how to paint an interior door

How to Paint an Interior Door With Ease & Precision

Are you wondering how to paint an interior door to give your home a fresh look? You’ve come to the right place! Painting interior doors is an easy and affordable way to add a pop of color or elevate your home’s style. A well-done paint job with the right number of paint coats can dramatically change your living space’s appearance. Whether it’s kitchen cabinets, closet doors, or bedroom entrances, a beautiful finish, and durable paint color can make all the difference.

Noble Painting will share tips for choosing the perfect paint finish and a step-by-step guide on painting doors for a professional and long-lasting result. So grab your choice of paint, and let’s dive into the art of painting doors with ease and precision!

Necessary Tools for Painting an Interior Door

To get started, gather these basic tools to make your door-painting project a breeze:

  1. Utility knife – to remove old paint and trim.
  2. Angled brush & paint brush – for precise paint application.
  3. Paint roller or paint sprayer – for an even, smoother finish.
  4. Grit sandpaper, sanding block, or sanding sponge – to prep the door’s surface.
  5. Scrub sponge, dawn dish soap, or liquid sandpaper – for cleaning and scuff sanding.
  6. Putty knife – to fill in any dents or holes.
  7. Wood shims – to hold the door in place while painting.

Materials Needed to Paint an Interior Door

Now that you have the right tools, let’s talk about the materials you’ll need for a durable finish:

  1. Drop cloths – to protect your floors from paint splatters.
  2. Tack cloth – to wipe off dust and debris before painting.
  3. Latex paint – for a long-lasting, easy-to-clean finish.

  4. Primer – to ensure a smooth, even base for your paint.

Now you’re all set to transform your door like professional painters! Remember, it’s all about prepping the surface, using the right tools, and applying the paint in thin, even coats. 

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Interior Door

When learning how to paint an interior door, choosing the right kind of paint is crucial. There are two main types to consider:

  1. Water-based (latex) paint: This type of paint is easy to clean up and dries quickly. Latex-based or acrylic paint is perfect for painting doors because it’s resistant to chipping and peeling.
  2. Oil-based paint: Although it takes longer to dry, it is known for its durability and smooth finish. However, it’s less eco-friendly than latex-based paint.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Paint for Your Door

  • Durability: You’ll want a durable paint finish for a high-traffic area, such as an interior door. Gloss paint or semi-gloss finish is a good choice because they are easy to clean and maintain. Flat finish and eggshell enamel sheen may be less durable, but they can still work for less frequently used doors.
  • Finish: The finish of your paint determines the final look of your door. A satin finish is pearl-like between a flat sheen and a semi-gloss finish. A flat sheen has a matte appearance, while a semi-gloss finish adds a bit of shine. Choose the finish that best suits your desired aesthetic.

  • Drying time: Keep in mind the drying time when choosing your paint. Water-based paint with latex dries faster than oil-based paint, allowing you to apply additional coats of paint more quickly.

Picking the Perfect Color for Your Interior Door

  • Color Scheme: Consider your existing color scheme to ensure your door complements the rest of your home. Fresh white paint is a typical color for doors, as it coordinates well with most interior colors.
  • Bold Colors: If you prefer a pop of color, choose a bold hue that matches your home’s decor. For example, a dark color like navy blue can make a statement while still providing a smooth finish.
  • Lighter Tones: Lighter tones can create a sense of openness and space. Choose a light color that matches your favorite paint colors, such as soft gray or pale blue.

Preparing the Door for Painting

If you’re wondering how to paint an interior door easily and precisely, the secret lies in proper preparation. This guide will walk you through getting your door ready for a fresh coat of paint.

Cleaning the Door

Start by giving your door a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water. Remove any dirt, grime, or fingerprints lurking on the flat surfaces.

Sanding the Surface

Next, it’s time to sand the door’s surface using a sanding block or sanding sponge. For panel doors, focus on the wood grain and the outer edges. A 120-grit sandpaper works well for this task.


