How to Paint a Door Without Removing It – Tips from Pros

Painting your door may seem like a small change, but it’s in the small details that help finish a room. So if your doors show signs of wear and tear, maybe it’s time to give them a touch-up.

Professional painters know that removing the door from its frame makes it easier to achieve a flawless finish, but if you’re limited on space, can you get away with painting it while it’s still attached? This article will answer your question and more, so read more below.

Can you paint a door without removing it?

Technically, you can paint a door without removing it from its frame, but there are pros and cons to the process. One pro is you don’t have to spend time removing the door from its hinges and carrying it to an open space.

However, repairing it and filling in cracks or holes might feel awkward since you’re working vertically. You’ll also be more susceptible to creating paint drips and splatters, but you can easily cover them by painting from top to bottom.

What kind of paint do you use on a door?

If you’re wondering what type of paint to use for doors, an acrylic latex-based paint works best. If you’re painting an exterior door, use exterior paint to help protect the surface from outdoor elements.

As for the paint finish, stick to glossy or semi-glossy formulas since they’re more durable against scratches and nicks than flat or matte paint. It also helps highlight your door since glossy finishes reflect light.

Make sure to determine what paint was previously used on your door since you don’t want to layer latex-based paint over an oil-based formula and vice versa. You can test this by rubbing a cloth dampened with alcohol on a small surface of your door. If paint transfers on the cloth, latex paint was used on your door. But if no color transfers, it means it has oil-based paint.

Do you need to sand a door before painting it?

If the old paint on your door is still intact and it doesn’t have any scratches or cracks on its surface, you can get away with not sanding your door before painting.

But if it has chipped paint, cracks, and holes that need fixing, it’s best to sand it lightly to remove the old paint and even out its surface after repair. For best results, you should consider sanding your door twice. Use 100-150 grit sandpaper for the first process, followed by 180-220 grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth texture.

What do you paint first on a door?

Since you won’t be removing the door from its frame, it’s best to follow the rule of painting from top to bottom. This way, if you get paint drips, you can easily cover them once you get to the bottom section of the door.

If you’re working with a paneled door, paint the panels first – starting at the topmost panels and working down to the lower panels to ensure you cover every detail.

If you’re planning on repainting the trim and frame, paint them first before the door. Allow them to dry completely so you can apply painter’s tape on the edges to protect them from paint drips and splatter while you’re working on the door.

How to paint a door without removing it

To get started on painting your door without removing it from the frame, follow this easy guide below:

  1. Clean your door with a damp cloth to remove dirt, stains, and grime. If you’re dealing with a persistent stain, use a mild soap to help soften it. Don’t forget to rinse the soap with water and allow your door to dry.
  2. Remove or cover the doorknob and locks with painter’s tape to protect them against paint drips and splatters. You can also apply painter’s tape on the edges of your doorframe to avoid getting paint on them.
  3. Sand the door twice to remove old paint.
  4. Repair any scratches, cracks, or holes with wood filler or putty and allow them to dry. Sand the repaired areas to remove rough textures.
  5. If you’re using primer, apply one coat and allow it to dry completely.
  6. Start painting at the top or topmost panel of the door. Use a paintbrush to cover the inset panels, then use a roller to coat the larger surfaces of the door.
  7. Apply two coats of your paint, allowing each layer to dry in between.
  8. Once the paint is completely dry, reinstall the doorknobs and locks if you removed them beforehand, or take off the painter’s tape.

Can I repaint a door without primer?

Similar to painting walls, it’s important to apply primer before painting because it provides a smoother surface for the paint to adhere to and adds an extra layer of protection against moisture and mold – allowing it to last longer.

The only way you can skip the primer is if your door is recently painted and doesn’t need repairing. Otherwise, it’s best to strip the old paint off, repair, sand, and prime to ensure your new coat will have a long lifespan.

How do you keep painted doors from sticking?

After painting, it’s important to keep your door open as long as possible to allow it to dry completely so it doesn’t stick to the door frame. But the paint should be dry after 1-2 days. Let your family members or roommates know you recently painted the door so they won’t move it while it’s still wet.

If you must close the door, remove the weather stripping from the door frame and temporarily replace it with painter’s tape to prevent the paint from sticking.

Need help with painting your house?

If you need help with giving your house a makeover, Soho Painters is the best painting contractor in New York. They have a team of experienced painters equipped with high-quality materials and tools to ensure you get the best results. They also offer wallpapering, apartment, and commercial painting to cover all your painting needs. For questions or inquiries, contact them now and book a free estimate.

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