DIY / Projects

Updating a Flat Panel Door for Under $20

Replacing the flat paneled door to the garage would be costly and difficult (for me as an amateur DIY-er) especially during the winter. I knew I could jazz the door up one way or another, so I took inspiration from a five paneled recessed door and built five rectangle panels to glue on and coat over with a bright, vibrant paint color.

I used what is called a Pine Screen Moulding to create the rectangle panels. It’s $0.61 per linear foot (kinda costly for what you’re getting), but, the pieces are really light weight, so I’m hoping the adhesive I found will keep them in place. I bought about 30′ for each door so it cost $18.30 per door. The long pieces measured 23 1/2″ and the shorter sides measured 11″. I mitered each corner with a 45 degree cut. I glued the corners together using wood glue on top of plastic garbage bags to keep them from sticking to the ground. I made sure to place a carpenter’s square in each corner while they were drying to ensure they weren’t leaning one way or another. There were some small gaps in the corners because my miter cuts weren’t perfect, but I filled them in with caulk later on, so it wasn’t a big deal.

The Panels:

img_2447There are a lot of tutorials out there for adding trim to wooden flat paneled doors, and most of them have you use a combination of glue and tiny brad nails to attach it. My two doors are made of metal, so I wasn’t sure what type of glue would hold strongest. While I researched the best glue, I assembled these gems.

Old Boring Door:

The door started out a Barney purple color. Let’s face it, even after a coat of primer the door still looks pretty shabby. I spaced each panel 4″ from each other as well as 4″ in from the top, bottom, and sides. I’m looking into replacing the weather seal (the black fringe along the left side). That should clean its appearance up a bit.


This is a paintable adhesive that dries within 20 minutes. I put a thin line of adhesive along the middle of each rectangle panel. I had already outlined each panel perfectly level on the door, so I just lined the panels up and pressed them on. I would recommend putting a little extra adhesive on the corners. They wanted to peel back. And presto-changeo:

The door is already looking better, albeit a little wacky with the painter’s tape all over, but better nonetheless. I added the tape just to ease my worrying about the panels moving as they were drying. I only needed to wait twenty minutes per the instructions, but I got started on this project late at night and fatigue set in from a long day (teaching + parent-teacher conferences, yikes!). After 24 hours of drying time, I was pretty confident that the panels were not going to budge. So I broke out the caulk.

Caulking the Panels:

I realize that it’s challenging to see the addition of the white caulk, but the objective was to cover up any gaps between the paneling and the door. A thin layer of caulk on the inside and outside borders of the rectangle made the paneling look more cohesive and natural.

The caulk boasted a twenty minute drying time, so I snuck in a 30 minute workout video in while my daughter continued with her midday nap. Finally, tired but excited, I started painting.

The Finished Product:

The color is Great Falls by Sherwin Williams. This is after two coats of paint. I picked up a new stainless steel door knob, but am waiting on help from the hubby to install it. It says that I can re-key the lock to match my house keys. I will let you know how that goes. Bye-bye brass.

I don’t know about you, but I love the finished product! I am so excited to get started on the second door. Then, I’m going to dress up the flat bi-fold closet doors nearby. When I finally get one entire area down here completed I will literally jump for joy!

Stay tuned!



One thought on “Updating a Flat Panel Door for Under $20

  1. Pingback: $30 Bi-Fold Door Transformation | I Dig Daisies

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