New Life Painting, Inc.
New Life Painting, Inc.

How to Paint Interior Doors in 7 Steps

So much of painting is in the prep work, and that holds true when it comes to painting interior doors. If you're looking to freshen up your home by painting the interior doors, make sure you follow these 7 steps.

1. Take the Door Off Its Hinges

This part is undeniably a pain, but it helps you get a more professional paint. It's tempting to paint the door as it is, but taking the door off the hinges and laying it flat will help you avoid unsightly drips and runs. Lay the door flat and remove knobs, plates, and lock mechanisms before beginning.

Tip: Keep the hardware in a marked bag so you don't lose it OR forget which items go with which doors.

2. Clean the Door

Painting over fingerprints and grime will give you an unprofessional finished look. Plus, the paint won't adhere as well to a dirty door, so take the time to wash sticky fingerprints and dirt away. Once completely clean, let the door dry completely.

Tip: Use a scrub sponge and TSP cleaner to dissolve grease and grime.

3. Fill Holes

New paint is only going to highlight the damage in your door, so take the time to fill all holes (even the tiny ones). For holes and dents that are smaller than 1/8 inch deep, use spackling compound to fill them. Deeper holes require a two-part filler or an epoxy wood filler. Sand and clean the repairs before you move on.

4. Prime the Door

Primer will help the new paint stick better, and it helps the topcoat glide on smooth and even. It also blocks stains. You'll need to prime the whole door; spot priming will show through in your topcoat. A gray-tinted primer is best if you're trying to paint over a color or you're changing the color of your door. 

Once it dries, check again for any flaws. Repair any you find before moving on.

5. Sand the Door

Quickly sand the door after priming to get rid of any new bubbles or ridges.

6. Paint the Door

Use a high-density foam mini roller instead of a brush. This will eliminate brush marks and lap marks

Begin with the frame/casing, and work upwards from the bottom to the top. Leave the sides and top (the parts that are hidden when the door is closed) alone. Even one layer of paint can change how well the door shuts.

If you have a plain door, you can use a foam roller for applying the paint. An angled brush can be used for the sides. 

If you're painting a paneled door, follow this approach:  

  • First, paint the recessed areas of the panels with a wide-angled brush. 
  • Roll paint onto the raised areas of the panels.
  • Next, paint down the center of the door with a foam roller.
  • Roll paint across the door.
  • Then roll paint down the sides of the door.
  • Use an angled brush or roller to paint the outer edges.

7. Let the Door Dry

Let the door dry completely before rehanging. Once the door is back in its hinges, wait two days before you close it.

For help with your interior or exterior painting projects in the Central Coast, including door painting and installation, give New Life Painting a call at (805) 937-9836, or contact us online for an estimate.