External Door Painting Cost

Last updated 7th February, 2024

Wondering how to paint a door? or maybe looking for a door painter?

This article discusses all you need to know about painting doors. We cover the best paint for doors, the labour fees, timeframes and much more!

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external door painting

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How Much Does It Cost To Paint External Doors?

Painting an exterior door is a simple job although your decorator will have to allow for drying times if several coats are required. If the door is brand new and unpainted, then several coats will definitely be required, so even though it may only be a days work in total, this work may be spread out over a week to account for drying times (especially in the winter or in damp weather). This spreading out of the work will of course be reflected in the cost quoted of painting your door.

So, how do I do this?

The full job will entail the removal of the letterbox, door knocker and other door fittings; cleaning the door and then filling any gaps with quick drying wood filler. The timber will then be sanded down and knot treatment applied. Now that the door surface has been prepared, a coat of primer followed by 1-2 undercoats can be applied, followed by a top coat top coat of gloss. Finally all fittings are fitted back on the door to finish the job. The door itself may be painted in situ or some painters prefer to remove it and paint on sawhorses.

A front or back door is a petty small job for a painter, so it may be worth getting any other painting jobs required done at the same time. While the painter is waiting for a coat of primer to dry on the front door, he could be painting skirting boards, interior doors, ceilings or staircases. It makes sense if possible to wait until you have other painting & decorating work done and have it all seen to at the same time. This will reduce travel costs with less driving back and forth thus saving you money.

Try if possible to choose a good day for painting.

You'll need to keep your door open for a few hours so it's best if it's not too cold. On the other hand you should not paint on a really hot day either as your paint will dry too fast, which makes it difficult to get good results. Avoid windy days too to prevent dust and debris sticking to the newly painted surface! You need a day when it's okay to leave the door ajar for a few hours and a 48 hour window of decent weather.

Exposure of gloss paint to damp conditions when drying can lead to "blooming" - where gloss paint ends up with a matt appearance and does not fully dry, staying tacky for some time. If the thought of painting your doors sends you into a panic, then help is at hand, there are plenty of painter & decorators available that will be happy to paint font or back doors on your behalf. Although hiring a professional painter and decorator may cost more than DIY, it can offer a worthwhile saving in terms of efficiency and peace of mind.

Even though painting a door is a relatively simple job, there are a few things which can go wrong, which in the long run will increase the cost. For example, if the door has been painted before, you need to know if your door was painted with oil paint or latex paint the last time. Latex paint will not adhere on top of glossy oil paint, it will look good initially but will soon begin soon to flake off.

If you have a door painted with oil paint, you will have to apply a bonding primer before using latex paint, or else use an oil based paint again. Of course for best results, always remove old paint by sanding door down to the wood before painting!

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How Much Does Exterior Door Painting Cost?

The average cost of hiring a painter & decorator to paint an external door will usually be in the range of £150-£300 depending upon whether the door is new, whether it needs sanding or knotting, whether it has glass panels, and how many coats/primers are required.

Most decorators charge around £150 a day and tend to work by themselves but can sometimes work in pairs if the job is large enough to warrant it. To paint a front or back door it will take around 2-6 hours of work depending upon how many coats are needed. In most cases oil paint will be used so the overall job could take a few days as the tradesman will add a primer/undercoat the first morning, then come back the next day once it's dry to add another coat, and so on until the job is complete.

Exterior Painting Prices

Here are a few average costs for hiring someone to paint a front or back door:

Door Description Avg. Cost Duration
Plain Door - No Sanding or Knotting Required £150 2-3 hours
Plain Door - Sanding and Knotting Required £200 3-4 hours
Door with Glass Panels - No Sanding or Knotting Required £200 3-4 hours
Door with Glass Panels - Sanding and Knotting Required £250 4-5 hours

Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a painter and decorator to paint a plain front or back door where no sanding or knotting is required - Total Cost: £150






Waste Removal


A recommendation from someone you know is the best place to start if applicable, if not then the Painting and Decorating Association can help you with a list of painters and decorators in your area. The Painting and Decorating Association operates on a national level but is made up of regional trade associations such as the London Association of Master Decorators and the Scottish Decorators' Federation.

All members are thoroughly vetted before admission to ensure that they only work with quality materials and have the requisite training and experience to keep abreast of the latest regulations in the industry. In addition all members carry adequate Public Liability Insurance. Of course there will be honest, skilled tradesmen who are not members of a trade association. But, any quality painter & decorator will be more than happy to supply references and allow you to inspect examples of their past work.
Assuming an unpainted standard sized new exterior door, the cost will typically be around £200.
Some painter & decorators will say that old paint should always be removed for the best finish! However others will say that it all depends on the state of the old paint. If it's flaking off then yes you definitely need to strip it all off then start again using a good quality primer and 1-2 coats of undercoat. For a door in good condition a good rub down using wet and dry sandpaper should be OK, there is no real need to strip right back to "fresh wood". If paintwork is in bad condition, then consider investing in a sander or heat gun to completely remove all old paint quickly.
The most important thing of all is a good quality paint. The right paint is imperative to a good finish. Like with the paint, you’ll also need a good quality paintbrush. Brushes are not all the same, they vary in quality greatly. A good quality brush will keep its bristles and shape, which will be reflected on the finish. You should also have a screwdriver, quick dry filler, a paint scraper, sandpaper and rags.
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