how to paint a door, The Right Way to Paint a Door

Repainting your doors is a great way to revitalise your property. A fresh coat of paint on an external door can make your home look much more appealing. If you’re looking to sell your home it also helps increase the all-important “kerb appeal”. Repainting an internal door can completely change the look of the room, and is a low-cost way to revitalise boring or dated décor. But, like with all things, there is a right and wrong way when it comes to painting doors.

You may think that repainting a door is a rather simple task. After all, a door is just a big rectangle made of wood. Like with everything though, there is a right way to go about the job. If you do it wrong you could end up with a streaky, uneven finish. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your new paint job looks great:

Painting Internal Doors vs Exterior Doors

It is important that you choose the right paint for the type of door you will be working on.

Most paints and varnishes are fine for internal doors. But, if you are be painting an exterior door then you need to use weatherproof paint. Another thing to consider is whether the paint is oil or latex-based. If you are painting over an existing coat then you must use the right type of paint – latex-based paints won’t adhere well to a surface that is covered with oil-based paint, for example.

You don’t always have to remove the existing paint coat if you are using the right type of paint (but light sanding and an undercoat will make the finish look nicer), but if you want to put water-based paint on a door that has already been painted with latex paint, you will need to strip the existing coat first.

The most common mistakes and problems with painting doors include:

Paint Bubbles

Paint bubbles form when the paint is unable to adhere to the surface underneath. This can be caused by using the wrong type of paint, or by painting on a surface that is either damp, dusty, or too hot. One common misconception when it comes to painting outdoors is that you should do so on a very, very hot day. While it is good to paint when the weather is warm and dry you should try not to paint something that is directly exposed to the sun. So, wait until the sun is not shining on your front door before you paint it!

Blocking and Sticking

Paint blocking is the term that is used to describe two surfaces that have been freshly painted, and that stick together when they are placed next to each other. This can occur with low-quality paints, and it can also happen if you paint a door or window then close it too quickly, not giving it time to dry. Ideally, if you are painting a door you should remove it from the doorway and lay it flat, paint it and then give it plenty of time to dry before re-hanging it.

Take the time to prime and sand the surface that you plan on painting, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding topcoats and finishes.

Foaming and Cratering

Foaming and cratering is a common issue that can have a huge number of causes.  It is normal for very small bubbles to form while you are painting a surface, but with high-quality paints, the bubbles will break easily to leave a smooth finish. If you use low-quality paint, bubbles are more likely, and they can also form if you shake a can of paint that is only partially filled, or if you apply paint too quickly using a roller. For best results, purchase the best quality paint you can afford, prime the surface before painting, and work slowly and methodically.

Lap Marks

Lap marks are lines of paint that are denser or darker than other areas of paint. They appear if you apply paint over an area that was painted earlier and has already started to dry. The best way to prevent these unsightly marks is to make sure that there is always a “wet edge”. Try to paint in small segments, working quickly enough that you don’t leave a dry area. Paint “wet to dry”, working towards the unpainted area then back in and over the just-painted section for a smooth and professional finish.

Flashing

Flashing, or poor sheen uniformity can create dull areas and shiny patches that make your paint job look unprofessional. The best way to avoid this is to seal the wood before you start painting. The primer and undercoat will help to create a uniform surface so that the final coat looks as smooth as possible.

Roller Marks

Roller marks are the pattern that the paint roller leaves on the painted surface. This is a common problem if you use a lower grade of paint or a low-quality roller. Similar “stipple” can occur if you use low-quality paintbrushes too.  You are more likely to see roller marks when you are painting with latex paint. To prevent this problem, pre-dampen the roller cover and then thoroughly shake out any excess water before starting to paint. Try not to lift the roller from the door too often while painting, and take care not to allow too much paint to collect at the ends of the roller.

Most of the problems that occur when painting doors are things that can be prevented if you use good quality paint and work methodically. If you rush the job or keep having to stop because of distractions, that’s where problems will start.  Give yourself plenty of time to complete your paint job and prime the surface of the door before you start work. As with any other DIY task, taking the time to do it properly the first time is much more efficient than rushing the job. When you rush, you just end up needing to re-do it because of unsightly streaks, cracks, bubbles, or lap marks.

Brush marks

If you have a door with a lot of detailing, you may want to paint it with a brush rather than a roller. While a brush is more work, it’s far easier to get into indentations and carvings than a roller. Some people also just prefer the control a brush offers.

Unfortunately, using a brush does leave you prone to brush marks but with just a few simple tips – you can minimise this.

Make sure your door is smooth and clean so the paint will properly adhere.

Next, apply your primer. Start with the hard-to-cut inside parts of your door with a thin layer of paint. This makes it easier to brush out into the main section of the door.

If you paint it thin layers, it will make it easier to build up without leaving streaks or an uneven finish.

Between each layer, give the door a light sand. This will help keep the finish even and make the next layer more adhesive.

Using the wrong type of paint

It can be tempting if you have interior wall paint left over to paint your doors with it but, in the long run, it’s not going to save you time or money. Wood and metal paints are formulated differently to wall paint so while they may look fine when first painted, you’ll notice problems very quickly.

This is because they are made of very different base ingredients. Wall paint tends to consist of materials such as synthetic resin and is designed for adhesion to drywall, brick, and cement. Wood paint tends to make use of materials like unsaturated polyester, polyurethane. This gives it better long time adhesion to wood.

You’ll find if you use wall paint it will not be durable long-term and will quickly crack and peel. It also won’t be tough enough to stand up to the environment if used on an exterior door. You’ll do well if it lasts more than a few months before it needs redoing.

If you still have more questions, our team is always more than happy to help. Find the best way to get in touch with a member of our team by visiting the contact page.

Posted on: 27 July 2015

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