Painting Our Pocket Doors Black

I recently gave our 70 year old pocket doors a fresh coat (or two) of black paint and I am absolutely in love with the richness it brings into the room.  So, I am listing the tools I used and some tips to get your doors looking super smooth should you want to go black.


Step 1 Clean & Sand

After cleaning the doors with some household cleaner, I used this electric sander to dull the sheen of the semi-gloss that was on the door.  The goal was not to strip the door, but to just sand it enough so that the new paint would adhere.  I used 120 grit sandpaper and was planning on working my way up to a 220 finer grit afterwards, but the finish of the 120 created a smooth surface on my door so I didn’t bother.

Step 2 Remove Dust

They are not kidding when they say prep is key when painting, so I vacuumed down the doors to remove the dust, then used a damp cloth and then used this tack cloth to make sure the surface of the doors were clean and smooth.  Tack cloth is basically sticky cloth so you may want to use some gloves so your hands don’t feel sticky afterwards.

Step 3 Why I Chose This Color Black

Let’s paint! (Well actually you should tape off everything which is super tedious but really worth it in the end).  Now let’s paint!  I had stared at many a black paint chip when I was deciding on which black to use in my breakfast nook (which is Benjamin Moore Black Panther).  While I love Black Panther it does have almost a purple undertone to it, and I wanted a truer black this time around.  So, I researched and thought I would go with Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black since it is a stark, true black (think black sharpie marker).  Well, true to impulsive Erin form, I was at the paint desk at Lowe’s since they color match any color (they can look up the color formula for a lot of the popular paint colors so you don’t even need to bring in a chip sample) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE their Sherwin Williams Infinity paint (which is NOT sold at Sherwin Williams, it’s only at Lowe’s) and right as the guy was asking me the color, I blurted out Benjamin Moore Black Beauty.  I chickened out on going stark black and remembered how Black Beauty was a softer, chalky black with a navy undertone and thought that would give contrast without being too sterile. So, the doors are BM Black Beauty color matched at Lowe’s with the Infinity paint in an eggshell finish.  I actually wish I would have gone with a satin finish since that would be easier to wipe down.

Step 4  Painting

Seriously, Erin, let’s actually paint now.  Our doors had a pattern of raised panels, so I used this corner brush in the grooves first and then went over the brushed areas and larger areas with a roller.  I bought these Whizzflock rollers and I really think these was key to get that smooth, spray-painted like finish.  I waited about two hours in between coats and did two coats.  If you want to be super detail-oriented you can lightly sand in between coats but I didn’t and I still love the way it turned out.

First Coat
After the first coat

Step 5 Hardware

Our pocket doors didn’t have hardware on them when we bought the house.  I bought these matte black pocket door handles from Amazon and attempted to carve out a space in the door for the inset.  After buying a Dremel (even though a router was the correct tool to use, but I was trying to save money), I ended up breaking the Dremel disc and realizing I was not up for cutting 6 pocket door insets.  So, I called the handyman and $100 later, he cut all the doors and installed the hardware and it was so worth it to me to spend the extra money and have it done correctly.

Now let me know how your black door projects go!




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