The cold, hard fact is that if you use the wrong type of paint on your front door, it could turn into a decorating disaster rather than a decorating delight.
For example, using the wrong paint on metal front doors could result in an ugly oxidisation effect (more on that later) or slapping brittle paint onto a surface that frequently expands and contracts will result in cracking.
I’ve probably painted about 100 front doors during my career as a professional decorator and from a mixture of testing and experience have fortunately found out which paints work best in certain situations.
If you don’t have the time or will to read my in-depth reviews below, here’s a quick table with my front door paint recommendations as well as the situations in which they are best used.
If you’re a fan of reviews and personal anecdotes, read on a bit further!
Quick Look Recommendations
|When to Use
|Price Range (1L)
|If you need the most durable paint
|£20 – £25
|Benjamin Moore Moorlife
|If you’re after a modern looking flat finish
|£20 – £30
|For a 10 Downing Street look
|£30 – £35
|Bradite One Can
|Give your uPVC front door a new lease of life
|£30 – £40
|Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell
|If you want the best looking front door on your street
|£80 – £100
|Johnstone’s Smooth Metal
|If you’re looking for a paint for your metal door
|£25 – £30
1. Sandtex Flexigloss
To give your front door maximum protection.
Sandtex Flexigloss is my personal go-to paint for front doors because it’s simply the most protective paint system to use on exterior woodwork.
During temperature changes, wood contracts and expands which frequently leads to certain paints cracking over time.
Sandtex Flexigloss on the other hand cures to a hard finish but is flexible enough to deal with changing temperatures and conditions with cracking and flaking.
2. Benjamin Moore Moorlife
Recommended for those seeking a flat finish.
Recently, I’ve noticed a slight shift in preferences when it comes to the type of finish clients want on their front doors. Traditional glossy finishes are on the decline and a finish that has typically been reserved for indoors, flat, is on the rise.
Normally I wouldn’t recommend a flat finish for exterior work as it simply lacks in durability but Benjamin Moore’s Moorlife is now available in the UK and seems to be bucking this trend.
Benjamin Moore use a unique ‘secret’ alkyd technology which creates an acrylic paint that’s robust enough to deal with the elements while retaining the stylish, modern look that’s typically associated with flat paints.
Take for example this front door I painted using Moorlife. Having stripped it back from a semi-gloss, all I needed was a couple of coats to achieve this finish.
To be honest, the covering power is so impressive that it probably would’ve looked fine after just 1 coat but of course giving it a second coat means it’s got more protection from the rain and UV.
I can’t say how long this type of paint will last but it’s still going strong after a year.
3. Tikkurila Miranol
A great choice if you want to achieve a 10 Downing Street style finish
Tikkruila Miranol is my absolute favourite paint if the job specification is to create an ultra glossy finish.
To really see how good this paint can be, I would recommend using a colour rather than white. White’s not terrible but with a colour you will see and feel the difference.
It can be applied straight from the can but if you really want to get the most out of it, pop a bit of Owatrol in there and it will flow like a dream.
I would also recommend applying it with a mohair roller and lay off with a brush – this will help you achieve a smooth finish.
Can’t fault the shine on it, that’s for sure.
4. Bradite One Can
Best for UPVC Front Doors.
I know that some people might shy away from painting uPVC front doors but the paint technology on offer today means it’s now a viable option instead of replacing what can be, quite frankly, ugly looking doors.
Take for instance the front door above which I painted from a dirty-looking white to this elegant black. I painted this door using Bradite One Can which is a primer and top coat in one, making it so convenient when painting plastic which usually requires an adhesion primer.
There are some other paints on the market such as Zinsser Allcoat but from my testing, I’ve found Bradite One Can stands up to all sorts of scratch tests, making it more robust than Allcoat.
There are a couple of other paints I would recommend such as Selemix 2K and Kolorbond but you’re going to need a high quality paint sprayer for those paints. Bradite One Can on the other hand can be rolled/brushed which makes it a good choice for the average DIYer/decorator.
5. Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell
If you want the best-looking front door on your street.
Decorators can argue that Farrow and Ball might not be the best quality paint. It doesn’t go on as easily or might not be as durable as other paints. But one thing they’ll never talk down is just how good all of their colours look.
With that in mind, if you’re really looking to make a statement and make your neighbours envious, Farrow and Ball’s Exterior Eggshell is the paint for you.
Something to bear in mind is that you need to use Farrow and Ball’s full system if you want the finish to last.
I know of some people who have used different undercoats and not only did they need 3+ topcoats, the paint started failing after a few months.
If you use F&Bs undercoat along with their topcoats, you can’t go wrong. This summer I had a customer from 7 years ago call me in to do a top up on a wooden substrate that was painted with F&Bs Exterior Eggshell and the paint wasn’t breaking down anywhere, it still looked good, just needed a freshen up.
Always follow the system and it will last.
6. Johnstone’s Smooth Metal Paint
Worthwhile if you’re painting metal doors.
Johnstone’s Smooth Metal Paint is by far my favourite if I’m tasked with painting metal front doors.
I once worked on a housing development where we painted metal doors with Dulux Weathershield, and they all oxidised pretty badly on the metal surface so if you’ve seen this paint recommended for metal doors, my advice would be to stay away.
Funnily enough, this is the paint we ultimately ended up using to cover the oxidisation issues. Johnstone’s Smooth Metal Paint is a 2 in one primer/top coat and fortunately can cover up any rust issues.
I know some decorators like to use Hammerite on metal surfaces but Johnstone’s feels nicer to apply whilst there’s nothing really to separate them when it comes to durability.
My Testing Methodology
The scratch test
The scratch test is one of the key indicators as to how long any paint is going to last on the substrate it’s been applied to. It’s particularly useful when painting uPVC as some paints have poor adhesion to plastic surfaces.
After the paint has cured, I like to give it a little scratch with a penny to ensure the paint has adhered properly. When testing these paints, I used harsher objects (front door keys) to mimic real-world testing.
Surveying fellow decorators
It’s true that some batches of paint might not be as good as the previous batch. I’ve used some paints and thought they were amazing only to find that the second time I used it, it turned out to be utter rubbish.
By surveying fellow decorators on what front door paint they use, I was able to get a general consensus on which paints are consistent, high performers.
Revisiting previous jobs
Nothing proves durability more than the test of time. By going back to previous jobs (don’t worry, I was completing other work!), I was able to check how well the paint I’d applied held up.
Some paints had lasted several years without any signs of cracking or peeling whereas others (fortunately not included on this list) weren’t quite as good.
Ease of application
I know that some of my readers are professional decorators whereas others are DIYers looking for a bit of advice. In order to cater to both audiences, I’ve chosen what I feel are the easiest paints to apply.
I prefer paints that go on straight from the tin but there are some that have amazing durability and deserve to be on this list even if they could do with a drop of water to help flow whilst applying. Overall, the paints on this list are somewhat easy to apply, even for a DIYer (especially as most of the paints are trade-standard).
Thanks for reading, hopefully this list has helped you find the right paint for your job! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email email@example.com or pop a comment in the box below this post. Cheers!