If you have the budget, you can swap your door for a new and modern one. But, if you are looking to take a budget friendly route and got lots of time in your hand, then a makeover with just paint is what you need to do. In this article, I will show you how to paint over wood doors and everything you need to know before taking up such project by yourself.
In my case, I have oak veneer doors to deal with. You can follow the below steps even if you got laminate finish on your door.
Here are the tools and items you will need to do this project:
- Sanding block or Palm sander
- 180 grit sandpaper
- Isopropyl Alcohol (for cleaning)
- Vacuum cleaner
- Stain cover Primer
- Paint of your choice
- Paint stirrer
- Foam roller
- Paint tray
- Screw driver
- Power drill (optional)
- Saw horse (optional)
- Lever Door handles (optional)
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You can certainly paint while the door is hung. But it will be hard to get into certain areas. Furthermore, if you want a professional grade finish, then the only option is to remove it completely.
To remove the doors, you have to basically unscrew the hinges from the frame. If you are not going to paint the door frame then just remove the hinge pin to unmount the door from the frame. It will be a good idea to get someone to hold the door while you remove the hinges. Then move the door into an open area and place it on a raised surface or on a saw horse. You can find cheap plastic ones for less than 15 dollars.
How to paint over wood doors?
To paint a wood surface, Basically, you have to follow five golden steps. Prepping, Sanding, Cleaning, Priming and then finally painting. Each step has its own purpose and I will explain everything that you need to know.
STEP : 1 – PREPPING
First, remove the hinges and door handles from the door. Well, you can tape them off, but removing them will get you a much better finish.
If you see any nail holes or dents, then this is the time to add some putty.
Note: If you are painting more than one door at a time, then remember to mark it. May be add a tape with room name on the hinge area, where you wont paint. Also mark which is top and the front face of the door.
STEP : 2 – SANDING
Pick a sanding block or a palm sander and sand down with 180 grit sandpaper. This is the step I always hate to do. But sanding is an important step you shouldn’t skip. This will get rid of the sheen that is already there on the wood. Basically, you have to remove the glossiness and expose the wood. Only then, the primer and paint you are going to add will stick properly to the surface. Make sure to wear a good mask while you sand.
Repeat the prepping and sanding on the other side too.
STEP : 3 – CLEANING
After sanding, vaccum all the dust and give a good wipe down with alcohol or any cleaning liquid.
STEP : 4 – PRIMING
This is another important step. Though we have sanded down the door surface, wood doors have these recessed wood grain areas where the sander can’t get through. Getting each and every groove sanded will become a nightmare. So, we have to use a very good primer. Zinsser brand has just the right one. Its an oil based primer that is made specially to cover the wood stains. The can says that there is no need of sanding for using this primer, but I wouldn’t take any chance. I have seen how the paint can peel off if there is no proper sanding.
Apply a thin coat using a foam roller. Let it dry and do a second coat. Since this is a dark wood, you will need to add at least two coats of primer. The wood color should be gone after two coats. If not, apply a third coat of primer.
CAUTION : The smell of this oil based primer can be overwhelming. So, wear a mask. Also do this in a ventilated area.
STEP : 5 – PAINTING
Next, the Painting. Pick the color you like in the right sheen. There are Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi gloss and Hi Gloss finishes. Higher the sheen, i.e glossier it is then its more resistant to dirts and stains. Since trims and doors are usually prone to a lot of wear and tear, its better to go for semi gloss or Hi gloss.
Note: Before buying the color is larger quantity, get the sample and test it out first.
For my door, I bought a very light grey color. Its called Platinum from Behr.
To apply paint or primer, always use a foam roller to get a fine finish without any brush strokes. Also foam rollers do not shed. Just roll over the paint, remove excess and apply on the surface. Excess paint can add drips and hard to manage. Apply first coat, let it dry and do a second if needed. Repeat the same for the other side too.
While that dries, paint the trim and baseboards if you have to. Wondering how to do it? I have covered that here with some helpful tips and tricks.
How to mount the door?
Before you move the door, add the hinges on the door side. Then to hang the door, place a riser on the door bottom to align the door hinge to the frame hinge. Screw the center hinge first and then proceed to the top and bottom. Next, attach the door handles back. If you trying to do a makeover, then you can replace the hinge and door handles to something you like.
In my case here, I used the same hinges but updated the door handles with kwikset privacy lever handles. The black color looked amazing on the grey doors.
Did you know that just by painting all the doors, trims and baseboards, you can completely transform a space into something awesome?!! Check out the hallway transformation that we did for our home. If you are on budget, then this is the way to go.
- Between each coat, put your roller into a airtight Ziploc bag. This will keep the paint wet for next application. If you store it right, a paint roller can also be used after a week!
- Stir the paint or primer thoroughly before each use.
- When painting, have a rag nearby to wipe off any drips or mishaps.
- Oil primer takes longer time to dry than water based primer. Takes about 2 hours for oil base, whereas water base primer dries in half hour.
- Oil primer can irritate eyes and smell can be nauseous to some. So, apply it in a ventilated area.
- Use a good quality paint brush and roller. Cheap ones will shed and will not give you even finish.