How to Paint Hollow Core Interior Doors? A Step-by-Step Guideline

As the name suggests, hollow core interior doors are hollow inside and lightweight. You may feel confused about their painting process. If you want to learn how to paint hollow core interior doors, there are several tips and tricks you need to know. 

You can either remove all hardware from the door or cover all before painting. Also, maintain the same direction of paint strokes across the entire door. 

Let’s dive into the detailed into the painting with a few instruments. 

What is a Hollow Core Door?

Hollow Core Door Infrastructure

Used mainly for interior designing, hollow core doors are basically two thin layers over a hollow core. The door skin or layers are made of veneer, and the hollow core is made of either paper honeycomb or plastic material. 

The benefits of using hollow core doors are that these are inexpensive and lightweight, but get easily damaged. You can paint your hollow door as a part of a home renovation or damage repair process. Either way, these are the instruments needed to paint a hollow core door –

  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain blocking primer
  • Semi-gloss paint
  • Paint roller
  • Hinges
  • Door knob
  • Paint brush
  • Painters tape

How Do You Paint Primed Hollow Core Doors?

A hollow core door painting technique is different from a solid core door. Because hollow core doors are not solid wood, but rather a thin layer of plastic or vinyl. 

That’s why it needs a different kind of preparation before painting. For example, priming after sanding, using glossy paint, etc. Let’s break it down for you. 

Uninstall the Door

For easy control; you can start by carefully uninstalling the entire door. This will help you quickly cover every corner with paint and avoid dripping. 

However, this process is completely optional. You can proceed without uninstalling if it seems too much of a hassle. 

Remove the Hardware

The next step is removing hardware from the door, such as the knob and the hinge. Remove the parts for a free surface to work on without worrying about messing the hardware with paint. 

An alternative way to remove parts would be to wrap the hardware with tape and avoid paint strokes. For better control, remove the whole door. That way, the paint won’t drip and give a better finish. 


After removing the hardware, it’s time to sand the door.  Sanding gives the door a clean and smooth surface to paint on. For sanding, sandpaper or an electric sander would do the work. 

After scrubbing off the old paint, clean the dust with a wet cloth. 

Fix the Cracks 

If the door has cracks, now is the time to fill them in, and create an even base. Use wood filler to fill in any cracks, gaps, and splinters with the help of a putty knife. 

Prime the Door

Now that the cracks are fixed, time to prepare the door for painting. Begin with priming the door to avoid the bleed-through of any stain or marks through the paint. For colors other than white, go for a gray-toned primer. 

Without priming, the new color may not stick well. Apply a good layer of stain-blocking primer on the door surfaces. 

Paint the Door

Now, how do you paint primed hollow core doors? For easy application and an elegant look, opt for the semi-gloss paints. Pick a color that suits the walls and theme of the room. Typically neutral colors such as black, white, and beige match well with any kind of wall. 

Paint the sides first with an angled paintbrush. Then move on to painting the flat surfaces with a paint roller.  

While painting the door, go in the same direction with every stroke. This will maintain the evenness of the color and texture. 

Additional Read: can you spray paint door hinges 

Change the Hinge and Knob

When you are repairing an old hollow core interior door, chances are parts of the door hardware are old and rusty. You could use new ones in such cases. 

So in order to give your door a whole new fresh look, change the hinges and knob as well. 

Reinstall the door

When the paint dries down, reinstall the door if uninstalled. And now you have your refurbished door ready!

You can also watch a demonstration on how to paint hollow core interior doors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint fake wood doors?

Fake wood doors are often used for interior purposes. Being fake or laminated raises questions as to whether you can paint them or not. The answer is yes, fake wood doors are paintable following a few preparations. 

Should I paint a hollow core door with a brush or roller?

In hollow core interior door cases, it’s best to use a brush for the sides and corners and a roller for the flat surface. 

You can also read an insightful blog on how to paint hollow core interior doors

Final Words

The blog breaks down the entire painting process for people who want to know how to paint hollow core interior doors. First, you need to sand and clean the door. Then prime and paint to give it a new exotic look.

Following the mentioned steps, you can paint your interior hollow core door without a hassle.