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What is the best paint color for a front door that gets a lot of sun?

Choosing the right paint color for a front door that gets a lot of direct sunlight is an important decision that requires some planning and consideration. The intense heat and UV rays from the sun can quickly cause paint colors to fade and look worn. Selecting a paint formulated to withstand sun exposure will help the color last longer. Considering undertones and shades that complement the home’s exterior and landscaping is also advised. With some prep work and research, homeowners can find the perfect sun-durable paint color for their front door.

How does sun exposure affect paint colors?

The sun’s UV rays and heat can negatively impact paint in a few key ways:

  • Fading – Over time, UV rays will break down paint pigments causing them to fade and look washed out. Darker colors are especially prone to fading.
  • Chalking – The binders in paint break down over time under intense sun causing a chalky powder to form on the surface as the pigment releases.
  • Blistering – The sun’s heat can cause paint to bubble up and peel away from the surface.
  • Cracking/flaking – As paint ages in the sun, it can begin cracking and flaking off the surface.

These effects happen more quickly on surfaces that get heavy sun exposure. South or west facing doors tend to be the most vulnerable to sun damage. Using high quality exterior paints formulated for sun exposure will help prolong the life and vibrancy of the color.

What types of paint work best?

When choosing a paint for a front door in direct sun, look for exterior paints with these properties:

  • UV/Fade resistant – Contains UV absorbers and stabilizers to reflect UV rays and prevent fading.
  • Heat reflective – Special pigments prevent heat absorption and reflect infrared rays.
  • Flexible – Allows for expansion and contraction without cracking or peeling.
  • Mildew/mold resistant – Added biocides prevent mildew and mold growth.
  • Chalk resistant – Formulated to prevent chalking breakdown.

High quality acrylic latex or oil-based paints designed for exterior use will perform better than cheaper vinyl acrylic and other latex paints.

What are the best paint colors for sun exposure?

The specific color chosen will depend on personal preference, but some general guidelines can help narrow down the options:

  • Darker colors hold up better – Whites and pastels will more quickly show fading and dirt. Opt for darker hues of reds, greens, blues, browns, gray, or black.
  • Red and yellow based tones last longer – These warmer undertones are more fade resistant than blues and greens.
  • Glossier finishes reflect light – Satin, semi-gloss, or gloss sheens help resist fading vs flat finishes.
  • Complementary shades – Choose colors that coordinate with siding, trim, roof, and landscaping.
  • Avoid drastic color changes – Opt for a color within the same color family if painting over an existing color.

Some great sun-compatible paint color options include:

  • Deep reds like oxblood, burgundy, or terra cotta
  • Forest greens
  • Navy or cobalt blues
  • Chocolates and coffee browns
  • Charcoal and black
  • Dark grays

How should you prepare the door before painting?

Proper prep is crucial for achieving great looking, long lasting results. Here are some tips for getting the surface ready for paint:

  • Clean thoroughly – Use a power washer or scrub brush and cleaning solution to remove dirt, mildew, oil, and chalking.
  • Sand – Lightly sand glossy areas to rough up the finish so paint can properly adhere.
  • Spot prime – Prime any bare wood or repaired areas with an oil-based primer.
  • Apply primer – For the best protection, do a full primer coat before painting.
  • Caulk – Seal gaps and cracks around trim, windows, and hardware with exterior caulk.
  • Mask off – Use painter’s tape and plastic to mask off glass, hardware, and landscaping.

Taking the time to properly prepare the door will help the new paint stick strongly and look its best.

What application method works best?

Applying the paint correctly ensures an even color and durable finish:

  • Brushing – Use a quality nylon or polyester bristle brush for best coverage.
  • Rolling – Mini foam rollers work well for the recessed door panels.
  • Spraying – Airless sprayers can make quick work of painting but require masking off the surrounding area.
  • 2 coats – Apply 2-3 thin, even coats allowing proper dry time between coats for maximum durability.

A combination of brushing and rolling typically provides the best looking finish.

How can you make the color last as long as possible?

Regular maintenance and prompt touch-ups are key for maintaining the vibrancy of the paint over time. Here are some longevity tips:

  • Keep sealed – Apply a fresh coat of exterior sealant every 1-2 years.
  • Inspect annually – Check for any cracking, peeling, blistering, and faded areas.
  • Clean regularly – Use mild soap and water and a soft brush to remove dirt and grime.
  • Touch up often – Spot paint minor flaws and faded areas as soon as they appear.
  • Consider a porch – Adding a covered porch or overhang provides protection from rain and sun.
  • Recur every 5-7 years – Be prepared to fully repaint the door every 5-7 years.

With proper maintenance and care, the right paint should maintain its color and finish for years before needing a full repaint.


Choosing a paint color for a sun-exposed front door requires careful consideration but can make a gorgeous focal point for a home’s exterior. Look for UV and fade resistant exterior acrylic or oil-based paints in darker, warmer hues that complement your home’s style and surroundings. Proper prep and application are key to achieving maximum durability. With routine touch-ups and maintenance, quality paints can maintain their color and finish for up to 5-7 years before needing a full repaint. Investing some time upfront in thoughtful color selection and careful application will provide a beautiful front door paint job you can enjoy for years to come.

