Best primer and paint for exterior wood door?

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Forum topic by jtm posted 05-25-2015 05:13 AM 2125 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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230 posts in 1811 days

05-25-2015 05:13 AM

So I got super ambitious today while doing a few thing to the exterior of my house.

My front entry door is a 50 year old solid pine door. The paint (many layers over the years) was cracked/peeling, so I decided to strip it and sand it down (what a huge pain in the ass).

I have it down to bare wood, and need to prime it. However, due to the age, there are some small cracks in the rails (it’s a 3-panel door). I have a feeling these will fill very quickly with a couple coats of primer (these cracks are still much smaller than an open grain wood like oak). What do you recommend to use for a water base primer?

Also, what is the best way to get exterior grade paint to flow well so there is a minimum amount of brush marks? Just some Floetrol?

I do have an airless, but I’m using it to paint my shutters tomorrow, and I have no desire to clean it twice. Not only that, but I only need a quart of paint to do the door, and that’s not enough to fill the lines in the sprayer anyway. I also have an HVLP system, but exterior paint is waaaaaaaay too viscous to spray with it.

I’d still like to get a decent finish in semigloss. I always use Sherwin Williams. Any suggestions?

(One other thing – these need to be water based, since I need to finish the door in one day.


7 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8482 posts in 2752 days

#1 posted 05-25-2015 05:33 AM

Use a high quality brush for best results like Picasso, Corona, etc.

I like Zinsser water base primer and use two coats.

I like using Dunn-Edwards for the top coat. The last leveling agent I used was XIM and
it worked fine but I’ve never used Floetrol and haven’t heard anything bad about it.

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2472 days

#2 posted 05-25-2015 11:55 AM

Either the Zinsser shown or Glidden Gripper. Behr enamel holds up really well and if you use a good 2 inch beveled sash brush shouldn’t have many brush marks as long as you know the correct way to paint a paneled door. By the time you get all set up thinning paint to run through the HVLP and masking things off you will be done and your brush already washed.

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Bill White

5105 posts in 4135 days

#3 posted 05-25-2015 02:28 PM

BIN as has been shown. I used SW Duration for the exterior on our home.


View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1397 days

#4 posted 05-25-2015 03:55 PM

If you’re going to paint the door, you might consider filling the cracks, (even small ones) with epoxy before priming

-- I meant to do that!

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8482 posts in 2752 days

#5 posted 05-25-2015 04:19 PM

A little info on Floetrol:

Floetrol Latex Paint Additive improves the performance of latex paint and keeps projects flowing smoothly. It gives latex paint the feel of oil paint, without the cleanup hassles. Floetrol is a latex paint conditioner, not a thinner. It maintains and fortifies the qualities of latex paint, unlike water. It also improves the coverage of most paints, providing an exceptional value for the money. It extends the wet edge of the paint, which gives you the time to create the look you want or correct the mistakes you’ve made.

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230 posts in 1811 days

#6 posted 05-26-2015 04:59 AM

Oh man this turned into a disaster.

So I went to Sherwin Williams today, and they only have the Duration and Emerald exterior paints in gallons+.

Since I only needed a quart, I decided to try Lowes.

They have their Valspar “Reserve,” which is actually more expensive than the Sherwin Williams. I paid $21 for a quart.

The stuff is terrible. It applied very poorly with a brush. I even used Floetrol, but it dried very quickly. It took 3 coats to properly cover (it’s a shade of red, so this wasn’t all that surprising).

Here’s the kicker. I figured the application problems were due to the fact that it was an exterior paint, which typically have higher pigment loading and viscosity. It’s not meant for perfection. However, I looked at the can and realized that the paint sales associate actually gave me INTERIOR instead. Normally I’d blame myself for being an idiot and not checking, but I picked up an EXTERIOR can. But when I asked the salesman to tint it, he had to get a different can (with a different base). Apparently he accidentally grabbed the interior one instead.

I know there isn’t a huge difference between interior and exterior, but I imagine the resins in the exterior are more durable due to being formulated to withstand the elements.

Any suggestions?

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2472 days

#7 posted 05-27-2015 03:07 PM

You shoulda’ said ‘red’ up front. I would have suggested you prime with Rustoleum red oxide primer first, that way one coat SHOULD have been sufficient and you wouldn’t have so many layers of brush marks.

I painted my porch ceiling with a sky blue satin enamel and only after I was done I saw that the woman who mixed the paint gave me interior. It’s been over 10 years and only now one little area is starting to flake a bit. Coldest it’s been where I am is about 10 below, too. If the door isn’t facing south or west and taking serious weather I’d live with it. Unless you want to strip it again, which I’m sure you don’t.

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