Wood, vinyl and metal doors can be painted and or coated in a couple of different ways.

Using a paint sprayer to get your colors on is of coarse by far the fastest. Even so, a brush and roller will do the job just fine.

Some doors, whether interior or exterior may need different types of paint or primer. An exterior metal door painting project for example would require a different coating than an interior vinyl type door painting job.

I myself prefer to use a high quality waterborne paints for almost all types of doors.

Waterbornes can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces, are durable, water clean up and tend to dry quickly.

Information below pertains to brushing and rolling, along with spraying on of paint or clear coat.

Be sure to follow can directions and get instructions from your local paint supplier before spraying, brushing/rolling or clear coating.


When I talk about trim (and frames), I'm referring to the (moulding or casing) that goes around a door or window. Use this door trim painting page to learn more about trim painting of metal, wood or vinyl doors.

Once you have done so you can return here for information on the process of getting the doors themselves coated.


You may not require some of the products and tools below to paint your doors. You will need to choose the tools that will work best with the job your doing.

Be sure to ask your local paint store sales representative for assistance with application advice and selecting paint, products and tools for painting metal, wood or vinyl doors.

  • Top Quality Primer

  • Top Quality Interior Paint

  • Paint Scraper for Window Panes

  • Masking Paper and Painters Tape (Regular and Lower Tack)

  • Roll of Plastic

  • Old Bed Sheets or Drop Cloths

  • Good Quality Latex Paint-able Caulk & Gun

  • Hole Filler/Drywall Knife

  • 100 Grit Sand Paper

  • 2 1/2" Sash Brush & Cut Can

  • Paint Roller/Cover, Short Extension Pole, Tray/Liner

  • Speed Roller & Cover (4"), Small Tray/Liner

  • Paint Rags

  • Paint Sprayer

  • Small Platform or Step Ladder


How you set up depends entirely on the kind of painting metal, wood or vinyl doors that your coating. Spraying of course will require rooms that are being painted to be closed off (with plastic and masking tape) from areas that are not being painted.

Items in the room where the paint is being applied, will also need to be covered with plastic or moved to another room, otherwise you won't be happy with the over spray that tends to land on everything. If you are spraying your doors it's probably a good idea once there painted and dry to bag the room with plastic then using flat white paint spray the ceiling.

After the ceiling is done remove the plastic and (if your not handy with a brush) tape your newly dried trim with (blue medium tack) masking tape. Once the trim is taped, start cutting and rolling the walls.

If you decide painting metal, wood or vinyl doors with a brush/roller instead of using a sprayer, over spray won't be a problem, even so, with fresh new doors, frames and trim, your walls and ceilings may end up looking drab and dreary.

The text below has instructions pertaining to the specific style of doors you may be painting, (spraying brushing/rolling). Another thing you may need to do is if the door/s your painting has bare wood the door or bare spots will need to be primed. Unless of course they are going to be clear coated, if so they may need to be stained.


All cracks and holes between the wood work and the walls should be filled (unless your clear coating). As an example lets say your painting metal, wood or vinyl and the trim around the doors doesn’t touch the wall and there’s a crack between the doors trim and the wall surface such a gap needs to be filled with caulking.

Also, some trim and frames may have holes that will need to be repaired with filler. Use this caulking page to assist you with filling the cracks, gaps and holes in and around your doors, frames and trim. After visiting the caulking page use the back button to return to this page and learn how to get your doors painted.


Some doors have glass pains in them, and require putty if so, re-glaze them as needed. If you have never re-glazed a window before and are not comfortable with the idea of re-glazing, have a glass repair shop do the job for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is if the pane has old paint on it use a good sharp paint scraper (one made for scraping glass) to remove the dried paint.


Some door manufacturers insist that the tops and bottoms of a door when painting metal, wood or vinyl doors need to be coated (prevents warping or moisture from getting in).

I know of many painters that would argue with this fact even so, to be on the safe side and if you wish to coat the tops and bottom edges of your doors, I would do them first.

Let them dry, sand them, then do them again if needed. Once the top and bottom edges are dry you can proceed to the instructions below.


If your not handy with a brush, use painters masking tape to protect glass panes, walls and other surfaces from accidentally getting paint on them.

The size of roller/cover you use and the thickness of the cover itself will depend on the door being painted. I use a regular width 5 or 10 millimeter ( ¼" to ½" ) nap cover and roller for flat doors, and a 4" speed roller when coating any other style of door.

If your clear coating you will more than likely need to use only a brush. No mater if your applying paint or clear coat discuss the matter with your local paint supplier.


Brushing and rolling is the easiest way for painting metal, wood or vinyl doors. I leave the doors hung, and use a brush to paint areas of the door that I can’t get with the roller. I also like to use a short extension on my roller as it gives me better control, and I do a lot less bending over with a short extension pole.

If you leave the doors hanging when rolling them you may need an extra pair of hands to hold the door for you so as not to make a mess when painting metal, wood or vinyl doors.

Roll the edges first then move to one side of the door, paint it and proceed onto the other. Dip the roller in the tray, cover the top of the door with paint, dip the roller in again and cover the bottom.

You shouldn’t be able to see any of the old color of paint showing threw the wet paint. Next, roll from top to bottom with a your roller (don’t dip it back in the tray). Bring the roller up and over lap your first roll by a inch or two.

