How to Paint a Wood Door

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Wood doors are a classic way to bring natural elegance to any structure, whether it is the front entry to your house, the main entrance to a barn or the side door to a shed. Wood doors can be used as interior or exterior entrances. This article will tell you how to paint or repaint a wood door (either old or new) and give pointers on painting doors for inside or outside use.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Dust cloth
  • Latex or acrylic paint
  • 1 qt. primer
  • 6-inch roller
  • 2-inch brush
  • 3-inch trim roller
  • Stirring stick
  • Paint tray
  • Masking tape.

Sand, Prime and Paint

  • Decide what sheen (gloss, semi-gloss, satin or matte) you wish to have on your door, and what color will best compliment the existing colors of your house's exterior or interior. If you are using the door as an exterior door and it will be exposed to the elements, use a latex paint; if you are using the door inside, either kind of paint is fine. There are also oil-based paints, but these take up to 24 hours to set, instead of under 1 hour.

  • Sand your door with a medium-grade and then a fine-grade sandpaper if it has never been painted before, or if there is old, chipped paint on it. Get the surface as smooth and free of old paint as possible.

  • Apply masking tape to protect any windows in the door or surrounding molding (if the door is already installed). If your door has never been painted before, or you are painting over old, dark-colored paint, it is a good idea to paint a first layer of primer. This helps the final color hold to the door evenly. Use a 6-inch roller for the broader surfaces and a 2-inch bristled brush for the small, hard-to-reach angles. Let the primer dry.

  • Pour surface-coat paint into a tray; using the small bristle brush, first paint all of the angles the roller won't hit. Then coat the roller with the paint. (Use just enough; there should not be excess drips running everywhere.) Roll the paint evenly onto the door's broad surfaces until a smooth coat has been applied. Let dry.

  • Determine if the door needs a second coat. If you have painted a light color over a very dark color and you can still see slight color variations in spots, then paint a second coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove all masking tape while the paint is still damp. If you remove it after the paint has dried, it may peel up some of the paint you have just applied.
  • Keep paint out of the reach of animals and children.

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  • Photo Credit Photo by Naomi Judd
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