How To Paint A Door Without Brush Marks: Alternative Methods & Tips

A fresh color on your door can make any space look and feel brighter, but unsightly brush marks could ruin an otherwise excellent makeover. By following a few simple guidelines, it's easy to avoid leaving marks on your doors.  

This guide is here to teach you how to paint a door without brush marks. 

Paint Doors With A Brush

It is completely possible to paint a door with a brush, but it may not always be the best tool for the job. Professional painters are more likely to use paint sprayers, as they will allow them to carry out jobs quickly, with a neater finish to their work. But if used correctly, brushes can also make any door look professionally painted and brand new. 

Benefits 

  • Cheaper 
    Brushes are significantly cheaper than paint sprayers, especially if your DIY project has a strict budget! Good quality is of course still important when choosing brushes.  
  • Easier To Use 
    It may take a few goes to become truly comfortable with a paint sprayer, whereas using a brush can be a lot easier to pick up.  
  • Less Setup Involved 
    Hand painting will require less setup and less cleaning after the job is finished. Paint sprayers will need to be cleaned with care to keep them in good working order, and the area you are painting in will need to be well-protected against accidental paint splatter. There's less risk of this with paintbrushes, but you'll still need to clean these well too! 
  • Better For Smaller Jobs 
    The amount of setup involved may make spray painting a bit unnecessary for smaller DIY jobs. While spray painting is an effective tool, using it may not always be the most efficient method.  

Drawbacks 

  • Time Consuming For Large Projects 
    Painting by hand is a slower process when compared with spray painting. If you have a whole house of doors to paint at once, spray painting may be the more efficient option, even with the more elaborate setup. 
  • Not As Smooth A Finish 
    Spray painting leaves thinner and more even coats applied over a wider surface area. It’s harder (but not impossible) to replicate a smooth finish with a paintbrush. There's no risk of brush marks when using a paint sprayer! 
  • More Work 
    While also taking longer, hand-painting can be a more taxing process than spray painting. It may leave strain on your hands, back, legs, and other areas. If you have a condition that limits your energy or ability to carry out manual jobs for long periods of time, spray painting may be the more suitable option.  

How To Paint Doors Without Brush Marks: Professional Painters Tips 

There are a number of reasons why you may end up with brush marks on your finished doors. These can include using the wrong technique when painting, loading up too much paint on your brush, not properly preparing your door before painting, and more. Follow these handy steps to avoid leaving any unsightly streaks behind. 

You will need:  

  • Your choice of painting tools, such as paintbrushes (2 ½' good quality brushes are best), paint rollers (4’ roller with a velour cover or foam rollers are a good choice), or a paint sprayer 
  • Vacuum cleaner 
  • Orbital sander/sanding sponge 
  • Light, medium, and coarse gritted sandpaper 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Sawhorses 
  • Drop cloths and other protective materials 
  • Protective masks for paint fumes 
  • Paint, primer, and paint conditioner (make sure they are suitable for the surface of the door you are painting) 
  • For wooden doors; caulk and spackle 
  • For metal doors; degreasing cleaner and patching compound 
  • For fiberglass doors; soft-bristled brush 

1. Pick Your Paint 

Firstly, choose the paint you'll be using. Whether your door is an internal or external door will determine whether you'll need interior or exterior paint.

Professional painters often choose to use latex or water-based paints when painting doors, with acrylic alkyd and enamel being popular choices.

These kinds of paint will adhere better on stubborn surfaces and take longer to dry, meaning they have enough time to level out properly and cover any brush strokes. They may cost a little extra,  but the result will be worth it. 

2. Take It Off The Hinges 

It may be best to remove the door from its hinges before painting it. This will minimize the risk of drips and runs, along with preventing the paint from dripping onto furniture or flooring.

Should you be looking to paint your door frame along with your door, make sure to protect the wall and floor around the area with painter's tape and drop cloths.  

white door paint

3. Protect Handles, Hinges And Other Features  

Cover any areas on the door that you don't want to be covered in paint. This will include the hinges, handles, latches, peepholes, windows, or other features. Also, it's imperative to cover any metal areas you don't want to be scuffed before sanding.  

4. Prepare The Area Around The Door 

Prepare the room or area you will be painting in. If you are not removing the door from its hinges, protect the floor and nearby furniture with a drop cloth and the surrounding walls with painter's tape. If you are removing the door from its hinges, it may be a good idea to attach the door to two sawhorses. This will allow you to rotate the door and paint both sides at the same time, saving time and effort as both will dry at the same time.  

5. Sand The Door 

Before sanding your door, ensure any paint used on it previously didn’t contain lead. If you are concerned, use a lead testing kit. Sanding the door will remove any blemishes, such as previous brush marks from old paint jobs. It also creates a better surface for the primer to attach to, giving you a smoother finish on your door.  

