How to Paint an Interior Door on Your Own

Whether you are moving into a new house or looking for ways to freshen up your old one, painting doors should be on your top-10 list. Interior doors take a lot of beating since they work without weekends. The paint can get cracked, chipped and just outright dirty. While hiring a specialist to paint your interior door is an easy way out, it’s also an expensive one. You can do just fine painting the doors on your own. In the worst-case scenario, you won’t like the result and pick up the phone to get professional assistance.

Before whipping out the paint and the brush, you need to prepare your door for painting:

  • If you are planning to take the door down before painting, it’s a smart idea. It’s always easier to paint a flat door than a hanging one.
  • Take off the knobs and handles. If you take the door down, remove the hinges as well.
  • Use a sander to smooth imperfections on the door surface.
  • Clean the door with a vacuum cleaner, wipe it with a wet cloth and allow it to dry.

Now that the door is clean, the next step is priming. This step is relevant if your door hasn’t been pre-primed or painted before. If your door was painted with an oil-based paint and you are planning to use a latex paint, you need to prime it as well.

  • Priming is done using the same order as painting (from edges to horizontal rails)
  • If you have new wooden doors, which were primed beforehand, consider priming top and bottom edges, which are often left unprimed by the manufacturer.

Now, the time has come to take out the paint and brushes. Depending on your preferences, you can use either a brush or a roller or both. If you’ve never painted a door before, it would be better to purchase both. Rollers are great for flat surfaces while brushes are good for uneven ones.

You can paint the door straight out (top to bottom or side to side). However, you can consider a more interesting approach that will allow the paint to dry well all over the surface. If you have a classic six-panel door, considering using the following order:

  • Paint the edges and the cavities/holes for knobs handles and hinges
  • Paint the verticals strips on the sides of the doors
  • Paint the vertical strip in the center
  • Paint the horizontal rails
  • Paint the door panels

After applying the first coat, you need to allow the paint to dry before the second one. Depending on the type of the paint you are using, it takes a certain amount of time to dry.

  • Latex paint is the fast drying option. It’s also the most commonly used paint for interior doors. You can apply the second coat after about 4 hours
  • Oil-based paint is more durable than latex but it takes longer to apply while being harder to clean up. You have to wait 24 hours before applying the next coat.

Make sure to reduce the humidity to a minimum when waiting for the paint to dry. Close all the windows, turn on the air conditioner, and plug in a fan.

Once both coats are ready, flip the door and repeat. If you are doing the job while the door is hanging, you can do both sides simultaneously.

As you can see, painting a door is as easy as pie. Once you get the first one done, you’ll see how much easier the next painting process will be. Good luck and have fun!

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