Easy guide to painting doors

A freshly coat of paint can make all the difference to your doors, inside and out.  If you have brand new door, you’ve decided on a new colour or it just needs a new coat of paint, here’s how:

How to prepare

You can either paint your door while it is still attached to the door frame,  or take it down and lay it on a sawhorse or Easy guide to painting doorstable.  The benefit of leaving it in place is that you can paint both sides, you won’t have to wait for one to dry.  Where possible, remove the doorknob or handle.  If it is not possible, then use painter’s tape to cover it well and also cover the hinges to ensure no paint gets on them.

If you need to remove an old coat of paint, use paint stripper.  You can sand off the old paint but it will be much harder work.  Apply the paint stripper liberally and leave for roughly 20 minutes (please make sure you have read and follow manufacturer instructions).  You should then be able to scrape the majority of the paint off.  If there is any chance of the paint containing lead (this applies to most made before 1960) then you must get experts in, do not take any chances.

Older doors will probably have some dents and imperfections which will need to be sanded at this point.  Use medium grade sandpaper (80-120) and sand until it is smooth, and any scratches have gone.  If the door has been sticking, make sure it has been sanded enough to open and close easily.  Then vacuum the door to get rid of any sand and dust and give it a wipe with a cloth (microfiber is best).  This will clean the surface so the paint can properly adhere to it.

Once the door itself is ready, prepare the area around for painting.  If the door remains in place, use painter’s tape to protect the door frame.  Put plastic sheeting or old dust clothes to protect the area where you will be painting.  Take the time to make sure everything is covered so you don’t have an extra job of dealing with paint splatters afterwards.

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Can I paint over old paint?Easy guide to painting doors

Yes, you can go over old paint but it is always best to sand it lightly first and then use primer.  This is also a must if you will be using latex to go over an oil-based paint.  If you skip this step, the new paint will rub off once it has dried.  Primer helps new paint grip to the door with a uniform finish, as well as blocking stains and muting old paint colours.

If you are changing to a lighter colour paint, you will need 2 or 3 coats of primer to hide the previous darker one.  Then use a white primer.

There are different primers for interior and exterior doors, they do make a difference so get the right one.  A good primer will make all the difference to the end result.  Leave the primer to dry thoroughly before you start painting.

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How to paint the door

Easy guide to painting doorsOnce you have started the new coat of paint, don’t take a break until you have finished.  If you pause during the coat, the paint may dry unevenly.  It can be a good idea to leave the top and bottom of the door so it can expand and contract with humidity changes.  You will not be able to see them when the door is closed, but this is only really an option if you are repainting with a similar colour.

Leave the paint to dry; this will take about four hours for latex and at least twenty four for oil-based.  Once it has properly dried,  sand the door again with 220 grit sandpaper, then wipe it so no grit is left.  Apply a second coat of paint and again, leave it to dry completely.

Latex paints can be dry and ready for a second coat after about four hours. Oil-based paints need 24 hours before a second coat can be applied. After the first coat is dry, pros often recommend sanding again, using 320-grit sandpaper. Remove any residual paint dust with a clean cloth and apply a second coat.

For French doors, make sure you have protected each pane of glass.  The best way is to use masking liquid.  You brush the liquid over each glass window with a paint brush, let it dry and peel it off once the door is painted.

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Painting a paneled door

Many doors are paneled; these need to be painted in a particular order for the best finish.  Start with the top, then side edges and then move on to the panel moulding.  Easy guide to painting doors

Follow the image on the right; paint the interior panels first then the rectangular panels as per the letters A and B.  Move on to the vertical strips C and D between the panels and finish with horizontal D strips and finally the vertical E strips.

An alternative is to use a paint sprayer.  Make sure it will work properly with the paint that you have selected.  It is best to take the door outside to do this, to protect your home from fumes and paint splatter.

It’s a good idea to keep a pair of tweezers nearby, so you can easily remove any paintbrush bristles from the wet paint without ruining the finish.

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If you want to make sure you get a professional finish, call in the experts.  Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!

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George Ryland