How To Paint Garage Doors

Your Garage doors are most probably the first thing anyone passing by the street notices about your home. It is important to your curb appeal, and I am sure you agree. So, if weather and humidity are showing their dark magic on your garage doors, maybe it is time you give them a makeover.

Painting your garage doors can be an easy and inexpensive way to update the look of your home. And if you’ve decided it is time you show your garage doors some love, you are at the right place!

Even if you have never painted garage doors before, don’t worry. You’ll find all the guidelines you need to help your garage doors look their best. Let’s jump right into it!

Step by Step Guide for Painting Garage Doors

Great decision on choosing to get a fresh, clear look to your garage door! Your neighbors will find it impossible to stop staring at your house after a fresh coat of paint!

Let’s get into the step-by-step tutorial on how to paint a garage door.


1.   Check The Weather.

Go ahead, pull out your phone and open the weather app. Choose a good sunny day because before you start to paint your garage door, the weather needs to be suitable for such a task. We need good weather conditions, or the paint will not dry well. Good weather means no rains, hardly any clouds, and light winds. Ideally, you want the temperature to be around 65-75 Fahrenheit.

I always recommend you do some planning before getting into the work. Apart from the weather, you also need to know exactly how much paint you will need, how much time each coat will take, and what equipment you should use.

2.   Clean The Door.

Take into account the condition of your garage door before you decide to paint it.

If your garage door is in rough shape, it may be best to fix these issues before painting. If you’ve noticed that your garage door has minor dents or scratches, it’s a good idea to have it professionally repaired before painting the door.

You need the doors to be squeaking clean. Get rid of all the rust, grime, and dirt from the door’s surface.

I recommend using a power washer. A power washer will make your life easier, provided you keep your distance and don’t chip off sections of your door.

If there’s a lot of rust or chipped spots, get them off with a wire brush. Next, break out that fine-grit sandpaper and sand them down to a smoother existence. Use a circular motion when you are using the sander.

It may not be the most fun activity (but power washing is satisfying AF!), but you got to do this diligently to ensure your paint sticks perfectly to the door’s surface.

Once done cleaning, ensure your door is dry. Typically you would do the clean a day before and paint the next. In case you’re doing it on the same day, dry your door with some beach towels before you move ahead. If you get to enjoy direct sunlight, this process will be a whole lot easier for you.

3.   Protect The Areas You Don’t Want To Paint.

If you have windows, handles, or any object that you don’t want to paint-ensure you cover them with some heavy-duty tape, or you can use painter’s tape to cover them.

I suggest you also tape off the edges if you don’t plan on painting there. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of mess, and your end result will be a lot cleaner. Trust me; I learned this the hard way!

Additionally, consider laying down a protective drop cloth beneath the garage door. A Plastic tarp is also a good alternative.  By using it, stains will not be created by dripping or splattering paint.

4.   Switch From Automatic To Manual Mode.

If you have an automatic garage door, now is a good time to take out the plug and turn on manual mode. You want to be able to raise and lower the door as and when needed manually. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself stooping too much and risk injuring your back.

5.   Apply Primer

Prime creates a smooth surface and helps keep your newly painted door from peeling or chipping in the future. So, ensure that you prime the entire panel before starting to paint.

Depending on the surface of the door, you might want to adopt different strategies here. For example, if there are inset panels, textures, or other incisions on the door, then prime those first with an appropriate brush. Usually, a nylon brush and a roller are all you need.

Let the primer dry overnight as it needs a minimum of 12 hours to dry properly.

6.   Paint The Door

Using the same techniques as priming, apply a high-quality exterior paint. The type of paint you use will determine the final finish you get. So, choose wisely.

Go from bottom to top, and paint the textures, insets first. It’s always good to wear old clothes when applying paint to not get paint on your clothes.

Typically, garage doors require two coats of paint. A gallon of paint is usually enough for a two-car garage.

Once done, wipe away any excess paint that has gone into the stiles and trim.

7.   Review And Fill Up The Gaps With A Second Layer.

You’re done if the surface appears to be covered entirely. Let the first coat dry for at least 12 hours before applying a second coat if there are spots where the old color is visible. Most often, this is one of the last coats of paint you’ll need.

In my experience, the time it takes to paint a garage door depends on its size. Most doors take a lot less than one day to finish, and some even faster.

With this, you can consider your painting project as done!

Garage Door painting techniques

How To Paint Glass-reinforced Plastic (GRP) And Fiberglass Garage Doors

If you decide to paint a fiberglass door, check that it has not already deteriorated to a point where it cannot be repaired. However, this is not a problem with the alternatives.

GRP or fiberglass should be sanded carefully with a shine pad, wire wool, or very soft sandpaper – wear a mask while doing so.

Use a primer and paint that are recommended for fiberglass, as fiberglass can be resistant to paint.

How To Paint A Garage Door To Look Like Wood

In order to create the faux finish on your garage door, you will need to use two different colors of paint. A test run on a piece of the board can help you perfect your technique before you tackle the garage door.

The door should be primed and prepared as I have described above, then painted in a matt base with a warm mid-brown color. Let it dry thoroughly.

Put a small amount of dark brown paint on a small area of the door at first. Take a lint-free cloth and wipe the darker paint off until you achieve the wood effect that you want.

To create a uniform finish from section to section of the door, repeat the process over every section.

After painting, let it dry thoroughly. For additional durability, a matt clear finish can be added to the top.

Do I Need To Prime A Garage Door Before Painting?

Primer prepares the door surface for the topcoat, preventing peeling and flaking of the new paint, as well as giving it the ability to be painted a different color. Primers are especially important if you are going to use a much darker shade than before.

The coating is also a must for galvanized steel doors, which have a difficult time adhering to paint. If the primer is not adequately applied, the paint will not adhere to the surface and will peel.

Type of Paint to Use For Your Garage Door

It can be confusing to choose the right type of paint for your garage door if you’ve never painted it yourself before. I was in your place once upon a time, so I understand. Below is a list of common garage door surfaces and the paint type you need to use with them.

  1. Steel or Wood Door – Latex or oil-based paint.
  2. Vinyl (or Plastic Overlay) – Latex-based primer and paint with a bonding agent.
  3. Aluminum – Acrylic Paint

Final Words

Not as hard as you thought, right? I hope this article answered your most pressing questions about painting a garage door.

If you plan well, follow the instructions and stick to the process, you’ll be good. You won’t face any problems, and your garage door will look new! That curb appeal is going to sky-rocket, I bet!