6 Tips For Door Painting Made Easier

Know the Ins and Outs of Door Painting For Stunning Results

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are DOORS.” – Author Unknown


There is just something about doors, and not just in the proverbial sense. There’s a reason that so many photos you see when people travel abroad are simply photos of doors, as they can add (or detract!) so much character. However, if you’ve got one or more in your home that are in need of a paint job, it might be causing a bit of anxiety. That’s because door painting is no easy task but with the right instructions and preparation, it can be smooth sailing. 


First and foremost, however, you need to know that a door painting can take a lot longer than you might expect. In fact, if you include the time it takes to dry, it can be a whole-day project. That’s why you should start the task first thing in the morning if it’s a door that you use regularly (you might consider getting a storm door or piece of plywood to keep insects out in the meantime). If you have more than one door to paint, you also want to consider starting with the less visible doors first, as you’ll get better and better with practice. Lastly, we highly recommend enlisting a helper – you’ll find out why later. 


Looking for some other tips on door painting? We’ve shared six of our best ones below.

1. Choose Your Paint With Care

Before beginning this project, you need to consider things like traffic flow, how the door operates, and whether even tiny mistakes will be noticeable. Going with a flat finish means you’ll be more prone to handprints and scuff marks that can be hard to clean. Conversely, high gloss paint is easier to clean but it tends to highlight any obvious flaws in your paint job, so you should only choose this option if you’re ultra-confident in your painting skills! 

2. Remove the Door and Hardware

You can use a screwdriver (Lowes recommends a chisel or flathead) in the joints between the hinges and the top of the hinge pins. Lightly tap the screwdriver handle with a hammer to knock the hinge pins loose. Once the pins are out, you’ll want to have your helper assist you in getting the door outside to a pair of sawhorses. Once there, you can remove the rest of the hardware. 

3. Sand the Door For a Better Primer Experience

Using sandpaper or a sanding sponge when door painting will roughen the surface to provide better adherence for the primer. Of course, as with other painting jobs, this will also smooth out any past imperfections and chipped paint. Be sure to buy sandpaper meant for paint to prevent clogging. Start out with less grit and increase it for problem areas. The bottom line is you want to be well stocked on different kinds of sandpaper and sponges as you’ll be able to use low angle lighting to see which kinds are working best on specific areas. 

4. Apply the Primer in a Dust-Free Area

First and foremost, don’t skip the primer! It prevents the door from absorbing moisture along with smoothing out the texture. If there is dust in the area where you’re working, particles could easily ruin the surface of the door. Be sure to cover the front and all side edges of the door with a single coat of primer. Wait for this coat to dry before turning it over to get the back. If the primer gets chunky during the process, you can bring back the sandpaper to take care of these areas. To get the door super smooth, apply two coats of primer.

5. It’s Time to Paint, and Paint Wisely

Don’t just take a brush and go at your door willy nilly, as doors are often the first impression you give guests to your home and/or rooms. Use a wide brush for corners and a small roller for flat panels. Make long strokes with the brush, going from the top down. If you see lines or other imperfections, a clean, dry cloth will do the trick to get them out. And, as with the primer, make sure to let your first coat dry before attempting another. Use at least two coats of paint and three or more if you want to up the color saturation.

6. Ensure Proper Reinstallation

Do not – we repeat, do NOT – attempt to reinstall the door before it is completely dry. In fact, it should not even feel tacky to the touch. Replace the hardware you took off and have your helper assist you in reattaching the door to its frame using the hinge pins you removed at the beginning of the process. Make sure to align the hinges as you’re replacing the pins.



The door really is your first chance at curb and other types of appeal, so don’t phone this in. If you’re not up to the task, contact us today to have our expert team at San Diego Paint Pros ensure your first impression – whether at home or in business – is an impactful one.