What's the best paint for an exterior door in direct sunlight?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ March 31, 2014 ~ No Comments

Our wood front door faces directly into the sun. We recently re-painted it red using latex based paint and primer. We have since come to understand that this paint can bubble due to heat. I am looking for any and all suggestions so this does not happen again when we strip and re-paint the door short of changing the color - my wife is dead-set on red. Thanks!


Jeffrey Anderson

Joe, if I'm understanding you correctly, your exterior door's paint isn't bubbling yet, but you have a concern that it might due to the heat. If that's the case, my suggestion would be to hold off on stripping down the door as you may not have a problem.

There are a number of conditions that can cause bubbling or blistering in exterior paint, but almost all of them are due to the surface not being prepared correctly or conditions when the paint is applied. In my experience, pretty much the only issues that can cause paint to bubble after it has been on the surface for an extended period of time are moisture that gets between it and the wall surface and various chemicals that might cause a reaction.

If the door surface was too hot when the paint was applied, bubbling can occur but should have been evident fairly quickly. You didn't mention how long ago the door was painted, but if several weeks have gone by without any bubbles appearing, the heat may not have affected the paint.

Just about every paint manufacturer offers recommendations on how to prep the surface being painted and guidelines for the most favorable conditions during application. Companies such as Benjamin Moore and Behr offer in-depth instruction for DIY painters on their websites. If for some reason you do need to repaint the door, it should be stripped prior to applying the new finish. If the exterior paint manufacturer doesn't address what type of primer is best for a wood door on their website, the sales people at the paint or home improvement store where the material is purchased may be able to offer some helpful advice.

One last note - while very attractive, red can be prone to fading in direct sunlight. If you can't talk your wife into a different color, your exterior door may need to be repainted every couple of years even if it never experiences any bubbling.

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