What Is the Proper Way to Paint Interior Doors? - Matt the Painter

What Is the Proper Way to Paint Interior Doors?

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What Is the Proper Way to Paint Interior Doors?

What Is the Proper Way to Paint Interior Doors?

Painting your interior doors is a great way to add a pop of color to your decorating scheme from an unassuming detail. Doors also absorb a lot of wear and tear, so the right coat of paint can also improve your door’s durability.

However, painting your interior door is not the same as painting other surfaces of the house. Doors are usually made of wood or similar materials, and there are a few other steps involved in preparing them for painting. 

Before painting your interior doors, here is what you need to know.

Prepare Your Painting Area

The easiest way to paint a door is to leave it on its hinges. That means you don’t have to worry about the wood warping and not fitting back in when you go to screw it back in. Also, you can paint both sides of the door without waiting for one to dry, as you would if you laid it flat.

That does mean you will need to prepare the surface around the door before painting. Lay down drop cloths to catch any stray splatters of paint.

Prepare the Door’s Surface

Although you don’t want to remove your door from the hinges, you still want to remove any hardware such as handles, knobs, and locks. Otherwise, they will also get stained with paint, which will not look pretty. If you don’t want to remove the hardware, you can cover it with painting tape or rubber cement to prevent paint from getting on it.

The next step is to clean and prepare the door’s surface. Grime and grease from sticky fingers can accumulate on doors, so clean it with soap and water. If it is very dirty, use a diluted solution of TSP for cleaning.

Before painting, fill in any holes or cracks in the door with putty. You don’t need to prime the whole door, but priming over any repairs will give you a smoother surface to work with. You should also use primer if the door was already painted, particularly if you are painting over oil-based paint with latex (and don’t forget to sand off the old paint to be on the safe side).


If you have a smooth door, painting is easy. Using a roller, start at the bottom, work across the top, and come down the other side and paint the sides with a brush.

Painting a paneled door is slightly more complicated. Use a roller to paint the raised flats and an angled brush to cover the recessed areas. Paint the panels first and the outside edges last.

Wait for the paint to dry, then apply a second coat which will improve the durability of your paint.

Painting a door requires slightly more preparation than painting a regular wall, but it is worth it to harmonize your interior design and protect your door from damage. Just make sure to protect the hardware from paint, fill in any damage, and use an angled brush to get at recessed areas.

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