Saturday, 15 April 2017

A couple more tips when painting doors

I am painting a couple of opening doors (and one non-opener) ready for fitting the walls in place on the second floor.  These are usually done at a later stage after the walls have been decorated but this time, to make sure they open in the direction I want them to, they both need to go in behind the walls before they go in place.

I always take the door out of the frame to make it easier to paint it neatly along the door jamb.  This can be a real difficulty sometimes if they are well-made; the door sill will have been glued in place really well and it takes a lot of wiggling and cutting with a knife to free it.

Suddenly, after five years in the game, I found a brilliantly easy way.

removing the bottom sill to free the door

Find a very small screwdriver and use it like a chisel.  I put it exactly over and a little bit in the join and tapped gently with a hammer - hey presto, all done.

Now for a couple of painting tips.  When you remove the door it will reveal the little pin holes visible in the door frame where you will want to return the door to eventually.  They fill up with paint very easily so, each time you give the frame a coat of paint, just make sure you clear the holes afterwards.  I like to use a very fine drill but anything of the right thickness will do - large sewing needle, piece of wire etc.

I am easily frustrated by waiting for paint to dry between coats so I make sure I paint all the pieces I will need for the job I am about to do.  That way the first piece is often dry enough to flip over and allow me to paint the other side by the time I get to the end of all the bits and bobs.  So paint the two sided pieces first, then all the one-siders; remember the order you did them in.

Even then as a belt and braces check I prop the doors on the door frame with as little contact as possible between them ready to paint the other side.  I was concerned that even when touch dry, if they lay face down on a surface, they can tack enough to spoil the finish.

All the trims are given two or three thin coats of paint.  I even add a tiny bit of water to the paint to thin it a little.  A real life coat of paint needs to be reduced to one twelfth of its thickness; not literally, but you get the idea.

They are buffed between coats with the finest finishing pads I can find.  These door have had their second coat of paint and now I am looking at the tiny gaps where the panels slide behind the frames.  On their third and final coat these need to be found and filled in.  It can be annoying when you have a door sideways on and every time you look at it you see a tiny black line where there is a gap in the wood.

Beware, if you keep following this blog, you may become as pernickity as me!



  1. Hi Marilyn,
    The doors look great! Can't wait to see them in the rooms! I had read someplace long ago that to remove a door from it's frame you pull the pin out from the bottom of the frame then slide the door out of the upper pin. I have had easy pins and frustrating pins depending on how well they were sunken into the frame. Is this why you prefer to remove the threshold or do they make the doors in the UK differently?

    1. Pretty sure our doors are made the same. You are absolutely right the best way to remove a door is to pull out the bottom pin BUT they are usually so embedded in the wood I find I can't do it so now I don't usually try, I just go down the wrecking route. Any one reading this go Jodi's route first.👵

  2. Hi Em! I, like you and Jodi, have tried it both ways too, and removing the bottom threshold on purpose is now my first choice for the very reasons you've already outlined. Initially I discovered your method by accident, when a door crashed onto the floor and fell to pieces, however the toughest things to paint cleanly, BAR NONE, are windows no matter how "pernickity ", I keep trying to be. :((
    Have a Great Easter weekend Marilyn! :D

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I have been lucky and have only ever had to paint window frames before they went into a house and with no glaze in. Even then they are a bit fiddly. Glazed and/or in place .... I can only imagine what a pain that would be. I'd certainly be tempted to see if the 'glazing'came out. M

  3. Hello Marilyn,
    Great tips for painting doors. You have broken it down and it sounds much easier then doing it the old fashioned way.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac. Every time I think I have something figured I spot another wriggle - with luck if that keeps happening the doors will just simply paint themselves. M