Painting Woodwork : How to paint a panel door.

Article By Adrian Rayfield

First published on the Property Decorating Tips and Tricks of the trade Blog in May 2009

Diagram of panel door and numbered sequence for painting (copyrignt Adrian Rayfield)This tip applies to both interior and exterior panelled doors, it doesn't matter how many panels there are, whether it be a 1, 2, 4 or 6 panelled door, the principle is the same.

The first job is to remove the door furniture such as handles, letterbox, knocker etc, now cover the floor. The next job is to remove any loose paint as well as any dirt and grime. Next rub the door down, depending on the surface you are painting over and its condition 80-grit sandpaper will be fine. Rub down, going in the direction of the grain, if you have an internal ‘grain effect’ door be careful not to rub too hard!

Once you have ‘keyed’ the surface with the sand / glass paper dust off the surface. If the door has any bare wood showing you will need to use the appropriate primer. Once the primer is dry you can paint the door with a suitable undercoat, finally the finish coat (gloss or satinwood etc) of your choice.

So what order do I paint the panel door?

OK, here is the order to paint your panel door:

  1. Paint the door edge, you should always paint the edge you will see if the door is open. Number 1 in diagram. If it is an exterior door you should also paint the top of the door, and the bottom if you can.
  2. Paint the panels. Numbers 2-7 in diagram.
  3. Paint the top mullion and rail, numbers 8 and 9 in diagram, and work through all mullions and rails finishing with the bottom rail. Number 14 in diagram.
  4. Finally paint the two stiles. Numbers 15 and 16 in diagram.
  5. If you are using gloss, check to ensure the paint hasn't run off the panels, if there are runs simply brush them out with a dry brush.
  6. You should now have a newly painted door!


Stiles: vertical parts
Mullion: vertical parts between panels
Rails: horizontal parts
Panels: moulded ‘inset’ shaped areas

If you would like us to paint your woodwork for you please contact us to arrange an onsite estimate*.

* Southend area only

More helpful home improvement tips and articles

Visit the Rayfields DIY By Design blog to read posts on home improvement and home maintenance topics such as "Knowing which filler to use", "How to deal with ceiling water stains" and "Removing Rawl plugs" and more.

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