Allen Norwood

Vivid entry colors say ‘welcome’ to your home

A fresh coat of paint on the front door says “welcome.”
A fresh coat of paint on the front door says “welcome.” AP

Your front door color says lots about you: Red, always popular, declares that the home is full of life and energy. Green signals health and harmony. My favorite, blue, says the home is calm and serene, a place of refuge.

Whatever the color, nothing adds curb appeal and value – and says “welcome” – quite like painting the front door.

You need to paint it properly, though, so I asked Tige McClodden, manager of the Sherwin-Williams store in Cornelius, to answer a few questions.

Most homeowners choose 100 percent acrylic semigloss paint for their front doors. But you don’t have to pick semigloss. “One hundred percent acrylic for sure,” McClodden said, “but sheen is just a matter of preference.” Satin offers a softer look and hides blemishes better. Gloss catches the eye, but highlights nicks and dings.

Clean and sand the door thoroughly. Paint the panels first, then the rails and then the stiles. Rails are horizontal members, while stiles are vertical.

Remove the hardware. You’ll do a neater job. Even if you’re careful, painting around the handle will slow you down, which will make brush and roller marks worse.

Patch nicks in steel doors with Bondo, the auto body putty you’ll find in most paint stores and departments. Prime bare metal or rusty spots with rust-sealing acrylic or oil-based primer. McClodden said Bondo works on fiberglass doors, too.

Don’t paint the door in the sun, of course. If the sun has hit the door, allow the door to cool before painting it. Paint early in the day so you can leave the door cracked as long as possible.

Some homeowners remove front doors to paint them, but I don’t. You’re likely to mar the paint when you rehang the door, even if the paint has dried to the touch. McClodden agrees.

Brush or roller? Well ... I like the look of a brushed door better. Choose a high-quality brush, but not a brand new one, which can shed bristles. Use a brush at least 3 inches wide. It’s hard to do a good job on a panel door with latex paint and a 2-inch brush. McClodden chooses rollers. “A small, foam roller will give you a smooth finish,” he said. Cut in the edges of the panels with a brush, then roll all the flat surfaces.

This question might not occur to lots of homeowners, but it can be crucial. Should you use a smoothing additive such as Floetrol? “If you follow the directions, and use the right amount, it can help,” McClodden said. Floetrol slows drying and allows the paint to smooth out. But don’t overdo. Too much is not better.

Special to the Observer:

[type your factbox here]