I am not a painter. I can't even paint a stick figure and literally the most painting I will do on a site is maybe give trim a primer coat - and I tend to mess that up.

I have a house with ~15 large 6 panel doors that are white but 30 years old and we need to refresh them with a brighter white. I would like a really good job done on them - not factory quality but good. What is the best way to set up the crew for quality and speed?

I can take these down as I will be replacing hardware on everything. Also I have used foam rollers in past but two issues with them (they are great on the flat parts)... 1. Uneven paint distribution and really telling when you paint white on white - you notice unpainted or barely painted areas later with the right lighting. 2. It doesn't get into the grooves of each panel.

  • 1
    Are you taking the doors down or trying to paint in place? Most paints jobs are 80/90% prep and cleaning. Panels will probably be better with brushes. Tom Sawyer might have some ideas also.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 19:24
  • 1
    Is this about hiring or is the ‘crew’ family/ friends? If hiring, get an understanding of what prep entails, will they remove and brush flat or will they spray? Price and quality aren’t always correlated, but there tends to be a trend. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 19:32
  • @crip659 - I can do whatever. I am replacing hardware anyway so taking them down is no extra work.
    – DMoore
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 18:07
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate - I have family - the couple that paint well. So I would guess imagine your typical low cost painting crew. I can get them whatever supplies and prep. I guess with the spray my only concern is spraying grooves in the panels evenly and drying right and can can someone new with a spray gun do that.
    – DMoore
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 18:12
  • When you say you're replacing "hardware" do you mean swapping handles for something more modern? Or are you replacing hinges too? Note: replacing a hinge on a door is, in my opinion, serious business. It's very hard to replace a hinge and ensure a good fit/swing/close - to the point most doors are sold prehung to ensure smooth operation. When "removing a door" one does not unscrew hinges from the frame, but rather hammers the pin out of the hinge. It's a mistake you only make once!
    – AdamO
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


You would start with masking all area that you do not want to paint with masking tape. Take your time to do it right and use the blue masking tape.

Next you would prepare the surface to be painted by cleaning it or even use sand paper (220 grid). Remove the dust.

Use a primer and apply with brush . Get high quality brush and high quality paint.

Paint in both direction, horizontally and vertically to evenly distribute the paint, using no pressure on the brush (let it glide)

  • thigh quality. I like that phrase. That is better than high quality?
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 19:59

For large items like doors I'd avoid using standard bristle brush except for cutting in. Ideally use a small 4-6" foam roller or brush for smoothest possible finish. Especially if not experienced, when using a std brush and going too slow semi-gloss tends to get a bit gummy as its starts drying. Going back over the same area repeatedly can cause uneven build-up.

If a bristle brush is all I have though I may opt to thin the paint down 15-20% with water. Extends working time and leaves fewer brush strokes. But don't dilute paint using a roller as it can lead to micro-bubbles on surface.

And for such a decent size project normal sanding would take good amount of time and effort. Use a deglosser (eg: Liquid Sandpaper) that can be wiped on quickly with a rag. Priming over an existing semi-coat will not be necessary, ready to paint just minutes after application. No mess, non-toxic, and no foul odors.

  • It depends what kind of door it is. If it's the kind with a wood-grain finish, nothing wrong with a brush—as long as you brush in the same direction as the grain. If it's a smooth type of slab, then yeah a roller is best.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 12:47
  • 1
    I appreciate the answer but the foam roller issue is why I asked the question. The foam roller is great for the flat parts of the door. However for the indentations and different levels of each panel the foam roller is terrible. Couple that with the foam rollers uneven paint distribution I can't see doing that many doors.
    – DMoore
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 18:06
  • As stated in very first sentence, " I'd avoid using standard bristle brush EXCEPT for cutting in." That includes the inlays. And even on wood grain, with a foam roller your won't loose the detail. With a brush that detail will get lost with multiple coats.
    – Sereno011
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 16:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.