6 expert tips for painting doors and trims

Doors and frames can be some of the trickiest surfaces to paint in a home. Thankfully our resident paint expert and 2014 winner of The Block, Shannon Vos, is here to help.

From utilising the right tools, to deploying the correct techniques, here are six hot tips to consider when painting detail and texture into doors, trims, and frames.

Shannon Vos, who started his career as a painter, knows what’s what when painting doors and trims.


1. Make sure you have the right tools

Using the correct tools is essential to any successful paint job. To get stuck into doors, trims and frames, your basic list should include:

  • Sugar soap
  • Sandpaper
  • Duster
  • Paint brush and roller
  • Painters’ tape
  • Drop sheet

If the job calls for it, Shannon also recommends timber or wall filler and a good tin of primer like Taubmans 3 in 1 Prep, which will have you ready to tackle any and every circumstance.

2. Be prepared

“Preparation is key with any good paint job,” Shannon says. “Without it, you’re looking at some fairly shonky work ahead.”

“Before you even begin painting, you need to ensure the surface is dirt and grime free. It may need to be dusted, washed and dried,” he explains.

From there he recommends a good sanding to get rid of any lumps and bumps, and to give the coat of paint the best chance of ‘keying’ or ‘sticking’.

“Sometimes you need to fill any holes or gaps with an appropriate filler and give the surface a good clean to remove all the dust.”

Prepping your surfaces to paint is absolutely essential. Picture: realestate.com.au


3. Choose the correct paint for the job

“Doors, trims and frames are high-traffic spaces with plenty of physical tough and wear and tear,” explains Shannon.

“This means a hardy paint is required to survive the years.”

Traditionally a ‘hardy paint’ has meant one with an oil-based enamel. However with recent advances in paint technology and a shift away from solvent-based products, enamels like this Taubmans Water Based Enamel are now run-of-the-mill and able to withstand years of use.

It’s important to know what the existing paint is that you are going to paint over – get a friend in the trade to help you out. If you can’t work it out, then use a prep paint, such as Taubmans 3 in 1 to ensure the water based enamel will adhere to the surface.

“Going over existing paint which is oil based with a water-based enamel is not going to be compatible, so best to ensure there is an undercoat to be safe,” Shannon explains.

Water Based enamel is also not going to yellow over time.

There are also three sheen levels available in the enamels – low sheen, semi gloss and gloss. Higher sheen levels used to mean more durability, however these days the technology has advanced to the point where most sheen levels offer a durable and washable surface.

So, your choice really comes down to how glossy you want your doors and trims to look.

4. When it comes to choosing colours, use the 60/30/10 rule

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting colours and tones, a general rule of thumb is to stick to the 60/30/10 method.

“This is where we divvy up elements in a space by 60%, 30% and 10%, and paint each one a complimentary or contrasting tone or colour,” explains Shannon.

However, given that colour choice is very personal, Shannon advises this only as a loose guide.

“Colours should always be about telling a story of the people that live in a home. As such, it’s a formula that changes with every instance,” he says.

To help decide your colour scheme, Shannon recommends using the Coloursmith app. This handy tool allows you to create your own colours, by colour matching any object you can capture with a smart phone. You can name your colour and order a sample pot all from the app.

5. Painting = science  

“I always liken painting to a science,” says Shannon.

“You want to put enough paint on a surface to cover up whatever is underneath but not enough to make it run and drip. It’s a fine line, but there is a formula: scratchiness means not enough paint, drips and runs means too much. Find that balance!”

6. Take your time and have fun

A rushed job never turns out well.

Doors and frames are the hardest surface to paint within a home, says Shannon, so don’t expect a perfect job the first time.

“The good thing about paint is that by tomorrow, your efforts will be dry and ready for another redeeming coat.”

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