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How to Paint a Steel Door

Painting a steel door not only makes it more attractive, but it can also help to prevent rust or other damage to the surface. Removing the hardware, cleaning the door and fixing any dents are part of the process used to paint a steel door. Use these tips to paint a steel door.


  1. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 1
    Choose an acrylic paint for your project. Acrylic paint is more resistant to sunlight exposure than oil-based paint. Additionally, it can be cleaned up with soap and water if spilled.
  2. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 2
    Take off all hardware from the steel door.
    • Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the knob and strike plate.
    • Remove any other accessories on the door, such as a kick plate or door knocker.
  3. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 3
    Remove the door from its frame and hinges. Use a drill to loosen and pull the screws from the frame.
  4. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 4
    Clean the door. Use rubbing alcohol and a rag to clean the entire door. Pay close attention to areas with extra dirt, grease or grime.
  5. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 5
    Tape off any areas not to be painted. Use painter's tape to mask off windows, trim or anything else you don't wish to paint.
  6. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 6
    Fix any dents in the door. Use auto body filler to even out dents or cracks. Sand the affected areas until their surfaces are even with the surfaces of the door. Start sanding with 100-grit sandpaper, and transition to using 150-grit sandpaper to finish smoothing.
  7. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 7
    Sand the entire door with 150-grit sandpaper. Sanding the door prepares the surface so the paint will adhere to the steel door.
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    Prime the door if it's new. Roll or brush on 1 coat of a universal quick-drying oil-based primer. Allow the primer to dry at least 24 hours.
  9. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 9
    Paint the steel door with 2 coats of paint. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.
    • Use a brush to apply the paint. Using a brush to paint the steel door reaches any grooves or inside parts of door panels. Avoid brush strokes as you apply the paint.
    • Roll the paint onto the door. Be careful to fix any drips or uneven roller strokes before the paint dries. Use different sized rollers to reach crevices in panels on doors.
    • Utilize a paint sprayer to paint the steel door. A sprayer requires more experience to achieve a smooth finish. If you have experience with a paint sprayer, this process may provide the smoothest finish.
  10. Image titled Paint a Steel Door Step 10
    Finish up the project after the paint has dried completely.
    • Install the hardware back onto the door using a drill.
    • Remove the tape you used to mask off areas you didn't want painted.
    • Put the door back up on its hinges, using the same method you applied when taking it down.


  • Choose a lighter color for your steel door if it is exposed to sunlight. Dark colors fade and need repainting more frequently.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rag
  • Auto body filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Rollers or brushes
  • Paint sprayer

Article Info

Categories: Doors and Windows | Painting and Other Finishes