Curb appeal is extremely important.  The front of your home is the first thing that a person will see. In my case, it is the first thing a potential buyer will see. It is the thing that could either make them optimistic about the potential of my home, or put a bad taste in their mouth before they even walk through the door. The reality is you can have the most wonderful up-to-date interior, but if the outside of your home looks like that dingy, creepy house from the movie “The Burbs” you will most certainly be losing out on potential buyers. 

So, in an effort to start prepping my home for sale, I have started tackling some improvement projects, starting with my front door. As you can see, this front entry was absolutely NOT appealing. The front door is faded white with stains, the original railings are rusted and chipped and the steps have chipped, dirty paint all over them. Not to mention the surrounding trim is flat and not painted.  The only thing that comes to mind when I look at this is…ICK! It is absolutely NOT going to make potential buyers get a warm, fuzzy feeling when they look at my home. So it’s time for a makeover.

Phase 1: Front Door Painting & Trim

The first thing I wanted to do is paint the door.  I decided to go with a glossy black color since it works with the light blue color of my home. The first thing I did was get a heavy-duty cleaner that would remove any grime that was stuck to the door. After, I took a sanding sponge and gave the door a quick sanding. I wiped the door down with a tack cloth to remove any dust. Next, I primed the door with Kilz 2 primer. After letting the primer dry about 1.5 hours, I put on my first coat of “Behr Marquee High Gloss paint” in black. I used a combo method for painting, utilizing a paint brush for the indented portions of the door and a mini roller to paint the large flat portions. After the first coat was on, I let the paint dry a full 24 hours. When the 24 hours had passed, I took a sanding sponge (400 grit) and did a very light sanding. The purpose of sanding was just to rough up the surface a bit so the second coat could adhere better. It also helps remove any dried paint drips. I again wiped down the door with a tack cloth. I applied my second coat using the same method as before and then let the door dry fully. I removed the painters tape and moved on to the trim.

The trim was easy enough. I simply went down to the hardware store and purchased a primed door trim kit. I dry fitted the trim to make sure it would fit and then installed. I did have a slight issue with one side of the door frame not being symmetrical to the other side. This ended up being no big deal as I was able to add a thin piece of wood to even it out. Since the kit was purchased primed, I simply had to paint the trim white. I used a paint brush for the trim as it had grooves.

front door

Phase 2: Railing

To fix up the old railing I used the “Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rusty Red Flat Oil-based Enamel Interior/Exterior Primer” and “Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Flat Black Protective Enamel Paint”. I had done some research on the best paints for railings and these products consistently were at the top of everyone’s list. So, I decided to try them out.

First, I used a strong cleaning solution (I used Krud Kutter) and gave the railing a good wipe down. Next, I took a wire brush and I went over every inch of the railing brushing it down in order to remove any loose paint or rust. I wiped it down with a tack cloth. There were a few bumps I found on the railings that annoyed me to no end, so I used a grinder to get them out. I once again wiped down with a tack cloth. After those first steps the process was simple. I first took the Rust-Oleum primer and applied an even coat. I utilized a small paint brush for the hard to get spots and then a small roller for the rest. I let that dry for 24 hours. The next day I applied the Rust-Oleum Flat Black Enamel. I utilized the same technique for applying. Once I was finished, I let it dry for another 24 hours. I wasn’t sure if I was going to need two coats of the paint, but it ended up that one coast was enough. Just make sure to take the time to apply evenly. Don’t rush.

chipping railing

Phase 3: Steps

For the steps I wanted to darken it up. I hated the light white steps because it just showed every horrible imperfection. I decided to go with a dark gray. I started by simply sweeping any loose debris off the steps. I then power washed them down. I let them fully dry. After they were dry, I painted them using a “Behr Masonry Paint and Primer”. They came out fantastic! It has been a few weeks since I have redone the steps and we have had all kind of weather and temperatures and I am happy to report that they are still perfect. No peeling or chipping! 

chipping stairs


Phase 4: Kick Plate

This is so simple to do. Just go down to your local hardware store. Get a kick plate kit. Align the kick plate to the door. Mark down all the screw spots with pencil. Then take a drill and drill the screw holes. Finally screw the kick plate into the door and Voila! All done. It took me literally 5 minutes to do this.


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