How to Paint Doors

Follow these simple steps for painting an interior door.

July 29, 2020
A white door in a bedroom

How to Paint a Door

A freshly painted interior door makes a room look new.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Just as paint color improves the look of a room, a fresh coat of paint on your interior doors can make a dramatic difference. Many people neglect the doors when tackling a paint project because they think it’s too hard to do. Although painting doors requires a few more steps, it’s easier than you think. Follow these simple steps on how to paint a door in your home.

Unsure about what color or finish to use? See our 10 Tips for Picking Paint Colors.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Materials + Tools

  • hammer
  • nail
  • painter's tape
  • latext paint for trim
  • brush
  • 4-inch roller
  • paint tray
  • 120 grit sanding block
  • rag

1. Remove the Door

The first step is to remove the door from the frame. Although you can paint a door without removing it, you will get much better results if it's off the frame. This will give you easier access to the door edges and the area of the door frame that’s normally covered by the door. To remove the door from its hinges, close the door. Then, insert the nail underneath one of the hinge pins and gently tap with a hammer. This should force out the hinge pin. Repeat with remaining hinges and remove the door.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

2. Sand and Clean the Door

Take the door and place it on an elevated surface (like a pair of sawhorses). Sand the edges and surface of the door with a 120 grit sanding block (Image 1). Be sure to gently sand out any bumps or loose pieces of paint. Wipe down the door with a tack cloth or rag to remove the debris from the sanding (Image 2).

3. Mask With Painter's Tape

Lay a piece of painter’s tape over the hinges (Image 1). Use a utility knife to cut around the hinge to remove the excess tape (Image 2). Tape around the doorknob (Image 3).

4. Paint the Door

If you are painting over a dark-colored door, doing a drastic color change or painting over unfinished wood, you should prime it first. Priming will eliminate the need for multiple coats of paint. If you are just painting the door the same color or close to the same color, no primer is needed. Typically, semi-gloss or high gloss paint is used for doors and trim. Glossy interior paints are easier to clean. Start with the panels in the door. Use a paintbrush to paint the recessed areas of the panels first (Image 1). Once all the panels are done, use the 4-inch roller to paint the raised surfaces of the panels and the rest of the door (Image 2). Lastly, paint the edges of the door with the roller (Image 3). Allow the paint to dry completely. Then flip the door and repeat on the opposite side. Note: If you have a flat door without panels, use a larger roller to paint the doors.

5. Rehang the Door

Once both sides of the door are dry, rehang the door. Line up the hinges and reinsert the pins. If you want to add a bit of pizzaz to your interior door, try adding accent colors or geometric shapes. This is also a perfect time to evaluate the condition of the door hardware. If it's time for an upgrade, switch out the hinges and doorknob before rehanging the door.

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A white door in a room.

How to Paint a Door

A freshly painted door will make a room look new.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

More Advice on Doors

How to Paint a Front Door

Give your home a fresh dose of personality with a brilliant new hue.

How to Hang a Door

Follow these instructions to hang a solid core interior door with minimal effort

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