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8 min read

Everything to Know About Garage Door Paint


8 min read

Everything to Know About Garage Door Paint

PaintEverything to Know About Garage Door Paint

Garages are often used as makeshift storage spaces. Aside from parking a car, storing tools, and a whole host of other stuff, it isn’t surprising how chaotic it can get. It may even become a point of contention between homeowners.

That being said, there’s one key element on which the whole family can agree, and that’s the garage door colour. Said colour will highlight this symbolic space, which has seen the emergence of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, just to name a few. As a matter of fact, it was within the confines of their residential garages that many famous entrepreneurs first tested their ideas and concepts, and initially built their prototypes. 

So, if you’re also dreaming of making your garage into a temporary host for your start-up, or simply converting it into a storage space, a kid’s playroom, or a workshop, why not start by giving the garage door a good coat of paint?

tan garage door

Source: John Paulsen - Unsplash

Steps to Painting a Garage Door

Painting a garage door depends on the original texture of the door, which is largely influenced by the material it is made out of. Your garage door could be:

  • Wood;

  • Metal;

  • Aluminum;

  • PVC;

  • Steel.

Note that certain types of paint will solely work on specific materials. Therefore, the first step will consist of choosing the right paint according to the making of your garage door.

Choose the paint

What kind of paint should be used on a wooden garage door?

A wooden garage door can be painted with 100% acrylic paint. However, it’s best to favour those that are microporous to protect the surface from environmental conditions, such as humidity.

What kind of paint should be used on an aluminum garage door?

A 100% acrylic paint will work just fine. However, an alkyd paint, also known as glycero paint, will provide additional durability, as well as a smooth and rather aesthetic finish. 

Simply due to the fact that paint doesn’t adhere especially well to smooth surfaces. The adherence provided (or lack thereof) by this type of garage door forces one to first apply a primer-type paint. 

This product helps in three ways:

  • Paint adherence;

  • Material protection;

  • Quality of the finish.

white garage door_Everything to Know About Garage Door Paint

Source: DESIGNECOLOGIST - Unsplash

What type of paint should be used on a metal or steel garage door?

By definition, metal (iron, copper, zinc, etc.) and steel are ferrous materials. In other words, they’re prone to rusting over time. When it comes to painting such materials, you first need to apply a layer of undercoat, which is basically a rust-resistant primer.

You can then choose from three different types of paints:

  • Alkyd paint, due to its durability;

  • Polyurethane lacquer (enamel paint), for a shiny finish;

  • Epoxy paint, for a durable finish.

What type of paint should you use on a PVC garage door?

An acrylic or glycero paint will work wonders on a PVC door. However, first, apply a coat of primer.  

white garage door_Everything to Know About Garage Door Paint

Source: Benjamin Rascoe - Unsplash

How to paint a garage door 

How do you paint a wooden garage door?

First, you’ll need to determine the type of wood you’ll be painting. Is it a:

  • New wood?

  • Treated but well-maintained wood?

  • Damaged and already painted wood? 

For new wood, sand it along the wood grain before dusting it. Afterward, you can proceed by applying a coat of primer, and then a layer of microporous acrylic paint. 

Treated wood can be slightly matted if carefully sanded down. Once the garage door has been dusted off, you can apply a fresh coat of paint.

Now, as for painted yet damaged wood, you’ll need to revamp your garage door. To do so, you can remove the chipped paint with the help of a paint stripper made specifically for wood. Rinse off the product, sand down the door, and then dust it off. Your garage door will be ready for a new, fresh coat of paint.

How you do paint a PVC garage door?

Clean the surface of your garage door. To do so, you can use a solution of acetone or rubbing alcohol. Both these products ensure that any grease will be effectively removed from your garage door. 

If your PVC garage door has a layer of silicone lubricant, you’ll definitely need to remove it. To effectively get rid of that layer of product, proceed with a white vinegar-soaked sponge, and there you go!

Finish by lightly sanding down the door. Remove the layer of dust and apply a PVC primer before applying a coat of paint. By adding a coat of primer, you’re basically guaranteeing the paint’s foolproof adherence to this smooth material. 

