How to Paint the Interior of Six Panel Doors

Written by benna crawford
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How to Paint the Interior of Six Panel Doors
Old six-panel doors are solid, well-made and worth refinishing. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Six-panel doors may be horizontal, Arts and Crafts or Victorian style, Early American colonial, or contemporary. The doors are normally solid core, especially the older ones, so they dampen noise better than modern hollow-core doors. The panels, visible on both sides, are raised squares or rectangles, surrounded by narrow frames and set into the door, filling the area between the top rails and the side stiles of the door. To paint the interior of a six-panel front door, it is best to remove it from the frame or paint it before installation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Six-panel door
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Clean rags
  • Dust sheet
  • 2 sawhorses
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Hand-vac or whisk broom

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  1. 1

    Set the door, interior side up and all hardware removed, on two saw horses in a work area or garage. Place a dust sheet or tarp under the door. Wash or wipe down the door and sand any rough areas or flaking paint. Vacuum up any dust or chips of old paint.

  2. 2

    Paint the door with a coat of acrylic primer. Use a light colour if you plan a light overcoat. Paint the panels first, being careful not to let paint pool in the frames around the panels. To avoid blobs of paint in the frames, dip the brush in the paint and then wipe the bristles carefully against the side of the tray or can to remove extra paint. It's easier to apply a very thin coat and go over it than to try to remove too much paint from the grooves.

  3. 3

    Paint each flat panel, then work the brush along the frame without dipping it in the paint again. If paint does pool along the edge of a panel between the panel and its frame, remove the excess by feathering the pooled paint with a small dry brush -- feather away from the centre of the panel. Wipe the dry brush on paper or a clean rag to clear it of paint between feathering strokes. Paint all six panels before moving on to the rest of the door.

  4. 4

    Paint the rest of the door in the following order: the centre stile, the horizontal rails, the outside stiles and, finally, the outside edge, all the way around. Let the paint dry according to the instruction on the can. Some primer may dry to a hard finish in as little as two hours.

  5. 5

    Apply the colour paint you have chosen for the door's interior. Use the same method you followed when applying the primer. Let this coat dry for 24 hours. Give the door a second coat of paint to ensure it has lasting coverage that won't easily scratch or wear. Let the door dry overnight again.

  6. 6

    Replace any hardware, once the paint is thoroughly dry. Re-hang a door that was removed from its frame for painting.

Tips and warnings

  • Some paint will dry quickly and may not require 24 hours between coats. Follow manufacturer's instructions but err on the side of extra drying time for a hard finish.
  • If you will paint the exterior before the door is installed, place old towels or some padding under the new interior finish before laying it face down on the sawhorses.
  • A six-panel front door may be painted the same on the exterior and interior surfaces or matched to the exterior of the house and the colours of the home's entry hall.

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