Shopping Cart

How to paint a panel door like a Pro?

how to paint a panel door like a Pro

Many homeowners or business professionals often wonder how to make the internal panelled doors in their spaces more attractive. Are you one of them and have contemplated improving the appearance of your internal doors to match your interior design but don’t know how? One of the simple solutions is to paint a panel door. So it is important to know how to paint a panel door, either an internal panel door or an external panel door.

Unlike some door-finishing processes, painting is not complicated. You can even do it yourself without hiring a skilled painter for a satisfying DIY thrill. The trick is to have the proper tools, paint, and use the appropriate technique. 

If you are a bit skeptical about it, keep reading to get guidance on achieving it. 

Tools to Use to Paint a Panel Door

You can use a roller or a paintbrush when painting internal panel doors, but mostly these tools complement each other. They are light and easy to work with. 

Rollers and paint brushes are available in the market, and you can get them for less than $5.00. 

You can use a small 4-inch roller or go for a regular paint brush, usually a two or three-inch. Both will give a smooth finish to the door, but a roller does not leave large drips. 

It is best not to use a large roller or brush to avoid messes on small door sections like the panels and grooves. A roller works best for flat surfaces.

Type of Paint to Use to Paint a Panel Door

When it is to paint a panel door for the first time or repaint, it is essential to think about the paint based on what you want to achieve. Think about colour and the paint’s make. 

Paint primarily comes as water-based (emulsion paint) or gloss-based (oil paint). Usually, glossed paints are of better quality and have an extra shine than water-based paints. Thus, they last more and won’t need repainting over a very short time. Emulsion paint does not give much shine, especially for wooden panel doors

The colour to be used will mainly depend on the style of the interior. For instance, neutral paints work excellently for a more contemporary look, while bright colours are ideal for creating contrast and focal points.

Note: Remember to get an adequate amount of paint based on the number of doors to be painted

Additional Materials

  • A plastic drop cloth or newspapers 
  • Painter’s tape
  • Box knife

Paint a panel door Fire Resistant

Before getting into details about the steps, it is vital to note that specific regulations may affect painting internal panel fire doors

Even though you may use regular paint for fire doors, they shouldn’t be painted excessively or with a very thick coating. Some kinds of paint glosses may be too thick for a fire door, affecting its weight and operation. However, there are also available fire-resistant paints that you can get for internal fire doors.

Another caveat to painting fire-resistant panel doors is that their handles, latches, and hinges must not be painted. If paint accumulates on these moving parts, it can hinder their functionality, rendering the entire door unfit for fire safety. During repainting, old paint on these sections must be removed. 

Steps on How to Paint a Panel Door

Having selected the right paint and gathered the required tools, you are ready to start painting. These are the steps to follow; 

  1. Protect the door’s surroundings and hardware
    1. Line the base with a plastic drop cloth or newspaper to avoid mess from paint drops.
    2. Cover the hardware, like the doorknob or hinge notches, with painter’s tape to avoid getting paint on them.
    3. Ensure to align the tape with the hardware and cut out any extra tape using the box knife.
  2. Clean the panel of the internal door
    1. Wipe off the door using a clean damp cloth to remove any accumulated dirt or dust, then dry it. Cleaning the door is essential because when dirt combines with paint, it may result in a rough finish.
    2. You can also sand down the door’s surface to attain a smooth surface. Sanding down gives a longer-lasting finish after painting.
  3. The painting process
    1. Divide the door into sections and paint it as follows;
    2. Begin with the top edges, follow with the side edges, and proceed to the panel moulding. From there, work on the panelled areas as you paint the vertical and horizontal regions in between them. Finally, paint the frame and the long left and right vertical spaces on the hinge and handle sides. 
    3. You should dip the roller or brush in paint and start painting up and down to attain the first coat. Alternatively, use a paint primer.
    4. Make sure to align the roller or brush with the wood pattern. Use the roller on the flat surfaces and the paintbrush on the sides and panelled sections. Don’t use too much paint to avoid getting an “overwhelmed” look.
    5. With the same method described, paint the second coat on the door and watch out for runs and drips as you paint. The second coat gives the door a beautiful solid colour. 
    6. The painting is done. Take off the tape carefully using the box knife to avoid removing paint on the side of the tape, and wait for the door to dry.

Final Thoughts

A door’s finish can do much more for internal panel doors than many people imagine, and painting is a cheap and easy way to create an admirable masterpiece. As highlighted above, painting is a process that requires particular materials and cares to avoid mess and possible frustrations.

You don’t need to paint your internal panel doors or get a professional to do it. If you don’t want the hassle, you can purchase already painted doors from the manufacturer or furniture shop. The steps highlighted here are for DIY projects.

Doors Delivered is the leading supplier of internal doors in the UK, providing nationwide deliveries and a wide variety of different designs and styles. Explore our impressive range of  oak doors, white doors, internal glazed doors, walnut doors, and pine doors, and get in touch with us for unmatched quotes.


What is the correct order to paint a Panel door?

To paint a panel door correctly, start by gathering your paint and supplies. Begin by painting the recessed panels first, using a brush or small roller for accuracy. Then, paint the vertical stiles and horizontal rails. Finally, finish by painting the outer edges and the remaining areas. Follow this step-by-step process for a professional-looking finish.

How do you paint a panel door without brush marks?

To paint a panel door without brush marks, start from the bottom and work your way up, ensuring you blend each section smoothly. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one. Additionally, consider using a foam brush or a high-density foam roller to minimize brush marks. Follow these steps for a professional-looking finish.

Can you paint a panel door with a roller?

Yes, you can paint a panel door with a roller. Apply the paint evenly, making sure to dab the roller into the corners rather than scraping it. By following this technique, you will achieve a smooth and professional finish on your panel door.

How do you paint interior paneled doors?

To paint interior paneled doors, start by applying paint to the inside top panels. Work with the grain to create a smooth finish. Begin with the recessed areas and then paint the faces of the panels. Next, paint the vertical center stile, blending brush marks when painting the horizontal rails. This step-by-step process ensures a professional-looking result for your interior paneled doors.

Can you use normal paint for doors?

Most varnishes and paints will be fine for internal doors. External doors require weatherproof paint. Wood paint is, however, more suitable for internal doors, just to make sure it has the required properties for durability.

How long after painting a door can I shut it?

It depends on the paint, how fast it dries, and the environmental conditions. Normally, you should give a door at least two days before shutting it, especially if the environmental conditions are humid. Otherwise, the paint could peel and crack.

Can you just paint over a painted door?

If the previous paint is latex based, you can do it. Otherwise, you need to use sandpaper and clear it off. Brand new and unpainted doors require a primer coat first, as support for the upcoming paint coat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *