Best Paint for Metal Doors

Best Paint for Metal Doors – Durable Paints for Exterior Metal

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.

You did it! You finally got yourself the door of your dreams, a wrought iron masterpiece with the most intricate design. Painting a metal door is not something to be taken lightly. If you do a shoddy job, the paint will chip and crack in no time at all, giving it a tatty look and resulting in your having to start the process all over again. What would be the best paint for metal doors?  This is what we are going to discuss in this tutorial. We will be talking about what paint to use on metal, the best type of paint to use on metal garage doors, and, in general, exterior metal door paint. and we will give examples of each type of metal paint for metal like Rust-Oleum door paint and other brands that make metal door paint. Not only that, but we will also explain how to paint a metal door so that you not only understand what the best paint for metal doors is but also how to apply it practically and efficiently.



Reasons for Having Metal Doors

Before we dive into what might be the best paint for metal doors, or the most effective exterior metal door paint, you might be wondering why on earth one might want a metal door in the first place? You will often find a metal door within public spaces, most likely because of the durability and safety aspects they offer. Garage doors are often made out of metal, for the same reasons. There could be many reasons why you have a metal door, and whatever it is, it is a great idea to paint it to prevent any rust from developing due to weather conditions. The paint provides a protective coating that can withstand the forces of nature and so much more.

Painted Metal Frame Door


Aesthetically Pleasing

If you like the rustic look or even the industrial one for that matter, then you can leave the paint out of the equation. But, if you would like to keep your door in pristine condition, and prevent any rust from forming, your metal door would benefit from a coat or two of paint. The various metal door paint types will have different finishes that will offer a different aesthetic to your door.

Intricate Metal Door

When selecting the door, you might have chosen one with some intricate designs, or even a slot where the mailman can slide your mail in. These little details are also going to need some paint as they will rust easier. 



Metal doors are notorious for lasting long, thanks to how strong the metal material is. They will last a long time out in the worst weather conditions, and they are much trickier to break, which is great if you are worried about burglars. A door made of mild steel might start to rust eventually, which means a coat of paint might be necessary, but if you have a door made of stainless steel, it will not rust – period.

Metal Door with Knocker


Safe and Secure

Not only are metal doors notorious for their durability, but they are also very safe and secure. Like we have mentioned, metal doors will keep burglars at bay because they are so impenetrable. Rest assured, if the zombie apocalypse happens, and what stands between you and the “walkers” is a metal door, you will be safe.

Rusty Metal Door Hinge



Some of these metal doors look so elegant in their settings, or appear so strong they make you think they are very expensive at first. You will be happy to know that the metal doors that are made hollow are not as expensive as you initially thought, and they are much more affordable for most people. Regardless, they are a much-needed investment to your home because they will last for a very long time.

Metal Garage Doors



Types of Paint Suitable for Metal

Looking for the most effective paint for metal garage doors? Look no further than this next section, where we will talk about each type of paint for metal like Rust-Oleum door paint and other brands. Remember that you must always apply a primer to the surface of the metal door before the paint to ensure the paint adheres to the non-absorbent metal surface.

Choosing Paint for Metal Door


Water-Based Paint for Metal Doors

Latex or water-based paints have the advantage of drying much faster than oil-based paints, so you can complete the jobs faster than with other paints. Water-based paints tend to be less toxic and much easier to clean. This also means there will be less of an odor released by the paints, and you will not need any solvents either. Primers are only completely necessary with water-based paint when applied to a metal surface. This is because the metal is non-absorbent and will not adhere, and paint that is water-based will simply wash off when it rains.

Old Paint on Metal Door


Oil-Based Paint for Metal Doors

Metal surfaces are at their best when painted with paints that are oil-based. This is because the oil paint is much more durable and can withstand a few bumps and grazes without obtaining too many scratches or chips. They are also weather-resistant, so they are able to endure harsh climates either hot or cold, dry or humid. Oil paints will need solvents to help thin out the paint, or clean up when you are done, so you will need good airflow in your workspace and protective gear in the form of gloves for your hands, and a respiratory mask so you do not breathe in those nasty fumes from the paints and the solvents.

Gloves for Metal Paint

Oil Based paints can be applied using various methods like rolling it on with a roller, which is better suited for large spaces, or brushing it on with a paintbrush, which is better suited for the smaller areas, corners and edges. You could even add some paint thinners to the mix and spray it with a paint sprayer.

Best Paint for Metal Doors


Epoxy Paint for Metal Doors

Epoxy paint is one of the more durable paints on the market and is loved for this reason by many. This is the type of paint that is applied to the metal surfaces of cars and trucks which surely puts into perspective how hardy epoxy paint really is. Keep in mind that you will need to do some mixing before you can use the paint as this paint is basically a resin that needs a hardener added to it. The hardening substance is the catalyst in the curing part of the paints process. Make sure you know how much of the hardener to add because if you add too much, the paint might start curing whilst you are still working with it, or if you add too little you might have to wait endlessly for it to cure.

Epoxy Paint for Metal Doors

Here is a table that summarizes what the different types of paint will do for your metal door.

