A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Paint Your Garage Door

Are you looking for a super-easy way to update the exterior look of your home? The answer is by painting your garage door! You can always hire a professional, but it is easy enough to do it yourself. Need a helping hand with your DIY project? Keep on reading to find out how to make your old faded garage doors look brand new again!

garage doors with vines and fall colors

Why you should paint your garage door

Kerb appeal

Painting your garage entrance can further increase your home’s kerb appeal. Because they are such a large surface, these doors play a huge role in your house exterior’s overall look. That’s why it’s important to keep them looking great! Many doors are of steel or wood and usually come in neutral shades of white or beige. You can give your door an exciting look by painting it a lively colour to match your doors or trim. 


Over time, all exterior surfaces require refinishing, and garage doors are no exception. If yours are made of wood, and you notice peeling, flaking, cracking, or chalky paint, then it’s time to recoat it. The same principle applies if they are stained rather than painted. If you have a metal door, it needs a coat of paint to prevent the steel from rust exposure. Regular repainting protects your door from harmful weather conditions and helps extend its lifespan.

Double Garage with flower pot

You need a change

There are many reasons why you might want to paint your garage doors. Maybe the house has been repainted, and they no longer match, or the place looks drab with too much of the same colour, and you want to provide an attractive contrast. Or maybe you feel creative and want a change in your house’s look, but you are not ready for a complete makeover

Things you need to know before painting your garage door

We are sure that after finishing with your door paint, you don’t want to find yourself regretting it! We are here, so that won’t happen! Before you get started, here are a few tips to ensure the paint job is done right.

Picking Out Paint

What are the three key factors to consider when choosing paint?

  • Type 
  • Colour 
  • Size 

Color wheel palette for choosing paint tone

Painting Different Types of Garage Doors

The first thing you should do when choosing the new colour for painting your door is to determine what type of paint and primer will work on your particular door. You’ll be able to work this out based on the type of material it is made of. Here is a quick reference guide:

Tips For Choosing Garage Door Colour

Choosing the right colour for your door is an important decision, and the colour palette is endless! But don’t worry because we are here to help. The colour you’ll choose should complement your home’s colour scheme and ensure your exterior look is balanced. Here are some tips:

  • You should commit to one neutral palette
  • Choose a style for your hardware and other metal accents and stick with it
  • Field-test your colour choice before committing
  • Ask the paint counter to help

Open garage door in suburban family home

How much paint you’ll need

The amount of paint you’ll need depends on two factors:

  1. How big the door is
  2. What kind of material it’s made of

Most standard two-car doors will need 4 litres of paint, which will provide two to three solid coats. Besides the door’s material and size, you should also consider the colour of the paint you’re using as it compares to the colour you’re painting over. You will need more coats of paint if you’re painting over a darker colour with a lighter one than when going from light to dark.

Necessary Materials Needed

  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Wire brush
  • Roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paint can opener
  • Wire brush
  • Bucket
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • All-purpose cleaner or sugar soap
  • Sponge
  • Garden hose
  • Cloth rags
  • Painters tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Latex exterior primer
  • Stir stick
  • Latex exterior paint
  • 5 or 7 cm nylon paintbrush
  • Step stool

Set of tools for painting on wooden table background top view

Preparations before you start painting

Before you start painting, there are some preparations you have to consider: 

  1. Clean the garage door by pressure washing both sides
  2. Let it dry
  3. Take a sanding block and scrub down the entire surface when you are over-coating a previously painted door
  4. Check the hinges, sides, and sanding underneath for dirt
  5. Lay down a drop cloth underneath to catch any excess paint
  6. If you won’t repaint the trim around the door, tape it up

Painting tips

Here are a few painting tips to help you out. But you should not worry; you can paint your door the way you’d paint any other surface.

  • Use slow, long strokes
  • When you cover an area with a single coat, let it dry before applying another
  • Paint just one lengthwise panel at a time, stopping at the hinges
  • Slide the door up until the hinge separates to give you room to manoeuvre when you paint the ends of the panels
  • Use a small step stool to reach the panel ends

Painting of wooden door, workers hand and brush

Metal garage doors: tips for better results

Repainting a steel door can be easy as one-two-three! Keep on reading to assure it looks great now and into the future.

Visual inspection of the entire door for surface imperfections

In preparation for this project, it is vital to remove all of the dirt from your doors. If metal is exposed, rust can be imminent. Use a dull putty knife to remove all of the loose residue and rust. Buff or sand minor scratches so you can paint a smooth surface.

Protection of the galvanised surface

There are specific metal primers designed to protect galvanised steel from corrosion. After you apply the primer, allow sufficient drying time before you use paint.

