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Painting Tip and Tricks 6: How to Paint a Door

Updated on August 3, 2013

This is the second hub for painting internal woodwork which is part of a group of Hubs called Painting Tips and Tricks where were completely redecorating a room from start to finish where I hope to give you as much confidence as you need to do your own decorating and save you some money or indeed make some money; so ask me any questions you like on decorating.

Next on the list is the skirting boards around the floor, which also have been wash earlier to remove any dirt or grease; again sand down with your palm sander; as you go round the room sand down the doors and frames as you come to them; fill any holes and cracks with filler, you may well see a crack along the top of the skirting board between the the wall plaster and the wood again an ideal job for the chalk gun, holes should be filled by, the type you have to mix with water as the chalk tends to shrink more than the water mix type; with a little sanding again by hand when dry.

There will be quite a lot of dust about by now so turn your dust sheets into the centre of the room; hoover round the skirting boards and doors then turn your dust sheets back.

Decorating tools

Tow of the new kids on the block for painting walls and ceilings. 'The Accubrush' seems a little pricey for just cutting in. I like the look of the bucket you will easily get a roller in there.
The tool tray a must really with everything else you have to have in your hands, it's good to have when you get up there. You can buy them already attached to a new pair of steps but if you already have a pair this is ideal. An extension pole is an essential tool for decorating and the small roller is good for behind radiators and anywhere you larger roll can't get to.

The Top Painter on the Job was Alway's Asked to Paint the Door

The next step is to paint the door frames and doors. When I was learning the trade, (He's off) the top painter on the job which was usually the oldest, painted the doors, as the doors where regarded as the centre piece of any job, painting the doors also carried a mark of respect for the painter.

So you've painted your windows and any picture rails you may have in the room; depending on the size of the room you may have done quite a bit of painting already, topping up your paint container one or twice. What you may not realize is even though you've hoovered and been using your dust brush as you've been painting, your paint will now be full of little specs of dust and even though it's just the undercoat, Your now going to paint the centre piece of the job, the door.

So there's just one or to tricks that will make your finish a little better. First of all pinch a pair of your wife's tights or stockings making sure she's not in them. Put down a few sheet of newspaper on your work mate, take an empty plastic paint container and put the tights over the top so you've got a little well in the top but not to much; your going to pour what's left of the paint you've been using through the thighs and the weight of the paint will make the well bigger so you just want a little well to start with. Let the paint go through the tights, then wrap the tights in the news paper and throw it away.

After you've sieved the paint; add more if you need to; now give your paint brushes the 2.5" and 1.5" a rinse in white spirits and holding them one at a time between your palms in side the paint container you've just emptied rub your hands together quite fast, so your spinning each brush dry. Check the thickness of your paint, non drip in fine (just remember if you put to much on with out working it in, it will drip) but if your paint is not non drip and you think it's to thick add a little white spirits to your paint container not to the paint tin; it should have a consistency of double cream.

That's your paint and brushes ready for the centre piece of the job; but only if your the oldest.

Some Paint Striping Tools

Goggle are good for preparing ceilings and burning off out side paint. Paint striper is mostly used for inside paint striping and below that are the paint striping tools; the hot air gun comes with striping tools. I've seen quite a few decorators with seem rollers, now really if you paste your wallpaper correctly you shouldn't need one of these, but a good thing to have in your toolbox just in case.

There's a Set of Rules to Paint a Door

I've seen a number of videos and I've put up a picture of this in the first part of this two part hub on painting internal woodwork, showing people taking off doors to paint them.

There is no need to take the door off it's hinges; you will never see a professional taking a door off just to paint it; there is a set procedure for painting a door which we'll go into shortly.
What you do do is remove any furnitur on the door, Handels, plates hooks anything that's fixed to the door.

Doing one door at a time which was wash earlier to remove grease, take a finer sandpaper and sand down the frame and the the door again to get it as smooth as you can, brush off the dust with your dust brush then lightly damp a cloth with white spirit and wire down the door and frame. Paint the frame starting at the top; taking your 1½" brush and cutting into the the wall paint the top section of the door frame.

Now there's a rule to abide to when painting a door and frame.

The edge at the top of the frame what the door sits in is painted the same colour as the wood work in the room your painting.

The upright edge of the frame that the door sits in is also painted the same colour as the wood work in the room your painting.

The upright edge with the hinges on and the edge of the door that the hinges are on, are left the same colour as wood work in the area you would walk into if you left the room.

When you get halfway down the door frame give it another brush with your dust brush and hoover the bottom of the frame and around the door; brush again and paint the rest of the frame to the bottom. If there's any other doors in the room do them frames next. have a cup of tea. Then go back to your first door; just to give the frame a little drying time.

