How to paint a door without brush marks

With the tips below, learn how to paint your door without brush marks. You don’t need a fancy paint sprayer. Painting interior door is so much easier than you think. It isn’t hard to paint a door without brush marks.

If you’re looking to DIY your door into a more interesting door, make sure to check out:
My Modern DIY Barn Door – my vision was to add an accent wall on my door
My $40 Interior Door Update – this is a more classic style door painted in a rich moody color

In a few hours, you can transform the look of the hallway or any room by painting your door. Last year, I updated this boring long hallway by adding this beautiful board and batten. However I didn’t feel ready to paint the door at the time. I painted the hallway this rich colour, Pewter Green by Sherwin Williams. At the time, I felt like painting the door will be too much for this small hallway. After living with it for a year, I knew that painting it would make the space look complete. Don’t feel rushed into design choices you’re not ready for.

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There are 2 ways to paint a door without unsightly brush marks:

  1. A paint sprayer. This is not my preference because it is so much work. To use the paint sprayer, you have to remove the door, or tape off the entire space around the door with plastic to prevent overspray.

    Once you are done painting, you then need to reattach the door to the hinges and clean out the paint sprayer. Cleaning the paint sprayer takes at least 30min-1hour. I think using a paint sprayer can be really useful, but there are times where it may clog, or spray unevenly. I personally don’t think is it worth all the work for painting a door. Plus there are times that you can see the sprayer marks, depending on the lighting. There is an easier way!
  2. A foam roller. I much prefer to use a foam roller when painting any type of furniture or door. A foam roller ensures that there are no brush marks, no roller marks, and you get a beautiful even finish. I admit that the finish is not as good as a paint sprayer, but the difference is not very noticeable. For small projects I would much rather use a foam roller and get the project done quickly. Maybe this is because of the stage of life I am at, a mother with 3 children.

    I have painted many pieces of furniture with a foam roller like my fluted nightstands, and my daughter’s floral dresser. I have always been happy with the results. As long as you do take care to paint carefully with light coats. We will go into this in more details below

Materials to Paint your door

Power tools


  • Deglosser (this is so important, do not skip this step)
  • Paint brushes. This is my favourite rubber handled brush
  • Primer. I did not need any, but if you do, I like Rustoleum UMA extreme bond primer or Sherwin-Williams wood and wall primer
  • Paint. I used Sherwin-Williams Pewter Green in the Emerald line in a satin finish
  • Painters tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Foam rollers (picked up from the Sherwin Williams store)
  • Latex/ work gloves
  • Old cloth in a light color
  • New handle (not necessary, but this is a beauty!)
How to paint a door without brush marks in a hallway

Step 1 – Prep your door

Prep is the most important step to make sure that your door has a beautiful smooth finish and the paint does not chip off. If you fail to prep your door, there’s a good chance the paint will peel off the door. You don’t want to go through all the effort of painting the door and then have the paint chip off.

Take a look at your door and determine what type of paint finish is on your door. If you are in a new build home, chances are that your door is painted in a satin, or semi-gloss finish. However, if you are in an older home your door might be painted with an oil based paint or high gloss paint. If you were unsure of what type of paint is on your door, do the extra step and assume that you have oil based paint on your doors.

I also found this as a suggestion online:

Rub a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol over the area. If the paint comes off, you have latex-based paint. If it does not, you have oil-based

Prepping doors that have oil based paint or High gloss paint

Oil based paint is harder to remove than a glossy, or satin finish paint. You will need to do the extra step and sand your doors so the top layer of the paint comes off. Use and electric sander with a P220 grit sandpaper to get that finish off the door. You may also have to use sandpaper to get into crevices if your door has any type of moulding or detailing on it. Once your door is sanded, wipe it down with tac cloth or a damp paper towel. Remove any sawdust that may be stuck to the door. The door should be smooth, and feel more like paper versus a laminated surface.

Prepping doors that have a satin/ semi-gloss finish

Put your gloves on, and dip your cloth into the crud cutter. You don’t necessarily need to empty the cut cut her into a container, I simply tip my credit Qatar bottle slightly damp in my cloth. Wipe your entire door surface in a circular motion. Be sure to fold over and dampen your cloth frequently. Once your cloth is soaked, use another cloth wipe the entire surface including all the trim detailing.

How to paint a door without brush marks prep your door

Additional consideration: Prepping doors that aren’t white

If your doors painted a colour other than white I recommend priming it as well. Use a foam roller and two coats of primer. Lightly hand sand with p320 grit between each coat of primer.

Remove your handle

Remove your handle from the door, whether you will be changing it or not. If you keep the handle on the door, you’ll have to use a brush around the handle and have a higher chance I’ve brushstrokes coming through. It’s very easy to remove a handle and just takes a few minutes. There are 2 screws on the handle and 2 on the door jab.

Step 2 – How to paint your door without brush marks

Using painters tape, tape off any parts of the wall that you do not want painted.

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I prefer to use a low sheen paint on my doors because it is less likely to show with a roller marks. The higher the sheen, the more the roller marks or brush marks will show through.

Grab your brush and start by painting any of the crevices or trim details first. Paint a light coat. You will leave behind light brush marks. That’s okay, we will address them later.

Then, move onto the flat surfaces of the door. Paint the flat surfaces with the foam roller. I always paint light coats, whether it is with my brush or with my foam roller. I always go for 3 light coats of paint to get the smoothest possible finish.

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Before painting the last coat add the flat surfaces, use the rounded part of the farm roller to paint any trim detail or crevices. This will ensure that the topcoat avoids brush marks.

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Remove your painters tape while the door is slightly damp to prevent the paint from peeling up when you peel the tape off.

Either add your existing handle or the new handle on the door at this time, once the paint is dry

learn how to paint your door without brush marks
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How to paint a door without brush marks hallway

I would love to see you tackle this beginner project. If you do, be sure to share with me. Follow me on instagram for more budget projects.

2 thoughts on “How to paint a door without brush marks”

  1. I’m attempting to paint my interior doors with a roller and thus far have not had even marginal success at achieving an even coat.
    Completely smooth, hollow-core doors; Wooten foam roller; Glidden semi-gloss; 70F ambient temperature.
    At first, the roller doesn’t seem to be willing to spread the paint around, meaning wherever the paint first lands once it touches the surface of the door, that’s where it wants to stay. E.g. the impressions in the roller from the chevrons in the paint tray are transferred perfectly onto the door surface and remain there regardless of re-rolling over them from different angles. I can, sometimes, eventually get the paint to spread out a bit with very vigorous rolling over the same area repeatedly. I’ve tried rolling out from one location as well as applying several fresh “stripes” in different areas then attempting to blend them together.
    No matter how thick or thin the paint is on the roller, or how quickly I roll it, the evidence of the roller path is very apparent. The closest I’ve gotten to an even coat in any one area of the door is by rolling with the kind of fast motion you’d use to hacksaw through a large pipe (which sprays paint specks everywhere) but I can’t move my arm any faster, and it’s still not producing an even coat.
    Currently on my third coat on one side of one door. I have four doors total to paint. I’d really rather not have to rent a sprayer and deal with that hassle, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

    1. Hey James. That sounds tough. A few things to try
      1- do you need to sand and prime the doors first?
      2- I’ve never worked with the paint you’ve selected so I’m not sure tbh. I’ve only used SW emerald on doors.
      3- make sure you offload the roller first. Thin coats is ideal. 2-3 coats is what I aim for.

      Hope that helps

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