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When you bought your house, did it come with a beautiful front door, or are you making do with the uPVC plastic door you inherited? We are firmly in the second category, and I’ve never liked our dated, yellowing old plastic front door. We’ve had a few (eye-wateringly expensive) quotes for a new composite door over the years. But since our door works fine, it’s hard to justify replacing it. So I set about finding out how to paint a uPVC front door.
I get lots of comments from people who are amazed that it’s possible to paint uPVC as it’s made of plastic. As you can see, it is possible, but it does take time and patience. If you’ve ever wondered how to makeover your uPVC front door using paint, read on for my guide on how to transform an old plastic front door.
I did consider naming this blog post ‘How NOT To Paint a uPVC Front Door’ as my social media community will know how much of a nightmare it was. FrontDoorGate has been rumbling along for many months, and much blood, sweat and tears have been shed along the way. OK no blood, but tonnes of sweat and tears! But if you want to go for it, I have lots of tips to make painting uPVC easier. And I do think its worth all the trouble!
What Paint Should You Use For a uPVC Front Door?
My first piece of advice for anyone considering painting their uPVC door is to choose your paint wisely. I sadly did not choose the best paint, so I want you to benefit from my mistakes! I recommend Frenchic Al Fresco Paint which you can find here. Below you’ll find the one I used for this door that was a total pain!
The Paint I Don’t Recommend To Paint Your Front Door
I went to our local decorator centre and asked for advice. The recommended Zinsser All Coat Exterior Satin paint with built in primer and gave me an exciting colour chart for me to choose from. They mixed it to my chosen candyfloss pink and I am delighted with the colour.
I’m not so delighted with the finish though. The first coat went on OK but then it went all lumpy and bobbly: imagine dipping gloss paint into cotton wool, and dragging it around, and you’ll get an image of how bad the finish was. I fully accept that this may have been user error, but given how difficult I found this paint to work with, I can’t recommend it.
How I Solved the Door Paint Problem
I spent hours sanding it back smooth again, only for the same thing to happen, albeit not as bad the second time. It actually looks a little bit like I’ve painted wood, rather than the smooth finish I’d wanted. It looks great from a distance but I don’t feel it bears close inspection.
This paint is like painting with gloss x 10 – so hard to get smooth, and smells awful. One of the reasons for painting our old door it to stop it going to landfill, but honestly the chemicals in this paint make me wonder if it’s any better for the environment at all!
The Paint I Do Recommend For Painting Your uPVC Front Door
My advice is to look at Frenchic Al Fresco paint instead. Unfortunately they didn’t have a pink shade when I started the process of painting our door. Now they have two! I wish I’d known they were bringing them out.
I used the Dusky Blush Al Fresco paint on our kitchen door and it was a dream to paint with and gives a gorgeous matte, smooth finish. You just need to clean the door with sugar soap, lightly sand, wipe off the dust and paint. Be careful with it for a few weeks as it hardens up or ‘cures’.
They also do a lovely limited edition bright pink called Hottie, and loads of other more muted colours – check out the full range of Al Fresco shades here. Other benefits of this paint is it’s much more environmentally friendly, quick drying, barely smells, and you can buy a small tub, enough to do a front door, for under £7.
It takes a few coats but gives a such a great finish. And because it dries so quickly, you can do the whole thing in a day.
How To Prep a uPVC Front Door For Painting
This is the most laborious, time-consuming part of painting a front door, but do not be tempted to skip it!
- Remove any door furniture: letterbox, knocker and handle and keep them safe
- Thoroughly wash your front door, using sugar soap to get rid of any greasy patches
- Give the door a light sand to give a key for the paint
- Wash off all the sanding dust and dry thoroughly
- Use masking tape to block off any sections you don’t want to paint, for example around any window panels, and the edges, and the door frame
- Lay down newspaper
Painting Tips for a Good Finish
- Start early in the morning to give the door maximum drying time before you have to replace the door furniture.
- Paint on a dry day, but not in direct sunlight if you can avoid it. Don’t choose a day when there are loads of thunderflies about, ready to stick to your fresh paint. (The voice of experience there, sadly!)
- Use a synthetic brush and paint in thin layers.
- Allow enough time to dry thoroughly between coats of paint.
- Put down little dishes of bicarbonate of soda to help absorb the paint smell. A few halved onions also do the same. I did both and I think it really helped the smell to go.
- When your door is dry, very carefully peel off the masking tape around the windows (use a craft knife to cut it at the edges if it seems to be pulling the paint away).
- Touch up the paint with an artists brush if it comes away with the masking tape.
- Carefully replace your door furniture to avoid scratching your new paint job.
How Long Does Painting a Front Door Take?
Painting our front door didn’t take that long, it’s the prep that takes ages. And waiting for the paint to dry before recoating.
How Many Coats Does It Take To Paint a Front Door?
The paint I used said it would take two coats to cover my uPVC front door. I did four, after having to sand it back significantly.
Should You Paint the Inside of a Front Door?
I actually started off painting the inside, to test it out. And I’m really glad I did as I love how cheerful it makes my hall.
Love my leopard print doormat? I couldn’t resist it. Find a similar leopard print door mat here.
Be aware that it does smell absolutely awful for several days so give yourself lots of ventilation.
What About Painting the Door Frame, Too?
This is purely down to your own choice. I painted the inside of the door frame as I wanted a really bold pop of colour. But I just painted the door on the outside. This was partly as I think it looks nice, and also because of the drama I had with the paint.
Finishing Touches for Your uPVC Front Door Makeover
Even if you’re not painting your front door, here are some ideas about how you can personalise any door, like I have. I spray painted our letterbox and security chain gold using Rustoleum spray paint, which you can find here. We also bought a new handle as the old one was a bit broken and saggy (as well as being black on one side and white on the other, for some reason!)
Welcome Guests with a Door Sticker
I bought ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ vinyl stickers from Adnil Creations on Etsy, and they are super easy to apply and you can choose from loads of different colours.
Decorate Your Door with a Brass Door Knocker
My husband bought me the beautiful brass bee door knocker for my birthday, and you can buy similar ones on Etsy.
Keep Your Milk Bottles Tidy with a Milk Minder
Because we have transitioned away from plastic milk cartons to recyclable and reusable glass milk bottles, as part of our bid to live a more eco-friendly life, I got a pretty pink milk minder.
I’ve had loads of messages on Instagram about it, but it doesn’t seem to be available on eBay any more. I managed to find it here on Amazon, in black or white. It is the perfect size for milk, or to transport bottles of any kind. An alternative is this wire milk bottle minder, which is more of a traditional style and would go with any door.
Keep Your House Clean with a Fab Doormat
I got my amazing leopard print doormat from NEXT and I am so pleased with it.
Why Not Put Up a Home Made Wreath?
I tend to have some form of wreath up, whatever time of year. This is my spring/summer wreath, which you can find a super quick and easy tutorial for here. Or you might like this simple autumnal wreath. Or what about a simple lit Christmas wreath? Find my DIY here.
I hope you’ve found my guide to making over a uPVC plastic door useful, why not Pin it for later?