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Can You Paint UPVC Doors? Yes, Let me Show You How!

Can you paint UPVC doors? Yes, I painted my front door two years ago and it’s still looking great! Let me show you how!

Regular readers will know that for the last six years we have been very slowly renovating our house. About two years ago I painted my UPVC front door. Our door was formerly a brown wood effect UPVC door. It was such a sad-looking door that negatively impacted the exterior of our house. In some houses, this brown wood effect would look good, but in ours, it didn’t. In order to maintain privacy, I’m just going to show you a close-up of the door rather than the full external view of our house. You’ll just have to take my word for it that the brown door did nothing for our house.

Can you paint UPVC doors?  Yes - here's how to paint them, from what paint to use, to the prep needed, how it holds up and more.

We had talked about replacing the door. However, binning a perfectly functional hulking bit of plastic didn’t sit well with me. Nor did the cost of a replacement door. Boy, those things are eye-wateringly expensive. So, I did some research and decided to paint the UPVC door.

I shared the process on Instagram at the time and got SO many questions asking about the paint I was using. At the time, I didn’t want to recommend the UPVC door paint I was using as I didn’t know how it was going to stand up to a) Scottish weather and b) general life. So I sat on writing this post for a long time. Two years long!

This two-year-long review in the making means that so far my door has gone through one whole summer, and two whole Scottish winters, and I now know how the paint stands up to all weathers, time, and life. I’d hate to recommend something and for it to ruin your door, let alone my door. You’ll understand why I really wanted to take my time on this before recommending paint for painting UPVC doors. I’m now at the point where I definitely 100% feel confident in talking about door painting with some degree of authority!

What Paint Should You Use On UPVC Doors?

You can’t use any old paint to paint a UPVc door. For this purpose, I would really recommend Zinnser All Coat Exterior paint. I did some pretty extensive research before taking the plunge in painting my door, and also talked to a few people more experienced in DIY than I am. Every time Zinnser All Coat was the paint recommended to me for painting UPVC exterior doors. This is the paint I used.

You can buy the anthracite grey paint I used from JDC Paints who sell via Amazon* and offer free delivery. If you’d rather avoid Amazon then you can also purchase the paint from Rawlins. Here you can select from a multitude of different colours, although there is a hefty £8 postage charge.

I’d just like to point out that this post is not sponsored in any way by Zinnser. The paint wasn’t a freebie. I bought it at full price with my own money. This is simply an impartial guide as to what worked for me, and I think might work for you if you are also looking to paint your UPVC door.

Matt or Satin – Which to Choose?

There are two different types of All Coat paint for use on UPVC doors – matt and satin. I initially painted my front door with the matt version of the paint. For about a week or so, the door looked great. However, then the entire door developed an unsightly white bloom that appeared in dry weather:

I emailed Zinnser, who was really helpful. They asked me to fill in a report – including details on how I prepped the door, the weather conditions when I painted it, and details on where my door is located. They also asked me to send photos of the bloom so they could investigate the cause.

It turned out that because my front door is north facing, in a more exposed location then salts were being pushed to the surface of the paint, causing a white bloom. Zinnser told me the satin version of Allcoat Exterior was a better option in this case and arranged for a replacement tin of satin paint to be sent to me. Top-notch customer service.

If your door is north facing or in an exposed location then I would therefore really recommend using the satin paint. I have re-painted my door in satin, and have not had any further problems.

Is The Paint Eco-Friendly?

As this is an eco-blog, you might be wondering about the ingredients of the paint itself. I make no claims that UPVC paint for doors is an eco-friendly product. What I think though, is that if you have an old door that is functional but ugly, that you are considering replacing, then do consider trying UPVC paint before replacing the door. Because of being able to paint our door, and how good it now looks, we have decided not to replace our door, which has saved a significant amount of waste. Not only that but we’ve also saved on the resources needed to make a new door too. For me, it’s an eco win.

The Preparation

Preparation is key when it comes to painting UPVC doors! First off, give your door a brush down to remove any spider webs, dust, or leaves. Next, wash your door with warm soapy water, and rinse well. Then dry your door with a cloth or towel, or leave to dry. Then wipe down with methylated spirits to remove any residue. There is no need to sand your door.

