Door Painting Tip

Painting six panel doors with a brush is a chore, but it can be made easier by removing them from their hinges and laying them horizontally. This can be time consuming though if you have to wait for one side to dry before flipping the door over to paint the other side.

Our Simple Solution:

  • Put two long screws (3″ works great) into the bottom edge of the door and one in the center of the top edge.
  • Lay the door between two sawhorses, resting on the screws not the door face.
  • When you finish painting one side of the door, lift the bottom end (2 screws) and pivot it on the other screw.
  • Now you can paint the other side, while the first side dries, without marring your work.


  1. Danny,
    How do I paint a front door that is metal? I can’t remove the door, I can’t put 3 inch screws in it like your above suggestion, and I only need to paint the part that faces outside. I seems like if I used a brush it would leave brush strokes. I don’t have the budget to hire a professional house painter.

  2. Hi Carol,
    I assume the door is already painted. In that case, start by hand sanding it lightly with 120- or 150-grit sandpaper. You don’t need to remove the old paint, unless it’s blistered, just try to roughened up the surface a bit.

    After sanding, wipe the door clean with a white cotton rag that’s slightly dampened with paint thinner or denatured alcohol. Wipe the door with a dry cloth.

    Prime any bare spots of exposed metal with an appropriate primer.

    Then apply a gloss or semi-gloss exterior-grade paint that’s formulated for use on metal. I’ve had good success using a 3-in. sash brush, which left behind no brush strokes. By the way, one way to avoid leaving brush strokes is to avoid brushing over an area time and time again.

    If your door is a paneled door, paint it in this sequence:
    raised panels
    vertical stiles down center of the door
    horizonal rails across door at top, middle and bottom
    vertical stiles at the door’s edges (handle and hinge side)

    Hope you find this info helpful. Good luck!

  3. Carol,
    I forgot to mention that it’s important not to paint the door when it’s in direct sunlight. The door surface must be dry and warm, but if it’s very hot the paint will quickly dry before having a chance to strongly bond to the door.

  4. Yes you can! In fact, Gail, the door shown in the above Simple Solutions video is a hollow-core interior door. And as I mentioned, it’s always easier to remove the door from its hinges and lay it flat across sawhorses.

    If the old paint is in good shape, meaning no blisters or bare spots, then simply wipe the door clean with a damp cloth and paint. However, if necessary, use an orbital finishing sander or random-orbit sander fitted with 120-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the door. Hand-sand any areas the sander misses. You don’t have to take off all the old paint, just roughen it up a bit. Also be sure to remove any blistered paint. If you expose bare wood, apply a primer then paint. Good luck!–Joe T.


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