How to Paint Pocket Doors

Pocket doors, with their ability to retract into walls, are the perfect type of door for any home that's short on room. If you're looking to breathe some new life into your home's pocket doors, you may want to consider painting them. In the span of several hours, your doors can be freshly painted and looking like new.

Tools You'll Need

  • Tarp
  • Newspaper
  • Expendable blanket
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paper breathing mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Natural wood cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Washcloth
  • Tape
  • Screwdriver

Step 1 - Prepare Your Doors

Before you can begin painting your pocket doors, you will need to take them off their tracks, place them atop a large tarp, expendable blanket, or pile of old newspapers, and give them a vigorous cleaning. With the help of an assistant, carefully lift the doors from their retractable tracks and gently place them on top of the tarp. These doors can generally be installed and removed without the aid of any tools, but if your doors are screwed into their respective tracks, you will need to detach them with a screwdriver before being able to lift them onto the tarp.

Next, use a natural wood cleaner and a sponge or washcloth to remove any dirt, dust or other assorted filth from the doors. As commercial wood cleaners contain chemicals that may have harmful reactions to the chemicals in your paint, it is very important that you use a natural cleaner when performing this step. Lastly, if your doors feature any knobs or handles that you do not wish to paint, either remove them or thoroughly wrap them with tape.

Step 2 - Sand Your Doors

Having successfully removed and cleaned your pocket doors, you will need to sand them in order to give the paint a smooth surface upon which it can easily adhere. Using a sheet low-grit sandpaper, gently sand your doors, paying special attention to any knicks or rough patches, as these can cause problems during the painting process. Once your doors have been sufficiently sanded, use a lightly dampened washcloth or paper towel to wipe off any resulting dust before proceeding any further.

Step 3 - Apply Your Paint

Now that your doors have been sanded, you're ready to begin applying your paint. Begin this process by donning a paper breathing mask and a pair of protective goggles. Then, to give your work area proper ventilation, take care to open up any nearby doors and windows. Additionally, if you are particularly weak against paint fumes, you may want to paint your doors in an area that features an exhaust fan.

To ensure that paint is spread evenly, it is recommended that you store the paint which you are working with in a paint tray as opposed to loading your paintbrush or roller directly from a can. Once your painting tool of choice has been selected, apply your paint to the doors in smooth, even vertical strokes. Make sure to smooth out any paint drips immediately upon discovering them so that they're not given a chance to dry. After your first coat has been applied, allow it to completely dry before applying any additional coats. Furthermore, do not proceed to paint the opposite side of your pocket doors until the final coat of paint on the first side has dried.