If your door is wooden, you may need to use caulk and spackle to fill in any small holes or blemishes in the wood. If left, they may spoil the finish. Add spackle to any small holes, allow to dry, and lightly sand. Caulk the inside of panels and other intersections.  

Then use 100-grit sandpaper to remove any other blemishes such as chipped paint, runs, or old brush strokes. This can be done with an orbital sander or a sanding sponge. Take care not to apply too much pressure to the orbital sander as you use it as this may damage the sander or the door, or leave the surface of the door uneven.

Sanding pads can be used to reach any grooves, around panels, or other designs on the door. Then smooth the surface with 120 - 150-grit sandpaper. Remove all sanding dust with your vacuum cleaner, as any remaining dust may affect the finish on your door. Clean with a damp cloth and allow to dry. 

If your door is metal, first remove any grease with a degreasing cleaner. Tape up any parts that will need to be protected from sanding or painting. Then, sand down any dents using 80-grit sandpaper before applying a patching compound to cover the dents. Wait 40 minutes for it to dry, then level with 150-grit sandpaper. When blemishes are no longer visible, sand the entire door with 400-grit sandpaper. This will rough up the surface of the door, allowing the primer and paint to adhere better. Take care when sanding not to damage your door. 

For a fiberglass door, first, remove any weatherstripping from the door with a soft-bristled brush. If any remains, then use a dry cloth. Finally, wash with dish soap and warm water, allow to dry thoroughly, then apply paint.  

6. It’s Time To Prime 

Apply primer to your door. It's a good idea to apply at least two, if not three, coats. This gives a good surface for the paint to be applied to, giving it a good chance of sticking well and resulting in a smoother finish. Sand the surface lightly between each coat of primer, after first allowing the layer to dry completely. Ensure all primer and paints used on the door are the most appropriate for the materials of the door. When sanding over the primer, take care not to strip all of the primer away. 

7. Add Paint Conditioner 

When all layers of primer have dried and been sanded, it is time to begin painting. Add paint conditioner to your paint to prevent it from drying out too quickly and to aid it in applying a thin and even coat to the surface it is painted on. This will also help the paint level out properly while it dries, resulting in the smoothest finish possible. Add floetrol to water-based paints and penetrol to oil-based paints. Before painting, ensure the environment isn't too hot or cold, or lacks humidity. The hotter the room is, the quicker the paint will dry and may not level out correctly. 

8. Let’s Paint 

door

Choose your best tool for applying the paint. If you have chosen a paint sprayer, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the setup and application of paint. If you are painting a paneled door by hand, your best option may be to use a brush around the panels, the trim, other recessed areas, and around window panes, before finishing the larger flat areas with a roller.

This will enable you to create a smoother, even finish and minimize blemishes and brush marks. When using brushes or rollers on wooden doors, follow the grain of the wood and take note when this changes across the surface. Never paint perpendicular to the grain. 

When applying paint try and make your coats as light as possible. Don't overload the brush with paint or dip the bristles entirely into the paint. Always tap the brush on the side of the can to remove any excess. The thicker your coats of paint are, the more you risk drips and runs, especially if you are painting the door standing upright.  

Apply two coats of paint to your door, allowing the first to fully dry and lightly sanding the door again before applying the second. This will remove any brush strokes from the first coat and allow you to create a really smooth finish. Should you need to touch up any areas, add a tiny bit of paint onto a brush and lightly apply to the desired areas. 

9. Dry, Attach, Enjoy 

Allow your door to dry thoroughly before hanging it back on the hinges.  


Best Ways To Paint A Door: Alternative Methods To A Brush 

With A Roller

A roller will allow you to apply a more even coat than a brush while also minimizing brush strokes and overlap. With a velour cover, you can get a really smooth finish to your door. However, it may be harder to reach all the grooves and dips, especially in a paneled or detailed door. 

With A Paint Sprayer

A paint sprayer will give the most even coat of paint, but it can be expensive to buy and take longer to set up, and then clean afterward. If you aren't going to be needing it regularly, it may not make good sense to invest in a paint sprayer and instead brush up on your hand painting skills!


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What do you add to paint to eliminate brush marks?  

Adding a paint conditioner to your paint will allow it to dry slower, level out more, and avoid the most brush strokes. Avoid adding paint thinners or water, as this will make the paint less effective. 


Can you paint over brush marks?  

Simply painting over brush marks may not cover them completely. The best option is to sand the surface first until it is as smooth as possible. 


Do I need to undercoat a previously painted door?  

It may not be necessary to undercoat a new color of paint if the door and paint are in good condition. It may be best if the previous color is darker than the new one being applied.  


Do you have to sand a door before painting?

Sanding before painting helps the primer and paint to adhere to the surface better. It's particularly important if the door is metal, as unsanded metal may be too smooth for the paint to stick to properly.  


Conclusion

There’s nothing more disappointing than blemishes and brush marks left behind when you’ve worked hard on painting a door. Hopefully the tips above will give you the best chance possible of avoiding them in your next project 

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