Prep Work for Painting Interior Doors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

Most people who have painted enough know that your preparation work before painting is critical to the overall paint job. In fact, when you are painting interior doors, the prep work holds true, just like the other prep work for painting walls and ceilings. To help, we have listed a few detailed tips below that will assist you with painting interior doors. Let’s take a look!

Remove the Door from Its Hinges

We know how difficult the very first step is, but it will lead to a beautiful paint job! When you take the door off the hinges and lie it flat to paint, you will avoid unsightly drips and runs. Once you have laid the door flat, take this time to remove all the doorknobs, plates, and locks from the door. Make sure you put all the pieces from the door in one container, label it, and place it on a shelf out of the way.

Clean the Door

If there is dirt/grime on the door and you do not clean before painting, you will see the dirt and grime bleed through as soon as you paint over it. Can you imagine the fingerprints that are covering the door, especially if the door is used on a daily basis? After you have thoroughly cleaned the door, allow enough time for the door to completely dry.

You can use a cleaner like TSP (trisodium phosphate) to clean. It is a powder you mix with warm water and apply to wipe down your walls before painting. TSP cleans the dirt and grime from walls, ceilings, and woodwork and is used by professional painters. Just make sure you let the door completely dry.

Fill Any Dents & Holes

Please take the time to fill any and all holes, dents, and scratches in the walls and woodwork. If you do not fill, the new paint will only highlight the unfilled damaged areas. For small damaged areas, use a spackling compound to fill the holes. If the holes are deeper, use an epoxy wood filler. Before you can move to the next step, you must sand and clean the repaired areas.

Use Primer

Please do not skip this step; it only enhances the paint job and results in a smooth, painted door. You must prime the entire door; do not spot-prime the door because it will show through when you apply the topcoat. It is best to use a gray-tinted primer for doors if you are trying to change the color of the door.


Using fine-grade sandpaper, sand the door to remove ridges or bubbles in the paint job. Make sure you dust and clean the door thoroughly when finished sanding.

Now you can take the time to paint the door, let dry, repaint with a second topcoat. Make sure to let the door dry thoroughly before replacing the hinges and doorknobs, etc. Best of luck, and happy painting!

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