How To Paint Internal Doors

by Ali |

Doors, windows and trims are one of the harder areas to paint and require a specific process to ensure you are getting the best finish possible. When undertaking an internal door painting project, professional painters refer to keeping a “wet edge” to ensure the finish is perfect.

A door is of course painted in parts, however, if the edge of one part begins to dry before it is joined to the next area, the join will show when the paint dries completely.  The trade secret to successfully painting a door is to ensure you work in a sequence and complete the job in one continuous operation, working as fast as reasonably possible.

To begin with, ensure you open the door wide enough to allow traffic through without any disruption or contact to the doorway ensuring the hinged edge is easily accessible. All hardware needs to be removed, such as handles and locks. It is tricky once the hardware is removed to be able to move the door easily without effecting the paintwork so we recommend wedging something in the latch hole to make a temporary handle to use until the paint is completely dried.  Something like a dowel works best (a dowel is a cylindrical rod, usually made from wood, plastic, or metal). To prevent any paint drips before you start it is essential to slide a drop sheet underneath the door.

Finally, take the time to inform everyone in the house that the door will be painted and to stay away until you confirm it is dry. It is best to keep children and pets well away from the door that is being painted. If you are also intending on painting the trims around the door we suggest you do so after the paint has dried on the freshly painted door. This will limit the area of wet paint you need to avoid through the door opening at one time. Below is a process on the best way of painting flush and panelled doors.


Painting Flush Doors

  • Remove all hardware
  • Divide the area into eight imaginary squares and start painting at the top by filling in the first square.
  • Brush the paint out toward the door edges so it does not build up, on the external angles.
  • Move on to the next block at the top of the door, brushing paint out toward the top and side edges as mentioned above.
  • Carefully blend the two areas together with horizontal brush strokes, then with light vertical laying-off strokes
  • Continue to work down, block by block, blending the wet edges of adjacent blocks as they are painted.
  • Complete a flush door in one session to prevent the joins between blocks from showing up as hard lines.
  • Replace surrounding furniture until the paint is dry.


Painting Panelled Doors

  • Paint the mouldings around the recessed panels first.
  • Take care not to let paint build up in the corners or to stray on to the faces of the cross-rails at this stage.
  • Then paint the recessed panels.
  • Next, paint the horizontal cross-rails, brushing lightly in toward the painted panel mouldings to leave a sharp paint edge.
  • Feather the paint out thinly where it runs on to the vertical stiles at the end of the rails.
  • Finish by painting the vertical centre rail and outer stiles, again brushing toward the panel mouldings.
  • Where the centre rail abuts the cross-rails, finish with light brush strokes parallel to the cross rails.
  • Work as quickly as possible.


In regards to painting the edges, if each side of the door is to be a different colour, match the colour of the hinged edge to that of the closing face of the door – the one facing the room – and the leading edge to the outer face.
We hope this gives you some direction and understanding of the best possible way to paint a door to ensure a professional finish. Remember if it all gets too hard simply call us on 1300 808 164 or book your quote online here and we will come to save the day!