I have several closet and bedroom doors that are currently varnished/stained, which I want to sand down and paint a semi-gloss white.

  • Should I do something other than sanding to remove the varnish, such as some kind of stripping chemicals?
  • Besides working quickly to ensure the coats are completed before the paint dries too much, is there anything I can do to give the doors a consistent finish?
  • Should I sand down extra on the edges of the doors to ensure they still fit the frames after painting?
  • Are the doors raised panel, or are they flat? Are they solid wood or hollow? Nov 17, 2010 at 18:39
  • They are all flat - I believe that they are hollow (based on weight and a finger tap) though I am not 100% certain as the bedroom doors are still hung right now.
    – Jeff Yates
    Nov 17, 2010 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


Priming the doors will do the most to ensuring your previously stained doors have a consistent, even finish.

I also like to lay a door flat and paint with a roller - makes the job a lot easier because you're not having to mask off each doorway, worry about runs and drips, etc to paint the door while it's hanging. We didn't have enough space to set each door aside while it dried so we had to wait for each side to dry before we flipped the door over (and was only able to do one at a time), but they turned out really nicely so the extra time spent waiting was worthwhile.

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