How to Paint Your Doors Like a Pro

PaintingDoors-ClaffeysPaintingGiving your doors a good and professional looking paint job can be a bit tricky. If not done correctly, you can leave brush stroke marks, drips, and rough, uneven finishes. And for some reason, these flaws seem to show up more on doors than walls.

The other reason that doing a good paint job on your doors is important is because your doors are always in use, so there is a lot of wear and tear on them…a low quality job just means you’ll need to be painting them again in the near future. So begin by purchasing good quality, durable paint, either a semi-gloss or gloss. Both of these finishes will hold up well when the door needs to be cleaned frequently due to oil and dirt from all the hands opening and closing it. You might want to add a paint additive to your paint which will slow down the drying process, giving your paint a chance to level itself better, creating a nice smooth finish.

Should you leave your door hanging?

There are 2 schools of thought on this…

  1. Leave your door hanging so you can paint both sides at the same time
  2. Take your door down. That way you can remove the hinges and other hardware, you have less likelihood of paint drips, and it’s easier to paint all surfaces and edges of the door.
    1. One family who was having their new construction home painted, hired a painter who didn’t paint the top or bottom edges of the doors, and within a couple of months they had 15 warped doors that had to be replaced because they were’t sealed against moisture.

I would suggest for the non-professional to take the doors down in order to do a quality and thorough job.

Preparing your work space…

Preparation is the key to doing a good job in almost anything you do, and part of the preparation for painting is preparing the space where the work will be done.

  • Choose a space that has good lighting, is clean and is easily cleaned after you have sanded your doors in preparation.
    • Be sure to vacuum well after sanding, or the sawdust will end up in your brushes, on your rollers and on your door.
  • You’ll want minimal air flow in your workspace, so if there are doors and windows, keep them closed to keep dust and other particles from landing on your wet paint.
  • Organize all of your tools and supplies ahead of time.
    • One tool that comes in very useful, but seldom thought of is a pair of tweezers that you can use in the event that a stray bug or hair lands in your wet paint.

Preparing your door…

  • Remove from where it hangs and lay horizontally on 2 sawhorses or other surfaces.
  • Remove all hardware.
  • Clean the door thoroughly and let dry completely. Oil and grime will prevent the paint from bonding on your door.
  • Patch any damaged areas and fill holes with a spackling compound.
  • SandBeforePainting-ClaffeysPaintingSand your repairs, and if the door has a glossy finish, give it a light sand job for the paint to adhere.
  • Wipe the door down after sanding.
  • Whether your door has been painted before or not, it’s always a good idea to prime ( be sure to prime all the edges, top, bottom an sides)
  • Now is a good time to look for flaws that can be repaired before the final coat goes on. Look for bubbles, dust or any other foreign particles, by running your hand over the surface and/or shining a light on it. You want the smoothest surface you can get in order to have a nice smooth finish.

Painting you door…

  • Avoid using paint brushes, you will inevitably leave brush marks (the sign of a non-professional paint job). Try using a mini foam roller that is made of high density foam. It will help you lay your paint down smoothly and evenly.
  • Start by painting all the edges, that way, if you get excess paint on the main part of the door, it can easily be smoothed out before you paint the body of the door.
  • PaintPanelDoorIf you are painting paneled doors:
    • Begin by painting each panel (always applying the paint with the grain of the wood) You may need a brush to smooth out the paint.
    • Next paint the vertical center piece between the panels.
    • Next paint the horizontal pieces between the panels.
    • Finally paint the border that surrounds the panels, always making sure to paint with the grain of the wood.
  • Give your door a 2nd coat of paint and let dry for at least 2-3 hours before turning it over and beginning this process on the reverse side.

Giving your doors a professional paint job can take time and patience, but it’s a job that deserves the effort.

If you’re like a lot of people, you’d rather leave the painting and the clean-up to someone else. If so, call Claffey’s. We’ll save you money by doing the job right the first time.

Contact us or give us a call for a free estimate – (425) 888-3634

Claffey’s Painting is a full service painting contractor serving Western Washington, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties. We have painted over 7000 homes and would enjoy the opportunity to help paint yours. We can guide you through all the decision making processes so you get the right paint for the right job, and the professional job you’re looking for.