A Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Inside Doors

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From time to time, everyone gets bored with the look of their home. It can, however, get expensive to renovate frequently, so sometimes people have to come up with budget-conscious ways to update their interior aesthetics. This guide features a great, but oft-overlooked, option: painting your interior doors. Changing the color of an inside door can do wonders for the overall look of a space. Here, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for how to successfully paint your first door.

  • Test, test, test – The very first thing you need to do is test the paint that is already on your door to see if it is latex-based or oil-based. The simplest way to accomplish this is to swab a discreet spot with a cotton ball, or Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. If the paint starts coming off, it has a latex base, and if it remains intact, it has an oil base. Oil paint finishes need to be lightly sanded before you start your project. This will ensure that the new paint adheres properly.
  • Clean the surface – Invest in a high-quality liquid deglosser from a home improvement store in your area. Wipe the door down from top to bottom, taking special care around the doorknob, where residue from hands is likely to be present, even if you can’t see it with the naked eye. This will prepare the door’s surface for repainting.
  • Fill any holes – If your door has any noticeable holes or large chips, fill them with wood putty and sand them down so the surface is flush with the rest of the door.
  • Prime the door – Once the deglosser and the putty have dried completely, you should use a 1.5” angled paintbrush to put a coat of primer on any part of the door that is to be painted (in most cases, the entire thing). Tinted primer is an excellent choice if your refinished door is going to be much darker than it originally was.
  • Paint the door – Once the primer has had a chance to fully dry, it’s time to paint! Typically, doors require two coats of quality paint, but you may need to touch-up certain problem areas later. You can use a brush or a small roller depending on personal preference, but you will probably need to use a brush for any edges or areas close to other surfaces that are not being painted for the sake of precision.
  • Stay away while the paint dries – To avoid fingerprints, streaks, and other issues with your brand new paint job, try to plan an activity for you and any children in your house so the door can dry uninterrupted. You’ll only need to be away for a few hours before the paint is no longer at serious risk of damage.

Painting an interior door is an excellent project to tackle on a lazy afternoon or a weekend you’re trying to knock several smaller DIY jobs off your to-do list. It generally doesn’t take more than a few hours, particularly if you use a fast-drying primer, and will make a major visual impact. Remember, this most important part of changing the look of your house is to have fun and create a space you truly love!

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