The different sections of a paneled door are painted in sequence starting with the mouldings. Work in strokes parallel to the grain of the wood to avoid streaking the paint. Once the mouldings are complete, paint the centre panels. Finish each stroke with an upwards stroke so that there are no visible brush marks. Don’t press the brush into the panel too hard or the paint will become tacky and streaky. Next paint the muntin – the central vertical panel – and the cross rails – the horizontal panels at the top, foot and middle. Paint each of these following the direction of the grain, and finish the vertical panel with upward strokes. The last sections of the door to be painted are the stiles – the outer vertical panels at each side of the door. When these are complete, paint the edge of the door – brush from the edge, not onto it. While the paint is drying on the face and edges of the door, wedge it open at the bottom so that it does not come into contact with the door-frame and mar the paintwork.
Flush doors are easier to paint if you take them off their hinges and lay them over trestles. Start at the top and work downwards in sections blending each section into the other. Finish each part with light parallel strokes in the direction of the grain.
Doors aren’t just functional room dividers; they also add character to a home. They come in for a great deal of wear and tear, however, and deserve to be well-maintained. Paint paneled doors in the sequence described. If you remove the door handle, it is a good idea to keep it in the room with you, just in case. Alternatively, wrap the handle tightly in kitchen foil to protect it from splashes.