Do you have a standard grade, steel door with the plastic gridded window that you’d like to paint? Follow these 10 steps for painting grid doors and frosting the glass windows for a successful outcome that will make you love your door. I’ve got before and after photos of our diy painted entry door update. And folks, this is one project that took some commitment on our part, but in the end it only costs us about $25.00. It turned our builder grade door from drab to fab.
In this phase of our sun porch makeover, we’ve painted our entry door and hung new bamboo style roman shades. These two changes combined, have really notched-up the look to the front of our small home.
Yikes, here we go. An outside view of our entry door and sun porch. One of my pet peeves is window blinds hanging askew, yet there you have it. Before we painted the door, and put up the new shades, I was violating my own rule.
Here is what the outside view looks like after painting the grid door and putting up the new blinds. Better?
Our door started out with the basic light gray metal with a white, plastic grid window frame. We chose to paint the interior facing side of the door the color Blackhearth by PPG (paint and primer combined) and the exterior facing side of the door in the color Iron Gate by SW. While the two colors are different, they will both compliment the color schemes we have going on both indoors and out.
In addition we added a faux frost spray paint to the interior glass window for extra privacy.
10 Steps to Painting Grid Doors and Frosting the Glass Windows
Before I break down the steps, let me say that if this is something you’ve considered doing, don’t be too intimidated. Preparation and a decent primer will go a long way in making this successful. Also, I suggest getting to know your grid door. That sounds ridiculous, but I’m serious. Give it a close look, so you get familiar with all the areas that are going to need paint and all the areas that are going to need to be taped off. It won’t seem nearly as overwhelming as if you walked up to your door one day and said, “I’m going to paint you, right here, right now!” And if you want to go with the option of frosting the glass, check to make sure it has one side that can be removed, meaning you should see plastic plugs or caps along the outer frame and finds screws that screw into the opposite side of the frame underneath the plugs.
I was so intimidated, thinking there’s no way I can paint this door and not get paint all over everything but the door. However, by taking my time taping and then again while applying the paint, the whole process really went quite well.
Supplies to have on hand
- White primer
- Paint for the door
- Several paint brushes
- Several foam rollers
- 2″ painters tape
- Pre-taped masking film
Clean the door well with a degreaser or TSP before getting started.
Keep a damp rag handy for any paint splatters or smears.
Painting the interior grid door and frosting the glass
Step 1) Remove parts.
In order to frost the glass, we removed the plastic grid frame from the inside of the window. This door has screws, covered by plastic plugs that we also had to remove. Ken used a utility knife to pry out the plugs (aka caps). He removed the screws from the grid frame and then carefully removed the frame. He was a little worried the glass would fall out, but the glass piece is actually attached to the exterior half of the grid/grille frame, which we did not remove. Note that optionally you could skip the step of frosting the glass and just tape if off instead – as per “step 8”.
In order to paint the door, we removed the door handle. Optionally, the handle could be taped off with painters tape.
To get a better understanding of how to remove a plastic grid window door frame, watch this video. Note, however, that we just removed one side of the grid frame in order to spray on the frosted window paint. We left the exterior grid/grille frame in place and taped it off to paint the exterior part of the door.
Step 2) Prime and paint the unattached grip/grille frame.
I gave the un-attached plastic grid frame 2 coats of white primer, and 2-3 coats of paint in the color Blackhearth (PPG). I used Zinsser primer a good quality paint brush and a foam roller to get this part done.
Step 3) Apply painters tape to the door and trim.
Ken used 2” painters tape and taped off the door around the interior glass window and protect it from over spray from the frost. We also taped off the trim around the door and a laid a paper tarp on the floor.
Step 4) Apply faux frost to the glass.
Next I painted the interior glass with 3-4 light coats of frosted glass paint, cough, cough, while wearing face protection.
Step 5) Tarp off the newly frosted glass.
Once the frost paint was dry, I covered the interior glass with pre-taped masking film. I like this product because it already has a painters tape on one end. I was able to tuck the pre-taped ends into the inside of the window frame and wrap the film over the glass to protect it while I painted the door.
Step 6) Prime and paint the interior side of the door.
I painted the interior door with 2 coats of primer, then 2 coats of white primer with a few dashes of Blackhearth mixed into it, and the 3 coats of Blackhearth. Letting all paint coats dry in between. It looked amazingly different when I was done painting.
Step 7) Re-mount the interior window grid frame (go slow and easy.)
Once all the paint was dry, Ken screwed the newly painted plastic window grid back into place. This part was a challenge, and he had to take it slow and easy. This was kind of like snapping on a Tupperware lid, but with a piece of glass underneath. The frame did eventually fit back into place, but he had to work the frame back and forth to make all the screw holes line up. He really took it slow because he did not want to break the glass.
After he drove all the screws back into their respective holes, he re-inserted the plastic plugs. Then I touched the plugs up with a tiny bit of latex paintable spackle. Once the spackle was dry, I used a foam brush to dab over the plugs with the paint. And that completed the steps for the interior side of the door.
Painting the exterior side of the grid door.
Step 8) Tape off the exterior glass lites and door trim.
Ken used painters tape to tape off the glass lites. He’s quite the perfectionist, but his trick is using an angled razor blade to trim off any of the tape that gets in his way. He likes to lay down the tape on both the left and right side from top to bottom of the glass lite. Then he places shorter pieces overlapping on the top and bottom of the glass.
I also taped off the door trim and hinges as best I could to keep paint off those areas.
Step 9) Prime exterior door.
I relayed back in at this point to paint both the steel door and the plastic window grille with 2 coats of primer.
Step 10) Paint exterior door.
I followed that up painting the door with 2 coats of paint in the color Iron Gate (SW), letting all coats of paint and primer dry in between.
More Before and Afters
Exterior view Before
Exterior view After
Interior with 1″ mini blinds – Before
Interior Painted Door – During Process – Paint color: Blackhearth PPG (Primer and Paint combined)
Painted Grille Door – After – New roman shades also added
Open Entry Door View – Before
Open Entry Door View – After
While our home is a far cry from fancy, it feels a lot more cozy with a fresh coat of paint on our entry door. It also feels pretty good to know that it didn’t cost a lot of money, and that we were able to do it ourselves.
PS: The screen door and outside trim are future projects to come 🙂