Fix-It Chick: Repoint damaged mortar joints to save brick, stone structures

A fresh coat of paint on your home’s front door can enhance both the mood and the value of the property.

Step 1: Consider the surrounding area and adjacent colors when choosing a color for the door. A front door should complement the design of the house while expressing the mood of its occupants.

Step 2: For easy access, remove the door and lay it atop two sawhorses. The door can also be painted while hanging in place. Either way, the ground should be covered with a drop cloth, and the surrounding area should be protected from paint splatters and spills.

Step 3: Choose a day when no rain is expected. For best results, temperatures should remain above freezing and below 90 degrees throughout the painting process. Avoid direct sunlight by painting east-facing doors in the afternoon and west-facing doors in the morning.

Step 4: If the door hardware is easily removed, take it off. Otherwise, cover it completely with tape.

Step 5: Scrape away loose paint and fill any holes or cracks with exterior wood putty. Dents and cracks in metal doors can be repaired with an auto body filler such as Bondo.

Step 6: Sand all surfaces to be painted with 100-grit sandpaper. Use a slightly coarser grit to smooth away rough spots.

Step 7: Wash the door with a nonresidual cleaner such as TSP or Dirtex. Allow the door to dry completely before applying primer or paint.

Step 8: Prime any bare spots with a good exterior primer. If red is the color of choice, prime the entire surface with a gray-tinted primer to ensure the red appears red after it dries.

Step 9: Once the primer has dried completely, use a good-quality brush to apply the paint. Begin with any edges, trim or detailed areas and then move on to the flat surfaces of the door. Stir the paint periodically throughout the process to maintain an even color and sheen.

Step 10: Allow the first coat to dry completely and then apply a second coat in the same manner. For deep, rich colors, a third coat of paint may be necessary.

Step 11: Remove any tape after the final coat of paint has been applied.

Step 12: Allow the paint to dry at least 24 hours before reinstalling hardware and putting the door back into service.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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