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Door Painting 101: Basic Techniques for a Flawless Finish

Have you been following the Easy and Affordable Home Updates series? In Part 2 (click here to see part 2) we talked about Door Painting 101! I had so many questions about it so I have put together a whole post about it! I hope this helps. Did you know that painting the exterior of your front door can actually help you sell your home!? Curb appeal is huge in determining value of a home. Also! As I painted the the inside of my door, my mom can to help! She owns Painter 1 in Utah County and gave so many amazing tips to painting that I am going to pass along to you!

Door Painting 101 – First step! PREP

The first step whenever you paint anything is to PREP! Preparation is so important to make sure you get clean lines, smooth walls and even paint. I love the statement “Slow down to Speed Up”. Slow down and do the prep work and the painting will go so much smoother! Here is the process I go through to prep my door for paint.

  1. Most doors (especially exterior doors) get so dirty! So before painting, give your door a nice bath! Make sure any dirt or finger prints, or bugs are removed.
  2. Remove any hardware that you can. Door handles are so easy to remove, so just take them off. It is easier than covering them.
  3. Tape – I always use GREEN FROG TAPE! It is by far the best tape. Tape everything you do not want paint on. Around trim, baseboards, hinges, etc.
  4. When spraying, cover the walls and floor 3-5 feet past the door. I use the painters tape with plastic. I tape it on, then go over the tape with more Green Frog Tape to make sure the paint does not leak under. For the floor I use brown paper roll and masking tape.
  5. Sand anything you need to sand. If there is peeling paint, or imperfections that you want to fix, do that now. Use Bondo when filling holes on the door. Bondo dries super hard and can be sanded smooth.
  6. Primer – Primer is actually not necessary. If you use a good quality paint, you do not need to use primer. BUT, if you do use primer, make sure it is an oil or shellac based primer.

Now we PAINT!

Now that all the boring prep work is out of the way we can have some fun with paint! When painting without a paint sprayer use a FOAM ROLLER. Foam rollers are best for smooth surfaces. Use a standard paint brush for the panel frames, then roll the rest.

You will most likely need at least 2 coats. So when the first coat is dry sand down any imperfections. Get 400-500 girt sandpaper wet and gently sand the imperfections out. Then paint the second coat.

Clean up and you are done!

This part is important! So listen up! Make sure you remove the tape while the last coat of paint is still wet! It prevents the paint from peeling or getting stuck. Remove any tape, plastic and paper.

Once the paint is dry, re-install your handles and anything else you removed. And you are done!

Painting Tips!

I promised you painting tips and tricks that my mom taught us! Plus a few others I wanted to give you!

  1. The wet sanding was totally her idea. 400-500 grit sandpaper, get it wet and then gently sand imperfections.
  2. If you have glass and don’t want to tape it, you can get THIS “liquid masking tape”. It reminds me of Elmer’s glue. Just paint it on the glass. Paint as normal. Then peel it off when you are done! No tape required. And peeling it is very satisfying! lol
  3. If you put paper on the floor over an air vent and it is blowing up, just cut small slits in it over the vent and it will not bubble any more!
  4. Spend the couple bucks to get a bucket pour spout. Its worth it! However, if you don’t have one, you can make one with painters tape! Watch the video below!
  5. This is my mom’s BEST FIND EVER! Painters Tape Dispenser. Makes ripping tape so much easier!
  6. Do you need to mix your paint? Hold the handle of the paint, bend over slightly and shake it back and forth. This is how the mixers at the store mixes it!
  7. If you need to cover stucco or stone, use duct tape instead of painters tape! It holds on the stucco much better!
  8. The best kinds of paint to use on exterior doors are multi-surface acrylic or a urethane paint. Or if you are unsure ask the paint counter which is best.=

9. When painting only one side of the door, or the door 2 different colors, paint the side panels that are most visible from the side you are painting. For example if you are painting the exterior side, also paint the hinge side. If you are painting the interior side, also paint the strike edge. See image.

Door painting 101
Photo credit: Unknown

What?! Those tips are so fun and clever! While these tips and tricks are specifically for exterior doors, you really can apply them all to interior doors too! Have you painted your doors? I would love to hear what color you painted them and if these tips helped!

If you want information on how to make your own DIY Plant Wall (pictured below) CLICK HERE!

My Exterior Door Outside
Door Painting 101
My Exterior Door on the Inside

Follow along for more DIY’s and fun at…

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