Painting a Raised Panel Interior Door

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,191
    Travis Larson, an editor for Family Handyman Magazine, demonstrates how to paint a raised panel interior door.

    Travis Larson: Hi! I'm Travis Larson, I'm an editor for Family Handyman Magazine, the oldest and biggest how to magazine in the country. Today I'm going to talk about painting the hollow core interior veneer door. This door can't be saved and made to look like new unless we paint it and to do that we have to fill all of these checks, dents, scratches, and prep it for painting. We're going to use two products for fixing the flaws in this door. For the deep ones, we're going to use rock-hard putty. You mix that up with water and it dries chemically so it doesn't shrink, so it's a really nice way to fill deep holes like this. And for the shallower scratches and flaws and for filling the grain we're going to use MH ready patch. It's a creamy consistency, so it fills in real nicely and real shallow flaws like scratch. So to get started we're going to mix-up some rock-hard putty and fill up those deep ones first. You can use a little plastic or paper bowl and a plastic spoon to mix this stuff, mix it kind of thick, if you mix it too thin, it might shrink and it's going to take longer to cure. It's real easy to over water so sneak up on it. If you get a little bit too thin if you put too much water and you can always add more power to thicken it up. The key is to get it pretty thick like a paste. This stuff sets up pretty quick, so you might not get all the holes filled the first time but the advantage to that as you can sand it down right away. This real deep one here, we're going to fill with putty knife. Don't want to over fill these holes because it's hard to sand this stuff down, it gets hard just like the labels says. Well, I leave it just proud, so when you sand it down it's going to be flushed. If you've got any missing veneer, you'll find that real a lot, and along the bottoms of doors, just get rid of all the loose stuff and try some water putty in those areas too.

    Don't worry too much about this. And if after you sand it, you still see this, you can just put another layer on. Now we're going to fill all the shallow imperfections with this stuff. So we're going to fill all that grain, so when this door is painted it's going to look more like neat, otherwise you're going to see the grain through the paint, which is okay except for these patches we're doing. They're not going to have any grain. All of these parts are going to filled up and most of the grain is going to get hidden. I'm going to use a wide putty knife otherwise it will take all day with that narrow one. That's it for the filling, I'm going to let this dry for 15-20 minutes or so. Now you can hand sand this if you want, use a 120 good paper, but it's a lot faster to use a random orbital sander if that's what you have. You can't do a lot of damage with it, it's very hard to sand through the veneer. Now we are going to clean all the dust, you can dust it off, but you'll get a lot better results, if you clean it first with the rag and some alcohol. Alcohol is really nice because it dries so fast and it doesn't leave any residue and it won't raise the grain on wood, it doesn't have any varnish over it. So just pour a whole bunch of it on to a thick rag like this. And just start wiping it, and you can tell right away when it's clean. Okay, we're ready to prime this door and we're going to use a mini roller with a foam cover, and we'll use a small tray, water-based primer would work just fine on this door. Now you might see some imperfections when you're doing this and that's okay, you can still fill right over the primer, but if you do fill re-prime those areas that are going to really stick-out through the fresh paint.

    You got to work fast with this because it dries almost instantly. So don't leave any roller marks for long. Okay, primer is dried and it's ready to paint. We're going to roll it on with a mini roller again, just like the primer. And we're going to use a latex water-based paint; a high-end one is best, it will last the longest and give you the best finish. No need for a brush, do it all with the roller and you'll get a better result, and this is the first coat, you are going to put two on, so don't worry too much about getting complete coverage. Think of it more as a primer with painting it, we're just establishing a base coat. The second coat is the one that's really going to get to a finished look. You can see how nicely that that grain got filled by that wood filler; okay I'm going to finish up the edges. Now I'm going to roll this door over, put a coat on the other side, roll it back, finish up this one, second coat on the other side and this door is done, that's how you paint an interior door.