Chris and I have painted a LOT of six-panel doors in our time… We installed and painted 8 new doors at our first house and every door in our current house is a primed and unpainted six-panel door in need of paint. In the process of painting all those doors, I’ve come up with a rather easy, effective, and quick way to paint six-panel doors well – without runs, drips or streaks – using a brush and roller. If you’re installing new six-panel doors or just want to give your doors a refresh, this method will save you lots of time and headaches! Let me know if you have any questions along the way.
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Tools & Materials
- 1 Quart of Semi-Gloss Paint
- 2” Tapered Paint Brush
- 4” Roller
- 4” Roller Paint Tray
- Painter’s Tape
- Box Knife
- Screwdriver or Drill (if removing hardware)
If you’re painting a door that’s already been installed and functioning, your first decision is whether you want to paint the door while it’s installed or remove it from the hinges and paint it un-installed. I prefer to remove it and then place it in a space where it’s easier to maneuver, but it’s totally up to you. If you’re going to paint it off the hinges like I do, use a screwdriver or drill to remove the door from its hinges and then find a wall you can lean it against and put plastic down on the floor and on the wall where the door will lean against it.
You could also uninstall the doorknob hardware but I prefer to have less “mechanical work” so I just tape around the doorknob and lock mechanism.
If you’re painting a bare door with no hardware installed, the only taping you need to do is the notched areas for the hinges and door lock mechanism (on the side). You don’t want paint to accumulate in these places – otherwise your hardware won’t fit when you go to install it.
To get the tape nicely aligned with the notches, I tape a larger section and then use my box knife to cut the tape around the edge.
The last step of prepping is to wipe down the door really well. You want to remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated on it before you paint it. I wipe it down first with a cleaning wipe and then dry it off with a clean rag.
I’ve found the best method for painting the entire door in one sitting is to:
- Paint the first face
- Rotate the door
- Paint the sides
- Paint the second face
Doing it in this order enables you to get a coat on the whole door in one sitting so you only have to have 2-3 painting sessions (rather than 4-6 if you were doing one side at a time and waiting for it to dry in between.)
You’ll also notice I don’t paint the tops or bottoms of my doors – It’s really not necessary and could potentially even cause issues with the threshold or door jam if the layers of paint get too thick.
1. PAINT THE FIRST FACE
I break the door up into three “sections” – each including two panels.
Within each section there are two detailed, recessed panels and 7 flat faces.
Starting with the first section, paint the detailed parts of the top two panels with your 2” tapered paint brush.
Then, go back with your roller and roll the flat faces around the detail. Be sure to roll in line with the wood grain pattern.
Do the same thing for the middle and bottom sections.
After each section, be sure to go back and check your prior sections for drips or runs and use your brush or roller to smooth them out.
2. ROTATE THE DOOR
After the first face is painted (and even while it’s still wet) use the sides to grip the door and rotate it around. Lean the top corner against the plastic hung on your wall. Don’t worry about leaning the top edge against the plastic – any paint that gets smudged will be taken care of it in the second coat.
3. PAINT THE SIDES
Use your paintbrush to paint the bottom few inches of the sides and then paint the rest of your sides with the roller.
4. PAINT THE SECOND FACE
Use the same method as described in step 1 to paint the second side of your door. Don’t forget to watch for drips and runs as you go and clean them up along the way! When you’re done, you should have a coat of paint on the entire door.
If you’re painting with a darker color, don’t worry if the first coat is thin and shows a bit of the primer through. Your second (and potentially third) coat will cover that and give you a beautiful solid color without streaks.
When you go to paint the second coat, I would recommend starting with what was your “second side” in the first coat. This will ensure that both sides have a turn leaning against the plastic when they’re a bit wet. If needed, you can touch up the paint in those corners before installing – but more often than not they aren’t noticeable.
After you’re totally done painting, be sure to score along the edges of the tape before pulling it off. Paint tends to dry over the tape seam, and if you don’t score it with a box knife before taking it off it will pull some of your paint off with it.
The last step is, of course, to install your freshly painted door! Here’s how the dark door looks in our master bathroom:
Man, what a difference it makes! I’ve been addicted to dark paint the last few months, so I’m going to paint all of our interior doors with Iron Ore color from Sherwin-Williams. We’re also doing the spring season of the One Room Challenge (starting in April!) and most likely we’ll be painting a large dark wall in our dining room too (Eek!) 😉
Oh, don’t forget, the paint sheen you choose can greatly affect the outcome of painting projects like this one, so be sure to use my FREE quick-reference guide for selecting paint sheens. It takes all the guess-work out of picking the correct paint sheen so you can do it right the first time! Click below for a copy!
As always, let me know if you have ANY questions as you try this out!