How to Paint Louvered Doors

I have painted a lot of STUFF in my life, literally hundreds of items from small end tables to garage doors!  As a child I loved to paint and then after I graduated from college and worked in retail display, I painted all kinds of things on a daily basis from mannequins to display props, faux Christmas trees and more.

Paint is the fastest and most affordable way to transform just about anything. I even have a page here on the blog that explains how to do just that…how to paint anything.

When Ed and I bought our first home is when I started my life-long love of painting furniture. I have used many different painting techniques and over the years have my favorite methods…like always using DIY chalk paint now when I paint furniture both with modern and aged finishes.

Through all my years and painting experience though, I have never used a paint sprayer.  Shocking, I know!  :-)

Call me old school, but the real reason has more to do with the fact that I like to paint items inside my house, right where they will be used

For me it makes the painting process so much easier since I don’t have to move anything or wait for the weather to be “just right” to spray paint. I have a brush and roller method that works and I have stuck with it…until it came time to paint these….

how to paint over stained louvered doors

….brown stained bi-fold louvered doors. Two cover the laundry area in the hallway of darkness, a narrower one closes off a small pantry.

I thought about buying new doors, but when I went to the home improvement store I found that louvered doors are only primed, not painted glossy white, so I would still need to paint them.

You may be asking yourself, why not just buy solid bifold doors and not have to deal with painting the louvers?  The reason, louvered doors provide airflow into the space they close off.

Living along the water, the moisture in the air can make closed-off areas a magnet for mold. I don’t want to deal with that so I embrace the function of the louvered doors over the look of the door style itself.

HomeRight Finish Max Pro

So when it came time to paint the doors, I knew the only way to do it right was to spray them.  I could have used a case or two of spray paint in cans, but opted instead to use HomeRight paint sprayer that would only require one gallon of paint. HomeRight makes many different types of sprayers. I decided after looking at all of them to use the Finish Max Pro.

It comes with two containers for the paint and a lightweight spray gun that connects to the turbine with a 15-foot locking hose allowing the user to move around their project easily. What I like best about it though is that it sprays with little overspray and is ideal for larger projects like doors and cabinets.

To help me quickly learn how to use the sprayer, I headed over to who I think is the queen of the HomeRight paint sprayer… Gail of My Repurposed Life. She has the best tutorials on how to not only use the sprayers, but also how to set up a tent-like Spray Shelter that HomeRight sells.

How to Paint Louvered Doors with a Paint Sprayer

What I used:

How to use a paint sprayer
  1. Having a spray shelter is the best way to keep a breeze from blowing dirt, leaves, etc onto your just painted finish. It also helps keep the overspray contained.
Tips for using a paint sprayer

2. The directions attached right on the bag were good, but since it was my first time assembling it, I needed more guidance and headed over to My Repurposed Life’s post on How to Assemble a HomeRight Spray Shelter to see how to do it. Once I watched the video, I had it up in about 10 minutes.

For smaller projects when I am using spray paint in a can, I make a spray paint booth out of a cardboard box.

Paint prep needed when spray painting

Before I set up the spray shelter, I went over the surface of the doors with a sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper on it. You don’t need to sand to the bare wood, but just enough to rough up the surface.

It took me 10 minutes to sand all the doors. I washed and hosed down the doors to remove all the sanding grit, dirt and dust on them. Once they were clean I let them dry in the sun.

How to use a Home Right paint sprayer

I laid a drop cloth in the spray shelter and used blocks of foam to raise the doors off the drop cloths so as the doors dried the cloth would not stick to the doors.

I don’t have photos, but using the sprayer was super easy. The part that took the most time was learning how to thin the paint. You must thin the paint with water before using it in the sprayer. If you don’t thin it, the sprayer may not spray correctly.

The sprayer comes with a thinning cup that you fill and then need to time how long it takes to empty. There is chart to see how much water you need to add after you know the time it took for the cup to empty.

DIY spray painting

Once I thinned the paint and poured it into the paint sprayer container, the actual spray painting went super quick.

I had the first coat on all the doors in 10 minutes and let it dry. I needed 2 coats for full coverage.

Is a paint sprayer easy to use?

