How to Paint Metal Doors with Plastic Trim
Freshen up the look of your home by painting your front door. Even if it’s a metal door with plastic door trim, it can be simple and quick with the right products!
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 door trim.
Since I am only able to paint the inside of our doors (it’s a strata situation), 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:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
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
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.
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.
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,
then the recessed areas,
and then, using a foam roller, I filled in the recessed areas, and moved on to the bottom half of the door:
And then the top half:
Once it was completely dry, I did a second coat to finish it off nicely.
Once the paint is totally dry, run a utility knife around the edges of the painter’s tape before removing it!
This is a VERY important step. I talk about it in this short Facebook live:
This space was a little boring before…
And this new color has given it so much life!
This post was part of the Exterior Door Makeover series I did. Click here to see our front door entrance makeover!
Other Painting Tips & Tricks:
- How to make chalk paint with baking soda
- How to paint straight lines (using painters tape)
- A paint supplies list for everything you’ll need to paint a room
- Can you paint over stained wood?
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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!
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!
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?
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
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.
What great tips! And wow what a fantastic transformation!!
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.
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!