Roll from top to bottom keep doing this till the door is done. What you want to do is have your roller marks even and going all in one direction and that direction is down.

Let the paint dry, do a light sanding and paint the door in the same fashion as the first coat.

After painting metal, wood or vinyl doors and they have dried and if the doors look like they need to be sanded and rolled again you can go ahead and do so.


When painting metal, wood or vinyl doors that have been manufactured in the colonial or French style you will find them a little more difficult to coat.

The process is somewhat the same as brushing and rolling a flat door with the big difference being the use of a brush to paint the molded groves on colonial doors and the rungs that hold the glass in on a French doors.

After the brushing is done you can then use a four inch speed roller to paint the rest of the surfaces of the doors. Also, doors like colonials have flat sections that would need to be rolled horizontally and other flat sections that will need to be rolled vertically.

I use the seems where the colonial door is glued together (or should be) as my reference points for starting and stopping my horizontal and vertical rolling.


Before painting metal, wood or vinyl doors with a sprayer, be sure to have had some experience with the machine you are going to use. Also, follow all your local government regulations and safety procedures regarding the use of paint sprayers and spray products.

When using a sprayer for doors I like to operate an airless with the smallest tip I can effectively blow paint through. The smaller tip gives me better control over what I’m spraying.

Other sprayers work fine but will tend to take a little longer to finish your project. If I'm spraying just the doors and not the frames or trim, I like to set the doors up in a room where I have covered the floors with drop cloths and the walls with plastic.

When your removing the doors, mark (with pencil) the tops of the door edges so that you will know which door goes to what room or closet. Also, the area your spraying in and the drops clothes being used, need to be as free as possible of dirt and debrief.

Prior to painting metal, wood or vinyl doors with a sprayer remove the door handles and use tape to cover hinges if you don’t wish to take them off. I then lean the doors against the walls using little pieces of wood spacers to keep the plastic from touching the wet doors.

It's best to have all the doors the correct way up in regards to how they hang, and try to place closet doors first in the row, along with the sides that would face the inside of a closet facing out towards you.

You should do this because if your going to have problems with your sprayer (plugged, runs, sags, dust, paint to thick) you want the problems to happen on the sides of the doors that will be seen the least.

When dealing with spraying difficulties, be sure that you fix problems before spraying the entire door or applying the last coat.


Painting metal, wood or vinyl doors that are flat in style are the easiest to spray but can be less forgiving than other styles of doors when it comes to problems. A flat door will show more dust if there are particles floating around in the air. Runs or sags will also tend to happen more readily with a flat door.

Make sure the room your spraying in is clean and be careful how your overlapping your spray marks. Another thing to keep in mind, is not to spray on to much paint at one time.

More lighter coats are better than fewer heavy applications.

Set the gun tip so that the spray fan is coming out in a horizontal fashion. Start by spraying the left and right door edges first. Now, spray the front of the (closet facing side towards you) doors top to bottom.

With your first and last spray fan pass and only the first and last, the fan should cover the door by half. What that means is only half the paint is getting on the door the other half is missing the door.

Always keep the spray gun in a strait line and at the same distance away from the door.

DO NOT arc the gun towards the door as you begin spraying and then towards you as you finish. The spraying motion is a strait, even, consent line.

Overlap the next spray pass by half of the first. Keep doing this (up and down motion) until the doors are completely coated in paint.

Let the paint dry, lightly sand the doors, then do the final coat in the same way that you did the first.

Once the paint is dry and if you think the door needs another coat of paint, you can go ahead apply one.


With colonial and french doors use the same spraying technique for painting metal, wood or vinyl doors that are flat (glass masked off). The only difference would be that when doing the fronts, or the backs of the doors, have the gun tip switched so that it sprays a vertical fan.

You should then spray from side to side coating the horizontal glass pane rungs or the horizontal molded groves that are in the doors. I then switch the tip back to a horizontal fan and paint the vertical rungs and groves as per the above flat door style, for painting metal, wood or vinyl doors.


In summary, prior to painting metal, wood or vinyl doors you found that they fit to tightly, you may have difficulty closing them once a few extra coats of paint are applied. If you don't mind doing a lot of work, you can use a utility knife and flat bar to adjust the stops (on some doors). After the stops are adjusted you can then caulk and paint the door frames.

When painting metal, wood or vinyl doors for your closets (by-fold) don't forget to paint and sand the edges where the doors fold. Once everything is painted you will more than likely need to do some touch ups and, such touch ups may even need to be done, a month or so after the doors have dried.

When painting metal, wood or vinyl doors, remember that the rungs and molding cuts on some doors can be very absorbent, make sure they are primed well before they are painted. Another problem with such doors, is that you will have to look at the moldings and rungs from all directions and angles when painting them, otherwise, just when you’ve thought you where done painting metal, wood or vinyl doors, you will see a part of the door that needs more paint.

If you have a door with a hole in it you can fill the hole by using a drywall knife and hole filler. With a larger size hole you may need to apply some spray foam to the indent, after the foam is dry cut the excess away and then fill the hole with filler.

Sanding and more than one coat of filler will more than likely be needed. Check with your local home improvement center for advice regarding filling your door holes.

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