How to paint a door

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How to paint a door

View the video

Project Overview

Over time doors can become weathered and a coat of paint is a great way to freshen them up. We show you how to prepare the doors for painting and make sure you get a great finish. Learn how to apply undercoat and topcoat using the ‘W’ technique. 
Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Remove the door and prepare the surface
2 Give the door an undercoat
3 Lay off your undercoat
4 Apply the topcoat
5 Paint the other side and reattach the door
  • Step 1. Remove the door and prepare the surface

    The easiest way to paint a door is to remove it from the doorframe. Take off all of the hardware on the door with a screwdriver such as hinges, door lock and handle. Place the door on sawhorses and then you’re ready to paint. If it’s an old door, you may want to give it a light sanding before you start.

  • Step 2. Give the door an undercoat

    Make sure you stir the paint tin well before use. Start by giving the edges of the door an undercoat with a brush. Then fill up a tray with the undercoat and draw a roller along the tray’s grate two or three times to apply the paint evenly to the roller.  Apply the paint to the door in a ‘W’ formation. This will make sure that you will have an even covering of paint. 

  • Step 3. Lay off your undercoat

    For a great finish, you’ll want to ‘lay off’ what you’ve painted.  You can do this by running your roller across the door from top to bottom with even pressure. Then you’ll need to wait for it to dry. Give it a light sand once it’s dry and wipe it down to get rid of any dust. 
  • Step 4. Apply the topcoat

    Apply the topcoat using the same process as the undercoat. Use a brush around the edges of the door and roll the main surface of the door with the roller using the ‘W’ technique. Don’t forget to ‘lay off’ the topcoat for a great finish. 

  • Step 5. Paint the other side and reattach the door

    When that side is dry, flip the door over and repeat Steps 1-4 on the other side. Once it’s dry, reattach the door fittings and hang the door back on the door frame and you’re done.

Tools and Materials


  • Brush
  • Roller
  • Safety gear - mask and glasses
  • Saw horses


  • Drop sheet
  • Top coat
  • Undercoat

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