ultra-smooth finish, and it gets into all the panel edges and corners very well. This kind of roller cover also only has an opening on one end. It's like a cylinder of foam with a hold poked in it at one end so the metal rod of the roller can fit in. This means that you can use the other end to paint. (In contrast, most paint roller covers are open on both ends and you cannot paint with the end of the roller.) So, you have essentially a roller and foam brush in one. We didn't even use a separate brush and this resulted in a flawless finish for three panelled doors.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 4:55PM
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To add - I just used the exact same kind of roller to paint my bathroom vanity. Of course I took the doors and drawer fronts off, but I needed to paint the casing in place, meaning that was with your exterior door which you can't remove, I had to paint vertical surfaces. I got a flawless finish without any dripping, and of course there were no brush marks. I suggest using one of these rollers even if you're painting your door in place rather than removed and laid horizontally as we did with our exterior doors.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 4:58PM
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