How to Repaint Interior French Doors

  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 75-250
What You'll Need
Razor blade
Drop cloths

Interior French doors form great divisions between rooms by closing spaces off but still allowing ample light to enter. However, like all doors they eventually need repainting. This is a trickier process than with solid doors, but it’s still not especially complex as long as it’s tackled in a straightforward manner. Take the time to do it right and you’ll achieve professional results.

Step 1 - Setting Up

Begin by removing one of the pair of the French doors from its hinges and lay flat on the sawhorses, after first covering the sawhorses and floor in drop cloths. You can use anything level to rest the doors on, but sawhorses offer a good height for painting without bending too much. Remove all the hardware (handles, hinges and so on) from the door and set aside.

Step 2 - Preparation

Inspect the door. If there are any cracks in the wood, use filler on them. Also use the filler on any holes in the wood. Take a fine grit sandpaper and give the wood a light sanding. This will help the primer to adhere more easily and also remove any small bumps as well as smooth out the filler. After you’ve finished check for smoothness with your fingertips and then rub the wood with a tack cloth to take off all the sawdust. Do the same on the other side of the door.

Step 3 - Primer

Before applying the first coat of primer you have a choice. You can use masking tape to protect all the panes of glass if you wish. However, that’s plenty of very fiddly taping. When painting interior French doors you can actually save time by painting carefully and using a razor blade on the glass to remove the paint once it’s dried.

Apply the first thin coat of primer with a brush, with strokes going in the direction of the wood grain. Paint around the glass, but don’t worry too much if some primer ends up on the glass. Allow the primer to dry then apply a second coat. Once that’s dried inspect the interior French doors. If you’ve completely covered the old color you can move ahead. If not, add a third coat of primer. Turn the door over and prime the other side, including top, bottom and sides.

Step 4 - Paint

You’ll need to apply two coats of paint to the interior French doors to give a properly covering. Paint smoothly and give ample time to dry between coats. After finishing both coats, turn the door over and paint the other side.

Step 5 - Finishing

Use a razor blade in a proper holder to scrape the excess paint off the glass. To complete the process, use glass cleaner and a dry cloth to give a shine to the glass. Put the hardware back on the door and re-hang it on the hinges. Prepare, prime and paint the other French door and your interior French doors will look as good as new.