How to Paint a Garage Door So It Looks Brand New

Painted Garage Door
Don Mason / Getty Images
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 4 - 6 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 3 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $50 to $100

Painting your outdated garage door can give your home's exterior an entirely new look at a relatively low cost and with very little effort. Plus, painting is the perfect way to cover up chipped, oxidized doors that are ruining your home's curb appeal. For a high-quality appearance that will last for years to come, there are a few key steps to take when prepping and painting a garage door.

Before You Begin

One of the most common mistakes people make when painting a garage door is purchasing the wrong paint. Garage doors are made from a variety of materials including vinyl, aluminum, wood, and more, and it's important to buy the appropriate exterior paint for the job. Before purchasing, carefully check the manufacturer's label to make sure you find the best paint and primer for the job.

Before painting, check the weather. You should plan for two to three days of mild temperatures, no rain, and mild humidity. For specific ideal conditions for painting, it's best to consult the label on your specific paint. Remember, flat surfaces like garage doors, especially metal ones, will often be hotter than the outside temperature.

Safety Considerations

Whenever you use paint and painting products such as brush cleaner, mineral spirits, and other similar chemicals, you should always wear a mask rated for fumes. Additionally, wearing eye protection is a good idea when chipping or sanding old paint, as well as when painting—especially when painting surfaces above eye-level.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scraper
  • Stiff wire brush
  • Sanding pad
  • Hose with sprayer
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Handheld paint pail
  • Roller pan
  • 6-inch roller frame
  • Fume-rated mask
  • Safety glasses

Materials

  • Exterior paint
  • Exterior primer
  • Painter's tape
  • 3/8-inch roller heads
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint stirrers
  • Rags

Instructions

Follow these steps to give your garage door a brand new look. For your specific garage door style, adjust the steps as needed to better suit the material.

  1. Scrape and Sand Door

    Start the prepping process by using a stiff wire brush, a scraper, and a sanding pad to remove any chipping paint. If your door is vinyl or wood, be careful not to damage the material during this process.

  2. Wash and Rinse Door

    Once all chipping paint has been removed and sanded smooth, it's time to wash the garage door. Dish soap is a great soap for removing dirt and grease from the surface, allowing the paint to better adhere. After spraying down the door, mix a little dish soap with water in a bucket and thoroughly wash the door with a sponge. Once clean, rinse away all soap.

  3. Wipe Down Door

    Dry the door using a rag, making sure you wipe all nooks and crannies. Allow the door to fully air dry in the open position, as this will leave the gaps between the panels open for better drying. If painting a wood garage door, check for smoothness after drying to determine if you should sand once more.

  4. Tape off Door

    Once the door fully dries, tape off the door. This includes hardware, trim, windows, gaskets, and anything else you don't wish to get paint on. To avoid hard-to-clean drips on the concrete, lay out a drop cloth.

    Tip

    To easily tape off the gaskets surrounding the garage door, open the door and place tape along length of the front of the gasket with some excess hanging over the edge. Then, fold the tape around to the back and close the garage door.

  5. Prime Panels

    Stir your primer and pour a little into a handheld paint pail. Use an angled paintbrush to paint the inside details of each panel. Wipe any excess from the rails and stiles before moving onto the next panel.

  6. Prime Stiles and Rails

    Once the panels are primed, use a 6-inch roller frame fitted with a 3/8-inch nap roller to prime the rails and stiles. Work in small sections to maintain a wet edge. Let the primer dry with the garage door in the open position, so the cracks don't dry together and seal shut.

    Tip

    To save your back, set the garage door to manual operation. This will allow you to adjust the height of the door as you paint.

  7. Paint Door

    Once the primer is dry, repeat the same painting process with the exterior paint. For the best end product, apply at least two coats of paint, allowing ample dry time between coats.

How to Maintain a Painted Garage Door

The best thing you can do for a painted garage door is to simply keep it clean and free of dirt. For areas with a lot of sun exposure, occasionally deep cleaning and recoating with exterior paint will ensure the finish stays pristine and prevent the need for a full refinish job in the future.