Metal Doors

Q. Can you please tell me what kind of roller to use for metal doors? I keep getting roller marks, and I have been using a 10 mm roller.


For water based paint, use the best quality roller cover you can find, with synthetic nap. For oil based paint, try a mohair roller nap. 10 mm is good; pre-wet the cover before starting: water for latex paint, paint thinner for oil based paint, and then remove as much of the water or thinner as you can by squeezing then rolling on newspaper. If possible, take the doors off the hinges, and place horizontally for painting. You may need to thin the paint SLIGHTLY, before painting. Make sure there is plenty of paint on the roller. Don't apply any excess pressure to the roller while painting. Roll an area only 2 or 3 times... don't keep working it.

Q. I recently painted an exterior steel door using enamel based paint. I used a quality brush but still ended up with brush marks. I have 6 more to paint and really want a smooth finish. How do I achieve that?


Getting the best flow from latex paint on trim and doors:

  1. Be sure the surface is clean and free of all oily dirt (handprints, accumulated airborne cooking oil) Use a detergent and warm water and rinsing, all of the trim. Sand all areas that are at all glossy, to promote adhesion of the new paint.

  2. Use a quality polyester brush; apply the paint in heavy coats, and do not keep brushing each area... fewer strokes are better. If the enamel is oil-based rather than latex, a quality china bristle brush can also be used. The quality of the brush is important as for getting best lack of brushmarks.

  3. The paint may be thinned a bit first, but too much thinning will result in sagging (curtaining or drooping of the paint).

  4. If possible, remove the doors and place them on saw horses for painting. This way, you can apply a heavy coat with good flow and you don't have to be concerned about sagging.

  5. Alternatively, consider spraying the paint on, rather than brushing it. The best results will be with a HVLP type sprayer unit, but that may be outside your budget. Less expensive would be a small piston type sprayer.

  6. Do not feel you have to use an oil-based enamel for this application. There are excellent water-based enamels available that are suitable for metal doors… consult with you paint store. Here are some additional comments:

  7. Apply the paint heavily, and with just a few strokes, then get more paint from the container and continue. First stroke is from the just painted area into the dry (unpainted) area, and the second stoke is back into the painted area. Go onto the next area. Putting the paint on heavier will help it flow out; but watch for runs and "sagging"... if you see this, put on a bit less paint. For doors, removing from the hinges and supporting horizontally for priming and painting is often worth the effort, to get a very smooth finish.

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