Can You Paint Garage Doors? (Find Out Now!)

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

It is easy to ignore a garage door as long as it successfully opens and closes when you command it to. Still, even though your garage door may open and close perfectly, it does not mean it looks its best.

Painting your garage door can enhance the entire look of your home’s exterior. It can even extend the lifespan of the door itself and increase the property value of the home.

When you paint your garage door choose a three-day span with mild and dry weather. Clean the surfaces and brush off rust and dirt buildup before you prepare the garage door for painting. Use the right primer and paint for the garage door material you have. When you paint, begin with the insert panels first before moving to the perimeter of each panel.

Hiring a professional to paint your garage door is one option, but it can be costly. You can also paint a garage door yourself. If you do paint it, be sure you follow these steps to ensure the final product looks professional.

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Choose The Right Weather

Painting your garage doors is a project that takes two to three days and is done entirely outside. It is critical to plan your garage door painting project in accordance with the weather forecast.

The ideal weather temperature when painting a garage door is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Painting in very cold and very hot weather is not enjoyable for the painter, and it can also lead to poorly set paint and a sloppy-looking finished product.

Rain is the enemy of all outdoor paint jobs. When you are looking at the forecast be sure to select days with no chance of rain in addition to checking for good temperatures. Humidity also plays a large part in the time it takes paint to dry. Do your best to find a group of days with low humidity.

Clean Surfaces

Before you prepare your garage door for painting it needs to be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. Inspect the door for any rust or dirt buildup. Remove any buildup with a scraper or course brush. Next, go over it with fine-grit sandpaper.

Once all buildup is removed and smoothed out, use a sponge and hose to thoroughly wash the entire surface of the door. Take the time to partially open the door in order to inspect the lip area between each panel.

Prepare Area for Project

  • Lay down a tarp or drop cloth. Place a large cloth or tarp to cover the ground below the door. Be sure this tarp or cloth covers the outside and inside near where the door rests. This will prevent any unwanted paint from dripping onto the driveway or garage floor.
  • Cover windows with newspaper. Many garage doors come with glass windows. Be sure these are covered completely with paper before painting.
  • Use painter’s tape on edges that touch the garage door. Using painter’s tape will help prevent paint from splashing onto unwanted areas and can also help create exact and professional-looking straight lines.

Allow Door To Move Manually

Most garage doors default to electronic opening and closing. When you prepare to paint the garage door it is ideal to switch the door to manual mode.

When you paint the garage door it is often easiest to start with the bottom of the door and move upward. Painting at eye level is much easier than crouching on your knees. By moving your garage door manually, you can have most of the panels at eye level as you paint them. As you complete each panel you can continue to pull the door down one panel at a time.

Tip: When you switch your door to manual, opening and closing it also allows you to reach the inner lip of each panel so you can have a complete and seamless coat of exterior paint.

Choose The Right Paint and Primer

When you paint your garage door it is important to use a quality exterior paint. The type of paint will vary depending on the material the door is made of.

Aluminum Doors

Oil-based paints work best on aluminum and other metal garage doors. An oil-based paint does a great job of repelling water and other natural elements that cause rust. Another benefit to oil-based paints is they adhere well to aluminum and do a great job protecting the material over time.

Vinyl Doors

If your garage door is vinyl then you should look for an exterior latex paint. An exterior latex paint will adhere better than other types of paint. If you use an oil-based paint on vinyl it likely will not last as long and it may crack over time.

Wooden Doors

If you are painting a bare wood door, be sure to select a stain-blocking primer. This will help seal the surface and leave it with a smooth consistent finish before you apply the first layer of paint.

Exterior latex paint also works best for wood doors. Just like with vinyl doors, an oil-based paint will likely crack over time, while an exterior latex is known to adhere much better and last much longer on wood surfaces.

Apply Primer

When you prime and paint the door you should use the same approach. The vast majority of garage doors have insert panels, and borders around those panels, which are also called “stiles.”

  • Lift the garage door manually so the bottom panel is at eye level.
  • Use a paint brush to brush primer on the insert panels first. Be sure to paint with thin layers and to brush out any access primer.
  • Once the insert panels are painted, use a paint brush to paint the perimeter of the panel.
  • Use a paint roller to brush the borders or “stiles” of the panel.
  • Prime the lip area between each panel. Allow ample drying time before moving to the next panel.

Tip: Do not move to the next panel too quickly. If the lip does not have time to dry the panels can stick together. This will result in ripped or chipped paint.

Continue this process on each panel. Use a step ladder as needed when priming the top panels.

Paint The Door

Once you have allowed the primer to dry completely you are ready to paint your garage door. Be sure to stir and prepare the paint according to the paint can label.

Apply the paint using the same method as you did when priming the garage door. Paint can take up to 8 hours to dry. Once the first coast has dried completely, inspect the paint job. If you can see through the layer of paint to the primer layer you should repeat the painting process and add a second coat.

Tip: Removing the painters tape before the final layer of tape dries can help prevent any paint chipping or flaking along the edge.

Related Questions

How Often Should I Paint My Garage Door?

The paint on your garage door will slowly deteriorate as is exposed to outdoor elements over time. On average, garage doors need to be painted every 5 years. The type of paint and the painting methods used will affect the longevity of the paint.

If you use primer and multiple coats of quality outdoor paint your paint can last up to 10 years. The weather conditions and exposure to UV light will also have a strong influence on how long a paint job lasts.

What Color Should I Paint My Garage Door?

There is no exact science as to what color you should paint your garage door. You can go as subtle or as bold as you desire, but keep in mind an overly bold color may affect the way others see the house’s value.

A common practice is to paint the door white or a very light color. If you do not want to paint the garage door white you may want to match the garage door color with the dominant color of your house’s exterior.

Can I Paint My Garage Door In The Winter?

Most water-based paints should not be applied in temperatures near or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Painting garage doors is a two to three-day process. If you must paint your garage doors in winter, do your best to paint them on a week with sunny skies and mild temperatures (ideally above 40 degrees) for best results.

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Final Thoughts

Painting a garage door yourself may seem like a tough task as it will take almost three full days to complete. Still, as long as you choose a week with great weather you should be able to paint your garage door successfully.

Be sure your door is cleaned before you prepare it for painting. Take your time to research the correct primer and paint for your specific door. This will help ensure your paint jobs lasts as long as possible.

When you prime and paint the door remember to start with the insert panels first and use a roller brush to paint the perimeter areas afterwards. This will help you paint evenly and create a smooth professional finish.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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