Garage Door Painting in 6 Steps
Exterior House Painting

Garage Door Painting in 6 Steps

Posted on July 31, 2023

Whether you’re grabbing your lawn care tools, firing up the BBQ, or turning it into a DIY woodworking shop, garage doors endure some wear and tear. So, while you’re out there, there’s no better time to check off garage door painting from your home maintenance list!

Read on to learn how to paint a garage door in 6 steps, and how CertaPro Painters® is ready to knock out the task for you.

garage door painting services

What Kind of Paint Should You Use on Garage Doors?

Choosing the correct paint for garage door painting is, by far, the most common mistake people make when they paint a garage door. The kind of paint you should use depends on the material your garage door is made out of. Locate one of the stickers on the inside of your door to determine what material your garage door is made from.

Below we’ll discuss the 3 main types of garage door materials.

Vinyl Garage Doors

For this common type of garage door, the best paint to use is a latex exterior. Oil-based paints are not recommended for this material type, as the vinyl material won’t allow the paint to adhere to its surface.

Wood Garage Doors

For this material, we recommend latex exterior paint. When you’re painting a wooden garage door, it’s important to consider its natural color, what color you are aiming for, and if it has been painted previously. If the wood is bare, you will need to apply a stain-blocking primer if you’re going with a color that is lighter than its natural color. If painted previously, you will need to complete an additional step to prep the door for painting. But don’t worry! We’ll make sure to cover this extra step in a later section.

Metal Garage Doors

Acrylic or Direct-to-Metal exterior paint is the best choice for metal doors. If your metal door has areas of rust, it’s important to prime the area with a rust inhibiting primer first for better coverage. It’s recommended to use a higher grade paint with a satin finish to ensure color retention.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need to Paint a Garage Door

garage door being painted

Make sure you have all the proper tools and materials needed to get the job done before you get started! Reference this helpful list of what you’ll need to begin garage door painting.

Tools Needed:

  • Safety glasses
  • Mask
  • Work gloves
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Scraper
  • Stiff wire brush
  • Palm sander with sanding pad
  • Bucket & sponge
  • Hose with spray attachment
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller with roller heads
  • Paint stirrers
  • Wash rags

Materials Needed:

  • Exterior primer (latex or oil-based, depending on the material of your garage)
  • Exterior paint (latex or oil-based, depending on the material of your garage)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth

Step 1. Check the Weather

The weather can greatly affect the garage painting process, so you can expect a bit of planning around Mother Nature. Plan to paint your garage door on a weekend or over two to three days that offers low humidity, indirect sunlight and between 50-75 degrees. These conditions promote adhesion, ensure moisture does not get trapped in between the paint, and your garage door and allows the paint to dry completely.

Painting a home’s exterior, garage door included, while it’s raining is a recipe for disaster. The moisture on the surface can prevent the paint from adhering properly and can result in peels and cracks.

Step 2. Prep Your Garage Door’s Surface

washing a garage door

Your first step is prepping your surface. A poorly prepared surface is paint’s most formidable foe. How well your garage door is prepped for painting will determine how well your fresh coat of paint will come out looking.

To properly prep your garage door you must remove any rust, old paint, dirt, paint chips or grime by scrubbing with a wire brush. Next, using a palm sander and a fine grit sanding pad, create a smooth base.

Clean the entire garage door using an all-purpose cleaner and a large sponge. Once thoroughly cleaned, rinse the door with a hose and sprayer. Power washing is a good option to make this step faster, but isn’t required.

If you discover spots that have been missed, repeat these steps until your garage door is completely clean and smooth. Use rags or towels to remove any excess water and allow your garage door to dry completely before you move on to the next step.

Step 3. Tape Off What Isn’t Getting Painting

Doing your due diligence upfront to keep paint where it’s supposed to be will make your new paint look even better with a professional finish. Use heavy-duty painter’s tape to cover handles, locks, and garage trim will keep your paint lines consistent and precise. Additionally, consider using a drop cloth to protect your garage floor and driveway.

Painter’s Tip:

To ease the pressure on your back, turn off your electric garage door, then open and lift the door manually to adjust the height of the door as you work.

Step 4. Prime Garage Door

Start priming your garage door with any inset panels, wiping away excess paint that found its way outside of the panels for a smooth finish. Then, working from the bottom upwards use a paint roller to prime the rest of your garage door. It’s recommended to let the primer dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

Step 5. Now it’s Time to Paint!

Here’s the fun part! It’s tempting to just dive in with your paintbrush, but there are best practices for applying garage door paint. Similar to how you applied the primer, begin painting any inset panels. Be sure to wipe away any excess paint that falls outside of the panel to avoid any paint streaks. Continue painting the rest of the inset panels. Next, move to the perimeter of your garage door. Working in 2in sections, make your way around all the edges. Using a roller, paint the remainder of the garage door.

Step 6. Apply a Second Coat of Exterior Paint

After completing the first coat of paint, take a step back and assess your work! If there are no patches or visible streaks, great job! However, most garage doors require two coats of paint. After letting the first coat dry for at least 12 hours, apply your second coat using the same methods outlined above.

garage door after staining

Get Started on Your Garage Door Painting with CertaPro Painters®

And voila—your garage door is officially refreshed! 6 steps seem like a fairly simple project, but it can be extremely time-consuming and tedious. Not to mention, if the wrong paint is used or the prep is done incorrectly, your new paint job can be ruined. The professional painters at CertaPro Painters® can knock out this impactful project in no time—and you don’t have to lift a finger! Get started on your garage door painting project by getting an estimate or calling one of our local team members.