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How to Paint a Door

With constant opening, shutting, and slamming, doors take a lot of abuse. Over time they get dirty, scratched, or damaged. Follow these steps to give your door a lasting coat of paint.

Paint a door

Pick a Color

Doors can add serious aesthetic appeal to a home’s interior or exterior design, but that doesn’t stop many homeowners from taking the easy route. If your interior doors are nothing but neutral or your front door has been classic black or red for as long as you can remember, consider upgrading to a more creative door shade.

After all, a front door color like robin’s egg blue or bright yellow can really make your house pop, while a bold gray or blue can make interior doors stand out. Just make sure your new door shade works with your home’s existing color scheme.

Lay It Flat

While it’s certainly possible to paint doors upright, this typically leads to drips and mishaps. Give your door a professional look by taking it off its hinges and laying the door flat on a set of sawhorses. Keep in mind that you’ll need help from at least one other person while performing this step, especially if you’re painting a heavy front door.

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Remove and Update Hardware

You’ll never get the clean lines or the sharp look you want by cutting corners. Instead of adhering painter’s tape around the doorknob, knocker, and lock, completely remove all of the hardware. Set it aside to reattach after painting, or take advantage of the opportunity to replace your hardware altogether. If the old set is outdated or hasn’t aged well, this is a great time to give your door a new look with updated hardware.

Clean and Prep

Paint buildup can lead to doors not fitting properly or rubbing against door jambs. If your door holds several coats of paint, consider stripping all the layers. Use a scraper to remove most of the paint, and then use a sander to smooth out the edges.

If you opt not to strip the paint, you’ll want to deal with the inevitable layers of dirt and grime. Since you don’t want to simply paint over the dirt, wash it away with soapy water or a more heavy-duty cleaner if necessary. After the door is clean and dry, repair and fill any holes or scratches.

Image via Flickr by romanboed

Apply Primer

Whether you’re sticking with a classic color or opting for something bold, you’ll need to prime the door for best results. Primer provides the door with a smooth surface for paint, and it makes any color appear more even.

Give It Two Coats

Don’t stop after just one coat. Doors need two coats of paint, just like walls. Though you might be tempted to use a paintbrush on the door, only use a brush for detail work. Use a mini roller for flat surfaces to avoid brush marks and make the paint job look much smoother.

Once the paint is dry, attach the hardware, place the door back on its hinges, and enjoy the fresh new look. If you’re feeling inspired, try out some DIY door upcycling ideas to test out your newfound door painting skills.

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