Working with newly installed doors

If you have a relatively new door, the surface will likely have a layer of factory-applied wax. For the paint to adhere well, you must remove this layer. To do so, lightly scuff the surface with a grey 3M synthetic steel wool pad drenched with soapy water. Rinse with clean water and remove any loose dust or soap film

Lifting gates to the garage

Paint the doors within 24 hours

Do not use oil-based alkyd house paint but prefer high-quality acrylic latex paint. You should mix the metal paint thoroughly and make sure the surface is arid. You should also apply uniform coats with the manufacturers recommended thickness and avoid:

  • Painting early in the morning
  • Painting at temperatures below 10°C

The steps you need to follow

Step 1: Do the prep

Make sure you are done with the preparation tutorial already mentioned: 

  • Scrub the entire door’s surface with a TSP cleaner to remove oily and greasy residues and help paint cling better. 
  • Rinse it thoroughly and allow it to fully dry.
  • Sand, the surface of the door, to ensure paint clings everywhere.
  • Wipe it all down with a damp rag and repeat the entire process on any PVC window frames or moulding.

Step 2: Get your paint ready

Begin your painting project by pouring mixed paint into a bucket and dipping a quality 5-7 cm wide nylon/polyester brush into the paint.

Senior old man painter's hand preparing a wall paint mix, blue color

Step 3: Apply the undercoat base with an exterior paint primer that’s suitable for the door’s material

  • If your garage door has inset panels, use a high-quality 5cm paintbrush with nylon bristles and prime these first. For a super smooth finish, wipe away any excess that may have crept outside of the panels.
  • Next, prime the stiles and the horizontal panels using the brush. You’ll only need to use one thin coat of primer.
  • Prime the inside frame of the door, starting at the top of the structure and continue until it is complete.
  • Wipe away any drips and spills that have overlapped onto the trim.
  • As you go, lower the door and stand on a step stool or ladder for the top portion.
  • Do the trim last. Starting at the top corner of the door, prime the trim’s side edge where it meets the wall. Prime all edges and its face and continue until the garage door trim is complete.
  • Let the primer dry fully for at least 12 hours.

Teenage girl with brush painting and impregnates old aged wooden garage doors with transparent protective primer

TIP: Reload the brush when necessary to maintain a wet edge.

Step 4: Do the topcoat

First, make sure you have taped any section you don’t want to paint, like windows or panels that you may be painting in another hue. And now the fun part! Apply a quality paint to the door using the same method as described for priming:

  • Bottom to top
  • Starting with the inner panels 
  • Working outward to the stiles
  • Let it dry for at least 12 hours

Step 5: Apply a second coat of paint

For the best results, apply a second coat, but be sure the first coat dries before you do so. You can cover any uneven patches or spots where the old, flaking paint shows through with the second coat. Once you’re done, remove the tape. Before opening the door, let the paint dry overnight

Painting the garage door

Care and maintenance

Once your garage has been primed and painted, you’ll find that there is very little maintenance involved, given that you used high-quality paint. You should care for your door just as you would for any other part of your home’s exterior. Here are a few tips for keeping the colour at its finest:

Wash it

You should wash your garage door at least twice a year,  once in spring and once in the fall. Since it is exposed to the weather elements daily, even the highest-quality door can become dull or even damaged and eroded over time. If you leave dirt and grime on the door over long periods, it can speed up the finish’s erosion. Cleaning and maintaining the integrity of the door’s surface will help you keep the door in good condition.

  • Wipe down wooden doors with a clean, dry cloth
  • For vinyl or other synthetic doors, use a soft cloth and appropriate cleaner
  • Rinse the door with a hose and then dry with a microfiber cloth
  • Brush down any cobwebs on the outside and inside of the doors and wipe with a soft dry cloth.

Person cleaning a garage door

Wax it

Steel doors should always be waxed after they are cleaned. This will guard them against all of the daily wear, as well as repel dirt and grime. Waxing is essential if you live in a harsh climate or coastal area where salt can quickly erode the door’s finish.

How much does it cost to paint a garage door?

The total cost to paint yours  will vary depending on:

  • The size of your garage
  • The number of doors
  • What type of paint, primer, and other supplies you choose to use

The cost per square metre is generally between £1 and £3. A typical range cost to paint one is anywhere from £150 to £400. If you wish to hire a professional decorator to do the job for you, the cost will be higher

 Garage door

Your garage door makes up about one-third of the exterior of your house, so you should keep it fresh and clean! You can offer them a quick and easy makeover by giving a new coat of paint and boost your home’s kerb appeal instantly. Are you ready to grab the brush?

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