First impressions


The front door takes staring roll when it comes to making that first impression and sadly it is often neglected.

Flaking paint, rotting trims, broken door furniture all present themselves for close inspection as your guests wait patiently on your threshold.

10 Downing Street

An iconic front door

The most iconic of front doors is 10 Downing Street the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister.

The six-panelled door, originally made of black oak, is surrounded by cream-coloured casing and adorned with a semicircular fanlight window. Painted in white, between the top and middle sets of panels, is the number “10”. The zero of the number “10” is set at a slight angle as a nod to the original number which had a badly fixed zero. A black iron knocker in the shape of a lion’s head is between the two middle panels; below the knocker is a brass letter box with the inscription “First Lord of the Treasury”.

After the IRA mortar attack in 1991, the original black oak door was replaced by a blast-proof steel one. Regularly removed for refurbishment and replaced with a replica, it is so heavy that it takes eight men to lift it.

We may not all live at number 10 but here are my top tips for that fabulous front door first impression:-

  • If the paintwork is in poor condition or the previous paint job was badly executed stripping back to bare wood is your best option. Adding paint on top of bad paint only hi-lights problems and is a waste of time and money.
  • Fix damaged wood. Use a product like Ronseal’s High Performance Wood Filler. It fills to any depth and can be drilled, screwed or planed. A chemically bonded filler and catalyst that provides extremely tough repairs to virtually any wood damage without shrinking or cracking. Use in small batches as it has a short working time. Once painted you will never know the difference.
  • Don’t be lazy; preparation is the key to any successful decorating project, particularly one that has to withstand such close scrutiny. If you are not stripping back to bare wood sand, sand, sand. The better the preparation the better your front door will look and the longer it will last.
  • Don’t try and paint around your house number or letter box. For a really professional finish remove your door furniture prior to painting. Preparation is much easier and you only get the paint where you want it.
  • Use good quality exterior paint. Prime bare wood, undercoat, and then apply one or two top coats. I use a lot of Dulux Weathershield quick drying satin in my work. Weathershield satin dries to a softer flatter shine and is very popular with my customers. For a really glossy shine use a traditional oil based gloss applied with a natural hair brush. Done properly you will be left with no brush marks and a supper gloss finish.
  • If the letter box is broken or the knocker rusted treat your front door to new door furniture. Just like a new piece of jewellery it’s the finishing touches that make the difference.
    Keep your front door looking good. A regular wipe with a damp cloth with keep your paintwork looking as good as the day you did it.
  • Only put a plant outside if you are going to water it. No one wants to see a dead plant.
  • As a finishing touch add a great doormat that reflects your personality. There are loads of designs to choose from in a range of prices.  I really like the range at
Canterbury door mat

Add a finishing touch