Skip to Content

How To Paint A Wooden Door [Inc. In White]

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Sprucing up the doors in your home can sometimes feel like an endless task. Do you want to try painting a wooden door or multiple doors around your house but have no idea how to do this? Well, we've done plenty of digging and have all the answers. Let's get into it below.

For those wanting to paint a wooden door, this shouldn't be too difficult. First, you need to prepare your wood door using sandpaper or a sanding sponge. From there, you can apply a primer to your wood surface, allowing it to dry before adding paint.

When you're ready to paint, you'll want to follow a pattern: start with the edges, move to the moldings/panels, and use the edge of your brush at the recesses.

As we begin, we will cover all things painting wood doors and discuss the best way to do so. Whether you regularly take on DIY challenges or this is your first, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Interior wood white door in with white vase in ground, How To Paint A Wooden Door [Inc. In White]

Can You Paint A Wood Door?

Yes! You can certainly paint a wood door if you want to brighten it up. Generally, as long as you use high-quality paint, it should adhere to your wood without a problem.

That said, if your door is outside versus in, you will need to find a paint formula that is weather resistant. It's also a good idea to prime your door, interior or exterior, so the paint will stay on your wood surface for many years to come.

Again, all wood is different, so some doors may need little prep, while others may take extra effort. As we mentioned, it's also a good idea to follow a painting pattern.

You will want to begin at the edges of your door, moving into the molding/panels, and then use the edge of your brush for any dips/recesses.

Front door wood

What Paint Should I Use On A Wood Door?

Depending on whether your wood door is interior or exterior facing, this can affect the paint you use. For example, if your door is interior, we recommend indoor latex paint with a semi-gloss finish.

On the other hand, for exterior wood doors, use an outdoor latex/oil-based option with a glossier finish. You can see that regardless of where your door is, it's best to find paint that has some shine.

This is important because glossier formulas tend to hold out better over time against wear and tear. Furthermore, glossy paint is easier to clean, making it ideal for a busy doorway.

Majic PAINTS Interior/Exterior Satin Paint

This paint has an interior/exterior friendly formula, is easy to apply, works well on wood surfaces, comes in various colors, and has a satin finish.

View this wood paint on Amazon.

How Do You Paint A Wood Door?

If you want to paint your wood door, there are steps you'll need to follow. As we covered, you want to start with priming your wood. Once you do that, allow your primer to dry for a few hours or as recommended on the label.

However, if your door is a bit rough, you may need to use sandpaper before getting started.

A few products we recommend gathering before your painting project include:

  • Sanding paper/sponge
  • Undercoat/primer
  • Glossy paint
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Masking tape
  • Dust sheets

Again, some doors will need more love than others, so make sure to assess the area before painting. If you forget to sand down your existing door before priming, this can result in an uneven, lackluster final paint job.

How To Paint A Wood Door Tutorial

Here is a super helpful video tutorial from ">Woodie's TV on YouTube. This guide covers the basics of painting and preparing a wooden door and gives plenty of bonus information.

How Many Coats Of Paint Does A Wood Door Need?

Elegant wood door in an luxurious house

Typically, you won't need to use more than two coats of paint for a wood door. Figuring you use high-quality indoor/outdoor paint, you should have great coverage after the first two coats.

However, if you're covering a colorful door with, let's say, white paint, you may need three coats. 

This all comes down to how dark your current door is and how light or dark the fresh coat of paint will be. Additionally, applying a white primer to a colored door before repainting is another idea to consider; it allows for fewer coats of paint when the time comes.

Does An Exterior Wood Door Need More Than Two Coats Of Paint?

When it comes to an exterior wood door, expect to use between two and three paint coats. Generally, two coats are the universal sweet spot for doors of any material, although exterior ones may require an extra layer of color.

Considering your exterior facing door will see weather and UV, it's sometimes best to apply an extra third coat of paint. Especially if you live somewhere like Arizona or Florida, where the sun is intense, it can benefit your wood surface to have that added layer of protection.

Moreover, many exterior paints are thicker than interior formulas, ultimately requiring only 1-2 coats. Formula quality makes a difference here.

How Do You Paint A Wood Door White?

coating a door with white paint

If you want to paint a wood door white, there are some things you need to know. Most importantly, you have to prime your surface with shellac or an oil-based primer, as water-based formulas won't have enough coverage.

Furthermore, we also recommend using a foam roller or brush for this project, as they will allow your primer and paint to seep into the wood better than a regular paintbrush.

On top of that, you also want to sand your wood if there is existing paint on it. The smoother a surface is, the better it will take products like primer and paint, which can make or break your new white design.

So think of white paint on wood as a more labor-intensive choice, but follow the same general steps we gave earlier in this post.

Does White Paint Look Good On A Wooden Door?

White paint on a wood door is a great idea if you like a clean, modern aesthetic. In general, painting a wooden door white isn't the first choice for many, but that's not to say you can't try it.

However, doing this will require a lot of preparation. As we mentioned above, sanding and priming a wood door is essential, especially for white paint.

Unless you want a rustic, "washed" final look, white paint can be streaky if you don't prep a surface correctly beforehand. Again, the washed wood look is in right now, so if you run into streaking, low coverage, you may want to leave it be.

Rust-Oleum White Front Door Paint

This front door paint has an oil-based formula, is weather and corrosion-resistant, works well for wood and metal doors, and comes in a one-quart container.

See this paint on Amazon.

What If I Don't Prime My Wood Door Before Painting?

Diy painting of a door using a brush

Expect a less than glamorous final look if you forget to prime a wood door before painting. In general, primer works to smooth and camouflage an existing wood door finish, making it easier to paint over.

When you skip this step, you're essentially leaving the door open for streaking, uneven texture, and even paint chipping/peeling. The same goes for sanding.

According to the Family Handyman, you also want to avoid spot priming, making the top coat of paint look blotchy. So if you're on the fence about using primer on a wooden door, we think it's an important step to follow.

How Long Does Paint Last On A Wood Door?

When it comes to how long paint will last on a wood door, this can vary. Typically, the paint will look good on a wooden surface for around 5-7 years if it's good quality.

That said, if your paint is exterior facing, you could need to redo it every three or so years. Climate plays a big role in how fast a door's finish degrades, so if you have harsh summers or winters, expect to do more upkeep.

On top of that, whether or not your door has primer can affect the paint's lifespan. Considering that applying primer to a wood surface essentially protects it, not doing this can shorten the lifetime of its color.

So again, try not to forget this step during your DIY project.

To Wrap It Up

Interior wood white door in with white vase in ground

Whether you have all wood doors or one, it's essential to know how to paint and prepare it properly. From what we found, you want to start your painting process by priming the wooden surface.

If your wood door is uneven, you may even need to use sandpaper, so keep that in mind. Furthermore, you'll want to start by painting the edges of your door, slowly moving towards the center with your brush.

Regardless of experience, choose a paint that can handle the elements and one with a semi-gloss finish. The shinier, the easier it will be to clean!

Made it to the end? Check out these super helpful related home posts below!

How Big Should A Doormat Be? [Standard Sizes Explored]

How To Fix A Gap At The Bottom Of An Exterior Door

Should Door Handles And Knobs Match The Hinges?