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How Do I Efficiently and Cleanly Paint a Door? 

June 23, 2021

How many doors, interior and exterior facing does your home have? Ten? Twenty? More? A door is an often overlooked part of any paint project, but amazingly they can have the biggest impact when they are refreshed with paint. 

Painting a door can be a big challenge. Do you take the door off or leave it on for best results? Do you use a brush or a roller for best coverage? Should you strip the paint first or just scrape loose pieces? Does it matter whether the door is made of metal or wood? There are so many things to think about when painting doors. Here are some of our suggestions for your next door painting project. 

multicolored doors

Set Yourself Up for Success

Before you begin painting your doors, you will want to not only do some research about door painting, but also acquire all the tools you will need to make your project look professional and aesthetically pleasing. 

Start by investing in some painting equipment that you will need during this project including: scrapers, one inch and two inch (angled and flat) brushes, small rollers, cleaning items, utility tray, drill or screwdriver, paint buckets and rolling pans. 

Remove It or Paint While Hanging? 

Set yourself up for success by determining in advance whether you will be painting the door while it is still on or removing it and bringing it to a workshop or open space to paint. There are a few schools of thoughts on which way may be best. 

Professionals tend to paint a door while it is still hanging because they have the experience and tools to ensure that there are no drips or uneven areas. Do-it-yourselfers may be best served by removing the door so they can sand, scrape, prime, and paint while the door is laying horizontal rather than vertical. Laying the door flat can minimize runs and drips and allows for a flat surface on which to work. 

If you do decide to remove the door, keep all the hardware together in a plastic baggie and labeled so you know which door it will be used to hang. This is especially helpful if you are painting multiple doors and need to keep track of hinges and other hardware like doorknobs. 

entryway doors

Prep the Surface 

Just like with any paint project, you will want to prep all the surfaces you will be working with. This should include washing the door with a mild detergent and water.  Wipe it down to remove any  dirt, debris, or fingerprint smudges. Be especially thorough around door hinge areas where grease or oil could be on the surface. 

In addition to cleaning the door, be sure to sand and scrape any loose paint that could become a problem during the painting process. We suggest sanding down any rough edges for better adhesion. 

Use a utility knife to get the dirt and grime out of detail work around the door knob and any panels that may be on the door. 

Prime & Paint 

Once you have done all the usual prepping for a paint project, you can begin to prime and paint the door. Many homeowners pick higher gloss paint finishes as it is easier to clean when smudges and marks appear. You may also want to talk to your painting team about what colors will look appropriate for all the doors in your home. 

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