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Painting your door is one of the easiest tasks you can take on to change your home’s style and character. However, that does not mean you should do it sloppily. It can be surprising how simple it is to do a professional painting job without acquiring an actual professional to do it for you. Here are some of the best tips to guide you on painting your doors the professional way.

Get the right materials

Professionals have their own sets of equipment to do the right kinds of work. To be able to have the best finish, you must also gather the right equipment. Here are some you might want to have:

  1. Paintbrush, around 2 ½ inches
  2. Paint roller
  3. Primer
  4. Paint
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Newspapers or cardboard 
  7. Sawhorses (optional)

You might also want to check out: Tips on how to properly paint your front door

Do the right preparations

You can choose whether to do this task while the door is hung, or remove it for ease of movement. Remember to remove all metal fixtures or accessories for better coverage. If you decide to remove the door, you should ask for help in carrying the door and settling it down on your sawhorses. Place cardboard or newspapers underneath the door to prevent it from sticking to the sawhorses. If you prefer it hung, open the door widely then place newspapers or cardboard underneath the door, making sure it will not swing back and forth.

Check whether you would need to prime

For most situations, doors will need to be primed. Primers help the paint stick to your door beautifully. Tinted primers also help when changing from a darker to a lighter colour. However, if you are not sure whether your door would need to be primed first, here are some more special circumstances in which you would absolutely need to do so. 

  1. Bare or stained wooden doors need to be primed.
  2. If your previous paint is oil or latex and your new paint is the other one. To check which one your door currently has, rub alcohol on a small patch and see whether the paint comes off. If it does, it is latex. Otherwise, it is oil. Sand away any flaking paint before priming. 
  3. If your previous paint has lead, be sure to carefully sand away the old paint. Check for lead first before beginning to sand down by using a lead test swab. If it contains lead, wear protective gloves and a mask to prevent inhaling it. You can use a wet sanding block to sand it down; do not use a power sander.

Paint strategically in an outward direction

This strategy guide works best in painting typical six-panel wooden doors. The trick is to work your way outwards and along the direction of the grain. Follow the numbered instructions along with the illustration below for a better understanding.

  1. Start with the wooden panels. Roll the paint roller vertically for a quicker dab of paint along the middle section of the panel, and then use your paintbrush to smoothen out some imperfections. For the panel edges, do horizontal strokes on the top and bottom edges and vertical strokes for the sides.
  2. Paint vertically along the middle section, starting from the height of the topmost panel to the bottom of the lowermost panel. 
  3. Paint horizontally along the middle partitions. You can paint over the middle section you have already painted on from Step 2.
  4. Paint vertically along the left- and rightmost sections from top to bottom and then paint horizontally along the top and bottom sections.
  5. Lastly, paint the door edges. Do not paint on the metal hinges.

Wait for at least 30 minutes before applying a second coat, and at least a couple of hours for the first side to dry off. Afterwards, do steps one through four on the other side of the door.

You might also be interested in: Creative ideas to improve your front doors during spring maintenance

Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of Fortis & Hooke by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.

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