How to Paint Bedroom Doors so They Don’t Stick (6 Steps)

If you’re about to paint your bedroom door then you might be worried about it sticking once it’s dried.

So how do you paint a bedroom door so that it won’t stick?

To paint a bedroom door so that it won’t stick: identify any existing sticking points and remove them with a jack plane; sand the entire door, fill any holes with wood filler, apply the primer, and AVOID painting the top and bottom edges to prevent the door from sticking when closed.

But what if you have a bedroom door that already sticks and you want to unstick it?

To unstick a bedroom door: sand or plane the larger sticking points, lubricate the minor sticking points with petroleum jelly, reduce the humidity of the room to around 50%, replace or adjust the door hinge pin, and/or reposition the hinges.

The rest of this article shows you how to paint a bedroom door step-by-step so that it won’t stick in more detail, and expands upon the 5 ways to unstick a bedroom door more fully.

Related: try these 19 bedroom door designs to make your door look cool and stylish.

How to Paint a Bedroom Door So it Won’t Stick

To paint your bedroom door so that it won’t stick, follow the 6 steps below:

1: Cover the Door Hardware With Painter’s Tape

Before doing any painting, you should cover the door hardware (hinges and handles) with painter’s tape so that it doesn’t get splashed with paint.

Alternatively, you can remove the hinges and handles completely whilst you carry out the painting work.

2: Put Newspaper On the Floor

In addition to protecting the door hardware, you should also cover the floor with newspaper or another suitable protective cover to ensure that the area doesn’t get paint on it.

You can also use sheets to cover any nearby furniture too.

3: Remove Sticking Points With a Jack Plane

If the door is already sticking, then before you do anything else, you should identify the sticking points and remove them with a jack plane to smooth out the wood and ensure the door can fit inside the frame without sticking.

Follow these steps to remove the sticking points effectively:

  • Close the door up until the point where it sticks.
  • Mark the edges of the sticking points with a pencil.
  • Use a ruler to draw a line from the edges of the sticking points so that you know how much wood to remove so that the door won’t stick when closed inside the frame.
  • Remove the door if required.
  • Use a jack plane with a razor sharp blade to remove the wood inside the marked areas.
  • Re-attach the door to the frame to ensure that it no longer sticks.

The video below shows you how to use a plane to remove the sticking points on a door without removing it from the frame:

Planing A Door To Fit-Fixing A Sticking Door

4: Sand the Entire Door

The next step is to sand away the existing paint so that it can be primed and re-painted so that it won’t stick.

An electric sander is the best way to sand the door because it is faster and easier to apply an even finish – although regular sandpaper can be used and may be ideal for getting into the cracks and crevices of a more detailed wooden door.

Follow these steps to sand your bedroom door:

  • Put on safety glasses and a dusk mask for protection.
  • If you re-attached the door in step 3 then you’ll need to remove it again.
  • Fit the sander with medium sandpaper (80-120 grit).
  • Sand the entire door evenly with a gentle pressure until all of the old paint is gone.
  • Sand the whole door with sandpaper with 150-180 grit to remove any scratches.
  • Sand the entire door with 220-240 grit sandpaper to create a smooth finish.

The video below shows you how to remove the old paint from a door and sand it down:

How to Repaint a Wood Door

5: Prime the Door

Priming the bedroom door will help to discourage stains and help the new paint stick better.

Follow these steps to prime the door:

  • Clean the door with a damp cloth to remove any dust from sanding.
  • Use wood filler to even out any dents in the door that were not removed during sanding.
  • Apply the primer to the door evenly.

6: Paint the Door

The final step is to paint your bedroom door by following the steps below:

  • Lay the door down flat.
  • Paint the front and back of the door.
  • Do NOT paint the top and bottom edges of the door – this will help to stop the door from sticking.
  • Let the paint dry fully (24 hours for oil-based paint, 4 hours for latex paint).
  • Apply more coats if required (re-sand between coats to remove bubbles).
  • Re-attach the door to the hinges inside the door frame.


If you want a flawless-looking bedroom door, then you should re-sand the door in between coats to remove any bubbles or dust that has appeared in the paint.

To achieve the best result, it’s recommended to hand-sand the entire door after both the primer and the paint are applied.

Drying Time

It takes oil-based paint 6 to 8 hours to become touch-dry but you should wait 24 hours for the paint to become fully dry and be ready for the second coat.

