I'd like to paint the outside door of my electrical panel so that it blends in a bit better with the surrounding wall. From what I can tell, this is within code. E.g., this answer on this site.

When I asked my painter to do this, he said it would be a bad idea to just paint directly over it with my wall paint because it wouldn't bond very well, and this was out of scope.

What's the best way to go about this to get a great finish?

Ideally, I'd like to find a surface preparation and priming technique that would let me get the matching wall paint to bond nicely. (I'm using Farrow and Ball "Estate Emulsion" finish if that makes any difference.) Otherwise, if there's a good spray paint or product, I want to make this as nice as possible.

  • "Can't vouch for the cited product's chemistry." - That's the one name you could mention that stuff matters. You're using 200 dollar a gallon paint then you use their 130 dollars a gallon primer. Only exception is a rattle can if you're lazy. F&B's metal primer is the best paint I've ever used. The secret is in how to prime something (it'll look like crap; not enough) and then for a panel cover it's how thin of a coat you can get (again) so the slide handle doesn't scrape the paint off like it always does.
    – Mazura
    Sep 13, 2023 at 23:41
  • 'Customer is making me use F&B, what corners can I cut?' None of them. - So like neither you nor the contracter wanted to drop 40 bucks on a pint of primer? Is that the problem; how's it even a question what to use.
    – Mazura
    Sep 14, 2023 at 0:10

5 Answers 5


I have painted a bunch of these in rental properties.

Scuff the surface with a scotch brite pad or similar.

Prime with a primer compatible with your finish paint.

Apply 2 coats of color of your choice. A sponge roller does a nice smooth job.

Relax and admire a job well done.

  • Prime with F&B [Light/Dark] Undertones Metal Primer. Then "[color] Estate Emulsion".
    – Mazura
    Sep 14, 2023 at 0:05
  • Prime with a (suitable primer) suitable for the substrate (or desired finish). Their wood primers are designed to show the grain, which is the opposite of what you want for a metal primer. If you buy into their system chemistry, then you use their system chemistry. Otherwise don't buy designer paint and expect it to look it or last like it.
    – Mazura
    Sep 14, 2023 at 0:53
  • 1
    @Mazura, ....Way to push way too much into a statement..sounds like you are searching for a way to confuse someone.
    – RMDman
    Sep 14, 2023 at 3:21
  • With the way they named their paint, they started it.
    – Mazura
    Sep 14, 2023 at 3:34

See if you can purchase a white replacement cover for your load center. These are cheap and IMO the factory finish looks better than anything most painters are capable of and the white finish draws even less attention and looks more attractive and professional than if you paint it with your wall paint. People are used to seeing white ceilings, wood trim, switches and outlets. Mentally, it vanishes. A panel door covered in eggshell latex will draw attention no matter how well it's done.


Painting it is easy, it's the prep you really need to get right.

Clean it with a TSP mixture to remove any grease, wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Scuff it with a sanding sponge and then wipe it clean, again.

For paint, you'll want to start with a bonding primer.

A bonding primer will give you better adhesion. That way your paint doesn't chip or scratch off as easy. Rustoleum has some great bonding primers.

After you prime, either roll it with a ¼" microfiber or spray paint it, your choice.

Rustoleum Bonding Primer bonding primer

  • "universal primer" historically means "dewaxed shellac", possibly with a color agent added. Can't vouch for the cited product's chemistry.
    – keshlam
    Sep 12, 2023 at 0:50
  • 2
    @keshlam You can look at the TDS here, I don't believe it is a shellac. I've used this primer quite a bit, works great.
    – matt.
    Sep 12, 2023 at 1:44

Brush, roller or spray

In any case the surface needs to be prepared.

Some light sanding, some grease removal and good primer.

I like to use the spray method since it gives the best result.

Simply remove the door and spray it.


In addition to other answers:

If your door comes with grounding wire, tape the connection point to ensure it does not get painted over. Remember to reconnect the wire when reinstalling the door.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.