I have a newly installed exterior metal paneled door that was still dirty when painted. Also embedded in the paint job are bits of foam rubber from the brush, lint from a paint roller and hair from an exuberant dog. Oil paint was used because this is a southwest facing door that gets a lot of heat and we were told that latex based paint would not perform well in those conditions.

Two questions:

  1. Was oil based paint the proper choice?

  2. What is the best way to go about fixing the foam, lint, dirt, and dog hair in the current paint job?

4 Answers 4


For getting paint off a door, I highly recommend using Citrus Strip. We tried it on our old wooden door and it worked great, taking off multiple layers of paint. It doesn't work as well under a lot of sun and heat, so I would recommend either taking the door off the hinges or erecting some sort of tarp to block the sun from hitting it directly. Then get a paint scraper,and it will come off pretty well.

For painting the door, they make small rollers (cabinet rollers) that we also used on our door, and it worked out very well. They are only about 4" wide. I believe we used a latex paint, but I will check the can when I get home.

Citrus Strip Gel

  • I don't think I want to take off multiple layers, I just want a smoother finish without the debris.
    – danludwig
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 16:22
  • Oh, I understand you don't need to take off multiple layers. I'm just saying that this will do the trick. To be honest, this didn't really take all that much time and I think you'll be happier with the results if you just take off the paint. I would also look at the manual for the door and see if it wants to be primed first.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 16:39
  • The door was already primed at the factory. One reason I don't want to take off that layer.
    – danludwig
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 16:45
  • 1
    I used Citristrip to unpaint a factory-primed steel door and it didn't harm the primer. Commented May 14, 2013 at 18:49
  • Sorry for my skepticism. You are right, this stuff works well and is leaving the factory primer intact.
    – danludwig
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 18:30

If you don't want to strip the new paint off, you can sand it to smooth out the rough areas. Go over it with a 150 grit first, then go over it a second time with 220 or 340. You can use a sanding sponge to get into the tight details. Be sure to clean it well after sanding, completely dust free this time. If possible, pull the hinge pins and remove the door. Set the door on a couple of saw horses and paint it with a soft bristle brush. A good oil rated or combo ultra-glide 2 1/2 or 3 inch angle cut Purdy would be great. Start with the lights then move to the stiles, finishing with the outer most frame. Painting it on the horizontal will give you much better results. The paint will level better and not run. Pay extra attention to the corners of the raised panels as they have a tenancy to run. Remember, two thin coats are much better than one heavy coat.

  • Thanks for the tips for repainting, but I did go ahead and strip off the old paint. I should still sand the primer a bit before applying color paint again, correct?
    – danludwig
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 17:06

The ideal way to paint the door would be to have it sprayed by a pro; however this could be more expensive than you wish to spend.

Definitely paint the door off the hinges and horizontal if possible, and out of the sun and wind, indoors (garage) if possible.

I have not used the Citrus Strip but it sounds worth a try. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure the surface is CLEAN before painting. Purchase a top quality acrylic paint. Acrylic does not fade like oil does.

Whether to use a roller or brush? Good question. I have used a foam roller but you will get the little bubbles which if not overworked should dry out but it won't be a smooth as a spray job. Same for the brush: pay for a good one and you are more likely to get a much nice finish.

Good luck.

PS. Keep children and pets out of the work area to increase your chances of a nice finish.


You aren't going to find it feasible to strip the door. Sand it down with 120 grit sandpaper in a palm sander. You'll get it smooth enough.

Spraying give you a booth finish. If it's a smooth door, you may want to do that. If it's a textured door, brushing it will produce the same result as spraying. A quality primer and latex paint are perfectly fine. You'll have to fully prime the door to cover the oil-based coat on there now.

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