Take a Look at Your Garage Door...
Did you know that the garage door can account for as much as 30% of the front of a home? It’s common for people to use their garage door even more frequently than their front door, but most of us rarely ever stop to give it a closer look. The problem is, while your garage door may be purely functional for you, its condition can drastically affect your home’s overall appearance and influence the way others perceive your house.
Installing a new garage door has been proven to add significant value to a home, but you may be able to achieve a similar effect for a much more affordable price by painting if your garage door is already in good repair. Updating the color of your door or even just adding a fresh coat of paint can completely change the look of your home and drastically increase its curb appeal. Not to mention, painting can also help protect your garage door against the elements and give it a longer lifespan.
Painting your garage door is a simple and relatively inexpensive project that can easily be completed over the weekend, but there are a few things you need to take care of before getting started. Most importantly, you can’t paint your garage door until you’ve picked out your paint.
Picking Out Garage Door Paint
The three factors you need to consider when buying paint for your garage door are the type of garage door you have, the color you would like to paint, and the size of your garage door. This will help you to determine what type of paint (and primer) you need and how much to buy.
Does the Same Paint Work on Any Garage Door?
The type of paint (and primer) you use will mainly be determined by the material from which your garage door is made. Most steel and wood doors can be painted with either latex- or oil-based paint, but extra precaution needs to be taken when painting vinyl doors or doors with any kind of plastic overlay to ensure that the paint is approved for these materials and will properly adhere to the door.
Regardless of your door type, it is important to make sure you choose an exterior paint that is made to withstand the elements. Latex-based paints are generally recommended unless your door has previously been painted with an oil-based paint, in which case you will want to use oil-based again. The type of primer you use should also coordinate with the paint type (oil-based primer with oil-based paint, etc.). A few highly recommended exterior paint brands include Behr and Clark + Kensington and can be found at your local hardware or paint store.
Tips for Choosing Your Garage Door Color
With hundreds of colors to choose from, how are you supposed to decide what color to paint your garage door? The first thing you need to determine is the goal you wish to achieve by painting your door. You have to decide if you want it to stand out from or blend in with the rest of the house, make a bold statement or act as a subtle accent, give your house personality and flair or make it appealing to the masses in preparation for sale.
In order to select a paint color for your garage door that matches your home, there are generally three main options to choose between. Depending on your desired effect, you can either match the trim of your house, match the house itself, or pick an accent color to compliment the other colors present on your home’s exterior.
It is common for the garage door color to match the house’s trim, especially if the trim is lightly colored and/or the house is a darker color or unpainted, such as a colored brick house. This will make your door stand out more than if it was the same color as the house but can accentuate the style of certain types or doors and look elegant if done correctly.
If you do not want your garage door to draw much attention, painting it the same color as the rest of your home may be the way to go. By matching the garage door color to the house color, it generally tends to make the entire home appear larger and downplays the garage itself. This color choice works well if you have a standard garage door without a lot of bells or whistles and don’t want it to be the focal point of your home.
Choosing to paint your garage door an accent color is a bold move but can be the right choice depending on the style of your home and garage door. If you have a specialty door to which you want to draw attention or just want to personalize your home with a unique touch, painting your door an accent color can do just that.
However, it is important to stay within the color scheme of your house to avoid drawing negative attention. Often you can match your garage door to the color of your shutters or your front door to keep the overall look of your home cohesive.
How Much Paint Do I Need?
A gallon of paint should be enough to cover most standard two-car garage doors, but the exact amount you need will depend on the material from which your door is made, the size of your door, and the color of the paint you are using as it compares to the color you are painting over.
The general rule of thumb is that a gallon of paint is enough to coat about 350 square feet once, which means it should be more than enough for two to three solid coats on any standard 16 by 7 double garage door. However, you should keep in mind that it may take a few additional coats to fully cover a door using a lighter color, especially if painting over a darker color (though using primer will make covering dark colors easier and require less paint).
The Necessary Materials
Before you get started, you should gather all your materials to make sure you have everything you’ll need to complete the painting process. There is nothing worse than getting half an hour into a project only to realize you’re missing an essential tool you thought you had lying around the house somewhere.
Painting is a big job, and, while it is not difficult, it is a commitment that is likely to take a few days of your time. Preparation is the key to being as quick and efficient as possible, so here is a list that includes everything you will need to successfully paint your garage door. Feel free to swap out items if you have something comparable on hand that you’d prefer to use instead, as long as you have thought through each step and made sure you’re adequately equipped for the task at hand.
- Paint Tray
- Painter's Tape
- Step Ladder
- 2- or 3-inch Nylon Paint Brush
- Paint Can Opener
- Wire Brush
- Safety Goggles
- Dust Mask
- Drop Cloth
- All-purpose Cleaner or Dish Soap
- Stir Stick
7 Steps for a Perfect Paint Job
Step 1: Check the Weather
While some DIY projects might be the perfect way to spend a rainy day around the house, painting your garage door is not one of them. You’ll want to check the weather forecast before you pick a time to paint, so you don’t get caught in the rain halfway through your new paint job.
