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The Door Store guide to preparing your doors for painting

  • If you’ve decided you’d like to try painting your interior doors a new colour, great! It’s one of the easiest ways to change the whole look and feel of your home interior. Preparation is everything when it comes to this sort of home improvement – after all, you don’t want to ruin the look of your new internal doors with a poor paint job. To help you out we’ve put together our handy guide to preparing your doors for painting, so that even a DIY novice can be confident that they’ll end up with stunning doors at the end of the process. Read on for our handy step by step process to ensure you have everything in place before you even lift a paintbrush.

    Remove the door from hinges

    If you’re repainting existing doors in your house, you’ll do a better job of preparing them for painting if you remove them from the frames and lay them flat on a work bench or similar table surface. If you’ve just bought new paint grade doors they should already be pre-primed and ready to go. If you have salvaged old doors and you want to use them in your home, you’ll need to prep them fully before you hang them.

    Remove all the hinges and door handles

    You want to start with a blank canvas without any obstacles to painting, so remove everything on your door so that you’re left with just the wood itself. The handles can go back on after you’ve finished painting – and it also reduces the risk of getting paint or varnish on your sleek fixtures too.

    Clean with damp cloth

    Your doors can get really dusty, so you need to give them a proper clean to remove any stains or marks as best you can. Use a damp cloth to wipe from top to bottom and pay attention to any spaces between the panels of your door as this can be a prime spot for dirt to collect. If there are stubborn stains that you can’t remove from your interior doors you might need to use a stain blocking primer to camouflage these before you apply your paint colour.

    Sand down any rough bits for a smooth finish

    Don’t be tempted to use any kind of mechanical sander – the amount of sanding required will be minimal, so best to just do this by hand. What you want to do is smooth out the door completely, so that you remove any surface shine and any globs of old paint that have been applied previously. This also gives the new layer of paint something to ‘stick’ to for a more even finish.

    Hoover up dust and wipe down again

    Once you’ve finished sanding, time to clean up again – hoover up any residual sawdust and wipe the door down again with a damp cloth. It might be obvious by now but preparing your doors for painting isn’t a job you can rush if you want a great result.


    Applying a primer to your prepared doors will result in a better finish. This helps the paint stick to the surface to provide a more even coverage, it helps the chosen paint colour last longer and it also protects your doors underneath all these layers. Once your primer is applied and completely dry, you are ready to start painting!