The vast choice of paint products nowadays can be a little overwhelming. There are literally thousands of products you can choose from, each giving different results. In this blog I’m going to talk about the best paint for interior doors. We’ll delve into the different paint finishes that are on offer, then I’ll offer a couple of recommendations for each finish.
Feel free to skip ahead…. If you know you want a water-based satinwood, then feel free to scroll down to that section of the blog. However, I will give as much detail as possible so you can make an informed decision.
I’ll go through the finishing products on this guide, and I’ll explain which paints need a specific primer. New doors, be it pre-primed, or bare wood, will always need a primer undercoat to seal the timber before you use any of the products on my list. Any knotts will need to be primed using a shellac knotting solution.
I stick to using trade paint for pretty much everything, including internal doors. As a professional decorator, I can tell you with certainty that trade paint vastly outperforms retail. Just because a tin of satinwood has the name “Dulux” on it, don’t automatically assume it’s good quality. Always look for the word “trade” too. This is particularly important when painting internal doors. It can be difficult to achieve a good finish on large, flat areas like doors, and you also need a paint to be durable enough to stand being knocked. So, always go for a quality paint.
It’s also worth mentioning that unless you’re entitled to a trade discount with favourable terms, then it’s usually cheaper to buy trade paint online, than it is if you were to buy it from a trade paint outlet. For this reason, I’ll link an online supplier for each of my recommendations, but you can get most trade products from Decorating Centre Online.
Best Gloss for an Internal Door
I thought I’d start with the high-sheen paint products and work my way down. Gloss isn’t as popular as it once was for internal woodwork. This is probably to do with the VOC restrictions that came into play in 2010. That said, I still like it as a paint finish! It can stand loud and proud in a room, almost like your interior décor is wearing a crisp suit. It looks sharp!
I’ll give you two examples of the best gloss paint for interior doors. One of them is a traditional oil-based paint. The other is a more modern alkyd emulsion, which a little bit of oil in the material to achieve the sheen level needed, but primarily a water-based paint.
Teknos Futura Aqua 90
This, in my opinion, is the best water-based gloss for internal doors. Teknos Futura Aqua 90 is easy to use and has a fantastic sheen level. You will need to apply a coat of Teknos Futura Primer to handle adhesion and opacity. It’s also advisable to apply this paint to your door using a mini roller to achieve an even finish.
However, the results are gorgeous. Great body, fantastically durable, and will keep its colour for many years. This is one of the only water-based gloss products I like.
Dulux Trade Gloss
On to the best oil-based gloss for internal doors. Personally, I’m not a fan of oil-based gloss inside a home, but a lot of other Decorators still use it. I think the best, or one of them anyway, is Dulux Trade. This is an awesome “in your face” finish which can look absolutely awesome!
However, if you do use oil-based gloss to paint internal woodwork like doors, then make sure you use an appropriate undercoat, and take steps to expose your newly painted surfaces to natural light for a few days while the gloss cures. This will slow the yellowing process. Gloss paint will discolour very quickly on the inside of cupboard doors where there is no natural light.
Best Water-Based Satinwood for Interior Doors
Water-based satinwood is probably the most popular finish nowadays. Satin looks far more contemporary than gloss, and water-based paints have come a long way in recent times. I’m going to give you three recommendations in this section –
- A high-end paint, for those who have the budget and want the best.
- A good Trade option.
- A good value, but easy to use option.
Benjamin Moore Scuff X
Let’s start with the best of the best. Scuff X Satin is easy to use, goes for miles, and looks fantastic. It is very expensive, but you will notice the difference when you look at your finished internal doors. This is going to sound silly, but they will look sophisticated and contemporary. Brush marks just melt away too. Anyone can achieve a good finish with this product. Scuff X may be expensive, but it is genuinely the best paint for internal doors in my honest opinion. They do not offer a “Brilliant White”, but there are various off-whites available.
