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How to paint a composite doo

It is possible to paint a composite door! And it’s cheap and easy....

red composite door

When we bought this house I thought nothing of the bright red composite front door. Dare I say I even quite liked it? Well, then I started paying more attention to the other houses in our street, many still with their beautiful Victorian front doors, complete with two stained glass panels and a matching stained glass side window. I grew to hate and resent the door! But it is just out of budget to replace at the moment.

front garden renovation

We have totally overhauled the front ‘yarden’. When we moved in there was a large camellia bush, it wasn’t planted in the best position and the flowers, when they did come, would get scorched and turn brown. As much as I’m an advocate for keeping trees wherever possible (they are so important for the environment) the camellia has to go. So we were left with a sad looking space, filled with pebbles and wheelie bins.

front garden with camellia bush

I decided I would make a container garden outside and gradually brought a few pots out the front. But the front garden really started to take shape when we put down paving and our bin sheds. I have planted a climbing rose next to the front door and now there’s more pot plants added and it’s really starting to look pretty out there now.

container garden living roof bin store

However. The door. Still the red door remained and it just doesn’t go. The house is painted a light grey, the bin shed is also a warm grey shade and all the plants follow a theme of whites, purples and the occasional pink (though I plan to phase out the pinks and replace with blues).

So how does one paint a composite front door I wondered? I spent HOURS googling but could find hardly any blogs or guides and those I did find basically warned against it. The consensus seemingly being that a composite door is not meant to be changed. Well I think this is daft. I didn’t put the door in, but even if I had, over time, you get bored, make changes, redecorate! Of course you might want to paint a composite door. It’s surely not that unreasonable?!

painting composite door

So I looked into colours. I decided I would go for a pale lavender to fit with the colour theme (and indeed all the pots of lavender). I tested a few pots and settled on Parma Violet from Frenchic Paint – specifically the Al Fresco range which is the one you need for outdoor projects and has some dreamy colours (I love Victory Lane, Serendipity and Apple of my Eye). Parma Violet is definitely more blue than my initially intended lavender but I went for it because it was the closest option they had to my dream colour. It is still more or less what I was after. Another option that had been suggested was Zinsser All Coat with a satin finish. This paint can be colour matched so lots of choice available. I didn’t use this though, so I can’t tell you how good it is, but if you’re after a colour not in the Frenchic range, then this could be a good option for you. I went for Frenchic Paint because I liked how smooth it was to apply and the minimal prep required.

sugar soap

Firstly, I gave the door a thorough scrub with sugar soap. It was seriously grubby! Once it was more or less clean (save some seriously ingrained dust) I sanded it down lightly with fine grade sandpaper and gave it a good dusting off so it was free of dust, grime and lint before painting. I also removed the door furniture (except the lock which is very fiddly – I would suggest protecting that with masking tape instead).

sanded down composite door

No primer is required with this paint which was a real bonus and it went on a dream. The first coat took about 45 mins to apply. Here are the results:

composite door one coat frenchic paint

After about an hour the door was touch dry so I began the second coat. I did two full coats with just one tester pot!

painted composite door

I haven’t yet applied a third coat, but I will, just to really finish it nicely. I think three coats is necessary so you’ll either want two tester pots or one 500ml pot.

I’ve applied the fingernail test – basically I had a go at scratching the paint off! – and it has stayed put. So far so good. It’s totally transformed the door and I’m so glad we took the plunge! So don’t be scared – paint your old composite door. Nothing bad will happen! 🙂

painted composite door

Next up…. cleaning that uPVC and I think I need some stained glass window film…..

If you have a go, I’d love to see the results!

Update: here’s our door after three coats and a polish with beeswax in Spring 2020, having survived winter! No chips or fading to be seen.

22 comments on “How to paint a composite doo

  1. valballard2003@yahoo.co.uk

    will composite door painting become the new bin shed revolution?

    looks brilliant.

    xxx

    Like

  2. A very informative one! Your article is really a good read. I really loved it. Thanks for teaching us how to paint a composite door. I really learned a lot from it.

    Like

  3. Delia Mansfield

    This sounds really good and i will have a go.Our door has faded badly from the sun and looks awful.

    Like

  4. Sarah Johnson

    I also want to paint my composite door (back door) but can only find negative articles, until I found yours! Thank you! It has given me the confidence to take the plunge today!

    Like

    • I found exactly the same when researching it and I know it’s not recommended, but nearly a year down the line our door look just as good now ☺️ no chips or fading. I think it actually looks more wooden because of the finish! X

      Like

  5. I found exactly the same when researching it and I know it’s not recommended, but nearly a year down the line our door look just as good now ☺️ no chips or fading. I think it actually looks more wooden because of the finish! X

    Like

  6. Sandie

    Definitely going to paint my daughters Red composite door, she hates it, I hate it. So here goes when I find the paint? THANKYOU.

    Like

  7. Lynn Pickering

    Looks lovely and fresh and advice really helpful
    Thank you ….has inspired me to take plunge..
    Lynn

    Like

  8. Rachel

    I felt like you were reading my mind the more I read of this story. You had the exact same through process as me, even down to not noticing the door when you moved in, to then noticing everyone else’s front door and how nice they are, and then pulling all the dead bushes out of the “yarden”! It put me off after googling it too, as everywhere says not to do it, but if you can paint UPVC then why not composite? I’m sure they just say you can’t so you spend lots of money on a new one! I’ve bought Frenchic paint in constance moss today and I hope it’ll work out as well as yours. I was stuck between that one and victory lane. Exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wonderful! I’m glad you’re taking the plunge and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. It’s definitely worth giving the door a light sand first but honestly it goes on dream and mine is still looking good a year on 🙂 good luck! X

      Like

  9. My composite door has become tired, color faded after 10 years! I was going to replace it with a new door and was quoted for nearly £1000 for a slightly good quality door. I had this idea to paint my composite door but was afraid to do so because I had been told it couldn’t be done. Until I read your article yesterday I now definitely will have a go!! Your article is so helpful with its step by step instructions. I just want to say a big THANK YOU to you.

    Like

  10. Carrie Warnekey

    Hi, I’m thinking of buying a 2nd hand composite door and painting it, was the paint gloss or satin? Also did you paint the back?
    What sort of sand paper did you use, a fine sandpaper sponge?
    Thank you for any help.

    Like

    • Hi Carrie, I used Frenchic Paint from the Al Fresco range and I finished with beeswax which gives a satin finish. Just a fine grade sandpaper is fine as it only needs a light sand to give the paint something to grip on to. Good luck! 🙂

      Like

  11. Bethan

    We complete on a house on Friday which has the brightest Baby Pink composite doors you can image. Not only 1 door but 3 doors!!!! so you can imagine it will be one of my first jobs to do in the house. Until I saw post I thought it was going to be an expensive job replacing them or getting a specialist to repaint them.

    Your post has given me the inspiration to do it myself. Thank you. xx

    Like

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