Paint Type Benefits Considerations
Exterior acrylic latex
  • Durable
  • Fade resistant
  • Affordable
  • Longer dry time
  • Sensitive to moisture when drying
Exterior oil-based
  • Very durable
  • Excellent adhesion
  • Quick dry time
  • Strong odor and fumes
  • Requires mineral spirits for cleanup

When evaluating paints, look for the characteristics that will provide maximum protection against sun exposure. Durability, color retention, and fade resistance should be top priorities. Consider the pros and cons of acrylic latex versus oil-based paint. For most DIYers, high quality exterior acrylic latex paints provide the easiest application along with very good durability when top coated for protection.

How much paint will be needed?

The amount of paint needed depends on the size of the door, whether painting just the front or both sides, and if additional coats of primer or paint will be applied. On average, painting both sides of a standard size 36″ x 80″ residential entry door will require:

  • Primer – 1 quart
  • Paint – 1 gallon

For just the front facing side, a quart of primer and a quart to half gallon of paint is usually sufficient. More paint may be required if applying 3+ coats or if covering over a darker existing color. Having extra primer and paint on hand offers some insurance against running out mid-job or for touch-ups down the road.

What mistakes should be avoided?

When painting a sun-facing door, be sure to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Skipping prep work – Thorough cleaning, sanding, priming, caulking and masking is vital.
  • Using cheap paint – Invest in quality exterior paint; it makes a big difference.
  • Rushing the job – Allow adequate dry time between coats.
  • Painting in direct sun – Ideally work early or late when surface is shaded.
  • Applying too thin – Multiple thin coats provide better coverage than one thick coat.
  • Not maintaining – Touch up flaws promptly and reseal regularly.
  • Forgetting safety – Work safely using ladders, gloves, glasses, and drop cloths.

Patience and diligence in prep work, paint application, and follow up maintenance will provide long lasting results.

What are some front door paint ideas and color schemes?

Here are some recommended color combinations for painting a sun-drenched front door:

Door Color Trim Siding
Deep red Bright white Gray
Navy blue White Beige
Forest green Ivory Light brown
Black White Red brick
Dark gray White Blue

Choose a deeper shade for the door that contrasts well with the trim and siding while coordinating. White or ivory trim helps the door pop while staying classic. Look to surrounding landscaping for complementary colors that can inspire the scheme.

What are the costs involved?

Painting a front door is one of the more affordable exterior redesign projects. Here are typical price ranges:

  • Exterior paint – $25 to $50 per gallon
  • Primer – $10 to $25 per quart
  • Brushes – $10 to $20 each
  • Rollers – $5 to $10
  • Paint trays – $5 to $15
  • Tape, drop cloths – $10 to $30

In total, expect to spend around $100 to $250 for a DIY paint job. Using higher end paints or hiring a professional painter can increase costs to $500 or more depending on door size, work required, and quality of materials.

How long does it take to paint a front door?

It typically takes 15-25 hours total to paint an exterior door. This allows for:

  • 2-4 hours to clean, sand, mask, caulk, and prime
  • 6-8 hours drying time between coats
  • 4-6 hours for 2-3 finish paint coats
  • 2 hours touch ups and reassembly

Working alone, it’s best to block off 3-5 days for the project working in the mornings and late afternoons when shaded. Having an extra set of hands can cut the time significantly. Allow a full week if working an hour or two in the evenings after work.

What safety tips should be followed?

Painting a front door involves some risks, so following these precautions is advised:

  • Use a sturdy ladder – Move slowly and have someone steady the ladder.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Cover nearby plants and surfaces.
  • Open windows and use fans for ventilation.
  • Keep paint cans sealed and stored safely.
  • Take breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • Keep children and pets away from work area.

Staying alert and being aware of hazards like raw edges, wet surfaces, chemicals, and work at height is key to staying safe. Know when to call in a professional for bigger jobs.

What are some alternative ideas besides painting?

While painting is the most common treatment, here are some other ways to upgrade or refresh a sun-drenched front door:

  • Stain – Opt for opaque stains that offer richer colors and more protection than transparent ones.
  • Refurbish – Strip old paint, repair damages, and refinish the original wood door.
  • Replace – Install a new pre-hung fiberglass or steel door that won’t warp or crack from sun.
  • Try vinyl wraps – Self-adhesive decorative vinyl films can mimic paint with easier installation.
  • Add detailing – Install decorative glass inserts, sidelights, transoms, or accent trim.
  • Tile or stone accents – Use tile or natural stone to create a decorative inset panel or border.

Changing the design, material, or finish can dramatically transform the look while also providing long lasting durability and low maintenance.


Choosing the ideal paint color and finish for a front door with sun exposure requires careful selection of exterior grade products and preparation methods. Deeper, warmer hues in satin or semi-gloss sheens will hold up best. Adequate priming, cleaning, sanding, and multi-coat application helps maximize paint adhesion and durability. Ongoing maintenance like sealing, inspection, cleaning, and prompt touch ups can extend the life of the paint job for 5-7 years. With some planning and diligence, a painted front door can stand up to intense sun while serving as an eye-catching focal point for a home’s curb appeal.