How to Paint Your Garage Door

Painting your garage door helps to make your garage look new again and enhances the curb appeal of your home.


A fresh coat of paint protects your garage door, extending its life so you spend less on repair and replacement costs. Whether you’re giving your garage a facelift or fixing a problem now so it doesn't get worse, painting is a simple, inexpensive solution that doesn’t take much time. This article on how to paint your garage door provides helpful tips that will soon have you painting like a pro.

Task Overview

Estimated time: 2 to 4 hours
Estimated cost: under $100
Skill level: Beginner
Number of people required: 1

Tools & Materials:


  1. Choose the paint
    The first step is to decide between water-based paint (latex/acrylic) and oil-based paint (enamel). Water-based paint is generally preferred for exterior surfaces, though oil-based paint does work better to block stains or when extra adhesion is needed. Keep in mind that water-based paint can be applied on surfaces previously covered with oil-painted paint, but oil-based paint should not be applied on surfaces covered in water-based paint. Whichever type of paint you choose, you'll require a gallon or two of exterior primer and exterior finish, depending on the size of your door. A semi-gloss sheen is easiest to maintain.
  2. Clean and prepare the surface
    Paint will only stick if your door is clean and dry. For metal doors, use a pressure washer at a low setting; for wood doors, use a regular garden hose to avoid damaging the wood or causing water to soak into the wood. Remove tough grime with a mildly abrasive cleaner and a stiff brush. Loose paint should also be removed using a paint scraper, stiff brush, sanding block or sandpaper.
  3. Repair damage
    Scrape or sand all rusted areas on a metal door. A wood door might need more extensive repair work. For example, there may be cracks in the wood panels or gaps between the panels and trim. For smaller repairs, you can use paintable caulk. For larger cracks and to repair rotten patches, use wood filler. Always scrape out any loose or rotten wood pieces before applying the wood filler.
  4. Protect the area
    Use a drop cloth or flat sheets of cardboard to protect the driveway and the garage floor. Use masking tape and plastic bags or sheeting to cover surrounding hardware, trim, siding and windows.
  5. Prime the garage door
    Paint the garage door and trim with an exterior primer. This step is particularly important if your door is new and un-primed, if bare patches of metal or wood are visible, or if you're changing the colour of your door. Make sure that the primer you have chosen is recommended for your type of door (either wood or metal). Apply a thin coat of primer using a paint sprayer or with a roller and brush.
  6. Prepare the paint
    Use a stir stick to stir the paint. You should do this even if it was already shaken at the paint store to ensure there are no remaining clumps of unmixed paint. Next, pour about one quart of paint into a clean work bucket. Replace and tightly seal the paint can lid. Refill the work bucket as needed.
  7. Disengage electric garage door
    Disengage the electric garage door opener so you can open the door manually from the outside. This allows you to paint a folding garage door panel by panel. Do not paint the rubber gasket at the bottom of the door unless it had been painted previously.
  8. Paint the door
    Use a wide brush, a paint tray and roller or a paint sprayer to apply paint thinly and evenly. For the best coverage and a long-lasting finish, apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. Begin at the bottom and work up to the top, moving the door down panel by panel.
  9. Paint the door frame and trim
    The frame and trim will also require two coats of paint. Use a brush that allows you to efficiently apply paint into the corners of the trim. If you're painting the frame and trim a different colour than the door panels, you'll need an angled brush that allows you to paint with extra precision.
  10. Clean up
    Remove the tape, plastic and cardboard. If you accidentally got paint on the glass, remove it with a flat razor blade. For latex/acrylic paint, rinse the brushes, sprayer and rollers as well as the bucket and tray with water until the water runs clear. For oil-based paint, use a solvent-based paint thinner for clean-up.

Painting Tips:

• For the paint to dry properly, apply paint when temperatures are between 10° to 32° C with moderate humidity
• Start painting early enough in the day to ensure you have enough time and sunlight to finish the job in one day
• After cleaning the door, make sure it is completely dry before painting
• Paint one panel of a folding door at a time, starting at the bottom panel
• Paint the edges of each panel and the lips where the folding panels meet when the panel has been moved to the top of the door opening
• Don’t paint the garage door the same colour as your front door or shutters, since it draws too much attention to the garage away from frontage and architecture of your house
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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