Johnstone’s Aqua Guard
This was recently voted the best water-based satinwood amongst professionals on the Decorators Forum UK, and it’s perfect for internal doors. You’ll find this paint easy to use, durable, and leaves an amazing finish. As you can probably guess, this is my favourite trade option.
You will need to apply a coat of Aqua Undercoat to your doors before applying the Aqua Guard Satin, but it’s easy enough to use. Just be conscious of little drips; paint a door, wait 10 minutes, then just cast your eye over it (sounds like a faff, but it isn’t really).
This is the cheaper option, and it’s only available in Brilliant White, but you will find it a joy to use. No need for an undercoat when painting over a previously painted door unless you’re going for a colour change.
You’ll find the finish nice and sharp! Just lash the paint on because it tends to stay where you put it. WRX Satinwood is tough as old boots too, which makes it perfect for internal doors.
The Best Oil-Based Satinwood
There are a few oil-based satinwood paints that will work well on doors. I think I’m going to go with Dulux Trade here, but Crown Trade is also well worth looking at.
Dulux Trade Satinwood
This paint is self-undercoating, easy to use, has great opacity, and looks fantastic. The sheen-level is quite high after you apply it, but it calms down over the course of the following weeks. It’s durable too.
I feel like oil-based paints for internal woodwork like doors are slowly being phased out, but Dulux Trade Satinwood is still a great product, and one that’s popular amongst professionals. Not only will it look good, but it keeps its colour for many years.
The Best Eggshell for Interior Doors
Eggshell isn’t as popular as satinwood on interior doors, but it can look good. The sheen level of this paint is around 10%, which is quite close to matt. I’ll give you an oil-based and a water-based recommendation. Either one will work well on internal doors.
Dulux Trade Eggshell
Let’s start with the oil-based recommendation. Dulux Trade oil-based Eggshell looks good on doors. It’s described as “self-undercoating”, but the opacity isn’t great, so I tend to apply 1 coat of oil-based undercoat, followed by one coat of eggshell.
This paint is a joy to use on doors. It flows brilliantly from your brush or roller, and brush marks melt away in front of your eyes. Everything just looks silky smooth when you’re done. This paint takes a few days to cure and harden up, so try not to knock your doors for a while.
Crown FastFlow Eggshell
This is my water-based recommendation. There are a lot of “acrylic eggshells” that work as an emulsion, or as a paint for internal woodwork, but they’re not durable enough for doors in my opinion. Crown FastFlow Eggshell is just for woodwork, but it performs fantastically.
Make sure you use FastFlow Undercoat before applying the eggshell. You’ll find this paint fairly easy to use, durable once cured, and leaves a great finish. What more could you ask for?
Well, I hope that’s helped. Sorry if I’ve waffled on a little bit, but there are a few things to consider when choosing the best paint for interior doors. At least now you can make an informed decision. All the products mentioned are perfect for doors, but they can also be used on other internal woodwork. This means you can also paint windowsills, doorframes, skirting boards etc in the same paint as your doors.
Best Paint for Interior Doors – by Mike Gregory
What Do Other Decorators Think?
Benjamin Moore Scuff x is the best paint for an interior door. It goes on quicker than anything else, dries a quicker than anything else and can be re coated quicker than anything else. It also looks better than an oil-based finish. Also, fully water-based paints like this so will never yellow, even on the back of a door.
I’ve switched to water-based paints for all my internal woodwork. I think it’s better than oil-based nowadays. I always thought Scuff X is the best, although another Decorator tested it side by side with Johnstone’s Aqua Guard, and the Aqua Guard performed better, so who knows.
Dulux Diamond Satinwood leaves a fantastic finish, but it’s a pain to use on doors. It runs like crazy, so you keep having to go back over your work.
Bedec Advanced Satin is awesome too. That’s got to be in the top 4 door paints.
Water-based paint goes on a door a lot quicker, but there’s nothing wrong with oil-based satinwood. It’s still the best finish, it’s durable, and yellowing isn’t an issue with satin. I don’t understand why everyone is obsessed with water.