Pro Tips for Painting Doors

Is the old paint on your front door scratched and peeling? Don’t pay to replace it – repaint the door with these pro tips from The Paint Centers.

Lay the Door Flat

Drips and runs are a real concern when painting doors. To ensure the smoothest finish possible, lay the door flat on a sawhorse and remove all the hardware.

Prep Before You Prime

Even the highest quality Benjamin Moore paint won’t last if you apply it to an oily, dirty surface. That’s why you should thoroughly clean the door with warm soapy water and a sponge. Allow the door to dry completely before moving on.

If the door has been repainted before, it might have layers of paint built up. If the door rubs against the jamb, this could be the time to remove the paint and start from scratch. For wood doors, use a sharp carbide or stainless steel scraper. For metal doors, use sandpaper. For fiberglass doors, use a chemical stripping agent.

NOTE: If the door was last painted before 1979, have it checked for lead before you scrape or sand.

Whether you simply clean the door or remove layers of paint buildup, the final preparation is to fill all dents and scratches with spackling compound. For deeper holes, use two-part filler or epoxy wood filler.

Prime the Door

Primer is important because it prevents dark colors from showing through, seals porous wood fillers and helps the new paint adhere better. Prime the entire door – spot priming could make the topcoat appear blotchy.

After the primer dries, check for flaws and cover any you find with more spackling compound. Sand and re-prime these areas, feathering the edges to blend with the first layer of primer. Then, sand the entire door by hand with non-clogging 180- or 220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum up the sawdust and wipe the door with a damp cloth to remove all residual debris.

Paint the Door

The door is finally ready for paint! Choose a high-quality interior or exterior paint from Benjamin Moore, depending on whether you’re repainting your front door or an interior door. If the door has windows or panels, paint these areas with a brush first. Then, apply the paint smoothly and evenly with a high-density foam mini roller. Allow the first coat to dry, sand the door with the same technique you used after priming and apply a second coat. Assess the finish and apply a third coat if needed.

Take Precautions When Hanging the Door

Even after the paint is dry to the touch, it can stick to the doorjamb or weatherstripping and peel off when you open the door. To prevent this, wait at least two days before closing an interior door. If it’s an exterior door, cover the weatherstripping with painter’s tape to prevent sticking.

For more pro painting tips, please visit the Paint Centers website, or stop by one of our Michigan locations to stock up on the supplies you need to repaint a door.