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Plain to paneled doors

This is a really cheap and easy way to upgrade flat hollow core doors!

What's a hollow core door? you ask.

It's a door constructed with a thin layer of wood or fiberboard applied over a wood frame or core material, often honeycombed cardboard or plastic. They're popular interior doors, because they're cheap and do the job.

Before-ness! Is that a word?

These doors are from the early 80's like me and as you can see, I painted them.

And stenciled them with a doily.

Whaaat?? I was being creative!

Preparing a hollow care door all depends on the surface.

The surface or face material is usually wood veneer, primed MDF or hardboard.

*Generally speaking, you can:

-Sand with 80-100 grit sandpaper to remove the smooth gloss finish

-glue paneling over the original surface




-gel stain

*Chalk paint is the easiest to use, because you won't need to prepare the surface first or use a primer.

-It's best to wax a chalk paint finish. It looks better and gives low durability protection.

If the doors are painted, you'll need to remove the paint, because the paneling bond is only as strong as the paints bond to the door. You want the paneling glued to the door and not the top of the paint.

*Stay away for chemical strippers, because the veneer is thin and might cause the glue in the veneer to lift too.

I carefully used a heat gun and a paint scraper.

It took FOREVER!!

I eventually removed all of the paint and even chunks of the door from scraping like a mad mad! You can totally see that I rushed the door on the left.

I used a heavy duty all purpose adhesive to glue on 3mm panels of plywood. An adhesive like "Liquid Nails" should do the job. I also filled in all of the missing chunks with wood putty.

Inside of a hollow core is a frame. It's a top rail, stiles on each side and a bottom rail. I used screws to fasten the panels to these. You don't need to, but I found it easier as it holds the paneling in place.

I used paintable caulk for the seams and primed.

Dark blue.

The finished doors!


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