60-Minute Painting Instructions for Re-Painting, Sealing, or Customizing Your Steel Door Color


When a steel door is installed and in the closed position, paint the outside surface of the door only. It is not necessary to paint the door sections on the edges, joints, and inside like a new wood door requires. Paint cannot dry in-between joints. One coat of paint should cover if the steel surface is prepared properly. This is done by cleaning and lightly sanding as shown in steps 1, 2, and 3. Because the new paint is being applied to a stable painted surface, the new paint should last for many years. For copper doors, the clear sealer may need to repeated often. We recommend that copper doors not be painted and be allowed to age gracefully.

Your local paint store will advise you on the type and quality of paint to purchase. Follow any additional instructions on the paint can, especially proper temperature conditions and ventilation.

NOTE: It may be possible to renew the look of an older door without re-painting by using Martin’s renewal product that may minimize oxidation and restore the finish without re-painting.


Step 1 – 10 Minutes – Close the door, then wash it with a mild detergent to remove any dirt, oil or grime.

NOTE: Martin Door dealers are trained on the correct way to remove and reattach Finger Shields without damage. These are to be painted separately. After the door and Finger Shield are painted and dry, re-attach the Finger Shields.

Step 2 – 5 Minutes – Spray off with water. The washing process is necessary for the new paint to adhere to the surface.

OR Step 1 and 2 – 10 Minutes – Wipe door clean with a good quality paint thinner.

Step 3 – 10 Minutes – When the door is completely dry, lightly sand. The sanding process is necessary for the new paint to adhere to the surface.

Step 4 – 15 Minutes – Dust off, then raise the door. Place a protective cover over the jambs, header and floor.

Step 5 – 20 Minutes – Close the door and paint using any good quality paint or clear coat sealer. Paint only the exposed outside surface. A spray gun will usually apply a more even coat.