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I am bounce-off-the-walls, turn-a-cartwheel, insanely happy right now because my laundry room doors are finally finished and hung on their hinges!!
I know – one normally doesn’t get that excited about doors, right?
But I’ve been working on these doors since JUNE. That’s right…June.
Here’s what they looked like before:
In this post about the kitchen and laundry room project, I talked about these doors and their rotten paint job. I had painted them white when I painted the kitchen trim white, but the paint didn’t cover the existing gray paint. And, as you can see, there were drips in the underlying paint coat that I didn’t get rid of when I repainted them.
I tried to sand the doors and then repaint them, but, when I sanded the doors, the paint started coming off in sheets! The gray paint that had been used (by the previous owners) didn’t adhere to the undercoat (which was beige) and, thus, I was left with peeling sheets of paint.
I ended up stripping the paint off the doors, which is a whole ‘nuther story for another blog post. Seriously – I’m going to write a big ol’ post and how to (and how not to) strip paint from wooden six-panel doors. I’m now an expert!
In the meantime, though, I did this little Facebook Live video from my carport with my tips for painting six-panel doors. In case you missed it, here’s the video…and then I’ve outlined my tips below if you aren’t the video-loving type!
Five tips for painting six-panel doors:
1. Be Patient.
This is one of those tips that seems like it isn’t helpful, until you are in the thick of it and realize, “Gosh, she was right!”
Seriously, painting six-panel doors is not for chumps.
First off, you have to do the prep work and not cut corners or you’re just going to end up painting them – or prepping them to be painted – again. That means:
- sanding the doors down so that they are smooth
- removing any paint that will cause the new coat of paint not to adhere, and
- cleaning the surface well after sanding and paint removal so that you have a dust-free door onto which paint will adhere.
The prep work pays off. Honest. Having a clean, smooth surface means that you’ll get a nice, smooth finish. And, if you’re like me and use semi-gloss paint so that your doors match your trim (I’m a big believer in door and trim paint being the same), then you’ll thank me because semi-gloss paint shows all. the. imperfections.
I get it that the prep work isn’t the fun part. But it’s a necessary step to getting to the fun part and making sure that your paint looks good and stays on.
2. Start on a rail, then move inward.
OK, so you’ve done your prep work. Now you’re ready to paint.
First, though – did you know the terminology for the parts of a six-panel door? ME, EITHER! Here’s a handy key:
On a six-panel door, I start first at the corner of one of the sides and the top rail, for two reasons:
- I like starting on a smooth, even surface to build up my painting confidence (yay me!);
- Ever heard the painting expression “keep a wet edge”?
What that means when painting a wall is to keep the paint wet where you are working, so that you don’t have lines in your paint job. In other words, let’s say you’re using a roller to paint the wall. You want to start that roller where you last cut-in around the edges of the wall with your brush. That allows you to blend the roller paint and the brushed paint for a smooth finish.
You still with me?
The same is true for the panels of the door. Because the panel is smaller than your brush (most likely), you’ll have some extra paint pooling or collecting or smearing around the edge of the panel as you paint it. By keeping a wet edge, you can smooth those out with a brush so that they don’t dry and look terrible.
By the way, this is my favorite paint brush in the history of ever (that’s my affiliate link so you can buy one, too!):
Some people prefer using small rollers on the rails of the door, then brushes on the panels. That works, too – do what you like best. I used a brush for all and just made sure to smooth over any brush strokes that were visible.
3. When painting the panels, start on the outside of the panel and work inward.
In the panels, do the sides first, working inward to the center of the panel. Again, this allows you to see and clean up any drips, runs, or blobs of paint, which will inevitably accumulate around the edges of the panel.
Can we talk about this for a minute? Who thought of six-panel doors as a great idea?!? Clearly someone who hasn’t painted one before! I get it – they look nice. And staining them is easier. OK, fine – rant over.
Note: painting the panels is going to require a few passes. I applied the paint, then took my brush and cleaned up the drips and blobs that collected. They are inevitable, even if you only apply a small amount of paint each pass.
4. Paint the edges of the door last.
I paint the edges of the door – the edge with the lock and the edge with the hinges – last. That way, I can smooth out any paint that might have gone over the edge while painting the rails.
When painting the edges, make sure that you smooth out any paint you get on the rails while it’s still wet. That way, you avoid getting a ridge of paint on the edge (which can cause your door to stick when you try to close it). Run your brush over each side of the edge to catch those drips.
5. Paint the doors on sawhorses, if possible.
I have painted doors upright and painted doors on sawhorses and painting them on sawhorses, to me, is easier. Why?
- The sawhorses put the door on a horizontal surface at the right height to be comfortable to reach the whole door. I’m short, so painting a door that’s standing upright is hard for me. The sawhorses put the door right at the right height (plus, they’re adjustable).
- I like painting the panels on a horizontal surface because, well, gravity. Gravity makes the paint drip and run, often before I have a chance to brush over it to remove the extra paint. I just feel like I have a bit more control over the paint and brush when I’m working on a horizontal, rather than vertical, surface. (Note: in the video, I first say that I like working on a vertical surface. I meant horizontal. (I later say it correctly, but the first time I accidentally say “vertical” instead of “horizontal.”) Yay for live video!)
- I like painting these doors outside – both because I prefer painting outside (smell, mess, etc.), but because, when the sun shines on the rails and panels, I can see which parts are dry and which are wet. Wet means I’ve painted them; dry means that I might have missed that spot! It’s a great way to catch any areas or spots I might have missed.
Those are my top five tips for painting six-panel doors! Would you add any other tips? Share in the comments!