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Painting an Interior Door

Painting a door

Painting a door is an easy do-it-yourself project. Doors can be heavy and hard to remove making it easier to paint them in place instead of trying to take them off their hinges. However painting a door by putting it flat on a pair of sawhorses is the best way to prevent drips and runs.


Flat passage doors are common in homes where they get lots of use. However they tend to get dirty, especially around the doorknob. The good news is they are easy to paint, even if you leave them hanging on their hinges. Spread out some newspapers under the door, and you're ready to go.


The following is a list of step-by-step instructions on how to properly paint unattached, attached and flat doors.




• Be sure to remove all hardware, this alleviates obstacles making painting faster and easier.
• Take your old hardware with you when you shop for replacements to make sure you get the correct sizes.




• Always paint in the garage or in a well ventilated area to prevent odors from lingering inside your home.
• If you are painting a door upright make sure to catch any drips or runs. Work one small, defined area at a 
  time and try not to overload your paintbrush.
• Make sure all six sides are covered to protect your door from rotting, cracking and expanding.




• Choosing to change or replace any hardware that is worn or needs to be updated at the same time will save 
   you time and money on any future updates.



Painting a Door (Unattached)

Step 1

Step 1: Using Screwdriver and hammer, remove the door Remove the door by driving the lower hinge pin out with a screwdriver and hammer. Have a helper hold the door in place as you drive out the pin.

Step 2

Step 2: Place the door flat on sawhorses and apply paint

Place the door flat on sawhorses to paint it. On paneled doors, paint in the following order: 

1) recessed panels, 
2) horizontal rails and 
3) vertical stiles. 

That way, you won't leave any unnecessary brush marks.


Step 3

Step 3: Allow the door to dry Let the door dry completely. If a second coat of paint is needed, sand the door lightly, and then wipe it with a tack cloth before repainting.

Step 4

Step 4: Using wood sealer, seal the unpainted bottom edge Seal the unpainted bottom edge of the door with clear wood sealer to prevent moisture from entering the wood. Any water will cause the wood to warp and swell, resulting in a door that won't close properly.

Painting a Door (Aattached)

Step 1

Step 1: Apply Paint to the top panels First, apply paint to the inside of the top panels. Smooth out the paint, working with the grain, doing the recessed areas first, then the faces of the panels.

Step 2

Step 2: Paint vertical center stile If the door has a vertical center stile, paint this next, and then blend in the brush marks from the center stile when you paint the horizontal rails.

Step 3

Step 3: Paint the rails Paint the rails (horizontal framing members), starting with the top rail and working your way to the bottom.

Step 4

Step 4: Paint the vertical stiles Paint the remaining vertical stiles, starting on the left. Feather the brush marks from the rails while they are still wet. Keep the line as straight as possible along the edge where the stiles meet the rails. Brush or roll the edges, but be careful not to get any runs on the face of the door.

Painting Flat Doors

Step 1

Step 1: Remove Door knob, latch and brush the door You don't have to take a flat door off its hinges, but removing the doorknob and latch bolt makes the job a whole lot faster and neater. After the hardware is off, you can brush or roll the door, just be sure to catch any runs and drips. Finish the edge around the hinges with a small brush.