Step by step tutorial on how to paint and re-finish an existing door on your own. This is a simple DIY project and anyone with basic skillset can do this easily! I have given all the details you need to know and things you need on hand before you start. Just follow the below steps and get yourself a beautiful door for your home.
Time: 1 day
Skill set: Beginner
- This is a one person job except to remove and transport the door.
- Depending upon the grade of door, i.e interior or exterior door, below process is the same. Except you should buy interior grade paint for interior doors and exterior grade paint for exterior doors.
Tools & Supplies required:
- Power sander or Hand sander
- Power drill or electric screw driver
- 3 inch screw – 1 no.
- saw horse – 2nos (optional)
- Degreaser or any cleaner
- Lint free cloth
- Tack cloth
- WD 40
- Zinsser Primer
- 4″ Paint roller – High density foam
- Foam brush – angled
- Interior Paint in color of your choice
- Painter’s tape
- Paint tray
1. Remove door & hardware
First, remove the door from the frame. Doors usually have three hinges that are connected to the door frame. A pin is located at the center of the hinge and allows the door swing movement. Grab a hammer & at least 3 inch long screw and hold the screw upside down at the bottom of the pin and hammer until the pin pops out on top. If that pin is stuck like ours was probably because the door was never removed since the initial install, spray WD-40 on the hinge. Let it sit for a minute and then try again. WD-40 will dissolve the rust and lubricate the hinge. Make sure to have a paper towel nearby to clean up the rusty drip. If both the techniques do not work for you, then remove the screws that connect the door and the hinge. Make sure you do not unscrew the ones connected to frame. Slowly, remove the door and place it on a raised surface. Preferably a saw horse.
Remove the hinges, locks, handles and any kind of hardware or décor you have on the door. In my case, we had the door sensor of the security system. I used a flat head screw driver to pry the device out. The lock and handles will have screws on them. If you unscrew it, you can easily remove them. If your lock or knob is the screw less kind, then refer manufacturer manual to remove it. You can find number of videos on YouTube for reference. I recently bought this electric screw driver and its amazing for this kind of job. It does not cost that much, its lightweight and comes with all the bits you need for a simple work.
2. Clean & patch
After removing all the hardware, you have a flat surface to work with. The very first thing you want to do is to analyze the condition of the door all around. If there are any holes or damages, patch up with wood putty. In my case, there were a lot of sticky residue from double sided tapes. They couldn’t be cleaned with alcohol. So, I grabbed super clean degreaser and sprayed over it. Let it settle for a minute. Meanwhile spray it all over the door and clean up all the dirt, stains using a clean lint free towel or rag. You will see a big difference with this cleaning. Next, to remover those sticky residue grab a putty knife or anything with sharp edge and scrape it. Since, its soaked in degreaser, it should be easy to scrape them off.
Once you have cleaned the door, using the same towel clean the door frame, sill, threshold as well. For adamant stains, spray the degreaser over it. Let it sit for 30 seconds, and then wipe it off. For normal dust and dirt, just a simple soap solution will do the job.
This is an important step to refinish any surface next to priming. You can use a sanding block or power sander like this. Obviously, you can save a lot of energy and time with power sander. But if you do not have one its absolutely ok to use sandpaper blocks and your physical arm strength along with a pinch of determination. I use a 80 grit sand paper first followed by 120. This step will remove the existing glossy finish and expose the layer beneath. If you skip sanding, the primer or paint will not adhere to the door surface.
By now, sanding is completed. But you ill be left with lots of dust. Vacuum it, clean it with wet cloth or Tack cloth. Next, tape all the areas that doesn’t need to be painted. If there is glass in the door, tape it too.
This is the second important step that you should not skip. I always use this Zinsser primer. First take a tapered foam brush and apply primer on all the crevices, grooves and ridges wherever the roller can not reach. Then use a high density foam roller and apply primer. If you have existing dark paint, you will need more that one coat to cover it. Allow primer to dry fully dry before applying next coat.
If its a interior door use a interior grade paint. Here I am using “Rainy season” in semi-gloss from Behr. It is very easy to clean a surface painted with a semi-gloss or glossy sheen rather than flat or eggshell. A glossier paint also makes doors and trim stand out beautifully against the flatter wall surface. Just like we did for the primer, use an angles brush and apply paint in the grooves. Then use a high density foam roller to apply paint as it helps to avoid brush marks. Depending upon the color and type of paint you are using, you might need a second coat for good coverage. Usually, dark paints need second coat. I like using Marquee from Behr which advertises as a one-coat paint.
- Stir the paint thoroughly before you apply.
- Start on one corner and run the roller up and down with an inch overlap to cover the lap marks.
- Do not apply too much pressure while rolling the brush. This will make the paint squeeze out unevenly.
- Do not take too much paint on the roller. This will lead to paint drips and spill while you are rolling.
- Make sure you press down the painter’s tape to seal even tiny gaps before applying paint.
- Remove tape after the paint is fully dry. Before removing, score the end with a utility knife. Otherwise, the tape could rip the paint off. Similarly, while pulling the tape off, hold it parallel and close to the surface as possible. If you hold it perpendicular to the surface, you might rip out the paint on the surface.
- If you have paint drips on the glass part of the door, you can scrape it off with blunt side of the knife, once the paint is dry.
Allow paint to dry completely, remove the painter’s tape and then install all the hardware on the door. Then, mount the door and put the hinge pins back. You got yourself a newly finished door that looks amazing! Time to feel proud of yourself!
Paint the hardware if you can or buy new ones to coordinate with the color scheme. You won’t believe how a simple paint job can make a big difference.
A before and after glimpse!
We also built a floating bay window seat in the above picture. Check it out by clicking the link below.