Man hand sanding the door before refinishing at home


Is the paint on your doors looking a bit dull and outdated after all these years? Are you looking to brighten up the colour of your house? If so, you should consider painting the interior and exterior doors of your home. It’s amazing what a difference a fresh coat of paint can make.

Painting your own doors is simple and something you can add to your weekend To-Do list. It’s not only easy and fun but also a great way of brightening up your home decor without breaking the bank.

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With a quick trip to the local hardware store for a few materials and tools, you can be painting your own doors in no time. If you’re looking to freshen up your worn old doors, the following steps will show you exactly ‘how to paint a door’.

 Recommended Tools & Materials Checklist:

 Tool Checklist:

  • Step Ladder
  • Paint Rollers
  • Paint Roller Tray
  • Paint Brushes
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility Knife
  • Putty Knife

Material Checklist:

  • Drop Cloths
  • Painters Tape
  • Primer Paint
  • Finish Paint
  • Sand Paper
  • Stir Stick
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Rubber Gloves

How to Paint an Interior Door

Step 1: Prep The Area

Leave the door on its hinges so you can paint both sides at one time. You don’t want any movement while you’re painting it, so make sure to place a doorstop underneath.

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Place two canvas drop sheets beneath and around the door to prevent spillage and mess. Next, start by removing the doorknob and door hardware with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Place all hardware in a plastic bag or toolbox so you don’t lose anything. If you don’t feel like taking everything off, carefully tape up the doorknob and hardware with painters’ tape.

For more tips on preparing your work area for painting, check out this guide to Painting A Room With No Mess – 27 Top Tips.

Step 2: Wipe Down And Start Sanding

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Sand the door with a medium grit sandpaper. Sanding the door will not only allow the paint to adhere better but will also get rid of any paint chips and bubbles.

Chip away additional paint and dirt with a flat scraper. Don’t forget to sand the doors inside panels. Clean dirt and dust off with methylated spirits and a soft rag.

Step 3: Use A Primer

After you have wiped down the door with a cloth and methylated spirits you can begin to apply the primer.

According to Kens Yark UK if you’re using a water-based paint, you’ll want to use a water-based primer. The same goes for using an oil-based primer with an oil-based paint.

Step 4: Start By Painting The Door Panels

Start by painting the door panels with a brush. Paint the door panels the same way as the grain of the wood runs. Make sure to brush deep throughout so no spots are missed.

Step 5: Paint The Rest Of The Door

Now that all the panels are painted you can finish the rest of the door. Pour a generous amount of paint into a paint tray. You should use a high-density foam roller for best results.

You can now use your paint roller to finish the rest of the door. For a spot-on finish, paint in a “W” pattern.

Step 6: Apply A Second Coat (Optional)

Chances are you’ll want to add a second coat if you’re looking for a gloss finish. Before adding the second coat make sure to sand away any bubbles or raised bits. This will provide a smooth finish. Finish off the second coat with the same “W” paint roller technique as described above.

Step 7: Clean Up And Reassemble Door

Once the second coat of paint has dried, you’re ready to hang the door and put the doorknob and any hardware back on. Carefully peel off any painter’s tape and remove all drop cloths. You’re now ready to enjoy and bask in the glory of your freshly painted door.

How To Paint An Exterior Door

Although painting an exterior door is not that much different than painting an interior door, there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration. You should follow these additional steps for best results:

  • Since your exterior door will be exposed to the elements, you’ll want to use an exterior primer and paint.
  • Chances are your exterior door will have a few chips and scratches. You can fill these in with a putty knife and some wood putty. You will then want to sand them flush with the door and paint over them.
  • Make sure to tape up any windows on your exterior door.
  • If you want to paint the trim around the door, make sure to tape the walls and place a drop cloth underneath.
  • You’ll want to make sure to check the weather beforehand.


Remember, there should be no need to hire a painting contractor if you carefully follow the steps outlined above. Painting takes practice and you’ll be a pro in no time if you have a keen eye for detail and patience.

If you start feeling more adventurous, you can try painting your baseboard or crown molding to really tie in the room colours with your freshly painted door. I hope you learned a lot from this how-to article and that you’re now confident enough to take on your next painting project.

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