Getting up There

THEE scraper just let the paper see it and it will fall off. A set of small artist brushes come in handy keep them in your box. I've put in this 18" Industrial roller to show you what's possible; off course with the 18" roller you'll need the right size paint container and sleeves, it looks like it could be two 9" sleeves with this model; if you have a large job on this could be your best friend. It may be a good idea when your cutting in the room to cut in 6" to give you more play and just one other thing about a week before you start the job go down to the gym and work on your biceps. The next three items are for getting up there, always buy steps with a tool tray on, as we've said, the telescopic plank is a great idea and the scaffold is good if your not to hot on the top of steps and you can always add to this particular type.

Before you Paint the Door Dust It

Open the door and jam a wedge in the closing edge of the door and the floor

If the door is flat with no beading or panels start at the top of the door painting the top edge of the door; cutting into the outside edge of the top edge. Now with your 2” brush cut in to the edge with the hinges on, remembering the rule, if you get paint on the edge of the door that has the hinges on you will be able to see it from the next room. So cut in to the front edge that has the hinges on about ½ a meter down, then paint a vertical line the same length about 10cm away from the first vertical line of paint, fill in the area between the lines crossing from one line to another horizontally, paint vertical over that area again, horizontally again and finish off with light strokes horizontally. What you're doing is working the paint in to the door and at the same time stopping it from running with the cross strokes. Repeat this all over the door crossing one section into another until you get to the bottom of the door.

If the door has beading on it with panels, take your 1½” brush and paint round one section of beading at a time, then with your 2½” brush paint the panel using the same procedure as above going from one top panel to the other, then do the top part of the door as above and fill in the rest of the top section at the side of the panels; so at this point you have painted half the door completely. Once you've done the top section repeat the process with the bottom panels. Last of all from the top do the closing edge of the door cutting in to the outside edge and down to your wedge.

All-round Tools

A tape measure goes without saying just make sure you have a lock on it. The Fiberglass rule really comes in handy for scribing lines dow the length of wallpaper. I always prefur a tool box rather than a bag, you can stand on it, sit on it, cut wood on it put your tea on it and put your tools in it. The cordless driver is any trademans or DIY mans mobile phone a great tool. You can not go on any job with out dust/drop sheets in the painting trade and a hammer is one of those tools you should always have in your box

After You Paint the Door the Skirting Boards Come Next.

Last on the list is the skirting boards around the floor, which also have been wash earlier to remove any dirt or grease. Going away from the door with your dust brush in hand brushing as you go round in front of your painting; cut in to the wall at the top of the skirting board with your 1½ brush, the amount of cutting in you've done by now you should be an expert, but remember you still have to put another coat on the walls so don't worry about getting a little on the walls.

As for the bottom of the skirting boards, find your self a rigid piece of cardboard about 30 to 40cm long a lino floor tile is ideal. If you have carpet down push your card board down between the carpet and the skirting so you touch the floor; bend it back towards the centre of the room and then cut into the bottom of the skirting board. The card board is there so you don't get paint on the carpet but try not to get paint on the card board ether. Fill in the middle off the skirting with paint using the same procedure you used on the doors.

That's all the undercoating done and the end of the day; because you don't want to be creating any dust buy moving around the room. Just before you clean your brushes go back to the door and at the bottom of each panel in the corners check for runs if there's none there, your the man!
If there are runs take one of your brushes and from the bottom of the run brush upwards lightly and for not pasting that test go round and check all your paint work for runs.

The Best Tool in this Hub

It was between the tool tray and the telescopic plank; the question I asked myself was what would benefit me the most on the job; the plank would make it quicker, easier and it will probably last a lifetime. Beleive it or not you can get by without a tape.


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    • 2Tony profile image

      Tony Casey 4 years ago from Manchester U.K.

      This really depends on the gap at the bottom of the door.

      If you have very little room, remove anything you possible can from under the door to give you as much room as possible, i.e. door plates, carpet (just peel it back, they go back in place pretty easily).

      This technique works with a 3/8"/12mm gap

      Open the door to 90 degrees, slide some greaseproof paper under the bottom, the type you use for cooking, or 3 sheets of news paper, the paint could seep through if you only use one sheet. Leaving plenty of excess on ether side of the door.

      Now get your self a small 4"/10cm sponge roller (not the cloth type).

      Dip it in your paint and roll it on the greaseproof paper and the bottom of the door.

      As you push the roller along the sponge depresses; depending on the gap, it will ether roll or move along with out rolling, ether way will paint the bottom of the door.

      Give it at least three or four coats, and remember to have a cloth with a little white spirits on to wipe any excess paint off the side of the door your not painting.

      If it's impossible to do this, then off it comes I'm afraid.

      Good luck


    • profile image

      Steve Shillcock 4 years ago

      How do you go about painting the bottom edge of doors if you don't take them off thire hinges. Some places /jobs insist that the bottoms are also painted.


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