How to Paint Paneled Doors

Many people repaint their rooms, yet neglect to paint the paneled doors that lead to and from the space. If the doors aren’t worn and soiled, it may not be necessary to paint them. But if the doors need painting, don't overlook them. If you’re not sure how to proceed, here are some tips that can help you get professional-looking results when painting paneled doors.


  1. 1
    If possible, try to remove the doors from their hinges before beginning to paint. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it will make it easier to apply paint to the frames and door-stops. Plus, it will enable you to do a better job painting the doors themselves.
    • Often, you can simply remove the pin from the hinge without unscrewing anything.
    • It helps to work with a second person so that one can support the door while the other connects and disconnects the hinges.
  2. 2
    Wash the door thoroughly and let it dry. Use a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP), available at your local hardware store, in warm water according to the package directions. Allow the door to dry thoroughly after washing and before you apply paint.
  3. 3
    Lay the door you are working on across two sawhorses or another other type of support to keep it horizontal.
    • You can, if you're cautious, also lay the door on a drop cloth on the floor.
    • You can still paint a paneled door while it is hanging, but you run the risk of drips, particularly out of the corners of the panels.
  4. 4
    Remove the doorknob. This usually involves removing two screws. Set it aside and
  5. 5
    Make any repairs needed in the door.
    • If you plan to replace the doorknob with a different knob at this point, now is the best time time to cut or fill in the cutouts for the latch.
    • Sand off any old drips if anybody less cautious than you applied a previous coat of paint.
    • Use an appropriate putty to fill any holes.
  6. 6
    Apply a stain-blocking primer if it is needed. It may be needed if the new color is very different from the old color, or if the door has any stains or marks that washing did not remove. Primer may also help paint cover and stick to a surface that was not previously painted. Use the same sequence to prime the door that you will use to paint it.
  7. 7
    If you will be working with oil-based paint, you can speed the work by applying the paint with a roller, then spreading it with a brush. If you are using latex paint, you should use a brush for the entire job. Either way, make sure you use the right brushing techniques for a smooth finish.
    • Use paints with a bit of gloss on doors and door trim. Semi-gloss will do. The reason is that semi-gloss or glossier paint can be washed, and doors often accumulate fingerprints.
  8. 8
    Follow the right sequence when applying the paint: paint the edge first, wiping off the underneath face of the door when finished; paint all the panels, working from top to bottom; paint the cross pieces; finish with the stiles (the vertical sides that hold the panels in place).
    • It is likely that small brush strokes will remain in the paint, so brush the paint in the direction of any existing grain texture. If there is no such texture, run brush strokes the "long way," which is to say up and down for most of the door, side-to-side for the horizontal
  9. 9
    To give your doors the best possible appearance, touch up any drips or runs that appear. Since these can sometimes occur a few minutes after you have applied the paint, so keep checking your work until the paint begins to dry.
  10. 10
    Let the paint dry completely. Then turn the door over to paint the other side.
  11. 11
    Rehang the door and reinstall the doorknob.


  • Look out for excess paint accumulating in the corners of the panels. The best way to collect this is to go back over it with only a little paint on your brush while it is still very fresh, to pick up and distribute the excess.

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Categories: Decorative Home Paintwork | Home Decorating