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Painting your doors is one of the easiest ways to creatively transform your home’s design. Although hiring specialists to do this can prove to be quick and effective, doing it on your own can save you money and add to your skill as well. If you would prefer the latter, then this article will help you course through the task for a more professional-looking finish for your doors. Read on further for a step-by-step guide to properly painting your door!

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What you will need:

In order to achieve a professional finish to your painting job, you will need to gather some equipment to help you. These will include your paint, paintbrush (preferably 2 ½ inches), paint roller, primer, and sandpaper. For better ease in movement, you can also get sawhorses and old cardboard or newspapers that can catch splashed paint.

What you will prepare:

  1. Where to place your door

It is definitely up to you to decide whether to paint while the door is hung or removing it from its hinges. Removing it from its hinges can provide better accessibility and prevent paint drips all over your door. Lay it flat on your sawhorses and place cardboard or newspaper underneath to prevent the door from sticking to the surface. Remove doorknobs or latches. However, heavier doors may require more than just one person to set up. If you have trouble finding additional help, you can work on the door by simply leaving it open. You can place the cardboard underneath the door as well, making sure it does not swing back and forth while you are painting.

2. What your door’s previous finish is

Before painting over your door, it is important to check whether the previous finish was bare, stained, painted with either latex or oil, or contained lead. This will be your basis on whether you will need to prime it. For bare, stained, and lead-painted doors, prime your door. You could also use tinted primers to change the previously dark colour to a lighter one. If you are changing the kind of paint you will use (latex to oil or oil to latex), prime your door as well. Sand your doors down before priming, but be mindful of these before sanding.

  • To check whether it is latex or oil paint, choose a small area and rub alcohol on it. If the paint is removed, it is latex. Otherwise, it is oil. Sand away flaking paint and ensure a smooth surface before priming.
  • For paint with lead, it is important to handle this carefully. Use a lead test swab to check for the presence of lead. If it does have lead, cautiously sand the paint down by using a wet sanding block. Wear a mask to prevent inhaling dust from the sanding. 

How you will paint:

The directionality of the painting is generally going outwards. This is more applicable to panelled doors. For every section you are painting, remember to check for the direction of the grain, and paint along its direction. Use paint rollers for faster and wider coverage, and your paintbrush to smooth it out. Check out the image below for a better illustration of the step-by-step painting process.

  1. Start with your panels. Roll vertically along the direction of the panel, and then horizontally along the top and bottom edges of the panels.
  2. Glide your paint roller up and down in the middle section. Check for paint drips and use your paintbrush to smooth it out.
  3. Roll sidewards in the middle horizontal partitions of the door, rolling over the painted middle section as well.
  4. Paint over the border vertically on the left and right sides, and horizontally on the top and bottom sides.
  5. Paint along the edges of the door. Do not paint the metal hinges.

Painting direction according to the items listed

Wait for at least half an hour before applying a second coat, and wait for at least a couple of hours before painting the other side. After fully drying, you can return the knobs and latches and hang your door with a high-quality look!

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Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of The Wooden Door Company by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.