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How to Paint Doors the Easy Way

Buying new doors is expensive! Learn how to paint doors the easy way and update the out of date builder grade doors in your home.

Painting interior doors is so much easier with the HomeRight Sprayer

Fair warning…before and during pictures are horrible to take.  There is nothing pretty to see in this post, unfortunately, but it must be done.

Don’t skip the prep

Normally I am a jump right in kinda girl and to heck with prep, but we were painting hollow core doors that had a faux wood veneer.  This is one time “faux” really is a four letter word.  Grrrrr!!

These doors and that trim required a bit more prep and a bit more paint than real wood.

I cleaned each door with all purpose cleaner then lightly sanded them to give them some grit for the paint to adhere to.  Prior to painting I wiped them down with mineral spirits.

I learned the hard way when painting our bathroom door for my $100 Master Bathroom Makeover By hand…While it was on it’s hinges (I don’t recommend this by the way)…That if you don’t prep, you will have regrets!

What happened you ask?  Well…the painters tape that I had put around the door knob (because yes, I didn’t even take it out) pulled the paint off with it when I took it off.  That sucked!

I was determined to not make the same mistake again!

I will confess that I skipped the sanding part on the trim, but I did clean it prior to painting.

On to the painting

I had 7 doors to paint and about 125 feet of trim.  Hand painting the doors was not an option, not if I wanted to get this room done in 6 weeks.  Enter my HomeRight Finish Max Sprayer and the help of my hubby.

Painting interior doors is so much easier with the HomeRight Sprayer

Painting with a paint sprayer versus doing it by hand saved lots of time.  I had each door painted in about 20 minutes (allowing for drying between coats and turning the door over to paint the other side) and I used less paint.  So much better than painting by hand with a brush!

We got an assembly line going.  My hubby took them off the hinges and hardware (yep, we did it right this time), I painted them, then he put them back up.  It took us two evenings after work, but we got them done!

Painting interior doors is so much easier with the HomeRight Sprayer

A few things to remember when painting doors with a sprayer

  • Use a semi gloss paint for best results and seal with polyurethane. This is an important step that you don’t want to skip. The polyurethane seals the paint and keeps it safer from knicks and dings in the paint.
  • spray them outside on a non windy day (this is very important, I won’t bother to tell you why)
  • clean them thoroughly
  • lightly sand to provide grit for the paint to adhere to and wipe down with mineral spirits
  • dilute your paint according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • use even, steady passes about 8-10 inches away from the door to spray the paint
  • allow to dry to the touch before rehanging

A special note on drying time…although your door will be dry to the touch very quickly (that’s the great thing about using a sprayer versus hand painting) your paint is not truly dry.  It is best to avoid rehanging if at all possible for at least 7 days, more if you can stand it.  The typical cure time (different from drying time) is 2-4 weeks.  If you don’t want chipping paint wait (ask me how I know this…).  If you are like us, hang them up if you must, but DO NOT close them for at least 2 weeks.  Give that paint time to harden, you will thank me later.

Painting trim

Painting interior doors is so much easier with the HomeRight Sprayer
Painting interior doors is so much easier with the HomeRight Sprayer

Painting trim sucks!  The saving grace of this project is that I am painting the walls so I didn’t have to be neat when doing the trim.  I don’t have a lot of advice for painting trim, except just pull up your big girl panties and get er done!  Oh…and use a brush that is the right size.  If you use one that is too big then of course you will get the paint everywhere if you are trying to be neat.

  • clean trim thoroughly
  • lightly sand, if needed
  • use one continuous brush stroke to avoid paint marks
  • be prepared to do multiple coats
  • use a semi gloss paint for best coverage and easy cleaning later

The white doors and white trim make a world of difference in this little forgotten living room. It is already brighter!!

My progress for week 2

Let’s see how much I have checked off my to do list for this challenge

  • paint the trim and doors white
  • paint the walls and add an architectural detail to the room
  • fix the carpet at the entry and replace tiles
  • clean the carpet
  • turn an old cedar chest into a cushioned bench
  • create a new media console for under the TV
  • create and purchase new wall art
  • replace vertical blind with new updated plantation style blind
  • source or make new throw pillows
  • refinish side table, and current console table
  • refurbish 2 chairs or reupholster 1 chair
  • purchase an area rug to tie the whole space together
  • pull it all together in a room with way too many openings and doors

Not bad progress for the first week, I am right on schedule with no hiccups so far…fingers crossed that it stays that way!

Looking to give your home a much-needed hardware update? Check out Wayfair to find Cabinet HardwareDoor KnobsHardwood FlooringLaminate FlooringPendantChandelier, or Vanity Lighting, and more to give your home just the refresh it needs. 

Catch up on previous weeks below:

Our Forgotten Living Room Makeover: ORC Week 1

Living room makeover, One Room Challenge week 1

Once again I want to thank Linda from Calling It Home and media partner House Beautiful for hosting this great challenge!!  Be sure to visit all the featured bloggers and the guest participants through the links below.

Guest Participants

Featured Participants

Until next time,



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  1. WOW! Your doors and trim look great. Love the color. And that HomeRight sprayer is amazing. You are really moving along and the plan looks fab! Excited to see what next week holds! XOXO Susie from The Chelsea Project

    1. Thanks Susie!! The sprayer cut the time way down for sure. Thanks so much for your support my friend 🙂

  2. Nicely done Susanne! Painting trim super sucks but you did a great job! I hate painting, it’s my least favorite part of any project. lol Can’t wait to see what else you’ve got coming up next week!

    1. Thanks Tina!!! It usually is my least favorite part too, usually half way through I am wondering what on earth have I gotten myself into, lol!! Next week is going to be a doozy!! 😉

  3. Using the sprayer on the doors is so smart. We renovated a house and painting all the doors with a roller and brush was so hard. Your room is going to look so good.

    1. Painting them by hand is horrible!! And it takes so much paint, I feel for you having to paint them all by hand. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  4. Susanne, I wish I had a paint sprayer, I took plenty of notes on yours, type, model etc. So I have to ask do you love it? and Does it clog? I have hear horror stories so that is why I never invested in one, but I think you may have found a winner there. You project is coming right along 🙂

    1. Hi Jennifer! As long as you clean it out after each use, it won’t clog. (ask me how I know this ;)) The one I had before, and I don’t even remember what brand it was, was horrible at clogging up. This one is a dream and makes projects so much easier..you need one in your life!! 🙂

  5. Susanne,

    Sigh, I wish I had seen this info 2 weeks ago. You make painting the doors look easy!!!! Love where your room is going. Must run, I am off to buy a paint sprayer! 🙂

  6. I’ve been wanting to buy a sprayer forever! I think I only have 2 doors in my house that need to be painted though. 😉

    Painting trim sucks but it makes such a difference!

    1. It really does make a huge difference!!! And a sprayer can be used for all sorts of things…it is really great for painting furniture 😉

  7. You and your husband are painting MACHINES!!! Lots of great work done in such a short time!

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