Expert Tips On

How To Paint A Door

Should I Prime My Door Before Painting?

This question depends on the existing paint type? To determine the type of paint it is, put a little rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub the paint surface. If paint is transferred to the rag, then the existing paint is latex based and priming is unnecessary. If no paint transfers to the rag, then you have an oil-based paint and you should prime first, especially if you plan on using a newer latex formula paint.

What Is The Best Paint For An Interior Door?

Most professionals recommend using a gloss or semi-gloss finish rather than matte or eggshell. A glossy surface is so much easier to clean, and considering how many hands will reach for the door, easier cleaning is a must. Another advantage of a glossier paint is that it will stand out beautifully against the flatter paint finish on the walls.


As with any DIY project, preparation is key to achieving a quality result. Lay down a drop cloth to protect your floors and then follow these simple steps:

1. Clean the Door

Use a clean cloth and some Sugar Soap to clean any dirt and grime from painted woodwork. Sugar soap has a degreasing agent which makes it perfect for cleaning painted areas. If you don’t have any Sugar Soap, warm water with a little dish detergent is a good substitute.

2. Sand the Surfaces

Do you need to sand the door before painting ? Yes.

If the existing door is very smooth, lightly sand the surface using a 120-grit sandpaper, until the shine disappears. If the door has a rough or worn surface, begin with a coarse grade of paper, 80-grit, and then finish with a less-coarse sandpaper such as 100- or 120-grit. If you have a new door you won’t need to sand.

Clean away any dust with a vacuum and then a damp sponge.

Handy Tip: Sanding the corners of any door panelling might be easier using wire wool.

3. Repair Damaged Surfaces

Fill in holes, dents and cracks with wood filler (spackling) using a putty knife. Always follow the manufacturer recommendations. Once the filler has dried completely, lightly sand it with a 120-grit sandpaper until it is level with the surrounding area.

The Best Way to Paint a Door

The tried and true best approach is to paint the various sections of a door in a specific order. In the image below you can see clearly which sections to start with (A) and which sections to leave until last (E).

Remember: Don’t even touch brush to paint until you have put a drop cloth under the door, unless you like the idea of paint on your carpet.

What Brush Should I Use to Paint a Door?

Invest in a good quality brush, it really does make a difference to the finish. Use a 2- to 2½-inch Sash brush to paint the larger panels of the door and an Angle Tipped Brush for the moulding (A). An angled tip brush will make it easier to work the paint into tight areas. If you prefer to use a roller for the larger areas (B, C, D & E), then a roller with a microfibre sleeve will hold more paint and provide a smoother finish than foam.

Handy Tip: Don’t hold the brush by the handle. You’ll have better control holding the brush by the metal band just beneath the bristles.

Remove the Door From the Hinges

using a roller on a door to paint it

Many pro’s will paint the door in place, but if you want to achieve the very best results, spend a little extra time and effort to remove the door and paint it in a horizontal position. If you do this, remove the hardware (handles & hinges) to make it easier to achieve a super smooth finish from top to bottom.

Now you know what to do, it’s time to roll up your sleeves!

Wallpapering Too?

WallpaperBuddy™ holds wallpaper away from the wall at an ideal angle for aligning and smoothing, and helps to reduce bubbles and creases. The telescopic design allows you to progress down the wall at a pace that is perfect for you, working with both hands free the entire time. At a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional, why not DIY with WallpaperBuddy™.

How To Use WallpaperBuddy™

person hanging wallpaper on ladder with wallpaperbuddy

We hope you found this article helpful, and we would appreciate it very much if you shared it with someone else you feel might benefit from it.


We’re always here to help, here are some more How To guides:

Wallpapering Is Easy Using WallpaperBuddy 

Expert Tips On How To Paint A Door Frame 

Expert Tips On How To Paint A Window Frame 

How To Paint Skirting Boards