how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

$6 Update! How To Add Trim To A Metal Door

Do you have a boring, plain metal door that you’d like to jazz up? You can do that with trim and it’s easier than you think. No power tools are required. Let’s talk about how to add trim to a metal door.

Here’s our door in need of a facelift.

It’s not the plainest door since it does have a window but it’s not the most exciting door you’ve ever opened. It also had some peeling paint that needed to be fixed.

Not to worry! Some elbow grease, leftover paint, and about $6 of trim will transform this door.

BEFORE how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

Supplies Needed To Add Trim To A Metal Door:

PVC Trim in a profile of your choice (We used around 8-ft of this shoe moulding.)
Construction Adhesive (Brand isn’t important. It just needs to be compatible with metal.)
Caulk Gun
Level (The longer your level, the better for this project.)
Carpenter Square (Helpful but you could do it without.)
Painter’s Tape
Some way of cutting the trim (miter saw, handsaw and miter box, Multi-Angle Miter Shear Cutter)

how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

Have you seen the handheld Multi-Angle Miter Shear Cutter yet? It’s like scissors for trim. We don’t have one because we have plenty of power tools. However, I’ve seen it being used and it’s a pretty nifty invention for small PVC trim like quarter round or shoe moulding.

multi angle miter shear cutter hand tool for cutting small PVC trim


Steps To Add Trim To A Metal Door:

Step 1: Prep Your Door 

The DIY gods were angry with me, probably for using a butter knife to do something when I should have used a screwdriver, so I had to remove all the paint on my door because it was peeling so badly. I used a combination of a sander and paint stripper. Bottom line, I do not recommend ever angering the DIY gods.

But let’s focus on your project!

If your metal door is painted and it’s in good condition, I don’t think you need to strip it down to the bare metal in order to install PVC trim. Just make sure you clean it thoroughly.

Step 2: Ready The Trim

Now’s the time to finalize how you want the trim positioned on your door. Don’t wing it because the next step involves really strong glue.

If it helps you visualize how the trim will look, you can always draw on the door with a marker or pencil to give yourself a visual. Painter’s tape would work for this too.

Cut your trim on a 45 degree angle to the desired lengths.

If you want to do a dry run to make sure the trim looks good before you break out the caulk gun, just tack it in place with painter’s tape. Or ask your spouse to hold the trim on the door for you while moving it to the left and right a smidge. Spouses, particularly husbands, love to help out in this way.

Step 3: Install The Trim

An extra set of hands can be helpful with the installation, but you’ve probably done harder things solo.

Apply the construction adhesive to the back of the PVC trim.

Carefully position the trim on the door and secure it in place with painter’s tape while the glue dries.

If any of the glue oozes out, try to carefully wipe it off now. Otherwise, you’ll need to scrape it off later.

how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

Step 4: (Caulk If Necessary) And Paint 

Since I was starting with bare metal, I used an all-purpose primer that works on metal and PVC trim to prime the door and trim.

If there are gaps between the trim and door, caulk those areas. Not only will it look better but it will prevent water from pooling behind the trim.

Then, using a 4-inch foam roller, I rolled on 3 coats of exterior paint in black.

Painting doors is one of those propositions where it looks worse before getting better. Just take a deep breath and keep painting!

how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

While we did keep the door in place for this project, we did remove the door hardware. Wait as long as possible before shutting the door and reinstalling the hardware to give the paint a chance to cure.

Step 5: Pat Yourself On The Back 

All that’s left to do now is step back, admire your work, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

how to add trim to a metal door using PVC trim

It’s a subtle difference but our metal door is looking so spiffy with this $6 upgrade. The door is a little less utilitarian and a whole lot more enjoyable to look at now.

Can happiness sneak through a metal door that you upgraded with a little trim?

I think it can.

Have you ever added trim to a door of any sort? How does your spouse feel about holding things up so you can figure out spacing? I’d love to know. You can always comment on this blog post, email us here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for being here today! Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy.

7 Tips For Refinishing A Door With Deep Scratches

How To Remove A Dog Door From A Wood Door And Repair The Hole

Happy As A Dog In A Field Of Cows


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