How to Paint a Chipped Wood Door Frame

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Freshening up a room by repainting the walls accomplishes little if the door frame still looks old, dingy and chipped. Thankfully, stripping or sanding the old paint off is not absolutely necessary for repairing a chipped-up door frame. Instead, only loose paint and the thickened corner paint that might cause the door frame to lose its woodworking detail must go. The work is meticulous, but not as extensive as removing all the paint and starting over from scratch.

Things You'll Need

  • Duct tape
  • Carbide scraper
  • Putty knife
  • Spackling paste or wood putty
  • Paintbrushes
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Cut a long strip of duct tape off the roll, and press this down on the door frame. Pull the tape back to check for weak, old paint that is about to peel off. Continue applying the tape until you have checked the entire surface of the door frame.

  • Remove peeling or chipped paint, using a carbide scraper.

  • Cut out any thick globs that may have formed on the tight ledges created by the woodworking details in the door frame, using a putty knife. Applying more paint atop these already clogged spaces reduces the clarity of the woodwork.

  • Fill any cracks or holes from chipped wood — as opposed to chipped paint — with spackling paste or wood putty, forcing the filler into the gap with a putty knife. Sand the filler down to blend in with the wood surface, using a hand sanding block outfitted with fine-grit sandpaper. Allow the filler to dry for at least three hours — or as directed by the manufacturer — before applying any paint or primer to it.

  • Sand the areas with chipped and peeling paint with the sanding block, both to remove any remaining loose paint and to smooth off the raised edges between the chipping and the existing paint.

  • Clean the entire door frame with a wet rag. Pay particular attention to the top rim of the frame, since this area collects dust and is rarely ever cleaned. Make sure the door frame is free of dust, grime and paint debris before you apply any paint or primer. Allow any water to dry before proceeding.

  • Apply a coat of primer to the door if you intend to paint the door frame with a color lighter than the existing color. Otherwise, apply primer only to those areas of the door frame with exposed filler or wood. Use a paintbrush and smooth, even strokes, all working on the same axis — in other words, all side to side or up and down. Allow the primer to dry for six to eight hours — or as directed by the manufacturer — before applying paint.

  • Brush on a coat of paint after the primer has dried, using the same brush technique. Allow the paint to dry, and then apply a second coat.

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