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How to Paint Metal Doors with Plastic Trim

I’m not a stranger to painting weird surfaces. I’ve painted 70’s paneling, barker board in a bathroom, stained wood walls, fabric, and even wallpaper.

But, I admit. I was a little stumped with painting metal doors with plastic trim.

Since I am only able to paint the inside of our doors, I started researching how to paint both metal and plastic for interior use.

The process seemed quite simple, with the key ingredient being the proper primer.

It worked like a charm!

Here’s how to paint metal doors with plastic trim:

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Gather the Supplies Needed:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Drop cloths (or old towels can be used in a pinch)
  • Step Stool (If you’re short like me…)
  • Paint brush (This is my absolute favourite!)
  • 4 inch foam roller and roller tray
  • Benjamin Moore Aqua Lock Primer
  • 1 Quart Benjamin Moore Latex Paint in Pearl Finish (I chose Regal Select in the color “Raccoon Fur”)
  • Utility Knife
  • Screwdriver to loosen or remove door handles

Prep the exterior door and plastic trim for painting:

 Clean the door surface well

To paint a metal exterior door, it must first be clean and dry. Wipe it down carefully to remove any dirt or residue.

Wipe down the door and trim well before painting

Paint does not like to stick to dirt or grease! Clean off the door thoroughly. (I used my Norwex cloth and water for this step.)

 Remove door handles (if you desire to) or tape around them carefully with painter’s tape. Tape off the inside of the window panels using painters tape.

Tape off plastic window trim with painter's tape to make a nice crisp edge around the windows.

Use painters tape around the plastic window trim to achieve nice, crisp lines around the windows.

Although I find this step to be slightly annoying and time consuming, I did find that it saved time in the long run. I removed the door handles, as we were replacing them. However, if you aren’t replacing the handles, I would just loosen them slightly and tape around them carefully.

Prime the metal door and plastic trim.

I used Benjamin Moore’s Aqua Lock primer for this step. The primer is a key ingredient for painting both metal doors and plastic trim. It is applied just like the paint is, and must be dry before painting the finished paint color over the top. Here’s the method I used when priming:

Using this brush, prime around the window trim first. Then, prime the insides of the recessed areas of the door. While the paint is still wet, use a foam roller to finish off the door.

Prime plastic door trim with a handle less trim paint brush first.

Prime the exterior metal door by first starting with the plastic window trim.

I did a Facebook live while I did this part if you’d like to see the process in action.;)

Once the primer is dry, paint the door the color of your choice.

I again painted in a systematic order, trying to work neatly and quickly, as it is much better to do all the steps while the paint is wet. (They call it “keeping a wet edge”). All along the way, I tried to watch carefully for any drips that might want to form ~ especially in the corners of the windows.

I started with the window trim,

Painting exterior metal doors and windows starts with painting around the plastic window trim first.

Painting the door follows the same sequence of steps as priming did. Start first by painting around the plastic window trim area.

then the recessed areas,

The second step of painting an exterior metal door is to paint any recessed areas in the door.

The second area to paint is the recessed areas of the paneled door.

and then, using a foam roller, I filled in the recessed areas, and  moved on to the bottom half of the door:

Paint the inside portion of the recessed area with a foam roller. The color used on this door is Raccoon Fur by Benjamin Moore

While the paint is still wet, paint the flat portion of the recessed door with a foam roller.

 

And then the top half:

Finish painting the exterior door by rolling on the paint on the bottom half of the door and then the top. This door is painted the color Raccoon Fur by Benjamin Moore

Finish painting the flat section of the exterior door using the foam roller – starting at the bottom half and then the top.

Once it was completely dry, I did a second coat to finish it off nicely.

Once the first coat of paint is dry, paint a second coat of paint to finish it off.

Once the first coat of paint is completely dry, paint on a second and final coat using the same method as the first coat.

Once the paint is totally dry, run a utility knife around the edges of the painter’s tape before removing it!

Score the edge of the painter's tape with a utility knife before removing it to prevent the paint from peeling off.

Score the edge of the painter’s tape with a utility knife before removing it to prevent the paint from peeling off.

This is a VERY important step. I talk about it in this short Facebook live:

This space was a little boring before…

metal and plastic door painted white

And this new color has given it so much life!

Inside door painted Raccoon Fur by Benjamin Moore

This post was part of the Exterior Door Makeover series I did. Click here to see our front door entrance makeover!

How to Paint Metal Doors with Plastic Trim

How to Paint Metal Doors with Plastic Trim

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Get great results with this step by step approach to painting an exterior door with plastic trim.

Ingredients

  • Painter’s tape
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Drop cloths, or old towels can be used in a pinch
  • Step Stool, If you’re short like me…
  • Paint brush, This is my absolute favourite!
  • 4 inch foam roller and roller tray
  • Benjamin Moore Aqua Lock Primer
  • 1 Quart Benjamin Moore Latex Paint in Pearl Finish, I chose Regal Select in the color “Raccoon Fur”
  • Utility Knife
  • Screwdriver to loosen or remove door handles

Instructions

Prep the exterior door and plastic trim for painting:

  1. Clean the door surface well
  2. Remove door handles (if you desire to) or tape around them carefully with painter’s tape. Tape off the inside of the window panels using painters tape.

Prime the metal door and plastic trim. I used Benjamin Moore’s Aqua Lock primer for this step. The primer is a key ingredient for painting both metal doors and plastic trim. It is applied just like the paint is, and must be dry before painting the finished paint color over the top. Here’s the method I used when priming:

  1. Using the handle less trim brush, prime around the window trim first.
  2. Then, prime the insides of the recessed areas of the door.
  3. While the paint is still wet, use a foam roller to finish off the door.

Once the primer is dry, paint 2 coats of paint in the color of your choice, allowing for drying time between coats.

    Nutrition Information:
    Serving Size: 1 grams
    Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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    9 Comments

    1. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this video. It was SO helpful as I am trying to get the mindset that I can do this. It’s VERY intimidating & I have been putting it off. I have the same doors so I am getting my materials together & keeping my fingers crossed that I can get it done this week.. weather permitting!! Thank you again for your informative & encouraging video.. if I get it done, I will send some before & after pics. God bless you & your family during this time. Stay safe!

      Sincerely,
      Melanie Sanchez

      1. I’m so glad this was helpful, Melanie. I, too, was very intimidated to start this project, but, seriously, you can do it!! It’s really not that hard once you get the proper tools and paint. You’ll be so proud of yourself when it’s done. Happy painting!

    2. This is really helpful but I am intimidated by the trim around the window. It has screws. Can’t I just remove the trim and paint it separately?

    3. I don’t know why I didn’t search the Internet before on how to paint the plastic trim on a metal door. Mine has the 9 clear windows like yours, and no where can I find paint you can BRUSH on. that would paint over plastic
      I even went to craft stores nobody has anything like Krylon has one that comes in a can but I can’t find it every place you look has paint you can spray on plastic, that’s too much work with the taping
      so now that I see this I’m gonna tackle my back door thank you so much

      1. Hi
        I have steel exterior doors with windows and screens that I pull out to wash glass. All of it is plastic. Do you still recommend the same procedure as above ? I want a total black look and was going to use Stix by Benjamin Moore.

    4. I was interested to know a lot about this type of door, but I could not find out anything about the subject because I did not find a suitable medium. Today I saw your blog and got a full idea about the subject. Thanks for sharing.

    5. Your tutorial was not only easy to follow, it was VERY entertaining. YOU are very entertaining! I have a door like yours that I have put off painting for 2 years. Once it warms up here in Iowa, I’m going to follow your instructions and get it done!! Thank you for making my day!

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