Mar 24, 20205 min

How to Paint Your Interior Doors

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Today I want to share with you guys just how easy it is to paint your builder-grade doors. In our 90's home, we were again faced with perfectly fine builder-grade materials.

There was nothing wrong with our doors, they were your typical faux wood doors. I left them white for a few years which was fine, but one day I basically woke up and decided it was time for a change and had the motivation to take on giving my upstairs hallway a spiffing up!

So I decided to take on painting all of my doors from a boring white to a warm contrasting grey that pops so beautifully against our new fresh modern trim. I also sprayed out all of my old shiny dated door handles to a modern matte black that now fits in so much better with our style and has only set us back a few dollars in paint supplies. So in today's post, I wanted to commit an entire blog post on how to properly paint doors and hopefully answer any questions you may have on how to do it to achieve beautiful results!

Supplies You Will Need to Paint Doors:

  • Trim and Door Paint, I prefer a paint and primer in one and usually just buy what's on sale, but my fave is Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

  • Sanding Sponges, I like these ones

  • Angled Paint Brush, I like this one

  • A good degreaser or paint prep spray, I used this one , which I bought at Home Depot

  • Paint tray and roller

  • 4" High Density Foam Rollers

  • Painters Tape

Tips Before We Get Started:

  • Prep your area. Know that you will be painting your door as it's hanging, so place a drop cloth or old towel underneath to catch any drips.

  • Tape off all your hinges with painters tape.

  • Yes you will be painting both sides of your door, so follow all of the steps in this post for both sides of your door

  • Remove your doorknobs.

Step One:

Alright so now that you are all prepped, the first thing you need to do is clean your doors with a paint prep product or even a good degreaser like Dawn or Pinesol. Really scrub in any of the grooves of the door and any detailed edges. You will be surprised how dirty the doors get! When I scrubbed all of my doors down I couldn't believe how dirty the water was, even though my doors were white and looked clean! There's no way paint will stick to dirt and grime, so get that off!

Step Two:

Sand your doors, front and back and be sure to use your flexible sponge in all of the grooves as well. You don't need to sand too much, just enough to scratch the doors up a bit. Once you are all done lightly sanding give it a wipe to remove all the dust.

Step Three:

Now your doors should be all clean, sanded, dry and ready to be painted.

*If your doors are really old and in rough shape, I would primer first with a good primer like this one. I pour my paint directly into my plastic paint tray. Paint doesn't like to stick to plastic, so once it's dried it will peel right off the plastic tray! It's actually kinda fun to do too, one of those weird satisfying things I've discovered while being a DIY-er lol!

Ok, so the first thing you are going to do is use your angled brush and paint in any grooves of your door. If your door is flat, you can skip this step.

The colour I chose for my doors is Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray, as in "Door-ian Gray" hehehe. I got it colour matched with Olympic paint at Home Depot. It's a beautiful soft greige paint that contrasts so nicely with white trim.

Paint inside any grooves first with your angled brush

Once your grooves are all painted, go ahead and cut in around your hinges as well.

This is where I am now after using my paintbrush, you can see all of my grooves are done. Be sure you check all the corners of any grooves you have painted and make sure you don't have too much paint settling, you just need even thin coats, NO drips!

Step Four:

Now if your door is the same popular style as mine then you are going to roll your paint on in 11 vertical directions and 4 horizontal directions. It may sound hard but trust me it's not! By following these directions your door will look more professionally finished with fewer paint and roller marks. I figured this out by just following the look of the faux wood grain that's on my doors.

In the picture below you can see the places you will roll up and down and in all of the remaining four white sections, you will roll on your paint horizontally. Try not to overlap your sections, meaning try not to cross your vertical onto the horizontal spots, or you may see the stop lines.

If you start to see any small air bubbles in your paint from your foam roller, let the paint sit for a minute on the door, then go back over it very lightly with your roller one more time to gently pop all of the bubbles and smooth them out. Once all of your rolling is done front and back, have a quick look after it's dried a few hours and see how it looks.

If there are any little bubbles or lint fleck areas, just lightly sand over those areas with a fine-grit sanding sponge and then go ahead and proceed with steps 3 and 4 again for your final coat. If you feel you need the third coat it's fine and you may do so. I only needed two coats for my white doors, but if you are covering up a darker colour with a lighter colour you may need another coat.

I do not use a sealer or final protective coat over my paint cause the paint is trim paint and is more durable. It's meant to be used on doors and trim as is, with nothing else required.

Alright, so that's it you guys! Four easy steps to beautifully painted doors! It really has changed the look of my upstairs with such a simple change. Before my hallway was fine, but now it has a cozier feel and more character.

Here are some bad before photos from when we first moved in! You can see we've since also replaced all the trim.

And here are some afters! We are still doing work upstairs to our half wall and adding board and batten in the hallway. Once that's done I will be sharing more of this space.

I also just painted our bathroom door near our entry and love how it ties in so nicely with my new Room Mates brick peel and stick wallpaper.

Soon I will also be sharing how I've spray painted all of my original hinges and doorknobs and how it's all been holding up all these years later, so stay tuned for that!

Update, here is the blog post on spray painting your doorknobs!

*Trim colour Benjamin Moore Simply White

*Wall colour Benjamin Moore Grey Owl

Have a wonderful day you guys:)