How to Paint a Garage Door

How to Paint a Garage Door

A properly painted garage door is a game-changer for a house’s curb appeal and gives it that extra flare you’ve been waiting for. Learning how to paint a garage door is as easy as collecting the materials below and following the steps one at a time, to your dream garage door. It’s easy to forget about the garage, but remember that it has been there for you and your vehicles through thick and thin; rain or shine, keeping your cars nice and clean. It’s time to wow the neighbors, and make your garage door happy with a proper makeover.

Step 1: Planning the Timing of the Paint Job


You will need to carve out about 3 days of 50-75 degree weather with moderate humidity before you begin painting. This length accounts primarily for drying times; the painting itself will not take 3 days. Additionally, try to keep the door out of direct sunlight and rain for the best results. It’s a little particular, but these factors will improve the quality of the paint job. You will also want to set your garage door to open and close it manually so you can raise the bottom to a comfortable painting height. 

Finally, I suggest creating a motivational playlist on the music platform of your choice to amp you up for the job. Painting without music is like a cookie with no chocolate chips: it’s not nearly as exciting and may make you regret picking up the cookie in the first place.

Materials Needed

Safety supplies

  • Work gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Step Stool

Cleaning supplies

  • Wire brush (to get rid of old/cracked paint)
  • Paint scraper (to get rid of rust)
  • Fine grit sandpaper (for a smooth surface to work on)
  • Garden hose
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Cloth/Rags

Painting Supplies

  • Latex exterior primer (for durability and adhesion) 
  • Latex exterior paint (for durability and adhesion)
  • Drop cloth
  • Painters tape
  • ⅜ or ¾ inch paint roller or wide paintbrush
  • Paint tray

Step 2: Deep Clean

This step is necessary for getting a smooth and clean slate to begin your masterpiece. First, put on all safety supplies and keep the step stool nearby for painting later. Your job now is to remove any rust, dirt, sand, or water from the garage door. Use the wire brush and paint scraper to remove any rust and old chipped paint. Then use the sandpaper to create a smooth surface. 

Use an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge to clean the entire surface or the door. Next is the fun part, spray the whole door with the garden hose and anyone who gets in your way (for good measure). Once you rinse everything off, dry the garage door with towels and let it air dry for at least an hour. 

Step 3: The Painters Tape

Painters tape is a key player in getting that professional-looking painting job to make the neighbors say, “you did that?!”. It’s also good to place a drop cloth or tarp under your garage door that covers a little bit of the inside of the garage as well, in case any paint drips in. Then, cover any handles, trims, edges, and simply anything you don’t want to get paint on. When you finish all the painting, remove the painters tape at a 45-degree angle to make sure you aren’t taking any fresh paint off.

Step 4: Apply Primer

For primer, the materials listed exterior primer for durability and adhesion – these are factors that help the garage door keep the high quality through every season and last a long time. Latex paint works for most surfaces, but make sure you get the paint that suits your door. Most houses have metal garage doors, while older doors may be wooden. When in doubt, ask the paint expert at the store you’re buying from. A gallon of paint should be enough to cover a two-car garage door but keep in mind that if you are covering a darker color with a lighter color, you will probably need two coats.

Once the painters tape is in place, you can begin to cover the door with primer. Generally, a paint roller should be enough if your garage door is flat, but a paintbrush may be necessary if you have inset panels on your door. I recommend applying the paint from the bottom to the top if you move the door up manually. Then, you can apply the primer easily at your height.

Let the primer dry for at least 12 hours before painting.

Step 5: Apply Paint

Apply Paint

Finally, it’s time to add that special splash of color you’ve been waiting anxiously to see. The process of painting is the same you followed to apply the primer. Paint bottom to top, lower the door as you go, and use a paintbrush for smaller areas and inset panels. It’s always helpful to have a wet brush/roller, so don’t be afraid to reload the brush.

When you’ve finished painting, assess if another coat is needed or any areas need more coverage. Let the paint dry for 12 hours before applying another coat. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean out any paintbrushes and rollers so you can use them again for your next DIY paint job.

How to Paint a Garage Door: Conclusion

You did it! Now sit back, relax, and admire all the hard work you’ve done. Learning how to paint a garage door can be a daunting task, but take your time and follow each step. With the proper materials and mindset, it can be fun and look amazing. Good luck!

Written by Ashley Cimarolli

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