Painting a door might seem like a pretty straightforward task. Slap on some paint and you’re done right? Not so fast! Painting a door requires more than just a paintbrush, a fancy white suit and a high tolerance to smelly chemical fumes. It takes a bit of skill, lots of knowledge and the right tools to get the job done so it looks like a professional did the work; and not Picasso. If you plan on painting an interior or exterior door; don’t do the following door painting no-no’s (we’ll provide some do-do’s too. . . that didn’t sound right), and you’ll be sure to get a professional looking paint job on your next door painting project.
Leave the Hardware On
First things first. Take off the door by removing the hinge pins, set it on some cloth covered sawhorses and get rid of the hardware. Remove the handles, knockers, hinges, peepholes and striker. If you can’t get rid of it, carefully cover it with blue painters tape and plastic. But before you get carried away with the screwdriver, be sure that you label each hinge. This way, you can make sure that the door works the same when you put it back together as it did before you took it apart.
Don’t Sand the Door
This is a tossup with some nuances. If you’re repainting an old door, use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any chips or imperfections in the paint. Don’t worry about getting rid of all the old paint; scuff it up because you can use a good primer to cover the old stuff without worries as long as what’s left has a good bond. The caveat here is if the paint is old, there’s a good chance it has lead in it, in which case you’ll want to follow lead-safe precautions. Those precautions often mean no sanding at all, or sanding with very controlled protective measures. On the other hand, if it’s a new door, sanding it is usually unnecessary and will destroy the commercial primer that’s likely in place already, ruining your new paint job as soon as it’s applied.
Buy the Cheapest Paint
The old saying you get what you pay for is frequently true when it comes to door paint. You’ll need to use the right paint for the job or else you could be repainting the door all over again, soon. Only use a paint or stain that’s suitable for the material you plan on using it on, e.g. fiberglass, metal or wood. Also, you need to use a quality exterior paint on both the inside and outside of an exterior door. Last but not least, repelling stains, fingerprints and other blemishes on both interior and exterior doors is crucial to retaining their beauty and keeping their lifespan long. Be sure you choose a paint that has a high gloss finish and it will be much easier to keep clean without the need for constant paint touch ups.
Use a Paintbrush
Painting a door with a paintbrush is usually a big no-no. Doing so often leaves streaks and lines that look like crap. Most professional painters use a spray gun to paint doors, but there’s a great little secret trick you can use to get a good smooth coat of paint on your doors without using a costly paint gun. Use a small 2-3” roller and roller cover with a very tight nap and you’ll get a nice coat of paint without the brush lines. This works especially well on a metal door. Only use a small stain brush (that’s coated and not loaded with paint) to take care of any runs or hard to reach corners and you’ll have a smooth and consistent paint finish every time.
Paint it Outside
It’s true: you need to use most paint products in a well-ventilated area or else you could forget math and start wearing tinfoil hats in public. If you’ve ever painted a door in the open sunlight, you know that it doesn’t take long for the paint to dry. Paint that dries to fast can make an even finish impossible and almost makes certain that the paint peels off later on down the road. Roller cover lines are evident here and uneven paint (also known as “holidays”) are everywhere. Bugs, dirt, leaves and even bird poop are also sure to get embedded into your paint job when it’s exposed in the open. Wet paint is a magnet for that stuff. Use a porch, paint it in your garage or cover an area up in your yard with a tarp or you could be sanding and repainting your door more than once.
Have any door painting tips of your own? If so, please share them in the comments below!