Everyone and their mother talks about the color of your front door. But since approximately 76% (you can trust me, I completely made up that statistic) of the population has a storm door or screen door in front of their actual front door… WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT IT?!
I’ve been in my house for a few years and I never even thought to consider whether I could paint my storm door or not. Once I did, my mind was a little blown. I tend to think most DIY projects look easy, and then I do them and prove myself wrong.
But in this case, painting your storm door actually IS super easy.
In fact, it’s fast, doesn’t require many supplies at all, affordable, easy, and makes a GINORMOUS difference in your curb appeal. So a win-win-win-win.
The hardest part of this is finding the right paint, and the internet has already told me I did that wrong. Hopefully the information I include below helps you prevent that, whether you have an aluminum storm door or metal storm door. Either way, this is one of the rare projects where very little actually went wrong, so it was almost ALL fun!
Plus, you can choose any paint color you want–adding instant personality to your house.
Fun fact about this project. This year I started two Etsy shops so I could create more prints and products. The name of my first Etsy store is Black Door Shop–you wanna know why?
Okay, it’s not that nostalgic. I’m just obsessed with black doors.
My second shop is where you can buy products like t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, and bags–that one is called Black Door Fits. I’m not gonna lie, I love every single piece I’ve created. I can’t wait to keep making more!
Okay, we can get back to the tutorial you’re really looking for now. 😉
Tools & Supplies: Paint Storm Door
To make your storm door paint project as easy as possible, I’ve attached links to the materials on Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer online ordering and usually do same-day pickup.
- Cleaning supplies (really whatever you fancy)
- Basic paint brush: (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Foam roller (depending on your door): (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Painter’s tape (somewhat optional): (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Paint and primer (more details on type of paint below)
Other optional supplies:
- Exterior caulk: (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Caulk applicator (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Paint guide (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
- Razor blade (Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon)
Related: A few years ago I wrote a tutorial on how to paint your front door. This was probably in my first ten-ish home projects, so obviously it can’t be that hard! Check that out if you need more help upgrading your exterior doors.
Everything I Learned about the Right Paint & Primer for Storm Doors
Most storm doors/screen doors are either metal or aluminum, neither of which are surfaces that most people are used to painting. The good news is that painting aluminum storm doors and metal storm doors is NOT impossible by any means, but it does require some more consideration and knowledge of paints and primers.
If you read other tutorials about how to paint a storm door, these are a few of the paint products suggested:
- Behr Urethane Alkyd Satin Enamel (from Home Depot)
- Glidden Gripper primer – which doesn’t exist anymore. There is a product called PPG Gripper
- High grade exterior spray paint (which is not specific at all)
- Metal bonding primer (Valspar version at Lowe’s, or spray version at Walmart)
- Exterior latex paint (what I used)
- Exterior oil based paint
The fact that everyone who’s painted their storm door suggests a different thing is confusing to me.
My very personal and not professional guess is that most of those options will work well on old storm doors, but I’ll share my experience to help you decide.
Since I was confused by the internet, I just decided to ask the Lowe’s guy and go with what he suggested. Unfortunately, the Lowe’s and Home Depot paint guys don’t always know what they’re talking about, and I’m aware of that. However, this was one of those cases where I feel that my storm door can’t get WORSE, so I’m not really freaking out over the paint. If I really felt that this was an important project that I couldn’t repair if it went wrong, I’d probably handle it differently–like I did when I painted my siding.
Anyway, what he suggested was Valspar Duramax exterior paint + primer from Lowe’s.
This is a latex paint made for exterior surfaces.
Then, when I shared a video on TikTok, one of my followers said that this paint type was great–BUT that you should use an oil-based primer before it.
Now, even though I did not do this step, I have learned the hard way through the rest of my house that skipping primer is often a HUGE mistake. So my official recommendation is to use an oil-based primer on your painted storm door.
I also didn’t know at that time that metal bonding primer existed (which is oil based), so if I did this again, that’s probably what I’d do.
However, I’ve also learned that oil-based things are from the devil. They STINK and they’re SO hard to wash out. When AT ALL possible, I choose water-based primers and paint. However–it definitely makes sense for exterior projects to use oil-based.
Anyway, I will keep this blog post updated as time goes on to show you how well/not well my storm door is holding up. So far it’s been about two months, and the paint looks as good as new. Since I learned about priming it AFTER, I don’t expect that to continue for years. And that’s okay.
