Spring Facelift: Can You Paint a Garage Door?

Your garage door can have a big effect on your home’s appearance, and a door that’s old or worn can wind up making your entire property look dingy and unattractive. Fortunately, just like the rest of your home, sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint to revive your doors and help your home shine. The key is to make sure you prep your door properly and select the right paint for the job.

Can you paint a garage door?

Most garage doors can be painted, but before you get started, you need to consider the door material. For wood, fiberglass and metal doors, the job is fairly simple. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the door and remove any grease, dirt or chipped paint before starting. Then you’ll need to select a paint that’s made specifically for the door material.

Paints are formulated to adhere to certain materials, and if you choose the wrong paint, the time and effort you put into refurbishing your garage door could be wasted. In some instances, you might wind up with a door that flakes or peels or a finish that just won’t “stick” to the surface. For instance, vinyl doors usually require a special type of paint that’s designed just for plastics. If you decide to take a shortcut and use a paint made for wood or fiberglass, the final coat may wind up cracking or peeling once it’s exposed to sun or rain. If you’re not sure what kind of paint to use, ask your hardware store for recommendations.

Prepping the door

Before you can apply that first brush stroke, you need to make sure the door surface is completely clean. Use a soft brush to remove paint flakes or hardened dirt and grime, then apply a degreasing agent to get rid of oily residue that could prevent paint from sticking. Go over the surface lightly with sandpaper to gently “rough up” the surface so paint adheres better. A thorough rinse with plain water will help ensure the surface is ready for its new coat of paint. Let the surface dry thoroughly before using masking tape to cover areas you don’t want painted, like the hinges, hardware or mechanical parts. Then lay a drop cloth down under the door to catch drips.

Priming and painting a garage door

Once the door is cleaned and prepped, it’s time to apply a coat of primer. Primer helps paint adhere better and it also helps paint cover more consistently. Apply the primer using a brush for tight areas and a roller for larger, flat surfaces. Make sure the entire surface is primed, then let the door dry for at least 12 hours.

Next, apply paint using clean brushes and rollers, and take your time to ensure the paint is applied evenly. Most doors benefit from at least two coats. Just be sure to allow the paint to dry thoroughly between each coat and follow the paint manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the recommended number of coats. Once the final coat is on, remove the tape and allow the door to dry completely before using your door.

Painting a garage door is a relatively simple job that can be tackled by most competent DIYers. But if painting’s not your thing, no worries. Hiring a painting contractor can help you get the results you’re looking for without even lifting a finger.