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How to Paint Louvered Doors

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I have painted a lot of STUFF in my life, literally hundreds of items!  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:

  • HomeRight Finish Max Pro HVLP
  • Spray Shelter
  • Glidden Complete Stain Blocking Paint + Primer
  • 100 grit sandpaper on a sanding block
  • Drop cloths
  • Water
  • Bucket filled with soapy water
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. 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. :-)

  1. 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!!

  2. 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. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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.