One of the dilemmas you have to deal with when painting a door is whether to paint over the hinges or not. There are arguments for and against both sides of the divide. However, choosing to paint around the hinges isn’t always straightforward.

If you want to paint around door hinges, you should first cover the hinges with tape. After that, you should find the hinge line, cut the excess tape, cover the pin area, and paint the door.

The rest of this article will cover the points above, but first, you’ll see why it makes sense to paint around door hinges.

Why Paint Around Door Hinges?

If you were leaning towards painting the door without giving much thought to the hinges, you need to think again. Here are some reasons why keeping paint away from your hinges is a good idea.

You’ll Preserve the Original Finish

Hinges add to the overall aesthetic appeal of a door in their original finish. This is especially true if the hinge was on the door when you bought it. The manufacturers will pick hinges that complement the rest of the door hardware, so painting over them is a way to ruin that relationship.

You’ll Be Able to Change the Door Color in the Future

If you paint your hinges the same color with your door, or perhaps with an accent color that matches the paint on your door, you’ve made it a bit more difficult to use any other color on the door in the future. Of course, you can try to paint over the old color on the hinges when the time comes, but it will be a lot harder for the paint to catch-on. Also, when the top paint starts peeling—which will happen quickly—it will expose an unsightly color mix.

You’ll Not Shorten the Lifespan of the Hinges

Depending on the material used in making the door hinges, painting over your hinges can trigger corrosion faster. When this sets in, you’ll find parts of the affected hinges falling off as the door is used. After a while, the corrosion will make the hinges unresponsive and completely broken, requiring complete change.

You’ll Save More Time

The process of taking the door off the hinges first to paint it is time-consuming. Think about how long it will take you to remove the door, paint it, wait for it to dry, and mount it again. Besides, you’ll probably not have the luxury of leaving your door unhung for long. So, when you paint around the hinges, you’ll work faster and also maintain your security or privacy.

You’ll Avoid Hanging Problems

There’s no guarantee that your door will remain the same when you hang it after painting it off the hinge. You may start hearing squeaks that didn’t exist before, or worse, find out that the door no longer laps perfectly into the rest of the frame.

How to Paint Around Door Hinges

To avoid all the potential headaches above, it’s best for you to paint around door hinges. Here’s how to do that.

1. Cover the Hinges With Tape

Open the door widely, and use masking or painters tape to cover the hinges properly. Be generous with the tape to ensure you’ve covered the hinges properly. If you don’t have one of these, you should buy one. This Scotch Masking Tape is a good example. Don’t use paper tape or other general-purpose options as they won’t do the job well enough.

Scotch 2025-48C General Use Masking Tape for Basic Painting, 1.88 inches by 60...
  • USE-ON SURFACES: Designed for use on vinyl, carpet,...
  • SIZE: 1.88 in. x 60.1 yd
  • PACK OUT: 1 Roll/Pack

2. Find the Hinge Line

When you’ve properly covered the hinges, run your finger around the edge of the hinge to compress the tape and expose where the edge of the hinge ends. This is important if the hinge is recessed instead of being perfectly aligned to the edge of the door.

3. Cut the Excess Tape

Once you’ve exposed where the hinge ends, cut out the excess tape overlapping into the rest of the door. You can use a knife for this, but it’s probably best to use a pair of scissors to avoid leaving knife or razor marks on your door.

4. Cover the Pin Area

It’s easy to forget the mid-region of the hinge. You should use some of the tapes you’ve cut out to protect the pin area.

5. Paint the Door

Once you’ve properly covered your hinges, you can proceed with painting, without worrying about getting some splash on them. The process of painting the door should start with cleaning it with a wet rag and then using sandpaper or sander to remove any dents, stains, and old paint. Wipe off the dust from the sanding before you start painting.

Apply the primer first. A great primer option is Rust-Oleum 2004. You need to cover the door completely with it, using a roller. After the primer is dry, use a paintbrush to go over trim work or details to ensure you’ve covered everything. Don’t have a paintbrush? Consider this Pro Grade set.

After the primer is dry, use a foam roller or paintbrush to apply the paint. If you want that hand-painted appearance, use a roller at the start, and use the brush for the final coat. Alternatively, just use a paintbrush for everything. Paint over the tape on the hinges.

Remove the tape when you are done. A good tip is to remove it when the paint is still wet to ensure that the lines come off cleanly. Waiting until the paint is dry can take some paint off the door. You can also replicate this process for the rest of the hardware on your door, including the knobs, bolts, and locks.

Rust-Oleum 2004 286258 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer, 31.5 oz, Gray
  • Designed for interior & exterior use
  • Binds moderately chalky surfaces
  • Sticks to glossy surfaces
  • Penetrates like an oil base but lasts longer

Some Door Painting Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Painting around your hinges is just about the only shortcut you should use when it comes to painting your door. Doing things like ignoring peeling paint or avoiding the sanding process will lead to a less than desirable result.
  • Pay attention to the sheen when picking a paint color. Semi-gloss and satin are almost always the best middle ground. A flat finish is a handprint and scuff marks magnet and wiping it is harder. If you are looking for something that is easier to clean, consider high gloss. However, it will highlight all flaws.
  • You need to be super patient during the painting process. From protecting your hinges to completing the painting can take up to six hours, depending on the original state of the door. If you add the time it will take to wait for the paint to dry, you are looking at a whole day. Plan the painting process properly with this in mind.
  • Seek expert help if you feel the need. They will provide you with bespoke advice based on your door type and its condition. Details like the type of paint or brush to use can save you a lot of time and money. Of course, you can also delegate the entire process of painting the door to them if you feel it’s too much work for you.


Painting over hinges sounds like a great idea on the surface, but for most people, the decision to paint around hinges is the better one. If avoiding the hard work that comes with removing the door from the hinges isn’t enticing enough, think about how the crisp metallic finish on your door hinges will look when the paint has dried. Remember, all you need to do is to ensure the hinges are adequately covered before you start the painting process.

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