How To Paint Door Frames (Prepping, Priming and Painting)

When it comes to painting the interior of the house, many people focus on the walls, and can often forget about other parts that can make a significant difference. Doors are the way in and out of all rooms and trust us, they are noticeable.

It makes a big difference to have the doorframes properly painted to match the overall aesthetic and appearance of the house, and new-looking doors instantly increase the appeal of the house as a whole.

But how do you paint door frames? It isn’t actually that difficult! Different to painting walls, sure, but in some regards a lot easier.

There are three main stages to the process, prepping the door frame and surrounding area, priming the door frame, and then actually painting it. Let’s go through each stage, one by one, to explain all of the steps within each.

Prepping a door frame for paint:

The first phase of any painting process is to prepare the surface that will be painted, along with the surrounding area. Preparation for painting is always vital, and it can be the difference between a botched job or a successful finish.

Before we get into the different steps of prep you should take, it’s important to clarify that you should remove the door from the door frame so that you have full access to the entirety of the frame without the door getting in the way. You can just put the door back into its place after the job has been completed.

Now, for the actual steps, you might not have to follow every single one of them. It depends on the state of the door frame you are wanting to paint. But just in case, we will include all of the basic steps, and you can decide which steps to skip or not.

Strip the door frame of old paint:

If your door frame is already painted, you might need to remove the old paint before adding a new one. This might not be necessary, but if you’re switching to a different color it’s highly recommended that you do.

For this, there are many different methods of stripping old paint, but the easiest and most convenient for a door frame is to simply use a chemical product designed to strip paint off of wood.

That way, all you will need for this step will be the paint stripper, a paintbrush, an old toothbrush or similar, a sheet, some old newspaper, and rags or a cloth.

Here are the instructions for stripping the door frame of old paint:

  1. Protect yourself and the surrounding area. Lay down the old newspapers and the sheet, as you really don’t want the paint stripper product to get on anything other than the door frame.
  2. Apply the paint stripper product with the help of the paintbrush, and with the help of the toothbrush for those small crevices and corners that are hard to reach. Cover every last bit of surface with the least amount of overlap possible.
  3. Wait. The exact waiting time will depend on the paint stripper product that you’ve used, and on what it states in the instructions of use. But basically, you need to wait until the paint starts to peel off.
  4. Remove the paint. Once the paint is peeling off thanks to the product you can help it along by rubbing the surface with a rag or cloth.
  5. If there is still paint left over (perhaps there were multiple layers of paint on the door frame) then repeat the process all over again, using more product. Do this until the door frame is completely free of paint.

Sand the door frame:

If the door frame has left-over peeling paint, or a rough and worn surface, then you should definitely give it a good sanding down. When painting a surface, it’s important to ensure the surface is first as even and as smooth as possible, so that you get the best finish.

Here are the instructions on how to sand the door frame:

  1. Start by washing the door frame as thoroughly as possible. Get rid of all dust and debris. Then make sure the door frame is completely dry before proceeding.
  2. Use some fine sandpaper to sand down the door frame until the surface is even and smooth.
  3. Clean the door frame to remove all dust and debris.

Prepare the area and door frame for painting:

Once the door frame is paint-free and sanded down for an even and smooth surface, all that’s left to do is prepare it for finally getting painted over. Here are the main things you need to do:

  • Protect yourself and the surrounding area. This means wearing appropriate clothing that you don’t mind getting paint on, and it means covering the floor and nearby walls so that no paint gets on them either.
  • Tape the door frame. Tape all the borders and corners, make sure that you can paint freely without accidentally painting outside of the door frame.
  • Get all of your materials ready! There’s nothing worse than having to stop midway through the job because you forgot to get the right paintbrush, or because you need to go and get another bucket of paint. Have everything ready from the start.

Priming a door frame:

Once the door frame has been fully prepped, and everything is ready for the paintjob, you need to add the primer. This is standard for basically all painting jobs, as the primer is used to ensure the paint stays on the surface properly.

Use a wood primer, and apply it onto the door frame with the help of a paintbrush.

Painting a door frame:

Once the primer has dried, it’s finally time to paint the door frame!

Make sure you are using the right type of paint, and a color you like, and apply the paint with a paintbrush. You will likely need a smaller paintbrush for the trickiest parts of the door frame.

It is recommended that you apply at least two coats of paint, letting them dry each time.

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