How to Paint a Louvered Door

Three blue, louvered, exterior doors.

Painting a louvered door can be a daunting task. All those slats! You can do it if you remember a few simple rules, though. First of all, consider painting the door essentially the same color it already is. This makes any missed spots much harder to detect. If you do decide to change the color drastically, you will have to take more care to avoid glaring errors of omission.


The most important thing to remember when painting louvered doors, is to have patience. It is not a job that can be done in a hurry. Be sure you set aside enough time to finish the job. Don’t try to squeeze it in between errands, or try to get it all done in the hour before bedtime. It won’t take days, but it will take at least a few hours and requires a steady hand.

Choose Your Brush

paint color swatches and paint supplies

Next, consider using multiple brushes. A nice 2-inch brush for the wider areas will speed things along, but you'll still need a smaller brush no wider than the slats. This brush should be angled to reach all the way to the edge of each slat. It’s probably a good idea to keep an even smaller brush, such as a watercolor brush, handy as well.

Protect Your Floor and Hardware

Don’t forget to place a newspaper or a drop cloth under the door to protect the floor. Make sure it extends several inches on all sides. Tape off (or remove) the handle and tape off any hinges. You may decide to paint the hinges as well, but some people like to leave them unpainted.

Which Side to Paint First?

Every door has two sides. Your plan may not be to paint both of them, but if it is, do one side completely and then the other after a couple of hours of drying time. As you do each side, keep an eye on the opposite side for drips and make sure to wipe them with the brush whenever they occur.

Paint from the Top Down

As with most painting jobs, you should start at the top of the door and work your way down. This allows you to catch drips that might fall on unpainted areas rather than drips on areas you just finished, where the paint may be tacky enough for the brush to leave marks (or even stray bristles) behind.

Remember to switch to the smaller brush for the louvers, and use the angled tip to reach all the narrow edges. You can also use the watercolor brush if that doesn’t reach. If you try to reach edges by loading up the brush with a lot of paint, you will just make a drippy mess. Instead, go to smaller brushes for hard to reach places. Don’t forget the hinged edge and the outside edge.

On the bottom, be careful not to paint the newspaper to the bottom of the door by accident. It will be difficult to remove without leaving scraps stuck to the bottom edge. When you’ve finished your louvered door, throw out the paper, take off the tape, and voila! Painted louvered door!