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Painting French Doors – The Easy Way

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Painting French doors can be such a pain. There’s so many panes of glass to deal with! Taping takes forever and doesn’t do a perfect job. Scraping the paint can be messy. Luckily, there’s a much easier way to paint French doors!

You might also be interested in this post on painting exterior doors.

pin image - painting French doors collage

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French doors before painting

Here’s the before of the doors. Honestly, they need to be replaced, but I’m trying to wait until I’m comfortable having contractors in our home again. Until then, a paint job hides a multitude of sins.

They look so much better than before!

This post is part of my deck makeover. Be sure to check it out!

FAQs for Painting French Doors

How do you mask off French doors?

You have a few choices to mask off the glass in French doors.

  1. Taping off the panes of glass.
  2. Painting straight on the glass and using a scraper to remove the paint when it’s dry.
  3. Using masking liquid, which I’ll explain in detail later in the post.

How do you paint doors without leaving brush marks?

Brush marks occur when you touch places that are starting to dry. The best way to avoid brush marks is to paint one area at a time, moving in one direction.

When you get to a spot that is wet, let it dry completely before painting that area. This causes you to need more coats, but it’s worth it for a flawless finish.

How do you paint a door without removing it?

I never remove doors for painting. The trick is to leave the door open while painting. You can use a paint guard at the bottom to avoid getting paint on the floor.

Should you paint a door with a brush or a roller?

It depends on the door. For my French doors, I used a brush only because the flat parts of the door were so small.

For normal doors, I typically use both a brush and a small foam roller to get quicker paint coverage.

Masking Liquid Questions

I had so many doubts and questions about using masking liquid. In my art, I sometimes use masking fluid to mask off parts of the painting that I want to stay white. It doesn’t always work and it ruins brushes. So I was curious to find out how similar this is to the artist’s version.

I had serious doubts that this product would even work, so I was pleasantly surprised when it did.

It just peels off in minutes. And it’s seriously so much easier than my normal method of scraping paint away!

It was the easiest part of this makeover. Let’s not talk about how hard installing the new deadbolt was…

peeling away dried masking fluid

Can masking liquid be used on exterior doors?

Yes, it can be used on exterior doors. Don’t use it when it’s too cold or it can get brittle.

(We painted on a 90ยบ day, but it was in the shade for most of the time.)

What happens if it gets wet?

If it gets wet, let it dry and then paint.

It rained while we were painting, and we just let it dry. Only the bottom panels were wet, but they functioned just like the ones that didn’t get wet.

How long can you leave it on?

You can leave it on for up to 30 days before it gets difficult to remove.

Do you have to paint the entire pane of glass?

This was a question that I had. Every tutorial shows people painting the entire pane of glass when really only the edges get paint on them.

I tested it both ways and I preferred painting around the edges only.

Will it ruin a paintbrush?

Masking liquid did not ruin my paintbrush. It washed out just as easily as paint, although I did add a bit of dish soap just to be sure.

Will it damage the glazing?

My French doors are old and have been repaired, so they have a bit of glazing showing. The masking liquid did not bother it at all. In fact, I would say that it was safer than using my normal method of scraping.

Painting French Doors

Supplies Needed

All About Paint for French Doors

I used Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black paint. It’s my favorite black paint.

One set of French doors doesn’t require a lot of paint. If you’re buying new paint, a quart should work just fine. However, some colors require more paint.

If you’re painting the doors a light color over a dark color, you might need more. Warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks) may require more paint as well.

Make sure to buy exterior paint for exteriors. This helps prevent the paint from fading. However, some colors are more prone to fading, no matter what. Red is the biggest one.

For exteriors, I prefer a semi-gloss sheen.

If you’re painting French doors inside, interior paint is fine. For interiors, I prefer a satin or semi-gloss sheen.

If your doors have flaws, satin will disguise them better. Shiny paint will emphasize the flaws.


Yield: 1

How to Paint French Doors

black French doors with small deck

Learn how to paint French doors without taping or scraping paint. Get perfectly painted doors with this easy DIY process.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $45


  • Masking Liquid
  • Exterior Paint


  • Paint Brush
  • Utility Knife


  1. Remove the door handle. removing door handle
  2. Clean the door and window panels with soapy water.
  3. Wash again with clean water.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Use an angled brush to paint the masking fluid onto the glass panels. You can paint the whole thing or just the edges. painting masking liquid onto glass panels
  6. Let it dry for about 3 hours. dried masking fluid on glass panels
  7. Paint your first coat of paint onto the grill (wood divider.)painted grill of French door
  8. Paint the flat panels on the door.painting the rest of the door
  9. Let it dry.
  10. Add a second coat of paint.
  11. Let it dry.
  12. Use a utility knife to score the masking liquid around the edges.scoring edges of masking fluid
  13. Peel away. peeling away dried masking fluid
  14. Ta da! Your doors are perfectly painted! painted french doors on deck

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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pin image - painted French doors on patio

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