Paint Front Entry Door To Look Like Wood

I completed a front entry door project this week where I painted two entry doors to look like wood.
I know at first it might sound a little strange to paint over an existing wood door to make it look like wood but when you think about it, it makes sense.

This door like a lot of wood doors had a stain on it and then clear coated with an oil based clear coat.  It only takes about 2 years of some sun exposure to deteriorate an oil based clear coat.  The finish will start to crack and then peel off leaving the wood exposed to the elements.  Most natural wood doors are oak or mahogany so they will last a long time but after a few years of being exposed the wood will rot.

So what typically happens is a door gets a nice looking finish on it and in the matter of 2 or 3 years the finish is either gone or needs to be refinished.  So the door gets refinished in the same way and in another 2-3 years the cycle gets repeated.  When a door gets a lot of sun it can need to be refinished every year to keep it looking good.

After going thru that a few times the homeowner would like a better solution.  A better solution is to use a good quality exterior house paint and paint the door.  But what if the homeowner likes the wood door look and wants to keep that.  That's where I step in and actually paint the door to have a wood grain look.  I typically only paint the outside of the door as the inside of the door is ok.  I can match the inside of the door really closely.  After I am done most people can't tell at all that the door was painted to look like wood.

Here is picture of the completed doors I did this week.  I painted the exterior of the doors and the exterior door framework.

paint front door to look like wood

The next photo shows a closeup of the wood grain I was able to create on these doors.  The center medallion was a bit of challenge but it also came out looking good.

wood grain painted on door

Another closeup you can see in the next photo.  It's hard to imagine anyone would know that the wood grain is painted on instead of real.

painting entry door to look like wood.

This next photo is one of the doors that shows the condition they were in when I got there.  All the clear coat had come off and the doors were essentially unprotected.

The next photo is interesting in that in the first photo you can't tell but the doors were really dirty.  Most doors are as they are outside and get airborne dirt to cover them.  The picture below is after I cleaned the doors with Krud Kutter.  After the dirt came off you can see how most of the door was down to the bare wood.  I had to go over both doors twice with the cleaner before they got clean enough to continue on with the next step.

The next step after getting the dirt off the door was to sand them down some.  I did a medium heavy sanding on these doors.  A heavy sanding would be to take the doors down to the raw wood everywhere not leaving any trace of the previous finish on them.  However, I am going to paint them and not re-stain them so where the previous stain had penetrated in deep I really didn't need to get that sanded out.

After sanding and then cleaning all the sanding dust off the doors I primed the doors and the frame.  After that dried I applied the base coat of paint.  For this job I used SW Toasty as the base coat.
In the next photo you can see how I have base coated the doors and then started the wood grain process.  I work on the horizontal wood grain areas first then the vertical side pieces.

Next two photos are a couple of closeups of the wood grain.  I have already removed the tape I had on the door to isolate the areas that got the horizontal wood grain.  When I create this wood grain look I tape off a lot.  Then when I am painting a paint stroke to create the wood grain I start the stroke on the tape of one side and make the paint stroke go all the way across the horizontal plank and end the paint stroke on the tape on the other side.  That way there is no start and stop marks.  So when you take off the tape it looks like a clean cut piece of wood.

I used two colors for the wood grain.  I used SW Terra Brun for the first color brown and SW Black Bean for the second and darker color brown.  After I was totally done with creating the wood grain I applied two coats of a clear UV acrylic top coat.  I only use acrylic exterior products.  I would guess this door finish will now last about 15 to 20 years and keep the door looking good and protected the whole time.