Professional tips for Interior Door Painting

A fresh coat of paint may do wonders for modernizing your interior doors, as doors are one of the first spots to reflect wear and tear. A fresh coat of paint on your interior doors may transform the look of your room. If you're wondering how to make a professional-looking paint job, our experts give their greatest advice below.

Tools & Materials for Painting Interior Doors

Before you start painting doors, make sure you have all of the equipment you will need to prep, prime, and paint them.

Materials required:

  • Paint 
  • Roller tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Drop cloth (or cardboard box)
  • Four-inch rollers (foam works nicely) and a roller handle are required.

Good-to-have materials:

  • Mask
  • Sawhorse
  • Wood filler
  • Utility knife
  • Painters tape

Choosing the Right Color

Choosing the paint can be the easiest — or most difficult part. Typically, a traditional white paint color will match the room's trim. A bold, dark color, on the other hand, will make a statement. Painting the interior doors a dark color and carrying that color through on the trim, for example, adds interest to a room without committing to all-over bold color.

Preparing Your Interior Door the Correct way

Preparation is the most important step in painting any surface, including interior doors. The following is a breakdown of the steps required to prepare an interior door for the paint job.

  • Set up a designated painting area in your garage or covered outdoor space to provide ample workspace and reduce interior mess. Preparing the door will be easier if you use a sawhorse. Remember to use a drop cloth (or a cardboard box) to catch drips.
  • Preparation: Remove the door from the door hinges and the doorknobs. If you decide to leave the door in place, tape the hinges and use a utility knife to remove the excess tape.
  • Fill any holes, divots, or uneven sections of the door with wood filler to ensure the paint spreads evenly, then sand smooth with 150-grit sandpaper. If the door was painted before 1980, test the old paint for lead before sanding.


Paint primer lays the groundwork for a stunning finished product. Primer reduces the number of coats of paint required and helps the paint last longer. Furthermore, primer improves paint adhesion, covers wall imperfections, and neutralizes the surface so the paint can show its true color. Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, priming is essential for achieving a professional paint finish. However, if you have new, pre-primed doors or are painting over a door that has previously been painted with latex, you may not need to use a primer.

After you have primed your interior doors, sand them again to keep the surface smooth, flat, and free of brush marks.

Oil-based primers are extremely flexible and may be used with both oil and latex paints. Oil-based primer is ideal for use on wood, metal, and previously painted surfaces, and it will help prevent surface stains. For unfinished drywall, latex primers are preferable. They are water-based and more flexible, which aids in the prevention of peeling and cracking.

Professional Painting Tips

When painting a flat or paneled door, use a brush and a roller to achieve the best results. If your paint dries too rapidly, try applying an additive like Floetrol, which stops the paint from drying too soon.

The drying time is determined by the type of paint used. Latex paint, for example, dries faster than oil-based paint. The first layer of latex paint takes about an hour to dry, and another coat takes about four hours to dry. Oil-based paints dry in six to eight hours and require 24 hours before another layer may be applied. Furthermore, humidity and heat can affect drying times: high humidity delays drying time, whereas high heat accelerates drying time. Proper ventilation will also aid in the drying of the paint.

Some painting professionals advocate wearing a mask when painting to avoid the danger of inhaling paint fumes and sanding dust particles.

Flat door Painting Tips

The following steps will walk you through the process of painting a flat door:

Paint the edges: Begin with the inner edge (where the hinges are) and work your way down the striker side (where the door bolt is). To get the best control, use the brush around the striker, but don't overdo it.

Paint the surface: Apply two or three roller widths across the entire height of the door using a roller. Then, using a brush or a lightly coated roller, brush from bottom to top. This swiftly and evenly applies the paint to the door, leaving a wet edge and achieving the nicest finish.

Paneled Door Painting Tips

The following steps will walk you through the process of painting a paneled door:

  • Panel Painting: Begin with the upper left panel and work your way down the door. Fill in the panels with the roller after painting the edges with a paintbrush.
  • Stile Painting: Paint the stiles, which are the components that go between the panels. Begin with the middle vertical pieces and work your way out to the horizontal parts. The door is finished with the two outside vertical stiles.
  • Edge Painting: Paint the edges of the door in the same sequence as you did the flat door, repairing any drips or runs as you go.

Final Finish to your Door

It's time to put the finishing touches on the doors after they've been prepared, primed, and painted. The finishing procedures are the same whether you're painting flat or paneled interior doors. The last phases of painting interior doors are outlined here.

  • Allow the paint to set for the required time.
  • Remove any brush marks or paint irregularities by lightly sanding the doors.
  • Brush the second layer of paint on top of the first.
  • Connect the hardware and rehang the doors once they've dried.