Trick of the trade: Choose a same-brand primer and a paint colour; not all paint is compatible with all primers. 

metal garage door

Source: Stephen Leonardi - Unsplash

How do you paint a metal or steel garage door?

If your garage door is made of metal or steel and shows signs of rust, sand it down lightly to remove any rust from the hinges. Abrasive sandpaper will work just fine. Considering a garage door is directly exposed to the elements, it’s best to apply a rust-resistant primer to adequately protect it.  

This step is all the more important should you choose a paint colour that isn’t rust-preventative.

Trick of the trade: Don’t paint a metal door during periods of strong sunshine to ensure proper paint adhesion. Always apply a minimum of two coats of paint to metal. The second coat serves as UV protection and as a finish. 

How do you paint an aluminum garage door?

Start by removing all traces of grease from the surface with the same solution above-mentioned for a PVC garage door (meaning one with acetone or rubbing alcohol).

Sand it down to remove the protective layer that covers the aluminum and to get rid of any signs of rust.

Once the door has been dusted and cleaned with clear water, simply apply a coat of undercoat with a roller in criss-cross strokes. Once the undercoat is dry, you can apply the paint.

What colours are best used according to your type of garage door?

There’s only one word that prevails when it comes to choosing a colour, and that’s balance. Finding the right balance is the only thing you should have in mind when thinking about the ideal colour for your garage door. 

This balance can even be found in a two- or three-colour door. Balance doesn’t mean that you can’t think outside the box; it’s the opposite, really. However, to rightly choose your garage door colour(s), you must take the following into consideration:

  • Colour of your façade; 

  • Colour of your front door;

  • Colour of your trim;

  • Colour of your roofing.

Does that mean that one should choose the same colour as the trimmings and roofing? Not in the slightest! Opt for a colour that blends in well with the whole.

How to choose colours that go together

Note that there are three types of colours: warm (red, orange, and yellow), cold (green, blue, and purple), and neutral (muted colours).

These colours can be mixed and matched, depending on the effect you’re seeking. Warm colours such as red will make the door pop out, giving it a vibrant and revitalizing effect.

On the other hand, if you opt for colder shades, you’re choosing a more serene and tempered route.

For muted, neutral colours, you’re thus choosing a more discreet approach, or, for multi-coloured doors, a touch of nuance. 

However, to comfortably mix warm, cold, and neutral colours, you have to have an idea of the end result. To do so, simply check out any home hardware website. You'll have access to a colour chart that'll help you experiment with all the possible colour combinations.

brown garage door_Everything to Know About Garage Door Paint

Source: Vivint Solar - Unsplash

What are the most common garage door colours?

If you look around your neighbourhood, garage doors are often white, brown or grey. 

Between one of these, you can hardly go wrong. 

Garage Door Paint Prices

Amongst the best-selling brands of paint, you’ll find:

  • American brand Benjamin Moore;

  • American brand California Paint;

  • Canadian brand MF. 

Each can of paint contains about 3.78 gallons, a little more than 11 litres. With an amount like that, you can paint surfaces measuring between 100 and 150 sq. ft., meaning between 9 and 14 m², given that two coats of paint are preferred. To properly measure your garage door, just multiply its length by its width.

On average, a garage door measures 12’ X 22’ or 18’ X 24’. For a roll-up-type shed door, you’re looking at about 6’ by 6.6’.

As a guideline, Benjamin Moore offers Coronado Rust Scat for $75. It's a polyurethane paint, also known as enamel paint, which acts as a rust-preventative coating. It works really well on metal or steel garage doors.

As for primers, expect to pay about $30 for a metal garage door, and $71 for the Trouble Shooter primer, which is made especially for wood use, courtesy of California Paint.

Therefore, for any and all standard garage door surfaces we’ve listed above, you’ll need a primer ($71) and four cans of 3.78 gallons of paint, as two coats of paint are preferrable ($300). The total cost of this little project should run you about $400.

For more information on the costs related to a garage door painting project, check out this article:

Exterior Painting Projects: Average Prices

Last but not least, here’s an article you’ll definitely want to bookmark for future house painting projects: 

House Painting Projects: Checklist of the Steps to Follow

Cover image source: Erik Mclean - Unsplash


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Last modified 2023-11-07

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