The ideal conditions for painting your garage door include a temperature somewhere between 50 and 80 degrees, low humidity, and a time when your door won’t be in direct sunlight (which can cause the paint to dry prematurely and affect the quality of the final coat of paint). It may not be possible to pinpoint three consecutive days with all these conditions, but you should aim to stay within these parameters as much as possible. Don’t forget, painting does require several days to finish once you figure in preparation, priming, and applying more than one coat of paint, so be sure to set aside enough time to see the job through to completion.
Step 2: Sand & Clean the Door
To make sure your paint job is long-lasting and looks well-done, it is crucial to properly prep your garage door. You will need to both sand and clean the door in order to ensure that the paint will adhere well to its surface.
First, you must don your protective eyewear and dust mask, and then you can begin by scrubbing down any spots where the current paint is chipping or peeling using the wire brush. After addressing the problem areas, sand the entire door using sandpaper with a fine grit.
Next comes the cleaning. Though some guides will tell you to wash your door and then sand it, it is more beneficial to clean after sanding in order to remove any dust or loose paint that may be left over. To wash the door, you can use dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner, giving it a good scrub with whatever type of sponge you have on hand. Once you are sure the whole door has been scoured, use your hose to rinse it off and allow it adequate time to fully dry.
Step 3: Prepare Your Workspace
When your garage door has completely dried, you can prepare it by lining the edges with painter’s tape and masking over any door hardware that cannot be easily removed in order to protect it while painting. To prevent any drips or splatters from falling on your driveway or the floor of your garage, put down a drop cloth that covers the area both inside and outside the door. The goal is to paint the garage door and only the garage door.
Painting can be hard on your back, so you might also want to disengage the automatic opener by pulling the emergency release cord. This will allow you to manually lift the door away from the ground so that you aren’t forced to stoop over while painting the bottom panels. Plus, it never hurts to eliminate any possibility of someone else opening the door while you are in the middle of painting.
Step 4: Prime the Door
When repainting your garage door, primer is the key to a nice, even color that will not weather easily or quickly chip away. It’s most critical to prime any spots where the metal of your door is exposed, regardless of the cause (e.g., peeling paint, dings, scratches, etc.), and when significantly changing the color of your door. If you only want to freshen up the existing paint job but plan to keep the same color, it’s unnecessary to apply primer to the entire door.
If spot priming, simply use a small paint brush to cover the exposed areas evenly with primer, being careful not to leave any bubbles or excess on the door. To prime the whole door, you will follow the same steps you will later use when painting.
It is best to go one panel at a time, working your way from the bottom of the door to the top. Garage doors typically have some form of inset panels, so you will begin by priming the inner portion and moving outward toward the stiles. You can use a small roller to cover the larger areas but should use a brush for the ridges and depressions to ensure an even coat.
Once primer has been applied to the entire door, allow it to dry for a minimum of 12 hours before beginning to paint. This is why it is best to set aside at least two days for the job, so you can allow the primer time to dry overnight.
Step 5: Paint the Door
The best technique for painting the door is much like the one used to apply the primer, working from the bottom of the door to the top and from the middle of each panel out toward the stile. Most general painting practices should also still be followed, such as using long, slow strokes to avoid streaking. Remember that light colors are likely to require multiple coats of paint, but you’ll need to be sure to allow plenty of time for the first coat to dry before applying the second (and possibly third).
Step 6: Don’t Forget the Trim
When painting your garage door, you can choose whether or not you want to paint the trim around the door the same color. There can be arguments made for both looks, but it will depend largely on the color of your home and the color you’ve chosen for the garage door.
If painting the door to match the trim of the house, it would logically follow that you would paint the trim as well. However, if you are using your house color or a third, accent color for your door, you might want to keep the trim the same color as the rest of the trim on your home to create contrast and make the garage door more distinct.
Step 7: Clean Up & Congratulate Yourself
Once you have finished painting your garage door (and trim), remove the painter’s tape and pick up the drop cloth you laid down to protect your garage floor and driveway. While the tape does not have to be removed right away, it is less likely to result in peeling or chipping near the edges if removed before the door has completely dried. You will want to allow your door several hours to dry before using your garage door opener, which should give you plenty of time to step back and admire your craftsmanship.
The Mr. Garage Door Difference
Painting your garage door can work wonders on the outward appearance of your home, but when it comes down to it, an attractive garage door won’t do you any good if it’s not working properly.
Your garage door is the largest moving part of your home and requires routine maintenance to continue functioning efficiently. As something you use daily, wear and tear is inevitable, but preventative maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns.
Mr. Garage Door is a reliable garage door company offering expert garage door maintenance, repair, and replacement for an affordable price in cities across the country. We know how important your garage door is to your daily life, and it is our goal to make sure you never have to go without it. We provide quick and efficient 5-star service and back our work with the same 100% Lifetime Workmanship Guarantee as our sister company Mr. Rekey Locksmith.
Before you paint your garage door, you’ll want to make sure it’s in good repair. Give Mr. Garage Door a call at (844) 900-3015 today, and we will take care of all your garage door needs.
Unique Paint Jobs Gallery
While most people stick to one of the three main options for matching their homes when painting their garage doors, some people decide to go with something a little more creative. Explore these unique garage doors for more garage door ideas or just to see what a difference garage door design can make on the appearance of a home.