Garage doors usually take up a large part of the exterior of a house. However, they can also be easily ignored by homeowners most of the time, leading to a shabby look after prolonged exposure to the elements.
Believe it or not, a nicely painted garage door can greatly improve the curb appeal of your home. Moreover, with a few coats of paint, your door will be protected from the elements and thus enjoy a longer lifespan.
Looking at the size of your garage door, you might feel a little overwhelmed, it’s a pretty large surface after all. But you’ll be surprised to know that this project won’t take longer than a day or two—in the right weather conditions, of course.
With enough patience, anyone can give their home’s exterior a makeover, you only need to prep the surface correctly and choose the right paint for it!
The basic steps you should follow to paint a garage door are rather simple:
- Sand the door to remove old paint and fill any cracks and dents.
- Clean the surface thoroughly.
- Apply primer.
Read on for a more detailed explanation of everything you need to know to achieve professional results when painting your garage door.
How to prepare a garage door for painting
The most important factors that will decide how long your project takes to finish, are the weather conditions. Try to schedule your project for three consecutive days with low humidity, a temperature between 50 °F and 85 °F (10 °C – 30 °C), and indirect sunlight.
Before you start, you should put your safety gear on. Work gloves, a dust mask, and safety goggles are essential to protect you from dust particles produced while sanding the surface, and fumes from the primer and the paint itself.
Now that you’re ready, we can move on to prepping the door. Preparing the surface you’re going to paint correctly ensures that the paint will adhere properly and last longer. So, let’s get started!
- Wire brush or coarse sandpaper (80- or 100-grit)
- Fine sandpaper (120- and 150-grit)
- Exterior wood or metal filler, depending on the material your garage door is made of
- Take your wire brush or some coarse sandpaper and start scrubbing the door gently using smooth, circular motions to remove any rusted, flaking, or chipped areas. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid scratching the surface as much as possible.
- Fill in any cracks or dents with the appropriate exterior filler for your door, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Sand down the filler with the 120-grit sandpaper and then use the lighter 150-grit to blend the edges.
- Sand the whole door with fine sandpaper to smooth any remaining imperfections.
How to clean a garage door for painting
The more tedious part is done, now you have to clean the door and ready it for the primer.
- Dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner
- Garden hose
- Clean cloth or rag (you might need more than one)
- Fill a bucket with warm water and add a few squirts of dish soap, or simply spray some all-purpose cleaner.
- Use the sponge to remove any dust or grease that might have accumulated over time. Make sure you clean the edges and hinges, as well as any corners and crevices where dirt usually builds up. To ensure that nothing on the ground sticks to your wet paint, sweep around the area by the bottom of the door too.
- Rinse the door with a garden hose and wipe down the surface with a clean cloth or rag. Let it air dry for at least an hour.
How to prime a garage door for painting
Priming any surface before painting aids in creating a smoother, even finish over which you can apply the paint without leaving any noticeable marks or bumps. It also helps paint to adhere to the surface, which is particularly useful for non-porous materials such as metal. Primer increases paint durability and provide additional protection for the material being painted as well.
- Heavy-duty painter’s tape or masking tape
- Drop cloth, dust sheet, or newspaper
- Exterior paint primer
- Paintbrush or roller
- Cover up anything you don’t want to paint, namely handles, locks and windows, with painters or masking tape.
- Lay down a drop cloth, dust sheet, or several newspaper sheets both inside and outside the door to protect the driveway and garage interior from stains.
- Apply the primer with a brush or a roller. Spray primer is not recommended for such a large surface because it can leave an uneven layer.
- Wait the recommended dry time listed on the can. Be patient and let the primer cure, otherwise, both the paint and the primer might peel.
To achieve the best results, we suggest that you paint the front of the door first, from top to bottom. Make sure that you use an up and down motion to prime every nook and cranny.
If your garage door has an electric opening mechanism, it can be really useful to set it so that you can move the door manually. This way you can easily maneuver it and avoid getting into uncomfortable positions to paint the bottom of the door.
How to paint a garage door
Now comes the fun part! If you want to paint the frame, do it before the door itself to avoid any drips on an already painted area that could ruin the final result.
- Paint (read the next section to discover the best type of paint for your garage door)
- Paintbrush or roller
- Apply a thin and even layer of paint following the same method you used for priming: from top to bottom, using an up and down motion.
- Wait the recommended dry time between coats for your type of paint that’s listed on the label.
- Apply a second layer for a better finish and protection against the weather.
- Remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet, let the paint dry overnight before opening the door.
What paint to use for a garage door
As long as you’ve prepared and primed the surface correctly, you can use any good-quality exterior latex paint.
Garage doors are commonly made of aluminum, and sometimes steel. For metal surfaces, it’s better to use oil-based paint because it does a better job of protecting the door from rust, but latex will do just fine!
Stay away from glossy paint as it can bring out imperfections such as scratches and dents that are often found in aluminum surfaces. Try to choose a paint that has a matte or satin finish instead.
Older houses have garage doors made of wood, which require exterior latex paint. Avoid using oil-based paint because it will crack and peel over time.
Spray paint is not recommended for large surfaces for a few reasons. First, because you’re going to need quite a few cans of paint to cover the whole door, which would ultimately be more expensive. Second, because it’s hard to achieve a nice and even coat. And last, spray paint typically creates a lot of fumes, imagine what it’d be like when painting a whole door!
Painting your garage door can change the whole look of your home’s exterior and make it more appealing, and it’s really easy to do!
While the painting itself is a rather straightforward process, there are several steps that you should carefully follow in the prep stage to achieve the best results. Cleaning and priming the surface are factors that have a direct influence on how good the job looks and how long the paint lasts.
You’re ready to begin painting your garage door now! Just remember to plan your project with enough time to take advantage of good weather days and follow our tips to get professional results!