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Key to painting well is good preparation

Painting advice from Ron Molema, branch manager for the Maple Ridge Cloverdale Paint store
Ron Molema of Cloverdale Paint recommends a waterborne latex paint with a semi-gloss finish.

Painting – it’s one of those jobs that some people love, and others hate. But whether you love it or hate it, if you have to do it then you might as well do it properly.

Painting projects come in all shapes and sizes, and painting doors to get the desired professional look is one of the more difficult challenges a do-it-yourselfer can tackle – not because it’s particularly difficult to do physically, but more so because it’s tricky to do the job well. This is especially true if your door has a lot of nooks and crannies.

That said, it can be done well by anyone who is willing to prepare properly, then use some patience to get things just right.

So says Ron Molema, branch manager for the Maple Ridge Cloverdale Paint store, who has a lot of experience in the field.

As with most DIY projects, says Molema, the key is good preparation. Whether you’re planning to paint a wood or metal door, it’s important to spend a little time doing the things that will ensure the paint sticks to the surface properly when applied.

This isn’t so difficult with new doors that already have a primer coat applied, says Molema. They shouldn’t be dirty yet, so a light sanding followed by a quick wipe down to remove any dust or moisture should be all you need.

If you’re repainting doors that are already hanging in your home, they’ll need to be taken down off the hinges first. After that, remove the hardware, then wash the doors.

Molema recommends a product like TSP to remove grime, oils and anything else that might interfere with paint adhesion. Once the washing and drying is finished, a light sanding followed by a wipe down with a lint-free cloth to remove dust should have things in order.

Whatever you do, he cautions, don’t use regular household cleaners as these tend to leave a film on the surface of the door that will likely ensure the paint peels off later.

So what kind of paint should you use?

Molema says your best bet for getting a professional-looking finish is a waterborne latex paint with a semi-gloss finish.

“Semi-gloss is the standard for doors and trim because it wears better than an eggshell finish,” he says. “It’s more washable.”

Whichever finish you choose, chances are the paint itself will be white, or slightly off-white. The paint store manager says about 98 per cent of people will choose the standard white for their interior doors but you can get any colour you like for the job.

For equipment, Molema recommends a paint sprayer – if you can get your hands on one – to get the best possible finish. Failing that, a non-foam roller is your best bet, and if you have nooks and crannies in the door, then a thicker roller to get down into those hard-to-reach places is a good option. You could also use a poly-blend bristle brush, but stay away from natural bristle, as it tends to soak up paint and make things more difficult.

Once the latex paint is applied let it dry for four to six hours before you attempt to do anything with it. It takes about 24 hours to cure, so the longer you can leave it, the less chance your work will be marred.

After all that, re-attach the hardware and hang the door.

Molema says there are a couple of anomalies to watch out for. First, if your door is not already primed you’re going to have to wash it, then coat it with an oil-based primer. Once the primer coat has dried, another wash and light sanding will get you back on track. If the door is made of metal, you’ll need to know what kind of metal it is to get the right primer.

You should also be aware that if the door you’re working on is already painted with oil-based paint, then you’ll have no choice when it comes to your paint – you’ll have to use a waterborne option.

And there you have it, if you’re wanting to get those doors painted properly, use these tips, and talk to an expert if you have further questions.


Robert Prince is a freelance writer

who lives in Maple Ridge.