I'm refinishing my grandmothers front door. It is metal (I'm sure) with a coat of factory primer (I think).

I stripped off the previous paint with a few applications of Citristrip. The primer remained completely intact which leads me to believe it is maybe some sort of factory powder coat or something that is impervious to strippers; either way its fine being on there - saves me from having to prime.

My question is, what type of paint should I use on the door? I hadn't really thought about it until I saw this video by TOH (https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-paint-exterior-metal-door) suggesting the use of DTM or direct to metal paint.

Is this required? Will the primer effect this? When I think of direct to metal I think completely bare silver metal. In the video it is shown going over what I believe to be a similar finish to what I have after stripping.

Note: it seemed like the paint that was on the door before was latex-based given the way it came off (like peeling off a face mask/not in chips); held up rather well. But I'm not paint expert - all paints may strip off similarly.

  • Painter here. Direct to metal paint won't hold up to rust. If you want a tougher paint, consider an alkyd "oil" paint. Find a "Sherwin Williams Industrial" paint outlet and they'll have everything, and match color too. Given its chemical resistance I suspect your primer is a 2-part epoxy, which is a great choice because almost anything can overtop it, including fancy LPUs. However epoxy is vulnerable to sunlight, so don't leave it in primer long. Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 6:44
  • Hey Harper thanks for the response! Do you think I need to roughen up the surface primer/epoxy with an orbital sander and use something like this: homedepot.com/p/… before applying the exterior coat? Further, isn't oil-based paint more "glossy"?
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 7:11


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