Interiior doors and getting a house ready

sheryl8185May 3, 2010

My house does not have nice 6 panel white doors. It has 20+ year old hollow brown doors. Some of them have cosmetic damage (scratch or perhaps remnants of a sticker a kid hung up). I don't want to replace a house full of doors and trim, and yet they are dated looking and I feel that this is one of those things that makes the house look less attractive to buyers. One door actually does need replacement in my opinion. I think we have very little chance of matching the existing color to a replacement door.

So, I am not afraid of painting doors, but they will still be flat hollow doors - not sure how much of an improvement that is??? Doing nothing, we will have one mismatched doors and a bunch of dated looking interior doors some of them with some cosmetic damage.

What would you do?

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As a general rule of thumb, if it can be painted, you should paint it. It is amazing what a few dollars worth of white paint can do. Same goes for the trim.

BTW - you can fill the scratches before painting and you'll never know they were there.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:03AM
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I agree. Painting would be a good option.

If you have to replace the one door because it has major holes in it or something else, you can try moving the doors around so the door that doesn't match the others is in another part of the house. It may not be an issue.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I'm planning on painting all my interior doors over the next month or two. Is there any prep work I should be aware of? The people who did the work on our master bath a couple of years ago repainted the doors in that room, and the paint is peeling off now -- I'd like to avoid that problem, if possible.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 12:27PM
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Prep the doors by washing with a detergent that will remove hand oil and dirt, scuff sand them and go for it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 12:29PM
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I used TSP with an etcher in it on paneling (that old cheap stuff) and paint adhered beautifully. I did use a primer, though. Take the doors outside or to the garage and paint them on sawhorses. Much easier than covering the floors, trim, etc. White paint will go a long ways to improving the appearance of the doors.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 12:47PM
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Paint them and the trim. If you want you can also add some trim to the doors to make them look less like a flat panel door.

There is all kinds of trim available to do this, but I would do something that is fairly low profile.

Here is an example pic of what I'm talking about. Now doing the curves etc. or finding that trim is harder, but you could just do a square frame with trim.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 1:53PM
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If you do the trim stuff look at the shelf edge molding or screen molding for lower profiles who are nice and symmetric too and would lay flat against the door.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Try painting. I for one hate those dark hollow wood doors from the 80's in our neighborhood. They scream -- "I was built in the 80's!"

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 3:44PM
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Brilliant idea to use the trim to make the doors more interesting. I might use the damaged door as my test subject. I have done a reasonable amount of painting in my day and i think I can get a nice result. Sand, prime, paint, with good paint.

So, my only question was why didn't i ask this opinion years ago so I could enjoy having pretty white doors? :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I had those brown flat doors in my 1983 house and I painted them white many years ago. I never added molding to them because the doors weren't smooth, they had a wood grain texture on them.

I recently replaced them with paneled white doors, it turned out to be way more work then expected but they look nice.

I once went to a Parade of Homes a couple of days early with a realtor friend and at one of them they were taking plain white slab doors and adding molding to them. They looked great!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:47AM
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What type of doors do other houses in your neighborhood have? I had this very same dilemma. I had hollow luan doors with old stain, some scratched, with one beyond repair requiring replacement. All of the other houses in my neighborhood and price range were of the same vintage and had the same doors. I stained the new one, cleaned, touched up, and polished the others, and left it at that. We also touched up and polished any other stained molding to look intentional instead of an afterthought.

On the other hand, if you are in a nicer area and/or competing with new construction you will probably need to paint.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 11:53AM
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Our neighbhorhood is nice, but 20+ years old. Most of the houses in the 2 mile radius are under 5 years old (lots of building the last few years!). My house was probably a lower end house in our neighborhood when it was built, and on top of that, many have been updated and remodeled. I know this because when any are listed I look at the pictures online! We have updated some things in our home, we have a really nice trex deck and stamped concrete patio for example, but never took on trim, windows, doors.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:32AM
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I would paint them or check the big-box stores for sales on solid doors. Really makes a difference. I slowly replaced all my doors, including closets over the years with solid.

We just sold our home, but we did paint all the solid doors before putting the house on the market. They were oak doors but looked dated. We painted them and all the trim. We used primer and paint. No sanding. The doors were polyed and I was amazed the paint stuck. Some doors were painted on only one side and the wood was left facing out. Turned out great. Made the rooms look updated and fresh.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 1:31AM
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I think if you go and price six-panel hollow doors at a discount lumber or regular home improvement big box, you'll see that they are not that expensive. You might find them in the $35 - 25 range. Depending on how many interior doors you have and the upgrade they give, you might decide it's worth it. You'll have to consider hinge placement (2 or 3), which way they swing, if you'll need a hole saw to add a door knob, and whether your existing hardware will work with them. I think it would be worth investigating, though.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:06AM
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the problem is not so much the door but everything else that goes with it--
you may have problems with the door facing/trim and the paint around the door
and new door hardware...

we did quite a bit of remodeling on our previous home when we throught we would put it on the market (our son is renting it instead)
and the price to replace the doors was something my husband throught was just not worth it...
he said if we got lots of complaints we could offer a reduction in price for it...

we had a LOT of doors--from having lot of closets--

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 9:25PM
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The painting is not too difficult. I agree with the recommendation to take them down and paint them on sawhorses . . . with a roller. It's too hard to get a smooth finish with a brush. We just repainted two hollow-core doors on our pantries. The biggest hassle ws stripping off the old oil-based paint. The new paint went on easily.

Of course this assumes that the existing trim is already painted. If you're having to paint trim, too, that is a lot more work. Are you able to match the existing trim color?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 1:41PM
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Watch the big box home retailers. One of them around here had a sale on 6 panel hollow core doors -- any size $19 each.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 1:50PM
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A problem we ran into was that the existing flat, brown hollow doors had 2 hinges and all of the new pre-hung doors come with 3 hinges. The old doors were in terrible shape, so we have replaced the remaining 5 doors with pre-hung 6-panel doors - $49 at Lowes, and had them installed by someone who knew what he was doing. It's a tricky job but well worth it IMO.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 5:33AM
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We are trying to get our house ready. We have paneling in our bedrooms. I would like to replace the doors with the 6 panel doors but I don't think they would look good painted white. Can you stain & varnish them or should I replace the trim in those rooms with white and paint the doors white. I didn't think you should put white trim with paneling. What is your opinion?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:29AM
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You may consider replacing them on the main level only and paint the others to match. They really do dress up a home. Sanding, painting prep, etc of your old doors will take a lot of effort too. I'd check to see if the hinge placement is compatable with Big Box Store doors. They are pretty inexpensive so you might want to buy a door and try it out.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:57AM
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I don't know about this. Is the rest of your trim white? Is it a 1950s ranch that all had those brown hollow core doors? If so I'm not sure a painted white door would be an improvement. Not to me at anyway. So I guess what I'm saying is it depends on the style of the house, how many doors there are and how close they are together and what the trim is. Could look worse depending.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:17AM
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