How to Paint an Interior Door

painted interior door

Repainting your interior doors is a simple yet effective way to upgrade the look of your home. Having freshly painted, clean looking doors is also a way to immediately increase the perceived value of your home. One current trend is to paint interior doors a darker color so they contrast better against white or light color walls. This can help give a home a sleek and modern look. 

Whether your doors are damaged and need a fresh coat of paint, or you’re just tired how they look and ready for a change, painting your interior doors is a simple and effective way to create that change that you need. 

What you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver/drill
  • Cloth
  • Medium grit sandpaper or block
  • Paintbrush
  • Small paint roller
  • Paint
  • Paint tray
  • Painter’s tape or Sawhorses

Should I take a Door off the Hinges to Paint?

The first question that comes up when re-painting a door – Should I leave the door on the hinges, or take it off?

Well, the answer is, it depends. there are benefits and drawbacks to both methods. The obvious reason for wanting to leave the door on the hinges is that it’ll save you time, and you won’t have to wait for one side of the door to dry in order to paint the other. However, leaving it on the hinges also means you increase the risk of getting paint on the hinges or on the surrounding trim/walls. 

One drawback to taking the door off the hinges is that if it’s an older door, it might not hang correctly after taking it off the hinges then putting it back on. This is generally not a huge risk though.

If you do decide to take the door off the hinges, I’d recommend using a pair of saw horses covered by an old blanket or towel to set the door on while your painting. Just be sure that the coat of paint completely dries before you flip it over to paint the other side. 

For this example, we’ll be going over how to paint an interior door while leaving it on the hinges. 

Getting Started: Prepping the Door for Paint

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your door to be painted. There are many ways to go about this process, but I’ll discuss the way that I’ve found to be the most simple and efficient. 

Step 1: Remove the Door Knob/Handle

This is a step that is often overlooked or deemed unnecessary. However, removing the doorknob or handle is such an easy task, there’s n no reason not to do it.  The risk is just not worth the reward when it comes to leaving it on. Most door-knobs can be removed with just two screws. Doing so will give you a professional looking paint job every time.

If you have any questions about how to remove or reinstall the handle, you can check out or post on how to install a door-knob

Step 2: Cover the Hinges

Next, you’ll need to cover the hinges to make sure you don’t get any paint on them. There are a couple ways to do this. One way is to cover the hinges with rubber cement. The rubber cement will dry on the hinges, and you’ll be able to easily peel it away once the paint is dry. 

Another options is to cover the hinges with tape. You can do this by covering the hinge with painter’s tape, the cutting around the edge of the hinge with a utility or exacto knife to get the tape cut perfectly around the hinge. 

Step 3: Sand the Door

Now you’ll need to sand the surface of the door. This will remove any paint or coating that may be making the surface of the door rough. The surface of the door will need to be smooth in order hold the new paint properly.

WARNING: If your house was built prior to 1978 check for lead paint on the doors. Lead paint if sanded creates a toxic dust and is especially harmful to young children.  

If you have an electric sander, it will definitely speed up the process, but sand paper or a sanding block will work just fine as well. Be sure to wear a dust mask.

Painting an Interior Door

Now we’re ready to begin painting the door. Be sure to have your paint, roller, and brush handy, along with a cloth in case you need to wipe away any paint. You’ll also want to put down an old blanket or towel on the floor, on the off chance you drip some paint. 

Step 1: Paint the Door Panels 

First, you’ll begin by painting the door panels (if there are any). To do this, use your brush, held at a 45 degree angle. Paint with the direction of the panels.

Try to keep a wet edge as much as possible. If this becomes difficult and you find the paint drying to fast, add a paint conditioner to slow the drying process. 

Step 2: Paint the Edges of the Door

Next, you can begin painting the flat surface of the door with your small paint roller. Be sure to keep the roller wet enough to avoid any dry spots, but not too wet so as to cause any puddling or running of the paint. Don’t press too hard and let the roller do the work for you. 

Step 3: Paint the Surface of the Door

Finally, use your roller to paint around the edges of the door. Be sure to keep an eye out for any paint that builds up on the surface of the door or begins to run; particularly on the backside or edges of the door. A foam or very short napped roller will give a fine finish and looks somewhat like the doors have been sprayed if done properly. 

Now you can let the door dry, and repeat the process. You may need to lightly sand some areas if you layer of paint is uneven. 


Easily Installing a Door

If your installing a pre-hung door, or painting a slab door then pre-hanging it yourself, you can use EZ-Hang door installation brackets to cut the installation time by about 70%. These installation brackets eliminate the need for shims, eliminate face nailing, and allow you to install a door 5 times faster than the conventional method. 

Here’s a short video on how they work: 

Door Installation Has Never Been Easier

  • Install 5X Faster
  • Eliminate Shims
  • Perfect Fit Every Time



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