Project Guide

How to Paint Interior Doors

Painting an Unattached Door
A door resting flat on two sawhorses.
  • Preparation & safety - Remove all hardware from your interior doors. This makes the job faster. Take your old hardware to the store when shopping for replacements. Take the time to check out popular paint colors as well to choose the paint you’ll need for your project. Be sure to purchase the recommended paint brushes as well. Always paint in a well-ventilated area for safety and to prevent odors in the home. When painting wood doors, make sure all six sides of your door are covered evenly to protect it from rotting, cracking and expansion. 
  • Remove the door - Drive the lower hinge pin out with a screwdriver and hammer. Have a helper hold the door in place as you drive out the pin. 
  • Place the door on sawhorses - 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. 
  • Let the door 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. 
  • Seal the bottom edge with a wood sealer - 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 an Attached Door
A woman rolling blue paint onto a door.
  • Apply paint to the inside top panels - Apply paint to the inside of the top panels. Smooth out the paint, working with the grain, doing the recessed areas first and then the faces of the panels. 
  • Paint the 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. 
  • Paint the rails - Paint the rails (horizontal framing members), starting with the top rail and working your way to the bottom. 
  • Paint 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 a Flat Door
A person removing the handleset from a door.

Remove the door knob and latch bolt, then paint - 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.

This project can give you the skills you need, whether you need to know how to repaint a door, or you are going to paint a door from scratch. Consult a Home Depot Store Associate to find the best paint for interior doors in your home. Ready to find the supplies you need in your local store? Use The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay.