Asked on Apr 10, 2014

Can hollow core doors be painted?

Becky P
by Becky P
I have the ugly hollow core doors that have the fake wood grain on them. I am wondering if paint will hold up on them, and what type of paint I should use. They will rub occasionally on each other, when being opened, I have the scrape marks to prove it.
  10 answers
  • Lavende Lavende on Apr 10, 2014
    Sure! You'll want to prep the surface well, and ensure the door has enough space to accommodate the layer of paint. Prep the door by cleaning the surface, then sanding with rough sandpaper which will roughen up the surface and allow the paint to stick. This is also a great time to file down the areas that tend to rub with the frame. You'll next need to prime the door surface, I like Kilz2 because of the lower VOCs to breathe in. Then paint away. Usually a semi-gloss to help keep them clean.
  • Valerie Valerie on Apr 12, 2014
    A thought - why not use this opportunity to add some decorative trim to the door before painting? I am thinking of thin molding strips, or something similar, made into one or two 'frames' on the door. It would be easy enough to add them using wood glue and small panel pins, and they could give the doors just the 'lift' they need to bring them from plain to fabulous!
  • Becky P Becky P on Apr 12, 2014
    Thank you for your tips. I think putting molding on them would hamper them sliding back and forth. I may just buy new ones, but hate putting stuff in the landfill if I can help it.
    • Valerie Valerie on Apr 13, 2014
      @ I had not realised that they were sliding doors. If you do remove them, they could be used as table tops.
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Apr 12, 2014
    I put wall paper on some before, turned out well and covered a multitude of damages.
  • Gwen Gwen on Oct 03, 2014
    I painted mine. I didn't use primer so it took three coats of door and trim paint. But it made the house look so much more modern. I'd look for primer first now that I've read more about painting!
    • Linda Linda on Mar 23, 2019

      I painted mine but our dog scratched the paint then it almost peeled off. it looks terrible and I regret doing it.

  • Linda 4 Real Linda 4 Real on Mar 12, 2015
    @Valerie @Becky (J)P- I love the trim idea but due to sliding bummer. If a door drags or scratches it needs hinge adjustment or trimming door or opening. I have a few things I do with flat panel doors. The make great "free" ( hidden hardware) floating shelves. Not for real heavy things but they can take some weight. I agree with adding moulding when possible it makes them look very expensive. To paint this type material you just need a deglosser to prep, neutralize chemical with denatured alcohol and primer if time or paint with primer. I repurpose almost anything! So if anyone reads this, just post the item and you can get ideas. I removed a lot of flat panel doors at my new fixer upper to change hardware (hinges/door knobs), sand lumpy paint and consider trimming but I bought new doors because I had them in garage and had a great repurpose idea for the floating shelves, which I am doing right now.
  • Jeanette Bowman Jeanette Bowman on Mar 30, 2015
    Could you stain it and make it look real wood?
    • Linda 4 Real Linda 4 Real on Mar 31, 2015
      @Jeanette, yes you can do a faux wood stain. You may need a practice piece but u can buy wood grainer tools at home improvement stores. It has a curved rubber head that gives the wood grain look. Steps must be done in order and available online
  • Beverly Massetto Beverly Massetto on Mar 30, 2015
    Yes sand the doors lightly wipe clean free of dust. I always use bher white satin paint. They will look brand new. It may take at least 2 coats of paint but worth the time. Be sure to remove hardware before painting.
  • Jeanette Bowman Jeanette Bowman on Mar 31, 2015
    Oh yea, I did that yrs ago when that 1st came out. Turned out pretty good. Even fooled a few. With it already having the grain look could I go with just staining it?
  • Mandy-Joshua McGinnis Mandy-Joshua McGinnis on Apr 01, 2015
    I painted all our sliding doors a bright glossy white . It helped brighten up our bedrooms.