Clean up was much easier than I thought.  As Gail suggested in her posts, I used a bucket full of soapy water to place all the parts in as soon as I was finished painting.  I then used a hose to clean all the parts…

Home Right Finish Max Pro

…and placed them in a bucket. It is now stored in my garage at the ready for another painting project.

How to paint louvered doors

Once the doors were dry, I put them back in place.

affordable glass door knobs

I replaced the wood knobs with new faceted glass knobs.

How to paint with a HomeRight paint sprayer Finish Max Pro

Now the area looks much brighter and lighter even though the light gets blocked by a section of kitchen cabinets that are right in front of the small pantry closet.

The Go Jump In the Lake sign was a housewarming gift from friends. :-)

Painted louvered doors with a Home Right paint sprayer

I started to paint the section of cabinets…

How to paint stained wood

… and back of it to help make this area brighter.

How to paint louvered doors

I still have 3 more doors to paint in the hallway. They are wood paneled doors, not louvered doors. I plan to paint them right in place since it is way too hot now to paint them outside. I will share how I paint them with you soon.

Have you ever used a paint sprayer or have any tips to share?

DIY furniture painting tips for using a paint sprayer and paint shelter to help protect what you are painting. and the surrounding area from overspray. This inexpensive tent is easy to set up and affordable. Read more about it...

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  1. I’m scared of a paint sprayer, you make it look so easy though!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carrie – Working with a paint sprayer these days is quite simple really. They get better and better every time a new spray model comes out. The part that takes the longest is cleaning all the little parts when your done. One of my blogging friends told me early on that as soon as she takes the sprayer apart she dumps all of it into a bucket of hot soapy water and then takes each part out and hoses it clean. It works very well and makes the cleaning process much easier. The only other thing that you may have to do is thin the paint with water before using.

  2. the doors came out amazing cudos for being brave and painting them I see so much stuff and half the time details are missing so well … I try it and fail.
    cant wait to see what else you do over the summer!

  3. Stephanie says:

    PLEASE PLEASE tell me the name of, kind of, color of etc the wood or wood look floor you have in the hallway picture. The one where you have the “go jump in the Lake” sign. I have been trying to find a floor for years we agree on and this is it! Please help me!
    Hopeful in the Bayou

  4. The Restoration Group says:

    Great blog, we were doing UPVC restoration which was enjoyable. What would you recommend is the best types of paints and tools?

  5. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    I absolutely want that sprayer! Do you have any thoughts on if we could use your chalk paint (calcium carbonate one) in the sprayer? I have learned to not like the rubbery action of latex paint (am I wrong in thinking you mentioned that chalk paint stops that?), but there is the easier clean up vs oil based.

    Everything you have done is beautiful, inspiring and show stopping in a very great and special way!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll – You are right about the fact that chalk paint removes that sticky latex feel from a painted finish. Paint + Primer in One paint formulas are helping to alleviate the problem, but chalk paint and wax is the best to get rid of it. You can use chalk paint with the sprayer. It works very well since you can add water to the mix to thin it. Thinning the paint is required.

      1. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

        Wonderful news!

        I forgot to say how much I love the sign your friend’s gave you. I want to try to copy it, only in a smaller version for my bedroom wall and possibly a same size for living room.

  6. Linda Weeks says:

    Now I have yet another thing that I’m just so eager to try… once I can afford it! Yer place looks great!

  7. Great job with the door!
    I inherited the house I grew up in, it’s the house my dad (a cabinet maker) built by hand with his brothers and bothers in law in the early 1960s. My husband and I have been slowly updating it. Every room had paneling, my dad loved seeing the wood. So we painted over the paneling. Every closet door is louvered, in my head I count 8 pairs that look just like yours, and most of them were dark stained. One think about these doors, besides the dust that settles on each “shelf” of each louver, is the pours of the wood are mostly open if just stained, so getting the dust off is harder. Once we pained them all, it’s much easier to keep them all dusted. Dust doesn’t stick so much to the painted wood. But I still try to keep the dusting up. It shows if I don’t use a Swiffer on them at least weekly. It was a chore when I was young to keep these all dusted, we didn’t have a Swiffer back then.
    We painted the first door with spray paint from a can and quickly figured out that was not going to work, so we did go with a spray gun. I don’t remember the brand. This was 15 years ago, and it was a trial to learn how to use the sprayer. We had a hard time with it. It looks like your Homeright is much more user friendly than ours was!