If you’re dealing with dents or imperfections, use a sandable filler to smooth the surface. Once the filler is dry, lightly sand the area again. To minimize airborne dust, consider using a vacuum or a damp cloth to remove debris.

Applying Primer

Before you start painting, apply a layer of primer to the door. This extra step ensures better paint adhesion and helps hide any existing color or stains. If the door has a glossy finish, you may need liquid sandpaper or scuff sanding for better results.

Taping Off Hardware and Edges

Protect your hardware and hinges by removing the hinge pins and covering the hinge edge with painter’s tape. If you can’t remove the hardware, cover it with tape. Be sure to tape off the outer edges of the door to create clean lines when painting.

You can apply a fresh coat of high-quality paint to your interior door with these steps. By preparing the door properly, you’ll achieve a smooth and professional finish that will make your home look even more inviting. 

Painting Techniques for Attached and Unattached Doors

How to Paint an Attached Door

Properly Secure the Door

First, cover hinges with painter’s tape to protect them from paint. Close the door and ensure it’s properly secured so it doesn’t wobble during your painting efforts.

Use a Systematic Approach for Even Coverage

Start by applying a light coat of paint to the flat panel, using a roller with a cover suitable for your chosen paint type. Always begin with a small amount of paint to avoid roller marks, and remove excess paint by rolling it on a paint tray. For doors with panels, use a brush to paint areas a roller can’t reach, such as edges and corners.

How to Paint an Unattached Door

Set Up a Proper Workspace

Find a clean, well-ventilated area to work in, like a garage or exterior furniture. Lay the door flat on a pair of sawhorses, ensuring it’s secure and stable.

Paint One Side at a Time for Optimal Results

Paint one side of the door at a time, letting it dry completely before flipping it over to paint the other. This method of painting helps avoid dust nubs and ensures the smoothest finish.

Extra Tips for a Perfect Paint Job

  • Always start with a clean door, free of dust and minor surface imperfections. Lightly sand if necessary.
  • A typical gallon of paint covers approximately 350-400 square feet, so plan accordingly for your project.
  • For a unique finish, experiment with different paint types, such as chalk or milk paint.
  • Choose a paint scheme that complements your room’s overall style. White paint color is always a classic choice.
  • Remove tape-covered hinges carefully after the paint has dried to avoid peeling off any fresh paint.

Tips for Maintaining Your Newly Painted Door 

Picture this: you’ve successfully learned how to paint an interior door, and your project has ended. The door looks fantastic, but now you wonder how to keep it looking fresh and fabulous for years to come.

Regular Cleaning Methods

Just like your exterior painting efforts, giving your interior door some TLC is essential.

Frequent cleaning can help prevent dirt, dust, and grime from accumulating and spoiling your handiwork.

A gentle wipe-down using a soft, damp cloth for typical paint should do the trick.

Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive materials that could damage the paint or intricate molding.

Touch-ups and Repairs for Minor Damage

Despite our best efforts, accidents happen. When you spot minor damage, like dreaded brush marks, chipping, or peeling, it’s time for a quick touch-up.

Start by lightly sanding the affected area to remove any leftover dust or debris. Then, carefully apply a coat of paint using a small brush, blending the new paint with the existing color. Keep your brush strokes smooth and even for a seamless finish.

Protect Your Door from Exterior Elements

While interior doors don’t face the same challenges as exterior doors, they still need protection from everyday wear and tear. Consider adding a protective sealant or topcoat to extend the life of your door’s paint job. These products can help safeguard your door against scuffs, scratches, and other minor damage.

A Fresh Start: Transform Your Space with Expertly Painted Interior Doors

In summary, learning how to paint an interior door easily and precisely can transform your living space. You can take your painting project from daunting to delightful by following the simple steps we’ve discussed. Remember to prepare your door, choose the right tools and paint, and apply the paint carefully for a professional finish.

Now it’s your turn to revitalize your interior doors with a fresh coat of paint! And if you need expert assistance for residential or commercial painting jobs in Northern Colorado, don’t hesitate to contact Noble Painting. Together, we can make your home or business look brand new.