Next, using masking tape, mask off all the parts of the door that you don’t want to paint. I spent a lot of time masking off the door handle, letterbox, and glass. In fact, I probably spent more time masking than I did painting, but it was well worth it for a sharp finish.

The great thing with the Allcoat Exterior paint is that you don’t need a separate primer. The first coat acts as a primer, meaning that you can get straight on to painting!

How To Paint A UPVC Door

guide to painting front doors

I’m not going to lie, it is pretty daunting painting something so expensive as a UPVC door. I would say that if you have never painted anything before, then your front door probably isn’t the best place to start. The paint dries very quickly. Pretty much as soon as it’s on the brush it starts to dry – so you do have to work fast. If you’re a semi-experienced at painting, then as soon as you get your head around how fast you need to work then it will be a really straightforward job. The Allcoat Exterior paint gives really good smooth coverage, and I was able to fully coat the door and frame within half an hour.

I used a brush to paint my door because of the glass section and various panels on my door. I figured it would be easier to get in with a brush than try to use a roller. If your door is less detailed than mine then do try a roller. The paint dries so quickly and can leave brush marks if you aren’t careful, so a roller would help avoid this.

Zinnser suggests leaving one hour between coats, and they recommend using two coats of paint. The first coat acts as a primer, and the second coat acts as the topcoat and sealer. I was initially skeptical that two coats would give the desired coverage, but two coats worked a dream. In fact, I had two-thirds of a can leftover. I then painted my back door to match, and I have stored the remainder to be able to patch up any chips or scratches.

I was worried about not being able to close my door after painting. However, the Allcoat Exterior is touch dry within 30 minutes, and re-coatable within one hour, so you don’t have to worry too much! I’d leave it at least two hours before closing your door, just to allow the paint to cure.

How Durable Is UPVC Paint?

UPVC door painted with Zinnser All Coat Exterior paint

I was a little worried about how durable a painted UPVC door really be. Thankfully, it’s been two years since I painted my door, and it’s stood up really well to the elements and to life. The above photo is my door after two years, and it hasn’t been touched up. The tile paint I used, however, leaves a lot to be desired!

The paint hasn’t weathered or faded. There are also no signs of blistering, flaking, or cracking. Zinnser says the finish can last for 15 years, and I quite believe this.

Of course, life happens. There are a couple of small scratches to the paintwork, as our door has taken some knocks in this time.

Is UPVC door paint durable

Our joiner hit the door with some wood when he was here doing some work in our hallway, and that did chip the paint. My daughter also managed to scrape the threshold bar and bottom of the door with her scooter. I guess this would be similar to how a painted wooden door would perform. There are a couple of small scratches around the lock, from where keys have scraped it. I took some photos before I patched up these scrapes so you can see, but overall though, I’m mightly impressed.

If you have an unsightly UPVC door, then I would definitely recommend painting your door, rather than replacing it. Although the paint itself is not an eco-friendly product, if it makes the difference between replacing your door or not, then I think it’s a great compromise that yields great, long-lasting results.

Home, Home and Garden

Our Hallway Renovation & My Understairs Office

It’s been AGES since I gave you an update on our house. And particularly our hallway renovation.

Over the last five years, we’ve slowly been working on home renovation projects. Our house had sat empty for a few years before we moved in, and hadn’t been maintained for an even longer period of time. This meant it had all sorts of issues that needed resolving. It has been a LONG process of saving up to do the work when we can afford it. However, we’re finally at the stage where there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Why Did We Renovate Our Hallway?

The hall in particular needed a huge overhaul. The existing stairs did not comply with Building Standards. This was mainly in terms of head height clearance, which there was no easy fix or workaround for.

There were many issues that we knew of when we bought the house, but replacing the stairs wasn’t one of them. I think I nearly cried when the Building Standards officer from the council told us that the whole staircase needed replacing. But it needed doing so we could get the necessary paperwork signed off, so needs must.