 Water-Based PaintOil-Based PaintEpoxy Paint
Easy application
Able to use indoors
Able to Use Outdoors

Spray-Paint for Metal



Our Recommended Metal Door Paint Products

Now that you know what paint to use on metal doors, window frames, the legs of tables, or whatever metal item you need to paint. We will now speak about the various brands that have created some of the best paint for metal garage doors and other metal items.


Most Effective Primer for Metal Doors: RUST-OLEUM Clean Metal Primer

As you know by now, a base coat of primer is essential when you are painting any metal surface. Wooden surfaces are porous, meaning they will absorb any paint. Metal, on the other hand, is not porous at all, so the paint will not adhere properly to the surface and might lift-off, or wash off sooner than if you were to paint a layer of primer beneath the paint. Rust-Oleum has created an amazing primer that is suitable for metal surfaces, and versatile enough to work with most other paints.

RUST-OLEUM Clean Metal Primer
  • Suitable for use on wood, metal, concrete, masonry, and so on
  • Touch-dry in 2-4 hours and covers up to 90 sq. ft
  • Flat white rust protective base for heavy-use environments
View on Amazon

  • Enhances topcoat adherence
  • Suitable for metal and other surface materials
  • Work with various types of paint
  • Dries quickly
  • Protects the surface of the metal
  • Suitable for interior or exterior surfaces

  • Topcoat is essential


Best Oil-Based Paint for Metal Doors: RUST-OLEUM Door Paint Ultimate Durability

Rust-Oleum is a trusted brand, and they not only make a great primer, but the Rust-Oleum door paint is just as effective. This is a great interior and exterior metal door paint, that can withstand being knocked around, and resists the weather – particularly the scorching sun. This paint needs only two hours to dry, but it will need more time to fully cure.

RUST-OLEUM Door Paint Ultimate Durability
  • Quick-drying one coat formula dries to the touch in 1-2 hours 
  • Suitable for metal, fiberglass, wood, and pre-primed doors
  • Satin finish is resistant to abrasion, fading and chipping
View on Amazon

  • Fade-resistant
  • Highly effective metal for paint
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Dries fast
  • Strong and long-lasting protective coat

  • Intense odors


Best Water-Based Paint for Metal Doors: MODERN MASTERS Front Door Paint

The front door to your home needs a new lick of paint, so you are on the hunt for the most suitable paint for the task. Modern Masters is a brand that stands out amongst the rest, especially when it comes to its front door paint. This paint is effective and very convenient because it only needs an hour to be dry to the touch, but longer in order to cure properly. There is a variety of colors and finishes to choose from, so this paint is far from being limited.

  • Suitable for interior and exterior metal or wooden doors and shutters
  • Provides an easy to maintain fade-proof smooth satin finish
  • Touch-dry in 1 hour and covers up to 100 sq. ft.
View on Amazon

  • Easy clean-up water-based formula
  • Selection of colors
  • Selection of finishes
  • Will resist fading

  • Not as durable as oil-based paint


Best Epoxy Paint for Metal Doors: SPEEDOKOTE Epoxy Direct to Metal Primer and Sealer

Sometimes time is not on our hands, and when this happens, you might prefer a primer and sealer that only bonds to metal as only epoxy can, but dries in rapid time. In addition, you may want something that will protect your door for years to come, so that you don’t have to repaint it any time soon. Speedokote has created exactly what you need with their direct to metal paint product. This primer and sealer is hardy and long-lasting, making it a great candidate for all industrial paint jobs, like painting metal pipes and tanks, or anything else that is made of metal for that matter. Being an epoxy paint, you will receive two components when you purchase the paint that you must mix before you use it. These components are the resin and the hardener. One of the best benefits is that it can be recoated within 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. Just keep in mind that after that, you will have to key the surface if you want to give it a final coat. If you don’t want your door to be white or gray, you can topcoat this paint with another type in any color of your choosing, knowing that your metal will be thoroughly protected for years to come.

SPEEDOKOTE Epoxy Direct to Metal Primer and Sealer
  • Rust and corrosion resistant primer and sealer in one
  • Bonded paint finish for metal, wood, masonry, and aluminum
  • Lays down super smooth, recoat within 30 minutes or 3 days
View on Amazon

  • Strong and long-lasting
  • Resists corroding
  • Primer and sealer in one
  • Adds a layer of protection
  • Ideal for industrial projects
  • Can be used on steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and existing finishes

  • Must mix the hardener and the resin before you can use it
  • Only available in white and gray



How to Paint a Metal Door

After deciding what paint to use on metal surfaces, you are ready to start applying it to your metal door or whatever item you want to paint. We have laid out some guidelines which will help teach you how to paint a metal door, so keep reading because our suggestions will help to make the process much easier for you. This is a list of all the necessary items that will make the process that much easier.

