A practical guide to painting a door

Painting a door is the quickest way to refresh an entrance. Here’s a practical guide to pulling off this task efficiently and with great results.

Guide to painting a door
A practical guide to painting a door

Some useful general tips

  • The quickest way to paint a door is to apply the paint with a short 6-millimetre-nap (1/4-inch-nap) roller, then flatten out the stipple the roller will leave behind with a paint-moistened, 7.5 centimetre (3 inch) synthetic brush.
  • Take long, light strokes from the top and the bottom of the door, gently lifting the bristles off the door at the middle. The result will be a fast, smooth finish.

If a door is over-painted, it’s likely to stick in its frame.

  • To avoid the problem, sand all the edges of the door before repainting.

When painting a door, you’ll need to protect the hardware from drips.

  • Before you start, cover each hinge leaf with masking tape, trimming off the excess.

If a door is going to be a different colour on each side, paint the latch or lock edge the same colour as the face that opens into the room.

  • Match the hinge edge to the other side of the door.

What you will need

  • Sandpaper (fine and medium grain)
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Paint
  • Small mirror
  • Hammer and screwdrivers
  • Paintbrushes, 2.5 cm and 7.5 cm (1 and 3 in)
  • Primer (if required).

1.  Sand the surface

  • Remove the door’s lockset hardware.
  • Sand door with medium-grade sandpaper to dull the glossy paint, then wipe away any dust.
  • Clean the door with a lint-free cloth and paint with primer, if necessary.

2.  Paint the edges

  • Use a mirror to inspect the bottom edge of the door to see whether or not it has been sealed previously.
  • If not, take out the hinge pins, remove the door and apply a primer.
  • Then, paint all the edges of the door with a 2.5 centimetre (1 inch) brush before moving on to the panels.

3.  Coat the panels

  • Paint the door one side at a time.
  • For a panel door, first paint the moulded edges using a 2.5 centimetre (1 inch) brush, then paint the panels themselves using a 7.5 centimetre (3 inch) brush.

4.  Finish the faces

  • Clean up any paint drips on the vertical stiles and horizontal rails.
  • Using a 7.5 centimetre (3 inch) brush, paint the centre stile next, but only the areas between panels.
  • Then paint the rails, feathering the edges wherever you meet a previously painted area.

5.  Swing the colour

  • When the door has dried, paint the trim with a 25 millimetre brush.
  • On the in-swinging side, use the colour of the in-swinging side of the door to paint the architrave and the jamb up to the stops.
  • On the out-swinging side, use the colour of the out-swinging side of the door to paint the architrave, the remaining jamb and the stops themselves.
  • Then, once all of the paint has dried, reinstall your refreshed door.

Follow this practical guide for painting doors and you’ll be able to easily refresh any entrance in your home efficiently and effectively.

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