How to paint any door: from interior to front ones, with a brush or roller

Sanding doors before painting

Before painting a door, thoroughly sand it using 180 or 220-grit sandpaper or an equivalent sanding sponge. Just rough up the surface enough so that it feels smooth and the paint has a decent surface to adhere.

Even for interior doors, we recommend choosing paint with a durable finish such as semi-gloss or gloss to make cleaning the door easier as these finishes are particularly durable.

If you are still unsure about the colour or looking for a specific one, visit our trade counter or online shop for help.

How to paint a front door with brush or roller

When painting a new door

So that you can achieve the best finish, the painting of doors needs to happen in the right order. Begin at the edges before moving to panels and mouldings.

Start at the upper left panel, gradually working down the door in the same sequence. If using a brush, paint the edges of the panel, then fill in the centre using a four-inch roller.

The ‘styles’ between panels then need to be painted, as well as the top and bottom of the door. The final step is to paint the full-length styles, plus the edges of the door. Leave to dry and if necessary, lightly sand and apply a second coat.

How to paint a door frame

Begin by using a small paintbrush and dip this into the paint, scraping off the excess onto the side of the tin. Begin painting the frame in long sweeps, making sure there is sufficient paint on the brush. 

Starting at the upper inside part of the frame, move down the frame (use long strokes if brushing), continuing until you reach the bottom. Repeat also on the other side of the frame. Once complete, repeat the process on the outer faces again moving top to bottom.

The final part of the door to paint is the top of the frame. If necessary, re-coat everything a second time once the first coat fully dries.

Painting Door Hinges

Once removed from the door, clean the hinges using white spirit, leaving for fifteen minutes to dry thoroughly. Apply a coat of etching primer, leaving for four hours to dry. Every thirty minutes, open and close the hinge to prevent sticking.

Apply a further two coats of paint, leaving two hours between for drying. After a further four hours, reattach hinges to the door.

How to paint a door with a roller

Using a four-inch paint roller, roll through the paint in the tray, then up the ramp to remove excess paint. Move the roller up and down the door in long, even strokes. Move the roller through the paint as required to ensure even coverage. Allow the door to dry for two to three hours thoroughly.

Best way to paint interior doors

Using a roller, paint the panels going in the direction of the grain, then get a small brush and paint the parts around the edge, following a clockwise direction. Move to a high-density mini foam roller and paint the middle section in an up and down motion.

Then move to the horizontal sections, moving from left to right. Move to the border of the door, painting the left and right sections from top to bottom. Follow this by painting the top and bottom sections horizontally.

How to paint a door without brush marks

There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the appearance of brush marks when painting a door. Consider adding a conditioner to the paint, which increases drying time and improves levelling. Removing the door and painting it while flat lowers the risk of paint runs. Or use a roller rather than a brush.

Spray painting a door is the best way to avoid any brush marks whatsoever on your door and it ensures a very professional finish.

How to paint a (front) door without removing it

Cover the hinges with masking tape, then smooth your finger around the edges to make a recessed edge. Take a craft knife and cut around hinge, carefully removing the outer edge of the tape. Now you can paint the door without worrying about getting paint on the hinges.

Best paints for doors

There isn’t such a thing as a best paint for all doors. It’s more down to the finish you want to achieve. For older generations, they prefer a gloss finish. In contrast, people in their thirties or forties prefer the eggshell or satinwood finishes.

You’ll also need to decide whether to choose oil-based or water-based paints. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so do your research! If you're feeling patient, I'm sure we'll have a blog post on the subject soon enough.

Should you paint the top of a door?

We don’t recommend painting the top of a door or the bottom for that matter. By leaving these parts of the door unpainted, the door can sufficiently expand and contract with changes in humidity.

How to Paint a Panel Door

Begin by painting the top edge of the door, following the direction of the wood-grain. Move to the hinge and lock edges, then once complete, paint the door panels, moving left to right as you move down the door.

Once complete, you can then finish by painting the middle horizontal and vertical rails, then finally the vertical side styles.

How do you paint over a varnished door?

Start by thoroughly cleaning the entire door using a household cleaner. Then fill cracks with wood putty and a scraper. Once this has dried, sand the entire door with fine grade paper, clean and apply a coat of primer. Once fully dry, you can then apply your chosen brand of water-based paint.

Can you paint a composite door?

Absolutely! Use a good quality exterior primer and weather-resistant exterior paint. Seal the final finish using a layer of varnish. Just be warned however that the final finish won’t be as good as the original.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published