  • Gloves and respiratory mask
  • The metal paint of choice
  • Metal primer if needed
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Paint thinners
  • Masking tape
  • Sawhorse (if needed)
  • Tools to dismantle door attachments
  • Plastic tarp
  • Lint-free cloth


Preparing your Workspace

It is always a good idea to make sure the space you are working in is set up and ready for the job at hand. Clear away any clutter and the things you do not want paint spilled on. Next, it would be a great investment to take the time to lay down a plastic tarp to protect the floor beneath you from any paint dribbles.  When you are painting a door, we always suggest removing it from its hinges and laying it flat. If you paint it vertically, the paint might start to drip and that does not look appealing.

Spray Painting Metal Door


Preparing the Metal Surface

First thing you must do to your metal door is clean it. There is nothing worse than painting the door over bits of grease or dust particles. The grease will prevent the paint from adhering to the surface and the dust will leave the surface feeling bumpy, and not flush. After it is clean, get some sandpaper in about 320 to 400 grit and sand down the surface. This creates a rougher texture that allows the paint or the primer to stick onto the surface better because it has more to adhere to.

Lay Door Flt to Work on

If there is an existing layer of paint on the metal door, you will first need to remove it by using a paint stripper. Start by identifying the type of paint that you need to remove, so you know what kind of stripper you should use. Test a small amount of a solvent paint stripper in an inconspicuous place on the metal door. That way you will know if the paint is epoxy or oil-based.

Remove Old Paint from Metal Door


Starting with Primer

As we have mentioned previously, most paints will need a timer added as a base coat before the paint. Unless the paint was designed specifically to not need a primer, like the Adcoat Industries Direct to metal paint. The primer acts as glue for the paint to the surface. It is able to stick to the metal surface and the paint is able to stick to the primer. It will also lengthen the lifespan of your paint job, preventing you from having to re-do the work sooner than you expected. As a rule of thumb, if you are painting a lighter-toned paint, the primer you need must be white, and if your paint is a darker tone, you should use a darker primer.

Priming Metal Shutters


Applying the Paint

Now for the paint. Make sure that the primer is dried properly before you add on the coat of paint. If a primer is not needed, make sure the surface is clean (this you would have done before the primer was added as well). If you are needing to cover a large space, use a roller to apply the paint. A brush is more effective for smaller areas. Make sure you read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the paint, so you are aware of how long it takes to dry and cure. You will most likely need two or three coats of paint, and we do recommend this because it adds to the durability of the paint.

Roller for Metal Paint



Some Final Suggestions for Painting Metal Doors

Now that you understand what the best paints are for painting metal doors, as well as how to paint a metal door, you can begin with your very own project. For your benefit, we have a few final suggestions for you that will make the process that much easier for you.

  • It is normal for a metal door to get rather hot after being exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Wait for the metal surface to cool down before you start painting it so you do not burn your hands.
  • If there is an existing coat of paint on the metal door you must remove it with a paint stripper. The flaking paint will cause the next coat of paint to peel off with the old one.
  • Make sure you add a primer to the metal surface unless you are using a paint that was designed specifically not to need a primer like epoxy paints
  • You should never leave the paint job after one coat. You will need to paint on at least two or three coats to make the coat thick and long-lasting.
  • Try removing the door off the hinges so that you can paint it easier. This will also prevent any paint dribbles from ruining the smooth and even coat you have just painted.

Painted Sheet-Metal Doors

The amount you are prepared to spend will have a significant impact on the type of coating you choose for your metal doors. Paints containing oil and paints formulated for metal doors are typically on the costly side of life. However, they will offer a high-quality result that will stand up to the rowdy weather. In general, water-based paint is considered to be less durable than oil-based paint at the same temperature. Additionally, it is a good idea to use a metal primer when painting metal doors, as this will enhance the adhesion of the metal door paint and provide a more professional look.



If you have been eyeing your ugly metal door, hoping to get around to painting and sprucing it up, we hope this article will inspire you to get your project going! It may seem like a daunting task, but with our awesome product suggestions and explanations on how to go about painting your metal door, we are sure that within no time, you will have a beautiful new door! Happy painting!.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Drying Time for Metal Door Paint?

The type of paint used for painting a metal door needs to be durable enough to withstand the weather. This means it will be quite thick, and it will take a longer time to dry than most other paints. You can expect to wait any time from two hours to four hours. The manufacturer will include instructions on how to use it, along with how long to wait until the paint is dry.


What Paint Is Suitable for Metal?

The first thing you must apply to your metal surface is a primer. This allows the paint to stick to the surface because the metal is smooth and non-absorbent. The paint that is suitable for a metal surface would need to be oil-based.


How Do I Paint Metal Garage Doors?

A metal garage door might be larger than most other doors, but the principle of how to paint a metal door remains pretty much the same. First, apply a base coat of primer to make the paint adhere to the metal (after cleaning the surface beforehand, of course). After the primer has dried, apply the paint.


Should I Use a Roller or a Brush to Paint a Metal Door?

If you are painting a large surface that is flat, and even, you can use a roller to paint with. However, if you are painting a smaller area that has little details, you will benefit from a brush instead.


Is it Okay to Use Water-Based Paint on My Metal Door?

Water-based paints are not as durable as oil-based paints. You will need paint that can withstand the weather conditions of whatever climate you reside in.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *