Front Door Paint Peeling? Here’s Why & What to Do

Front Door Paint Peeling

Like most things, paint ages and peels away. While this is not ideal, it is also inevitable. Even with paint primers being used for the door, it is only a matter of time before the paint begins to wear away.

Why is My Front Door Paint Peeling?

The front door to your house usually serves as the entrance to your home, which means you likely want it to look pleasant and welcoming. Unfortunately, like most things, paint is only temporary; therefore, the paint will eventually begin to peel and fall off.

This genuinely does not make for a great first appearance or a continued eye-sore. As to why the paint on your front door is beginning to peel away could be for a couple of reasons but it is good to know the root of the problem so that you also know the best solution.

While the most common and also likely reason why the paint on your front door is beginning to peel is simple wear and tear that compounds over time.

There are also many other variables that can affect how long paint can last such as if primer was used before the paint was applied and if there was moisture in the air prior to the paint application.

Primer is essential for a good-looking and long-lasting paint coat, as it provides a smooth surface for the paint while also adding to the adhesion. Even with primer, moisture in the air and on the surface can still disrupt the adhesive of the paint.

If there is moisture in the air when the paint is applied, there are also likely water droplets on the surface of the front door, which will prevent the paint from sticking to the surface correctly.

Many paints are water resistant; however, that does not mean that they can stick to moist surfaces properly. Instead, it simply means once the paint is applied correctly, it can resist water damage.

Keep in mind that even if the primer was applied before the paint and the paint was coated properly, over time small things such as swiping your foot across the bottom of the door or pressing your knee against it can eventually wear away the paint.

1. Everyday Wear and Tear

There is a saying that goes “nothing lasts forever,” which stands true for many things including the paint on your front door.

See, over time small things or even habits such as pressing your knee or shoulder to the door can eventually begin to wear away the paint.

Another regular occurrence that can deteriorate the paint on your front door is scratching on the door from pets since their claws can not only damage the paint but also the door itself.

Also, consider that the outside of the front door is exposed to many possible damages such as weather, debris, and potential human/animal damage.

Paint damage such as peeling and or chipping on the outside of your front door can also arise in areas with high humidity. Luckily, redoing the paint on your front door is quite a simple fix.

Fix – Clear Peeling Paint and Repaint

An important thing to understand about paint is that it does best on a flat smooth surface where it can be spread out into an even layer. This is what underlines the importance of scraping off the old peeling and chipping paint, which will provide a better surface to apply the new paint.

Items you will need:

  • Sandpaper and hand sander
  • Pain scraper
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Paint (preferably latex) and primer
  • Paintbrushes

Step 1. Begin by using the paint scraper to scrape off the peeling paint, then use your hand sander to sand down the door. Make sure to give extra attention to the areas that are peeling away, while also being sure to smooth the surface as much as possible.

This may call for sanding off all of the previous paint coat since paint can also peel because it has another layer of primer or paints beneath that did not hold onto the surface coat.

Step 2. Now, take your lint-free cloth and dampen it in order to clean off any dirt and dust that may be on the front door. You will want to let the door dry for at least an hour or so. In some scenarios, the paint can start to peel because the surface was not properly cleaned off.

Step 3. Next, carefully paint one coat of primer onto the door. You should make sure you use a primer specifically made for the particular type of door you have. For example, if you have a metal door, you should use a metal primer. Be patient and be sure to primer the door from the edges to the middle of the door. Give the primer a couple of hours to dry.

Step 4. Now, you can begin to coat the door with your choice of paint enamel, the choice you make of the type of paint you use is important. Latex or acrylic is also a paint that is resistant to peeling for drywall, wood, and many other surfaces.

Provide about four to six hours for the first coat to dry, then add another coat and give it about a day while being sure to not use the door for that time.

2. The Surface Was Not Properly Prepped

As previously mentioned, when the paint on your front door or anywhere for that matter, improper surface prep is one of the most common causes.

It is very important that the surface is completely dry and clear of any dust or dirt before the surface is painted, as the paint requires a clean and dry surface to cling into. This is an unavoidable fact when painting anything.

It is very possible that whoever painted your front door last cut some corners and subsequently left the paint vulnerable. While it may be irritating, it cannot be undone but it can be redone and fixed.

Fix – Clear Peeling Paint and Repaint

As previously depicted, preparing a surface before it is painted is very important and it is certainly possible that your front door was not properly prepared before it was painted.

This can and will lead to the paint beginning to chip and peel away. If you believe that improper preparation is to blame for the state of the paint on your front door, you can refer to the previous fix to get rid of the peeling and repaint the door correctly.

This is quite important when it comes to the longevity of the paint on your front door. This especially applies to the outside of the door.

3. The Wrong Kind of Paint

So, the paint on your front door is starting to peel? It is not only plausible but it is also likely that the wrong kind of paint was used.

This especially applies to the outside of the door, since it is important to use exterior paint for the outer side of the front door.

This is because the paint is specifically designed to handle weather, dirt, and dust much better than any other paint formula would in an exposed state.

It is also feasible that the wrong kind of paint was used for the type of door you have, as many people are not aware that there are particular paints for specific surfaces such as wood, metal, and glass.

Fix – Use Correct Paint to Repaint

Whether you accidentally used the wrong kind of paint for your front door or you were simply not aware that you should use a specific type, you will want to remove the majority of the previously used paint and repaint the door with the correct kind of paint.

If you do not use the right formula of paint for the material that your front door is composed of the paint will begin to chip and peel away much quicker than the correct paint.

This is because some paints are made with different adhesives that are capable of sticking to different kinds of surfaces such as wood, glass, or metal.

Paint cans will typically have a list on the front of the can of what surfaces it can work on. If the paint does not say what surfaces it will stick to, you can either check the back of the can or visit their website to find information on that specific paint.

If you have a wooden front door, you will want to use latex paint for the best results. Latex paint is also beginner-friendly since it is easy to use and dries quite quickly. For a metal door, you should use an oil-based metal paint for the best finish on metal.

4. A Primer Was Not Used

It is very possible that when your front door was last painted, the painter did not use a primer before painting the front door.

Without a layer of paint, primer is applied to the surface before the paint, the said paint will begin to peel and chip off rather quickly.

Primer paint not only provides a better sticking ability for the paint to come but it also helps the longevity of the paint that is applied over the primer.

Primer paint is key for not just a better-looking finish but also for the paint to remain durable and long-lasting. If no primer paint is applied before the paint enamel, the paint will start to peel away much more quickly.

Fix – Repaint Door With Primer

If you believe that no primer paint was used before your front door was painted, you will need to scrape off as much of the old paint as you can, then smooth any roughness and apply primer paint before repainting the front door.

This will provide a much better surface for the paint to stick to and the paint will last longer than if you did not use primer paint.

If you ask any professional how to properly paint any surface, they will likely tell you that you need to use primer paint before painting the surface. With this in mind, use primer paint for a premium finish.

5. Door Was Painted While Damp

It is feasible that your front door may have been painted when it was damp. This can result in water pockets underneath the layer of paint, which can also subsequently dry out and begin to peel away.

Usually, water is not good for paint unless it is called for to thin the paint, which is quite uncommon.

Fix – Scrape Away Paint and Repaint

You will want to scrape away the peeling paint as much as possible, then make sure the front door is entirely dry before applying primer paint and the paint enamel. The surface must be dry for a good and lasting finish.


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