Ana Ochoa
Ana Ochoa
  • Hometalker
  • Chula Vista, CA

How to Transform a Builder Grad Door With Molding and Paint

10 Materials
$70
6 Hours
Medium

So let’s chat about builder grade finishes. They are usually sufficient to do the job, but they are also sufficiently BORING. Take every door in our house for example. They are white, flat, and hollow doors. Very blah. We transformed the doors in our kitchen and master bathroom previously, but there are still MANY to go. But to finish off the downstairs, I decided to partner with Fusion Mineral Paint and give our powder room door a makeover!

how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint

Here is a little sneak peak of the door - Keep reading to see how it transformed during the process!


Step 0: PREP PROPERLY!Be sure to prep the surface – this means CLEANING (I used Simple Green, but you can also use TSP), and then sanding any surface that has a sheen to it. These doors were quite shiny, so I took a sanding block to them after a good cleaning. Finally I wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. Pretty easy and rather minimal prep is needed with Fusion, but use Fusion’s  tutorial as a guide for what is needed (different surfaces require different prep)! If you choose to use a different paint - follow the instructions on the can!Fusion also has loads of other  video tutorials you may want to consider watching before using their paint! They are super helpful, especially if painting is fairly new to you!
Step 1:Remove all hardware from the door – door knob, etc.


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 2:Mark where you want your molding to be on each side of your door. (You can see here the completely flay, white, builder grade door we started with.) Where you want your molding is really personal preference, just make sure that both sides of the door match up as closely as possible. We made two rectangles on each side, a large one on top and a smaller on on the bottom.It’s easiest if you start by marking the center of your door, and then using your level to draw the very top line at whatever point looks good to you. I then measure from the edge in to make sure that the edge of the molding is even on each side. I then work down from there in a methodical manner. The biggest things you want to be sure of is that all your lines are level, and evenly spaced on the door! I also suggest that your pencil line be where the OUTSIDE of your molding is going to go. You can also see the pencil lines I made here of where the molding would go.


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 3:Once you have your molding marked, measure again (because you always measure twice and cut once), and take those measurements to your miter saw. (If you make 2 rectangles on each side like we did, you’ll end up needing 8 pieces of the horizontal pieces, 4 of the top vertical pieces, and 4 of the bottom rectangle pieces). When cutting molding, always cut the longest measured pieces first. You also will want to cut each corner at a 45 degree angle. The measurements you took will be the LONGEST part of each piece, so you will cut at a 45 degree angle inward from that measurement. It’s a bit hard to explain in text, but drawing it out for your brain can help!
Step 4:Cut all your trim pieces with the miter saw! Again, always best to measure multiple times and take it slow so you don’t end up back at Home Depot or Lowe’s the next day! Sand the edges as necessary.

You can see the little drawing I did above – all of the pieces are actually oriented the same (but drawing it as if I’m going to put it on the door helps my brain for some reason!)

how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 5:Now that your molding is cut, you are going to attach it to the door. This is easiest with 2 people, but doable with one, just a bit more difficult. When we tackle it, I usually hold up the molding where it needs to go along with the level, to be sure it’s straight, and then my husband uses the nail gun to attach the molding to the door. We use three nails per piece, one on each end and one in the middle. Be sure the nails are going through the molding enough to create a small hole, so you can fill the holes with caulking later (this way you won’t be able to see them once painted).
how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint

All attached!

how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 6:Once all your molding is attached, use your paintable caulk to fill all the nail holes, any gaps you might have at the corners, and along all of the edges. This may sound unnecessary, but I promise the caulk makes a HUGE difference in making the molding look like it’s actually part of the door!


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint

Caulking makes such a difference!

how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint

Truly!

how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 7:Give your caulking about an hour or so to dry before you prep to paint. You are welcome to tape off your hinges and door frame if you like, but I didn’t – I was just extra careful around those spots. Fusion Mineral Paint is also easy to clean up with a damp cloth if you get to it quickly, so I just kept one on hand in case I had any mishaps and got paint somewhere unintended. Remember to also sand down the caulking anywhere it needs it – then wipe off with a damp cloth before painting.


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 8:Paint away! I used a 3″ synthetic bristle brush, and dipped it right into the paint jar (make sure to stir your paint first)! I always paint the molding first, and then the inner rectangles. Lastly I’ll tackle the outer edges. Use as long of strokes as you can to reduce brush strokes. Fusion is self leveling, so the brush strokes should be fairly minimal anyway!


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 9:Allow the first coat to dry, and then add a second coat if needed. Here, I did use a second coat, just to get a really saturated kind of coverage.


how to transform a builder grad door with molding and paint
Step 10:Once your second coat has been dry for 3-4 hours, you can reattach any hardware you removed, and then you’re done! You have transformed your boring builder grade door into something truly beautiful!


Now our door looks much less builder grade blah, and much more custom and pretty! I hope this encorages you to try to transform your doors, rather than replace them - I promise it's WAY more cost effective!

Suggested materials:

  • Molding of your choice (it took us about 40′ total to mold both sides  (Lowes)
  • 3″-4″ synthetic bristle brush (buy a decent one, not a cheapie!)  (Lowes)
  • Nail gun with 1.25″ brad nails  (Home Depot)
See all materials
Ana Ochoa

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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2 comments
  • [re]FɄB19
    on Mar 25, 2019

    Very nice... I am planning to do something similar soon. Since you painted the door, you could have used MDF moulding and save a lot of money ! :)

    • Ana Ochoa
      on Mar 25, 2019

      Thank you! Unfortunately I was t a fan of any of the mdf options!

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