How to Paint Rusted Metal Louvered Doors | Home Guides

A little attention and fresh paint makes rusty, louvered doors look new again.

Louvered doors have rows of horizontal strips that allow air circulation. Some louvers are movable, but metal doors often have fixed or immovable louvers. Any defect in the paint, such as around screw holes or where paint is scratched, allows moisture to corrode the underlying metal. Take the door off its hinges or tracks and remove all hardware before repairing the finish with new paint.

Lay the door on a pair of sawhorses or drop cloth outdoors.

Scour the rusty spots with a wire brush. Use a toothbrush-size wire brush to reach into tight spaces. Turn the door over to scour all sides.

Abrade the whole door with steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper, dulling the surface and removing small traces of rust left behind after brushing.

Scrub the door on all sides using a scrub brush and a bucket of warm water with three to four drops of liquid dish detergent.

Rinse off the detergent with a garden hose or bucketfuls of clean water, and let the door dry thoroughly.

Shake a spray can of rust-inhibiting, enamel paint primer, and pop off the cap.

Hold the can nozzle approximately 12 inches from the surface, and spray a light, even coat into crevices, seams and around the louvers. Apply a second coat to the same areas after the first coat dries.

Turn the door to the opposite side, and spray two coats of primer over the seams, crevices and around louvers, letting the first coat dry before applying the second.

Apply a light, even coat of primer over the side of the door that faces up using a steady, side-to-side motion. Spray more primer along the edges of the door. Spray on a second coat after the first coat dries.

Let the primer dry thoroughly before turning the door over and applying two coats of primer to the opposite side.

Shake and open a can of rust-inhibiting, spray enamel paint. Apply three light, even coats of paint on hard-to-reach areas around the louvers, letting each coat dry before applying the next. Turn the door over, and repeat on the opposite side.

Spray three coats of paint over the upward-facing side of the door and along the sides, using the same light, sweeping motion. Let each coat of enamel dry before applying the next. Turn the door over, and repeat on the opposite side.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 sawhorses or a drop cloth
  • 1 wire brush
  • 1 small wire brush, toothbrush size
  • Steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper
  • Scrub brush
  • Bucket
  • Dish detergent
  • Garden hose (optional)
  • Rust-inhibiting, enamel primer, spray can
  • Rust-inhibiting enamel paint, spray can


  • Stop to shake the spray cans frequently during use.
  • If working indoors, scour and abrade the door, clean and rinse it with a damp sponge, and use brush-on, rust-inhibiting primer and paint instead of spraying.
  • If the louvered doors are bifold style and slide in a track, separate the pair by removing the hinges before painting. To release bifold doors from the track, pull down the pin at the top of the door that fits in the rails and lift the unit off the bottom rails.
  • Release single hinged doors by tapping the hinge pin up through the center of the hinge with a long nail and hammer and lifting the door off the hinges.


A little attention and fresh paint makes rusty, louvered doors look new again.


Masonite '' 6-Panel Textured Hardboard 1-3/8'' Bifold Door
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  • 32 width
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  • Avatar niner_72601 Partially replace my existing cabinets?
    Jan 21, 2007 by niner_72601 | Posted in Decorating & Remodeling

    I have cabinets in my kitchen that are painted.......i want to go oak face frame and doors...............can i pull off the existing face frame, and replace with an oak question is......whats the best way to build the frame......dowels?

    • The face frames may be a beotch to replace; they were built on the cabinet boxes, or glued to them. Just depends on the construction. The best way is to use pocket screws. There is an angled hole (pocket) drilled into th …e fancy machine).

      Otherwise, you just apply the boards individually to the cabinet box and pin the edge that hangs down with a finish nail (not the best method, but it's done on built in shelves everyday).