  8. They look great and I love the glass knobs that you added. The flooring looks so much nicer, too. I haven’t used a paint sprayer, but my husband owns one and used it when we painted the house shutters. He has a large workshop so he set up a work station in there and was done in no time at all. My husband always removes doors when he paints them…I always leave them on. Lol. I’m considering painting the original wood doors and trim all over our house. It’s a tough decision because our house is from the 1920’s. I know it would suit my tastes so much more, but painting something so old and lovely is painful for me.

  9. Jan Gorelick says:

    Hi Diane: I’ve been spraying furniture for years and just finished 6 cherry dining room chairs. I use an HVLP spray gun with my compressor. My husband built a three sided spray booth with tarps and PVC piping and I put a heavyear plastic drop cloth on the ground. Painters points are great for keeping the legs off the ground! I have never used chalk paint but thanks to your wonderful recipe I may try it, but if you want a flawless finish, spraying is the only way to go.

  10. Love the doors! The hall way is looking good.

  11. Joanne B. says:

    Wow! Great transformation! My husband uses a paint sprayer all the time and says it takes longer to prep the item and clean everything afterward than to actually paint the item! Had to laugh at Pat’s comment above, regarding not knowing she was supposed to thin the paint! If her husband is anything like mine, she would have heard him say, “Instructions? Who reads/needs instructions?” ! ! !

  12. NOW you tell me you have to thin the paint. We rented a paint sprayer to paint our condo many many years ago. My hubs picked up the sprayer and must not have gotten the instructions because we went thru gallons of paint. I made three trips to the store and on the last trip, told the paint guy … the same one each time, I wasn’t going to divorce m husband, instead I’d stay married and make his life a living hell*. he sprayed his face white and the sprayer kept getting clogged. Paint sprayer was a dirty word in our family.
    Instructions might have made a difference. A huge difference.

    *joke people. I’m really very sweet.

  13. MJ Hooper says:

    Impressive improvement and nicely done!!!!
    I have a pair of louvres that a carpenter turned into barn door slider for the pressure tank/electrical box/water filter room in my basement. Been putting the paint job at the bottom of all to-do lists. But you have given me a push to get the chore done. I think I’ll wear a mask and put contractor paper behind the door and paint indoors. Taking the door down and getting it back up would be a horror show! And probably can spray the walls in that room, too!!!

    You post is a good match to go along with Gail’s. Now if i can just figure out how to keep both of them “alive” on my computer!

  14. Lou Clifton says:

    Thank you for the information on the. You have made alot of changes in such a short time. I wish I had your energy .

  15. I noticed you drink decaf which is hard to believe with all you accomplish! : ) I love the way it all turned out. You are such an inspiration. I want my kitchen painted but I’m not near as brave as you! Thanks for you posts.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lora – I am going to start painting the kitchen cabinets very soon. It will be my 3rd time painting kitchen cabinets. Maybe seeing what I do, will give you confidence to DIY. :-) Good eye on the decaf container, but I am not a coffee drinker. Ed is the one who drinks the coffee in the house. I am a hot tea drinker. :-)

  16. Terri/Houston Lady says:

    Hi Diane,

    Wow..the doors & new knobs look great!! You truly inspire me : )

  17. What a change! They look just beautiful.
    Paint sprayer- seems like such a luxury- but wow 10 mins!!

  18. Diane,

    First, thanks for the shout out. I have used the Finish Max probably more than anyone else–I love it so much! Painting louvered doors is such a challenge when done with a brush. Been there-done that!

    Your doors are beautiful! So bright and cheerful. You did a fabulous job.


  19. Mary Heicher says:

    I really like the bight white on your doors,
    and I still love that “wow” door at the end.
    You’re so clever.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Mary :-) XO

  20. P.S. :-)
    Diane I LOVE the doors painted white! We had looked at home with several louvered door that were dark stained and we took had decided to paint them, had we purchased the house. What a beautiful look and it’s so fitting for your beach home.

  21. Yes! We are “new” to paint spraying too and are converts….probably for a lot of projects in the future. :-) We just purchased the Wagner Home Decor Sprayer. It works with ALL paints (oil, latex and chalk) and stains and varnishes too, though all we’ve used so far is latex primer and paint. It uses very little paint because one needs to thin the paint for use, making pretty much any project more cost effective.

