How to Transform a Builder Grade Door with Fusion Mineral Paint & Molding

Good news and bad news, friends! Bad news – I’m home sick. I think I finally caught what’s been going around, and it is 0% fun. The good news, though, is that after sleeping until 12:45pm today, I’m getting a little work done here on the blog. I’ve got about 2 hours though, and then it’s back to bed for me!

Today let’s chat about builder grade finishes. They are usually sufficient to do the job, but they are also sufficiently BORING. Take every door in our house for example. They are white, flat, and hollow doors. Very blah. We transformed the doors in our kitchen and master bathroom previously, but there are still MANY to go. But to finish off the downstairs, I decided to partner with Fusion Mineral Paint and give our powder room door a makeover!

**Disclosure: Fusion graciously gifted me their paint products in exchange for my honest review. You can view my full Disclose policy HERE.**

fusion mineral paint
Fusion Paint is truly my go to paint now – it has a built in top coat, zero VOC, and goes on like butter! The coverage is amazing, too!

What You’ll Need:

  • Molding of your choice (it took us about 40′ total to mold both sides of the door)
  • 3″-4″ synthetic bristle brush (buy a decent one, not a cheapie!)
  • nail gun with 1.25″ brad nails
  • miter saw
  • sanding block
  • level (preferably with measurements on it – otherwise you’ll need a tape measure too)
  • pencil
  • paintable caulk
  • Fusion paint in your choice of color – we used Lichen!

How to:

Step 0: PREP PROPERLY!

Be sure to prep the surface – this means CLEANING (I used Simple Green, but you can also use TSP), and then sanding any surface that has a sheen to it. These doors were quite shiny, so I took a sanding block to them after a good cleaning. Finally I wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. Pretty easy and rather minimal prep is needed with Fusion, but use Fusion’s tutorial as a guide for what is needed (different surfaces require different prep)!

Fusion also has loads of other video tutorials you may want to consider watching before using their paint! They are super helpful, especially if painting is fairly new to you!

Step 1:

Remove all hardware from the door – door knob, etc.

Step 2:

Mark where you want your molding to be on each side of your door. This is really personal preference, just make sure that both sides of the door match up as closely as possible. We made two rectangles on each side, a large one on top and a smaller on on the bottom.

It’s easiest if you start by marking the center of your door, and then using your level to draw the very top line at whatever point looks good to you. I then measure from the edge in to make sure that the edge of the molding is even on each side. I then work down from there in a methodical manner. The biggest things you want to be sure of is that all your lines are level, and evenly spaced on the door! I also suggest that your pencil line be where the OUTSIDE of your molding is going to go.

upgrading builder grade doors
It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but you can see the pencil lines I have marked out for the molding. You can also see how blah the door is!

Step 3:

Once you have your molding marked, measure again (because you always measure twice and cut once), and take those measurements to your miter saw. (If you make 2 rectangles on each side like we did, you’ll end up needing 8 pieces of the horizontal pieces, 4 of the top vertical pieces, and 4 of the bottom rectangle pieces). When cutting molding, always cut the longest measured pieces first. You also will want to cut each corner at a 45 degree angle. The measurements you took will be the LONGEST part of each piece, so you will cut at a 45 degree angle inward from that measurement. It’s a bit hard to explain in text, but drawing it out for your brain can help!

Here is my little drawing – all of the pieces are actually oriented the same (but drawing it as if I’m going to put it on the door helps my brain for some reason!)

Step 4:

Cut all your trim pieces with the miter saw! Again, always best to measure multiple times and take it slow so you don’t end up back at Home Depot or Lowe’s the next day! Sand the edges as necessary.

Step 5:

Now that your molding is cut, you are going to attach it to the door. This is easiest with 2 people, but doable with one, just a bit more difficult. When we tackle it, I usually hold up the molding where it needs to go along with the level, to be sure it’s straight, and then my husband uses the nail gun to attach the molding to the door. We use three nails per piece, one on each end and one in the middle. Be sure the nails are going through the molding enough to create a small hole, so you can fill the holes with caulking later (this way you won’t be able to see them once painted).

Step 6:

Once all your molding is attached, use your paintable caulk to fill all the nail holes, any gaps you might have at the corners, and along all of the edges. This may sound unnecessary, but I promise the caulk makes a HUGE difference in making the molding look like it’s actually part of the door!

Step 7:

Give your caulking about an hour or so to dry before you prep to paint. You are welcome to tape off your hinges and door frame if you like, but I didn’t – I was just extra careful around those spots. Fusion is also easy to clean up with a damp cloth if you get to it quickly, so I just kept one on hand in case I had any mishaps and got paint somewhere unintended. Remember to also sand down the caulking anywhere it needs it – then wipe off with a damp cloth before painting.

Isn’t Lichen such a GORGEOUS color!? Green is a neutral in my book!

Step 8:

Paint away! I used a 3″ synthetic bristle brush, and dipped it right into the paint jar (make sure to stir your paint first)! I always paint the molding first, and then the inner rectangles. Lastly I’ll tackle the outer edges. Use as long of strokes as you can to reduce brush strokes. Fusion is self leveling, so the brush strokes should be fairly minimal anyway!

Step 9:

Allow the first coat to dry, and then add a second coat if needed. Here, I did use a second coat, just to get a really saturated kind of coverage.

Step 10:

Once your second coat has been dry for 3-4 hours, you can reattach any hardware you removed, and then you’re done! You have transformed your boring builder grade door into something truly beautiful! #paintitbeautiful

builder grade door transformed with molding and Fusion Mineral Paint in Lichen
And here she is! I just love the change, as the door doesn’t just blend in anymore.
We are loving the added pop of color to this space and the texture the molding adds to the door – it feels much more custom, and much less build grade blah!

And with that, I only have about 6 doors left to go! While that might not happen for awhile, I will say that I’ll be painting the inside of our front door in Lichen ASAP! I don’t have to add molding to that one, so it should be a pretty easy transformation! And honestly I could paint everything in this color – it is AMAZING!

And as for Fusion – I truly cannot recommend it enough. It goes on like butter, doesn’t have a horrible smell, has amazing coverage, and comes in about a zillion other gorgeous colors! It is now my go to paint (literally – about to use it to repaint our entire master bedroom furniture set)!

So what do you think, are you ready to #paintitbeautiful with Fusion Mineral Paint? Do you think your builder grade doors might feel a bit fancier with some molding? Let me know below!

And now it’s back to bed for this gal! Happy painting, friends!

XO,

Ana