How To Paint A Garage Door

The appearance of your garage door can be a major impediment to the appearance of your home. No matter how good the interior of your garage is, a cracked paint job or an ugly color makes your house stand out for the wrong reasons.

Luckily, painting a garage door is an easy do-it-yourself project if you choose the right paint, and you can have the home improvement job done inside a weekend.

A latex exterior paint from a reputable paint manufacturer is the best type of paint to use and is suitable for both materials such as vinyl and wooden garage doors. Oil-based exterior paint is best for metal garage doors, but exterior latex paint can suffice. 

red garage door

However, there’s more to paint the garage door than picking the right paint covering the entire surface and letting the paint dry.

Besides the paint on your garage door, you need to consider the preparation to promote adhesion from the old paint to the new. (Read What Is Enamel Paint)

In our guide, you can learn more about how to have the absolute best-painted garage door possible. By the end, you’ll see what you need to paint the door manually and use the painting tips to keep enough paint for the same color touch-up should it get chipped.

What Kind of Paint For a Garage Door?

As long as the entire door is properly prepared for the painting procedure, you can’t go wrong with exterior latex paint of decent quality. Exterior latex paint works well on many doors, but oil-based paint works best on metal doors.

But what’s the difference between these two types of paint, and why is it important? We’ll go over the differences between the different paints before we get started on choosing paint for your door.

Difference Between Exterior and Interior Paint?

Interior paint is one type of paint you definitely don’t want to use on your garage door. Although many of the same ingredients, such as pigment and solvent, are used in interior and exterior paint, these ingredients are formulated to withstand outdoor conditions.

If you use interior paint on your garage door, it will fade more quickly and may crack or peel, although it will appear the same after drying with a second coat. (Learn How To Paint Over Peeling Paint)

Difference Between Latex Paint and Oil-Based Paint?

There are two types of paint available for home improvement and painting garage door: latex and oil-based. Although latex paint is not always latex, it is the label given to most water-based paints. Even though it is misleading, the terms are used interchangeably.

The type of liquid required to make latex and oil-based paints the proper consistency is the fundamental difference. Oil-based primer and paints use alkyd, a synthetic oil, or linseed oil, or natural oil. Water is used in water-based paints, and while it may not appear to make much difference, it does.

paint buckets

Water-based products are ever more popular because:

  • They don’t have a smelly odor
  • They leave hardly any harmful fumes
  • For interior paint, you don’t need ventilation
  • Latex paint cracks less outdoors
  • Suitable for metal or wood doors.

Step 1

Begin your painting project by dipping a quality 2″-212″ wide nylon/polyester brush into fully mixed paint in a one-gallon bucket. With temperatures ranging from 50o to 90o F and moderate humidity, work away from direct sunlight.

Step 2

Begin by painting into the recessed region of the top panel of the garage door. Begin from one of the recess corners and work your corner around the perimeter. Wood doors often have the same paneled pattern.

Step 3

Continue painting the rest of the panel until it is finished. Rep the process of painting the panels and their recesses until all of them are finished. Wipe away any paint that has spilled over onto the stiles.

Step 4

Paint (cut in) a 2″-3″ wide section around the perimeter of the garage door with your brush. Start in the top corner and work your way down the walls.

Step 5

Pour the paint from the bucket into your paint tray. Work the roller along the tray until it’s fully loaded in paint. Use a 3/8″-3/4″ roller for the best results.

Step 6

Paint the stiles around the perimeter of each panel on your garage door until you finish. Wait for a few hours until the first coat dries before you begin painting again with the second coat.

paint materials

How Do You Prepare a Garage Door for Painting?

Your garage door, like the rest of your home’s exterior, is constantly exposed to the weather. A fresh coat of paint can increase the life of your garage door while also improving the aesthetic of your home.

Step 1: Clean and Tape Prep Your Garage Door

The first step is to prepare the door for painting the garage door as it can help the paint adhere to the surface of the painted garage door.

Apply a house wash cleaner to the entire door’s surface and brush away dirt or dust with a cloth. Using a garden hose, squirt water on the door and let it air dry.

Mask any handles, trim, or windows on your garage door using painter’s tape, and for driveway and garage floor protection from garage door paint or primer, place a drop cloth or tarp beneath your door. (Read Does Paint Go Bad)

Step 2: Strip Old Paint

Remove any loose paint with a wire brush and scrape away any rust with a paint scraper before painting a garage door. To remove all the old paint, use a chemical stripper, a sanding sponge, or a palm or circular sander. Preparing your garage door is tedious work, but it’s vital if you want your new paint job to appear its best and last for years. One pro tip makes sense, as you need to wear safety goggles and a dust mask while sanding.

Step 3: Use Primer on Your Garage Door & Paint

Determining what material your garage door is made from is a step in the garage door painting procedure. Most garage doors are made of metal, yet you could still have a wooden door. Most latex exterior primers are suitable for any surface yet ensure the primer you choose is suitable fr your garage door.

Use a brush, a paint roller, or a paint sprayer to apply your primer and allow 12 hours, if not 24 hours, for the primer to dry.

Last but not least, ensure you have enough primer and paint for one coat. Stopping halfway to get another gallon of paint will cause streaky paint. When buying paint, ask the employee about coverage. Supplies include a paint tray, liners, brushes, and rollers.

If your garage door panels lack recesses, a roller can create a smooth finish in a single coat or two coats following the primer. Brushes are needed for ridges, crevices, and other indentations. When you buy paint, the retailer shakes it to mix all the pigments thoroughly. White paint, too, must be shaken first. (Read Cleaning Paint Off Concrete)

Until then, give the paint a good swirl before using. There are drill attachments that allow you to mix paint before using it quickly. You don’t need to shake the primer, yet it doesn’t hurt.

Now either pour the paint into a roller tray or dip the brush into the gallon of paint. Many ladders come with a shelf you can use to hold your can.


Begin with the top panel of the garage door and paint the recessed area. Paint recessed sections starting at the corner and working your way around the panel. Rep until each panel and recess is over. Wipe any paint that has run on the stiles and check for any bare spots as you paint the entire panel.


Paint a 2”-3” wide section around the perimeter of your garage door, starting at the top corner and working your way down the walls. Pour paint into your paint tray and reload your roller for the next area. For optimal results, use a 38-34” roller cover Paint the perimeter of each panel until the garage door is complete. After the first coat is completely dry, you can add two coats in total if needed.

Frame & Trim

Using your brush, paint fresh paint on the inside frame of the door, start painting at the top, and working your way down to wipe excess paint from the trim.

Next, paint the door from the top corner to the wall, then paint the edges until the trim is complete.

Nothing detracts from the curb appeal of your home like a faded paint job. By painting your garage, you improve the appeal of your entire property. To ensure a long-lasting finish, paint in the sure weather and follow the above painting procedure.

How To Paint A Garage Door (1)

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