So you want to paint like a pro? Well, sit back and let me give you some tips and a tutorial for painting a door for starters. Then we’ll work our way around the room.
A decade ago when we moved into our first house (yes, that one right across the street), I bought my best home improvement tool. It is the book, Home Improvement 1-2-3.
You too can own this powerful tool for less than $20 at Home Depot or online HERE. It was and still is the best $15 I ever spent on our home. I read the book from cover-to-cover and had I not, I never would have learned how to paint a door (the professional way). It really isn’t very hard, but it makes a world of difference in the end.
Our doors are all the six panel type. If you have flat (non-panel) versions, you can skip this post and come back later. For the rest of us, get our your paper and pencils and take some notes (does anyone do this anymore?)
Step 1: The easiest way to paint a door is to start by removing it, then removing all the hardware and lay it horizontally on saw horses.
Step 2: Lightly sand the entire door. No need to bust out the power sander, you can use a sanding block or sheet of sand paper. Be sure to sand down any bumps or blemishes. The main goal is to give your door a little “tooth” for the new paint or primer to adhere to.
Step 3: Time to decide if you need to use primer. Here are reasons you would need to use it:
- If the door is bare wood or stained wood.
- If the door is a dark color and you want to paint it much lighter.
- If the door was painted with oil and you want to use latex paint (how to tell? Rub a small spot with ammonia and if the paint comes off it is latex.)
If you are painting over latex with latex (or oil over oil) and the previous paint job is in good shape you can skip the primer. This was the case with my door, so I didn’t prime it.
Step 4: Painting the panels first.
Using a small roller to paint doors can greatly speed the process. Begin by rolling paint on the panels.
Work quickly by rolling on the paint, then use a brush to smooth out the paint and fill in any spots missed by the roller. Follow the arrow directions above when brushing on the paint.
Drag your brush in the same direction as the woodgrain on your door. This will highlight the grain and keep your door looking neat and clean. NEVER run your brush strokes perpendicular to the wood grain. This does NOT look professional.
Step 5: Next roll the inside cross pieces. Start by rolling and painting the center vertical piece.
Again, drag your brush up and down vertically with the wood grain (see arrows in the above diagram.)
Then paint the horizontally pieces in the middle of the door.
Keep your brush strokes horizontal as you cross over the tall vertical stripe.
Step 6: Paint the border. Pay attention to the direction of the woodgrain for this last step. The two sides should flow vertically from top to bottom.
There are header and footer panels sandwiched between the left and right sides. These “sandwiched” pieces should be painted by dragging your brush horizontally (see diagram above.)
Roll paint onto the edges then smooth them with the paintbrush. Be on the lookout for drips or puddles of paint.Go back and check the face of your door for drips or puddles as well.
Let your door dry (30 minutes – 1 hour), then follow up with a second coat of paint. When you are done let the doors dry for 2+ hours before flipping them to paint the other side. I have found that it helps to put a pieces of cardboard or scrap bare wood under the door so the paint doesn’t stick to the saw horses.
Now about that outdated hardware. You can paint it too, just follow THIS tutorial for painting door hardware.