how to paint panel doors

Painting panel doors is not my favourite job in the world, but when we decided to paint the woodwork in the hall, this meant that we had to accept painting all of them, as well as learn how to paint doors. (replacing them with oak veneer doors proved too costly, much to my disappointment!).

For anyone, the hall is the room with the most doors and therefore the challenge is a large one.   For us, this meant taking on the challenge of painting 10 doors.  For the time being, I’ve only done one side, as we will be working our way round the other rooms over the year.

Three years had not been kind to our white gloss and it was time to rid that nasty yellow.

Once you have picked your paint (gloss Vs satin wood), it’s time to prepare the door for painting.

Preparing for Painting Panel Doors

Our doors were only 3 years old and only had 1 coat of gloss, so I lightly roughed up the surface with a handheld sander and used sandpaper for the panel insets.  If your doors have a few coats of paint or maybe you inherited paint runs or imperfections, you may want to spend a bit more time at this stage repairing these.  I promise the result will be worth it (we had a few on the stairs).

Always finish on a light grade sandpaper, so your surface is smooth.

I then brushed down the insets and door front with a dust brush, before sugar soaping to get any remaining dust off.  You may think this is a bit extreme, but I can tell the builder didn’t do this (don’t blame them, what with a whole development to paint) and these can drag in your paint and cause little imperfections.

Painting Panel Doors

Now that I had a nice smooth surface, I was ready to make a start with the painting.  I used Dulux Professional undercoat following the method below, to ensure you get a perfectly even finish around the door.

how to paint panelled doors

how to paint panelled doors

I left this overnight and I then used a between coat sandpaper to lightly rub down any rough areas. Again dust brushing and sugar soaping before following the same method with Dulux non drip gloss.

Tip: – Do not overload your brush or roller, as this will cause runs.  Best to do an extra coat than to sand it all back and start again.

We were lucky to get away with 1 coat of gloss and had fantastic results (stay tuned for the hall reveal).  After 10 doors, I’m already saving for our oak doors for next time!

Now to get on with the staircase!

Happy painting!




  1. Wow, you know your stuff! Love the diagrams, so helpful! I’m going to pop back for guides on how to do everything! This blog should be called :Life With Munchers: Guide To Life! 🙂 Love it! x
    Donna recently posted…2014 – The Year Ahead of UsMy Profile

  2. Well done you for having the patience! We used our mouse sander to sand the doors and then waxed them to leave a distressed effect rather than having to gloss. The little knocks and dents of everyday life can now be passed off as part of the character!

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  5. Flying solo Reply

    I feel your pain I stupidly painted 13 doors from white to dark charcoal grey then back to white again! It was a painful experience I don’t want to repeat:)

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