Oil-based paint is more durable but it takes more time to dry and the clean-up is a bit harder.

If you are using latex paint, the door will be dry to the touch in 1 hour and the door will be ready for the recoat in just 4 hours.

The latex paint will dry faster but it won’t last for a long period of time.

Roller vs Brush

Foam rollers spread paint more efficiently and evenly and they don’t leave those brush marks that look amateurish.

Foam rollers are better than standard-nap rollers as they have rounded ends that make the
lap marks almost impossible and they make it easier to paint into the corners.

You can use a brush to paint the more detailed areas of your bedroom door.

5 Ways to Unstick a Bedroom Door

If your bedroom door is sticking, then you can unstick it by using one or more of the techniques below:

1: Reduce the Room Humidity to Less Than 70%

To reduce the humidity of your bedroom to less than 70% (aim for around 50%) so that your wooden doors are less likely to swell and stick, you should use a dehumidifier, dry your clothes outside, remove any house plants, keep the room well ventilated, and fix things like broken pipes, damp basements, and consider taking cooler showers.

Reducing the humidity of your bedroom and house in general is an effective way to stop wooden doors from sticking because if the humidity in your bedroom is greater than 70%, then you may find that your wooden doors swell up due to moisture retention – which causes them to get stuck in the door frame.

You can measure the humidity of your bedroom by purchasing a hygrometer that will give you an accurate reading – they can be bought online and are relatively inexpensive.

2: Lubricate the Sticking Points With Petroleum Jelly

To unstick your bedroom door, gently close the door and take note of the sticking points that the door creates with the frame – if they are minor, then rub either petroleum jelly, soap, or paraffin wax on these sticking points to reduce the friction without the need for sanding.

3: Sand Down the Sticking Points

If the sticking points are too prominent for lubrication to solve, then you can opt to sand the wood down to remove the sticking points entirely and restore the proper closing function.

4: Replace or Adjust the Door Hinge Pin

If your bedroom door has a door hinge pin then you can replace it with a longer one for more support which may help to distribute the weight of the door more evenly so that it doesn’t stick.

To replace the door hinge pin:

  • Put a thin book or some cardboard beneath the door to support it.
  • Use a hammer and nail-punch to gently push the pin upwards.
  • Tap the hammer against the thicker part of the nail until it comes out.
  • Apply WD-40 as a lubricant to the nail if it won’t come out.
  • When the pin gets loose, tap it with a screwdriver to push it through.
  • When all the pieces are removed, slowly and carefully take the door down.
  • Replace door hinge pin with a longer one for more support.

Alternatively: Adjust the Top Hinge

The video below shows you another way to fix a sticking door by adjusting the positioning of the top hinge – with no need to remove the door or replace the screws:

How to Fix a Sticking Door

How to Remove a Door Hinge Pin With a Bottom Cap

If your door hinge pin has a cap on the end, then watch the video below for a demonstration on how to remove it effectively:

Remove Door Hinge Pin with Bottom Cap

5: Reposition the Hinges

If tightening or replacing the hinge screws doesn’t fix the problem, then you can try repositioning the hinges so that they carry the weight of the door more effectively and stop it from catching on the frame.

To change the position of the door hinges:

  • Unscrew and remove the current door hinges.
  • Fill the holes left behind by the screws with wood putty.
  • Position the door so that it no longer sticks.
  • Use a pencil to lightly mark the new positioning of the hinges.
  • Drill new holes for the screws.
  • Fix the hinges to the door frame.
  • Attach the door to the hinges.
  • Check that the door no longer sticks when you open and close it.

Conclusion: Don’t Paint the Top and Bottom Edges

When painting a bedroom door the most important step that you can take to stop it from sticking is to avoid painting the top and bottom edges of the door because this way, the paint won’t cause the door to stick to the frame if it becomes tacky or worn.

You could also try not painting the outer edge of the door to reduce the chance of it sticking even further, but this may look unsightly when the door is open – so only apply a very light coat on this area.

When dealing with a bedroom door that’s already sticking, the most effective solutions are to either sand or plane down the sticking points, and/or adjust the hinge positioning so that the door can sit inside the frame freely.

Up next: how to paint a metal bed frame black in 7 steps.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Modern Bedroom’ by YvanDube (Getty Images Signature) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.