How to Repair & Repaint Steel Doors

A steel door is durable and secure, and it doesn’t rot or warp like wood. However, over time, the finish can dull or you might change your home’s exterior and decide to provide your steel door a fresh coat of new paint. You may run into issues if your door is dented or contains holes caused by rust. The good thing is that most homeowners can do these repairs and refinish a steel door themselves.

Place the end of a screwdriver under each hinge and then tap with a hammer to pop out the hinge pins and remove the door from the frame. Put the door flat, such as on a set of saw horses.

Wear protective clothing, a painter’s mask, safety glasses, and rubber gloves before you begin refinishing your door.

Remove the screws securing the door’s kick plate using a screwdriver. Scrape away loose parts of paint using a paint scraper and mud any rust patches down to the bare metal with 60-grit sandpaper.

Smooth the sanded areas having 150-grit or finer sandpaper and wipe away sanding dust with a tack cloth.

Wash the door with light soap and water to remove dirt, grease and debris and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Sand dents and the area surrounding holes or scratches down to the bare metal using coarse sandpaper, such as 80- to 150-grit. The coarse sandpaper will leave scratches, but they produce a surface that will hold your stain material.

Wipe the door using a tack cloth to remove sanding dust.

Implement auto-body stitch into the damaged areas utilizing a plastic putty knife. Auto-body filler is a two-part resin that must be mixed prior to use. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for this procedure, and once the pieces are mixed, spread the filler into the damaged area and press it smooth until the stain is slightly higher than the surface of the door.

Let the putty cure for about half an hour and then sand the stain, first using 80-grit sandpaper on a rubber sanding block, then 150-grit paper, sanding until the stain is almost level to the steel.

Finish sanding with 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block. Sand the patch till it is level with the surface of the door, feathering the edges.

Scrape loose paint from the door using a paint scraper. Wear just the paint that’s loose. Feather the edges using 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the finish. Scuff sand the rest of the door with fine-grit sandpaper to prepare it for cushion.

Apply a latex or oil-based primer specifically formulated for metal, using a brush or a sprayer.

Sand the dried primer gently with 150-grit sandpaper to remove high spots and drips and also to scuff the surface of the door.

Apply at least one complete coat of latex or oil-based enamel paint to complete the door by means of a roller or a brush.

Let the paint dry overnight and then apply a thin bead of silicone around the top and sides of your kick plate. This may seal the plate so that moisture doesn’t flow behind and cause rust.

Put the plate on the door so the screw holes line up over the existing mounting holes at the door and reinstall the screws.

Reinstall your door at the frame, replacing the hinge pins in the top and in the bottom.

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