The Renovation

Here is the sorry sight before our hallway renovation:

hallway renovation project before photos

Whilst the stairs were being replaced, we decided it was a good opportunity to remodel under the stairs. Instead of one big cupboard that was really impractical – reaching anything at the back of the cupboard took about two hours – we opened up the space to create more living space. We live in a little terraced cottage, so any extra space we can create is welcome!

Here’s a photo from during the hallway renovation works. We all had to sleep downstairs for a few days!

hallway renovation in progress

And here it is now!

small home office under stairs

The Hallway Remodel

To retain some storage, as part of our hallway renovation we had doors installed as far back as we could under the stairs. This is for things that we need daily access to like the vacuum cleaner. We then got the joiner to make overhead cupboards for things that we don’t need so often, like our camping gear. We have really high ceilings, so putting overhead storage in doesn’t impinge on the headroom of the space. The joiner also revamped the existing built-in shelves, which you can see from the photos, were in a shoddy state.

Originally we were going to put our dining table in this space. The dining table lives in the living room, as we don’t have a separate dining room or space in our galley kitchen for it. However, it turns out we over-estimated the size of the space, and it isn’t big enough for a dining table and chairs!

home office under stairs

What it did give me room for was a small home office. Pre Covid-19 I had one child-free day a week to work on the blog . Therefore, it wasn’t supposed to be a full-time work station. But since March it’s been my full-time workspace whilst I work my day job from home, and it has worked pretty well.

The Furniture

Furniture wise, I couldn’t find a small enough desk to fit the space secondhand. So I got this beautiful console table made in the UK from reclaimed wood from MuJu Furniture on Etsy* (gifted) that I use as a desk. MuJu Furniture makes their furniture in a variety of sizes, and I went for the smallest size, which fits perfectly. I really love the desk. It’s such a beauty of a thing!

I do love Etsy for buying pieces for the home. Although the desk was gifted, I’ve personally bought lots of bits and pieces for my home over the years. I love being able to support independent sellers and shop products according to my values.

I bought the chair secondhand from Drum Farm Antiques on the outskirts of Edinburgh (currently closed due to Covid-19). This is a wonderfully eclectic place to while away a few hours wandering around the barns and storage units. However, I’ve found their pricing to be a bit erratic. I did find this chair for £10 though, which I was delighted with. The seat pad needs recovering, so I have an offcut of blue velvet to recover it with. I planned to use the tools in my local tool library to do it, but it has been closed since early March, so it needs to wait for now.

After losing the cupboard door that we used to hang our coats on, I got a coat rail for the wall opposite my desk. This came from Off The Grain Co* (gifted), a Yorkshire based husband and wife team who make beautiful handmade wooden furniture and decor and sell on Etsy. No, our rack doesn’t always look this tidy, but the internet doesn’t need to see our medley of coats! It’s almost too pretty to cover with coats!

hallway renovation completed

The Compromises

Like any renovation project, there are always compromises. We had wanted to sand and oil the original floorboards that were underneath the old laminate flooring. Whilst we were taking up the old laminate this looked like this might be possible. That was until the very last section that we removed, where the floorboards had been cut out at some point in the past and replaced with MDF. Angry was not the word!

I could not find any affordable reclaimed flooring. A local supplier quoted £54 per square metre for flooring that needed fitting, sanding, and sealing on top of the initial cost. Given the unexpected costs of replacing the stairs, this was way way out of our price range. Particularly as we need to floor the living room as well. So we had sadly to opt for cheaper laminate flooring instead. We did pick a classic oak style that I hope will age well.

under stair home office ideas

What’s Next?

We haven’t quite finished up our hallway renovation. Covid-19 came along before we could finish painting the stairs or carpeting them. The thing is, we need the kids out of the house when we do jobs like painting. They have been here since March, and will be until mid-August at the very earliest, so who knows when we will do it! I honestly don’t know how people have managed to do DIY in lockdown with kids around! We started the hallway project in December 2018 though, and have done different bits at different times as we can afford it, so we’re in no hurry!

We have one room left to do in our house now – the living room – which we are currently saving for, and then we are officially done! I’ve also painted my UPVC front door, which has made a surprisingly huge difference to our house.