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How to use decorative mouldings to dress up a plain panel door

Updated February 21, 2017

Plain panel doors are inexpensive. However, many homeowners long for the look of a more decorative and impressive door. The good news is that plain panel doors can be updated easily with some moulding and a lick of paint. If you have plain panel doors in your home, knowing where to start will help you create the doors you have always wanted.

Decide on the design for the door. Whether you want to create one large frame on the door or four small frames, you will need to decide on the size and scale of mouldings. Once you have selected a design, measure it onto the door and mark it with a pencil. Use a carpenter's square to create straight marks on the door.

Transfer the measurements to the moulding, remembering to indicate the cut direction for each of the corners. Set the mitre saw to a 45-degree angle and cut the moulding to size on the saw.

Prime the cut mouldings. Once the primed mouldings have dried, use a paintbrush to paint the mouldings. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Attach the moulding to the door. As you attach the moulding, check the top moulding to see if it is level. Attach the moulding by applying wood glue to the back of the moulding and then nailing it into place with a nail gun.

Caulk any large joints or gaps in the mouldings if necessary. After the caulk has dried, paint the entire door with latex paint. Do not caulk gaps smaller than 1.5 mm (1/16 inch). These gaps will fill with paint when you paint the entire door.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Moulding
  • Mitre saw
  • Paint primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Latex paint
  • Spirit level
  • Wood glue
  • Nail gun
  • Caulk
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About the Author

Cadence Johansen is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about travel, marriage, family relationships, caregiver support, home improvement and money. Johansen has been writing professionally since 2008. She holds a master's degree in family studies from Utah State University.