    Actually when I say “we” I mean my husband ;-) He’s gotten so good at using the sprayer he barely lets me use it. LOL!

    It’s definitely one of the ones on the market that are worth checking out. (And nope,I wasn’t reimbursed by Wagner to use their sprayer. We just love it!)

  22. Such a beautiful finished project. It makes your hallway brighter. The doors & walls look new. I noticed that your air flow filter grate looks new & clean too. Any tips on how to keep one looking that way. Our’s opens down for filter changing but it can’t be removed. I would love to take it outside & scrub it down. I have been following your blog for some time now.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – The air flow grate is hinged on the bottom so I can’t remove it completely either. I use my vacuum tool hose and brush to clean the grate of dust. Then run a Swiffer duster over it which picks up everything the vacuum didn’t get. If you need to scrub it down to really clean it. I would open it, place a towel on the floor and use blocks of wood scraps or Styrofoam to support the grate. While it is in the 9- degree position, spray it with Fantastic or a cleaner and scrub it down. I think this will work as long as you have some blocks of wood or foam to support it at a 90 degree angle while you scrub. Thanks for being a long time reader. XO

      1. Ok, thank you. I keep it clean looking on the front side but when I open it, dust that clings to the inside of the grate bothers me. I will scrub it using your suggestion & perhaps put a plastic trash bag under the towel. I am going to look for knobs like you put on your louvered doors. I would really like those for our closets.

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Linda – I am going to write about the knobs on Friday. Stay tuned. :-)

  23. Elaine Williams says:

    Gorgeous! I like the look of louvered doors – I have always associated them with a beach house look. You are so very clever. Why replace perfectly good doors when you can make them over! Other than cleaning them was there any other prep like sanding?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elaine – I like the way you think…a beach house look. Yes they do fit that style :-) I wrote the post late last night and forgot to mention that before I hosed the doors down, I did go over the surface with a sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper on it. Just to rough up the wood a bit. 10 mins was all I put into it for all the doors.

  24. Beautiful! And I love the lake sign.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patti – Thanks. The friends of ours who told us about Lake Murray when they knew we were looking for a lake to live on are the ones who gave us the sign. Without them we would have never known about the lake and found the perfect house for us. :-)

  25. michelle james says:

    I love my HomeRight sprayer but I don’t have the tent. I may need one. I painted some shutters and the sprayer is the only way to go. I love your doors. What a huge transformation. Your entire house is beautiful and I love watching it transform into your style!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Michelle – Thanks. Have you used the Finish Max and the Finish Max Pro model? I might try out the Finish Max for a smaller project.

      1. michelle james says:

        I have the smaller model. The Finish Max. I love it so much. It really makes painting furniture a breeze too.

  26. Did you sand the doors at all to prep the? Just wondering cause the thought of sanding all those louvers sounds like a really long process!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy – I did go over the doors very briefly with a sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper on it. Then I hosed them down. I wrote the post late last night and forgot to add that. Thanks for bringing it up. I will edit the post and add this very important step. :-)

      1. Just wondering if you had to sand each of the louvres down or just the frame of each door, sanding each louvre sounds like a horrendous job!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Donna – I did sand the louvres, but did not go into a lot of sanding detail on each. I just took a piece of sandpaper in my hand and rubbed along the louvres. It took less than 10 mins. When using a stain-blocking gripping primer, you do not have to sand to the bare wood, just enough to scratch the surface to provide some “tooth” so the paint has something to hold onto.

  27. Mary Howat says:

    You are so adventurous with everything, especially those doors. I love your blog!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – Thanks so much.

  28. Hi Diane, They came up really well and I have a similar project but I wonder did you have to runt the doors so they stayed within the confines of the shelter so as not to get paint on the grass

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia –

      One of the features of the paint sprayer I used is that it has hardly any overspray. I placed the doors on drop cloths so the small bit of overspray would not get on the grass. The shelter was really not needed since it was not a windy or buggy day which would have blown debris onto the wet paint. The shelter comes in very handy on days when there is a breeze. It also keeps the full sun off what you are painting. The door were longer than the shelter and if it had been a windy day, I would have done one at a time and tucked it horizontally further back in the shelter to protects it from the wind.