Can a Garage Door Be Painted?

White paint pouring from paint can into drip tray

Inside our homes, when something starts to look worn, we paint it. If a coffee table or an old chair starts to show its age, touching it up with a bit of point can be a cheap and easy way to give it a new lease of time. Lots of homeowners wonder whether the same thing can be done to a garage door. Can they be painted or would this be a bad idea?

The simple answer is that, yes, garage doors can be painted. This does bring up another question though – should you paint your garage door? We're going to look at the answer to this question, as well as provide some advice about the best way to go about painting a garage door below.

Firstly...Should You Paint Your Garage Door?

There are a couple of questions that we always recommend people ask before they go to the store, grab the supplies they need, and set about painting. These questions are:

What Condition is Your Garage Door In? – Painting a garage door can be a great way to patch up a scruffy or worn-looking garage door and make it look more presentable. But in general, it's a purely cosmetic "fix". If the door is in need of some serious garage door repair, painting it will not do anything. For that reason, before you decide to paint, we always advise people to objectively assess the condition of their door, as if the door is very old and worn, a new garage door installation might be what you need, not a quick lick of paint.

What Material is Your Door Made From? – The material the door is made from has a significant impact. Generally speaking, wood doors are simple to paint, but if you have a metal or vinyl garage door there are more considerations and additional steps to follow. Metal doors usually come with a “powdercoat” or “baked enamel” finish when they're new, and you don't want to paint over this if it's not worn as it's far more resistant than standard paint. With vinyl doors, paint is not usually necessary other than to change the appearance of the door, and adding paint could add additional maintenance requirements going forward.

Ok Great – Now How Do I Paint My Garage Door?

If you've done a bunch of thinking and considered all of your options, and have come to the conclusion that painting your garage door is the right thing to do, here are some tips that we recommend you follow.

1) Have All of Your Supplies At Hand

Just like when we undertake a garage door repair job, it's important to have all of the necessary equipment and supplies at hand so you can do the job properly. You don't want to have to “down tools” to go to the store when you're in the middle of things. So buy a paint and primer that's suitable for your particular door (remember – the garage door material is the key consideration here).

2) Wait for the Right Conditions

This is key and can make all the difference between a job well done and a botch job. You're looking for a spell of clear weather, with the temperature somewhere between 50 and 75 degrees, along with low humidity. Cloud cover is also preferable.

3) Inspect the Surface of the Door and Sand If Necessary

Scan all parts of the door and look for any rough surfaces. With metal doors, you should be on the lookout for any patches of rust. This needs to be carefully sanded down and removed to prep your surface for the paint. Use fine-grit sandpaper for this, and once you're done, make sure to give the entire surface of the garage door a thorough wash-down with a sponge (NOT an abrasive cleaning pad), and an all-purpose cleaner. Then you just need to make sure it completely dries (leave it about 60 minutes or so).

4) Apply Tape Where Necessary

The same as you would do if you were completing a paint job inside your house. Grab some painter's tape and cover up any part of the garage door that you don't want to apply paint to, such as the handles, locks, windows (if you have any), and the trim should you want to keep that free of paint. It's also a good idea to put something on the floor – plastic sheeting or an old bed sheet – so that it covers the area immediately inside and outside the door.

5) Disengage The Garage Door Opener

The best thing to do in terms of adjusting the garage door is to disengage the garage door opener and set it up so that the door can be adjusted manually. This just makes it a little easier on your back.

6) Apply a Primer Coat

This is a step that we recommend you follow for the best results. A primer will help the paint you apply afterward adhere to the garage door surface much more effectively, providing a better finish and one that will last longer. Just make sure you buy one that is suitable for the type of material your garage door is made from, and then wait a minimum of 12 hours for it to dry.

7) Apply Your Paint

You're near the end of the process now. Now it's time to apply your paint in much the same way. It's usually better to work from the bottom of the door to the top. Once you finished, leave it for another 12 hours to completely dry, and then come back to survey your work. If the finish seems even, you probably don't need another coat. But if you see patches where the old paint/color is showing through, you'll need to get your brushes out and apply another coat.

If You Decide Your Garage Door Is Not Worth Painting...

Not every garage door can be rescued with a bit of paint. If after surveying yours you come to the conclusion that you need garage door repair first or a completely new garage door installation altogether, get in touch with the team at A Better Garage Door. We'd love to help!

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