How to Paint Doors Like a Pro

Refreshing the doors in your home can make it feel brand new for a reasonable price! Let our expert advice guide you through the process! Because doors are the entrance and exits, plan to paint them last to prevent any imperfections and allow them to dry properly. Painting an exterior door is also a bit different, but don’t worry! In this post, we’ve got you covered for all of it.

What You’ll Need

Let’s Get Into It!

Doors generally take a lot of use and abuse, so when repainting them, be sure to choose a durable paint finish that has a semigloss or gloss sheen. Semigloss or gloss will make cleaning easier and hold up to frequent cleaning. You need to lay down at least two topcoats to get a uniform appearance.

Before starting, you’ll want to remove all of the door’s hardware. Begin by sanding the surface until it is completely smooth and even. This will also effectively remove any prior coatings or paint that may be stuck on, and hold the new paint better. Don’t forget to wipe the dust away with your tack cloth!

First, paint the inner-hinge’s edge, keeping your strokes all in the same direction. Work upwards from the bottom, then across the header, and finally down the striker side. *Be sure not to load too much paint onto your brush, as it will create visible drips that can be frustrating to fix.

Finally, begin to paint the surface of the door. For this part, bust out that 4-inch roller and remove any unwanted lines with a lightly-loaded brush. Leave it all to dry.

For Paneled Doors

The beginning process for paneled doors is basically the same. Remove the hardware (including the doorknob), and sand the surface using a sanding block. Sanding blocks offer better control and precision near the edges of the paneled door.

Start by painting each panel, starting with the upper left-hand panel and working down the door face in sequences. Paint their edges with a paintbrush, and don’t worry about it being perfectly within the lines, because it will all end up painted over anyway. Once the edges are lined, fill in the centers of the panels with your 4-inch roller.

Next, paint the stiles in between the panels. Work your way from the center vertical stiles all the way to the horizontal panels. Finish by painting the two remaining outermost vertical stretches.

Finally, paint the edges of the door. Lay off any runs or sags as you paint. Allow the paint to dry, give it a light sand, and apply a second coat. Once completely dry, attach new hardware and install the door.

What Colour?

After being stuck at home on and off for nearly 2 years, the way our spaces look has become more important than ever. The colours around us can influence our moods, so picking the right hue is crucial. Most people tend to paint their interior doors white, but if you’re feeling spicy, just know that bold colours are IN! Just be sure to match your warm tones to warm, and cool tones to cool.

For Exterior Doors

This can and will definitely increase your curb appeal! For one primed exterior door, you’ll need at least one quart of exterior paint. The paint must be able to face the elements, therefore it’ll need to be flexible and mold-resistant. We recommend an acrylic resin or latex-based and with a semi-gloss finish. Latex-based exterior paint is the most flexible type and is quite popular. It fills in large imperfections on a door’s surface and is resistant to cracking and chipping. Semi-gloss finish is also extremely popular because it’s easy to clean and can contrast nicely with other colors on the exterior of the home.


The doors of your home, inside and out, should be taken care of, as they usually endure an extreme amount of abuse. When choosing the colour, it is important to realize the effects that the hue will have on you every day, since you never know the next time you’ll be stuck inside for days on end! In these times of unpredictability, just know that you can always count on our professional crew at Mill Creek Painters to help you out!

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