Painting Interior Doors

Cornelia Schott
by Cornelia Schott
The previous owner stained white interior doors a red/sienna color. We would like to change these doors back to white by using a primer and paint. Do we need to sand these doors before we paint?
Do we need to sand before we prime and paint the doors?
  15 answers
  • Sandra Croley Sandra Croley on Feb 04, 2015
    No just use a GOOD paint
  • D & K D & K on Feb 04, 2015
    A light sanding and priming before painting is recommended. Without knowing what the previous finish/stain is, oil or water based, a light sanding would help eliminate the possibility of the new paint not adhering properly or flaking off.. A primer coat would also help prevent this not to mention it would help hide the previous color allowing for fewer top coats.
  • Yes, I would clean them well and lightly scuff them with a sanding sponge. I did that with my kitchen cabinets and primed them with an all purpose primer. Then I painted them with Benjamin Moore's Waterborne Satin Impervo...that's all I use on my doors and trim as well. It's very durable and easy to clean!
    • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Feb 05, 2015
      @Karla @ Small Town Rambler I bought a small sponge to use to wipe down the door after sanding. Thanks for the tip!
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Feb 04, 2015
    @Karla @ Small Town Rambler I think when you are refinishing a stained or painted surface it always good to do a light sanding. There is a chance of your paint sticking and avoiding it coming loose in the future. I have always wanted to be brave enough to paint our hallway door black. There is a post here on HT where a member did that and it looks soooo classy. Maybe I will do that some day. Please post an after pic and thanks for posting.
    • See 3 previous
    • Yes, paint it black!
  • The 2 Seasons The 2 Seasons on Feb 04, 2015
    Yes, sanding will give you a smoother and more professional looking final result.
  • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Feb 05, 2015
    yes, you will need to sand the doors, then use a product called kilz, you can get it at any home center or paint store. it will stop the stain from bleeding through. this will also act as a primer. then paint them .
  • Simple Southern Charm Simple Southern Charm on Feb 05, 2015
    I would do a light sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper. It should be quick, no more than 3-4 minutes per side. I would definitely prime too. It'll save you money and time.
    • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Feb 05, 2015
      @Simple Southern Charm Thanks for mentioning the 220 grit sandpaper. When I was buying the sander, the sales person handed me the 220 paper.
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Feb 05, 2015
    Ray is correct about using the kill. They carry this at your local Lowes or Home Depot. I like to also use the paint that already has primer as well. This way only one coat is needed and it really covers well.
  • Hooked On Pinterest Hooked On Pinterest on Feb 05, 2015
    I agree with the others, use the kilz paint first. I would make sure that you have good ventilation because kilz can have a pretty strong odor.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 05, 2015
    Good suggestions - wipe down, scruff, buy good primer. There is a good top coat I read about that self levels and gives a great finish like old oil-based paint. (Latex paints bug me because they dry too fast, leave brush marks - even with good paint and brushes. ) Benjamin Moore has an advanced composite paint which self levels and has an oil-based paint appearance. Shervin Williams has an All Surface Enamel that does same. Will be checking these out when I do window trims, etc.
    • LaDonna DeHoet LaDonna DeHoet on Feb 02, 2017

      There is also a product called floetrol that makes latex paints flow and level more like the old oil base paints. I haven't tried the paints you mentioned so I don't know if it does as good a job as those. I have some doors to paint so maybe I'll try one of them.

  • William Tillis William Tillis on Feb 05, 2015
    The finish you apply will be no better than the surface it is applied over. Sanding will smooth out surface imperfections, but more importantly will give the next coat of paint a mechanical grip or bond. Kilz is the standard in the trade for covering up stains, etc.The original Kilz was actually pigmented shellac. My choice would be a first coat of shellac, pigmented if you can find it, followed by any premium primer. Red paint, especially red stain is famous for bleeding through later. The shellac barrier is your best insurance against bleed through. Always use shellac in a well ventilated room.
  • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Feb 05, 2015
    I bought a Ryobi corner sander with sand paper 220 grit. We knew to use Kilz primer. I went to Sherwin Williams with pictures of our doors and they recommend using their Pro Classic paint. Their pro enamel does not come in gallon sizes. I will be painting 13 doors. Thanks for the replies!
  • Linda Stokes Linda Stokes on Feb 05, 2015
    For a top coat I would use Glidden's Lifemaster, you have to get it at a Glidden store, not a big box store. Also with latex paint you can use something called Flotorl and it gives you a longer drying time.
  • OnBlissStreet OnBlissStreet on Feb 05, 2015
    I had deep brick red walls in my house. I bought the Glidden primer plus paint for like $23 a gallon and it covered in 2 coats like a dream. I also painted my woodwork which was honey oak with Olympic primer plus paint and added a little paint conditioner- this left no streaks and covered like a dream. All i did was run a fine grit sanding block over before I painted.
  • Dusty Dusty on Aug 02, 2016
    You won't need to sand unless there are streaks or globs of dry paint. If there are, just sand down the troubling areas. Get a high-quality brush, primer and paint and you'll be good to go!