Tips for Painting Interior Doors

Are you looking to spruce up your home by giving your interior doors a fresh coat of paint? Painting interior doors can be a great way to update the look and feel of a room without breaking the bank. With a little preparation and the right techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results. In this article, we will explore some tips and tricks for painting interior doors that will help you achieve a smooth, even finish.

Materials You Will Need

Before you embark on your painting project, gather the necessary materials to ensure a successful outcome. Here is a list of items you will need:

  1. Interior door(s)
  2. Paint (latex or oil-based, depending on your preference)
  3. Paintbrushes (nylon/polyester blend brushes are ideal for latex paint)
  4. Roller and tray
  5. Sandpaper (medium grit)
  6. Tack cloth or a damp cloth
  7. Painter’s tape
  8. Drop cloth or old sheets to protect the surrounding area
  9. Screwdriver (if you need to remove the door from its hinges)
  10. Primer (if the door has never been painted before or has a dark color)

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Interior Doors

Follow these steps to ensure a successful and professional-looking paint job for your interior doors:

  1. Prepare the Door: Remove the door from its hinges, if possible, and lay it flat on a pair of sawhorses or a table. Use a screwdriver to remove any hardware, such as doorknobs or hinges. This will make the painting process easier and prevent any unwanted drips or smudges.

  2. Clean and Sand: Thoroughly clean the door using a mild detergent and water. Once dry, lightly sand the surface to create a rougher texture, allowing the paint to adhere better. Use medium-grit sandpaper for this step.

  3. Fill Any Holes or Cracks: Inspect the door for any holes or cracks. Fill them with wood filler, using a putty knife. Once the filler is dry, sand it smooth. This step is crucial for achieving a seamless finish.

  4. Apply Primer (If Necessary): If the door has never been painted before or has a dark color, it is recommended to apply a coat of primer. Primer helps the paint adhere better and ensures an even finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

  5. Tape Off the Area: Use painter’s tape to protect the surrounding area, such as the walls and the floor. This will prevent accidental paint splatters and make cleanup easier.

  6. Start Painting: Start by painting the edges of the door using a brush. Use long, smooth strokes and avoid applying too much paint at once to prevent drips. Once the edges are done, switch to a roller for the flat surfaces. Apply the paint in thin, even coats, working from top to bottom. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.

  7. Sand in Between Coats (Optional): If you want an extra smooth finish, you can lightly sand the door between coats. Use fine-grit sandpaper to buff out any imperfections. Be sure to remove any dust with a tack cloth or a damp cloth before applying the next coat.

  8. Inspect and Touch Up: Once you have achieved the desired number of coats, carefully inspect the door for any missed spots or imperfections. Touch up any areas necessary with a brush. Allow the paint to dry completely before rehanging the door and reattaching the hardware.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to paint an interior door?

The time required to paint an interior door depends on several factors, including the size of the door, the number of coats needed, and the drying time between coats. On average, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two to complete the process.

2. Should I use latex or oil-based paint for interior doors?

Both latex and oil-based paints can be used for interior doors, but latex paints are generally easier to work with and have a quicker drying time. Oil-based paints, on the other hand, tend to have a smoother finish and are more durable. Consider your personal preference and the specific requirements of your project when choosing the type of paint.

3. Can I paint over a stained door?

Yes, you can paint over a stained door. However, it may require some additional preparation, such as sanding and priming, to ensure proper adhesion of the paint. Make sure to thoroughly clean and sand the stained surface before applying the primer and paint.


Painting interior doors is a cost-effective way to transform the look of your home. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can achieve professional-looking results. Remember to gather all the necessary materials, prepare the door properly, and apply thin, even coats of paint. Take your time and be patient, allowing each coat to dry before moving on to the next. In no time, you will have beautifully painted interior doors that will enhance the overall aesthetic of your space. Enjoy your painting project and the refreshed look it brings!

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