Now that the primer & paint saga is as clear as it’s gonna be, here are the very simple steps to paint your storm door:
Step 1: Clean & Prep Your Storm Door for Paint
This is the least surprising step I’ve ever written. Cleaning is the first step of EVERY paint project to ever be done.
Since this is an exterior door and takes allllll the weather in your area and is opened 17 times per day (again, a very trustworthy number because I made it up), it’s going to be dirty.
Make sure that you clean it really well, getting into any and all crevices. Use a bristle brush if you have to.
Of course, if you have a particularly old or damaged storm or screen door, the “cleaning” step will also include some additional work. Make sure any loose paint is scrubbed/sanded off, as well as any chips or gaps or anything is repaired.
One thing I had to do was remove the terribly uneven and broken caulk between my door frame and brick. Then I recaulked with DAP white exterior caulk made for windows and door trim–which you can get from Home Depot or Lowes.
I also use this caulk applicator tool to remove and apply caulk.
Once everything is repaired and cleaned, you can start thinking about the other prepwork.
You’ll most likely want to use painters tape to protect your brick or siding, and you may want to add tape to the glass panel as well.
HOWEVER, I didn’t do that at all.
What can I say? I’ve been spending most my life living in a gangsters paradise.
Related: 46 of the Best FUNNY Letter Board Quotes (one of my favorite posts ever)
I started out by using a plastic paint guide to try to protect the glass panels. Then I realized, meh, it’s way more fun to just go for it and worry about it later!
So later, I got out a razor blade and scraped the paint off the glass. It was way more fun.
Important note: If you choose to use spray paint or a paint sprayer on your storm door, you’ll have to be WAY MORE CAREFUL to cover all the edges and the glass. I strongly recommend tape and masking flim for these types of jobs.
However, honestly, unless you’re already a pro with spraying paint–I don’t think spray painting is efficient for storm doors at all. This entire project took me like 2 hours, including getting the supplies, setting up, and cleaning up. I think having to cover all the storm door trim would significantly complicate that process–BUT, you do you! I’ll be here to cheer you on regardless.
Step 2: Apply Primer
Okay, so we’ve already discussed this. But I want to take this opportunity to encourage to do as I say and not as I do–and I recommend that you start painting an old storm door by using oil-based primer.
But just don’t be surprised when you smell it and try to clean it out and remember me saying that oil based paints and primers are of the devil. So like, you may just want to get a small container of it–in my opinion, it’s not something you’ll ever CHOOSE to use unless necessary.
Step 3: Paint that Storm Door!
YAY! Time for the fun part.
There’s not really a particular technique you need for this–if you’ve painted a few walls or other things in your house, you’re probably good to go here.
I have a weird thing where I prefer painting with a brush instead of a roller. I’m pretty sure it’s an ADHD thing, because I don’t mind actually using a roller, but the idea of getting out a roller tray, pouring paint out of the can, wasting paint, and having to wash a brush AND a roller—-VOMIT.
So, purely because of my weirdness, I used a brush for this paint job. I applied the paint generously, THEN I took a foam roller and lightly rolled over the flat parts to prevent any paint strokes from showing through.
Depending on the way your storm door is designed, you might not be able to use a roller anyway. There’s a lot of hardware on a storm door, like the trim around the glass panel, the handle or door knob, and even the metal rectangle thing on the bottom.
Important note: You will need to do several coats of paint! Don’t panic when the first coat looks extremely choppy. The second coat will most likely fix all of that. This is my door after one coat:
Honestly, it looked much worse in person. But the end result looks completely different!
Step 4: Remove Tape & Remove Paint from Glass
After you have an even coat of paint and your finish looks good, you can remove any tape.
Or, if you decided to be wild like me, get your razor or paint scraper and scrape the paint of the glass. It’s like ASMR. It’s really great.
And that’s it! Your storm door (and your whole dang house) has gotten a face lift in just a few hours.
Here is the final result of my black storm door:
More related posts:
Related: Don’t forget another way to add beautiful pieces to your home (for insanely affordable prices)–printable wall art! Check out my prints in the Black Door Shop on Etsy. You can even get 20% off your order for reading this post with the code 20OFF. 🙂