5 Steps for Painting a Door

Painting a Door
5 Steps for Painting a Door



Step 1: Clear the door

Step 2: Protect the surfaces you are not painting

Step 3: Sand the door

Step 4: Paint the door frame

Step 5: Paint the door

Step 6: Replace the door


Painting an interior door is not difficult as long as you proceed methodically and choose the right paint.

The choice of paint is essential for wood, acrylic (water-based), or glycerol (solvent-based). Also, if you want your efforts to be well-spent, an undercoat is needed before painting the door in the chosen color.

Here are the steps to follow to paint a door.

1. Strip the door

Note: do not remove the door handle, as it will serve as a support to facilitate the unhinging.

  • Please open the door so that it is perpendicular to the wall.
  • Place a crowbar underneath the door; you will use it as a lever to lift it. 
  • Place the crowbar on a wooden block.
  • Face the door and grasp it from both sides.
  • Press down on the crowbar to lift the door, holding it, so it doesn’t fall off the hinges. If necessary, have someone help you by pressing on the crowbar while you hold the door.
  • Place the door back on the floor by slowly lowering the crowbar.
  • Then remove the handle:
  • Take a screwdriver and remove the screws on either side of the handle.
  • Remove the handle and the handle shaft.

2. Protect the surfaces you are not painting

  • Protect the floor and any unpainted surfaces before painting the door.
  • Put plastic sheeting on the floor and tape it down.
  • Protect the walls by placing masking tape around the door frame.

3. Sand the door

It is essential to sand the door so its surface is smooth and free of defects.

Note: if the door is already painted and in bad condition, you must strip the paint before sanding the door.

Sanding the door

  • Place the door on trestles so you can sand it easily. Sand the door once with coarse sandpaper, then file a second time with medium sandpaper to smooth the surface.
  • Sand the edges of the door in a back-and-forth motion.
  • Then sand each side of the door, always following the direction of the wood grain.

Sanding the frame

  • Sand the door frame with coarse and then medium grit sandpaper.
  • Use a sanding block; it will allow you to work more precisely.
  • Sand the edge following the grain of the wood. Move back and forth.
  • Clean the dust from the sanding with a damp sponge.

4. Paint the door frame

Painting a Door

  • Paint the door frame with a stiff brush and a flat brush.
  • Paint the frame from the bottom to the top with a flat brush.
  • Paint the hinge halves or half-hinges with the duster brush.

5. Paint the door

Paint the door in two steps: paint the edges, then the faces of the door.

Paint the edges of the door.

  • Start by painting the edges of the door with a flat brush.
  • Paint the edges of the door with a brush, from top to bottom and bottom to top. If the door is made of wood, follow the direction of the wood grain when painting.

If you are painting the door faces and frames in two different colors, choose the edge color according to the direction in the door opens:

The top edge and outside edge (at the handle) will be painted the same color as the room the door opens to.

The inside edge (at the hinges) will be painted the same color as the adjacent room.

To paint a flat door.

  • To paint a flat door, use a brush, roller, or spray gun:
  • Using a stick, mix the paint without whipping, to even out the color.
  • Pour the paint into a paint tray and load the roller or brush with paint.
  • Apply the paint in vertical stripes, crisscrossing the passes by painting horizontal stripes.
  • Smooth the paint by moving the roller or brush without loading it with paint, up and down.

To paint a door with moldings.

If the door has moldings:

  • Paint the moldings with a brush. Use a flat brush (cod tail) or a brush with a rechamber.
  • Then paint the panels with a roller, paint vertical stripes, and cross over by painting horizontal lines.
  • Smooth the paint with a flat brush, moving it up and down without loading it with paint.

Replace the door.

When the paint has dried, replace the door in the frame. Have a second person help you do this.

  • Grab the door and stand perpendicular to the wall.
  • Position the door so that the hinge halves face each other.
  • When the door is positioned correctly, lower it gradually back into place.
  • Finally, replace the door handle.

Materials for painting a wooden door


Sanding block


Paint stripper




Phillips screwdriver

Ramp brush


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