Cool to the Touch: Light-Colored Exterior Door Inspiration

Keep your entryway climate under control with a smart combination of door materials and paint colors

Baby, it’s hot outside. You’ve likely checked most of the boxes on the to-do list of keeping your home cool and comfortable on the inside: Energy-efficient windows, as well as blinds and window coverings; a well-maintained air conditioning system and duct work; and if you’re lucky, a few well-placed trees that impart plenty of shade. And while your doors aren’t left open to “air condition the neighborhood,” you might be surprised how much your exterior doors can impact the inside of your home.


According to the US Department of Energy, dark, dull colors can absorb 70 to 90 percent of the sun’s radiant energy, which can then be transferred into the home (and can also affect how quickly the door’s exterior weathers). Alternately, light-colored paint can help reflect the sun’s heat away from the home. But homeowners need not be resistant to light-colored exterior doors—because “light” doesn’t have to translate to “white.”


The kind of door can also have an impact on whether guests will be greeted by an overheated entryway. Wood doors are beautiful and will keep the inside of your home cool, but their material and finish are susceptible to the elements and do best with plenty of coverage. For best results, always pair a wood exterior door with a significant overhang. This protects the door and its finish, adds cooling shade, and helps keep inclement weather outside the home.


Fiberglass doors are built to consistently withstand the rigors of any climate—hot or cold, wet or dry. Shown here, a Smooth-Pro™ Fiberglass Craftsman door from the Statement™ Collection is prefinished in Stone and features a direct glaze insert. Fiberglass doors are also available stained or primed and ready to paint.


Steel offers strength and durability and is a good choice for most climates. While a steel door can become hot to the touch—as a general rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably place your hand on the door for 30 seconds—choosing a light-colored  exterior door finish will help reflect the sun’s light and slow down the buildup of heat. JELD-WEN® steel doors are available prefinished or primed and ready to paint.

Pick a Paint

Choosing the right paint is essential to a beautiful, long-lasting, light-colored exterior door. More brands are developing paints specially formulated for front doors that are quick drying and protect against the elements.

Sherwin-Williams has two offerings, SnapDry™ and SuperPaint®. SnapDry™ Semi-Gloss Door and Trim Paint dries in as little as one hour, and a door can be closed without sticking. SnapDry™ is resistant to dirt and fingerprints, UV and weathering. SuperPaint® Exterior Acrylic Latex promises to deliver outstanding performance and protection against the elements. The formula goes on smooth, resists fading and peeling, and is dirt- and mildew-resistant. And thanks to its advanced acrylic resin technology, you’ll enjoy outstanding adhesion and color retention.

From Benjamin Moore, the Aura® Grand Entrance® line offers excellent color retention and is available in any color, in either a high gloss or satin finish. Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra is an exterior satin enamel that imparts a pearl-like finish, and Clark + Kensington’s exterior Paint + Primer in One is ready for a second coat in just one to two hours.


There’s a JELD-WEN exterior door for every home style—start here for inspiration.