Adding a new coat of paint to any part of your home can make it feel like an entirely new structure. If you’re not ready to paint your whole exterior, though, you might benefit from painting your garage door. Before you do so, it’s a good idea to learn exactly how to correctly paint a garage door. Here’s a quick primer on how to paint a garage door
Preparing Garage Doors For Painting
You’re going to need to do a fair bit of prep work before you paint the garage door, so it’s always a good idea to get started a little earlier than you might expect. While there might be an odd garage door out there that can be painted without having to do anything else, the truth is that most doors are going to need a little bit of love before you actually start painting.
Washing the door
Your first step is going to be to wash the door off. You’re going to need to get rid of all of the dirt and grime that has accumulated over the course of the last few years, so taking a powerful spray to the door is probably a good idea. If you’ve got a fairly sturdy door, power washing is almost certainly going to be your friend here. Once you’ve got everything washed off, it’s time to remove any of the old paint that’s chipping off – a process that might take some time, as you’re going to have to do it by hand. If you have a wooden garage door, you may also need to sand down the rough spots in order to create the right surface for painting.
Applying painter’s tape
Now that you’re done cleaning everything off, you can start getting ready to paint. You’ll need to grab some painter’s tape here, as you are going to want to tape off the trim that surrounds your garage door in order to ensure that you don’t get paint where it doesn’t need to go. Likewise, the paint can help you to avoid getting anything on any windows that are part of the door. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, but it’s going to save you an awful lot of work.
Final prep work
Finally, you’ll need to prepare the space for painting. A good drop cloth is a must here, as it’s going to help you to deal with any excess paint that falls off the door. You’re also going to need something to prop the door open once it is disengaged from the track, as a failure to do so is going to make it much harder for you to paint the bottom of the garage door. Once these preparations are in place, you can get started with the time consuming process of painting.
The Painting Project
One of the biggest questions about painting your garage door is whether or not you need to prime it before you start. In truth, this really has more to do with the door than anything else. If your garage door is unpainted, taking the time to prime the door is going to make your life much easier even if it does mean that it’s going to take you longer to get the job done. If the door is already painted, you really only need to worry about priming any spots that might still be unpainted.
Now comes the fun part – painting. You’re going to start from the top, which means you are almost certainly going to need a stepladder to get this job done. The good news is that the actual process of painting the door is done in quick bursts so it is easy to see that you’re making progress as you go through the process. The bad news, though, is that you’re going to be doing small bits at a time so painting your door can feel like it takes forever.
You are going to want to start at the top of your garage door, lifted about an inch off the ground so that you can get the entire top panel. You’re going to paint one section at a time here; if the door is one horizontal panel, you’ll paint it all at once while you’ll paint each individual square if it is broken up that way. Paint the entire outside of each square or panel and work your way in so that you can be sure to get everything. Once you are done, lift the garage door up so that the next set of panels is at the right height. Continue this process until you get to the very bottom.
Do you need a second coat on your garage door? The truth is that while it might not always be necessary it certainly isn’t going to hurt your garage door at all to get that second coat. It’s better to apply the next coat immediately after the first has dried so that you don’t have to come out later and touch things up, though touch-up jobs can often feel inevitable to those who have never painted a garage door before.
Basic Tips and Tricks
While the advice on how to paint a garage door above is certainly going to help you to paint any garage door that you encounter, there are a few little tips and tricks that can make your life easier and that can make your paint job turn out a little bit better. Not all of these have to be followed, of course, but taking the time to look at them is often a good way to make sure that you get the most for your effort.
One of the most pressing questions you’re going to ask yourself is about the kind of paint you use. There are some absolutely fantastic garage paints out there, but you don’t actually have to use one of these products. Instead, it’s recommended that you use a good, weather-resistant exterior paint that’s going to help you to both get the look you want and to avoid having to paint the door agains in the near future. Most people like to go with more of a satin finish, but matte is absolutely acceptable if that’s how your tastes run.
It’s also a good idea to remember that since your garage door essentially splits into segments as it moves, you’re going to have to make a choice about whether or not you paint the underside of each segment. In truth, most people avoid this part of the process because you’re really never going to see the underside of the segments when you’re not opening or closing the door. Painting these segments really feels like you’re putting in a lot of extra work for very minimal reward.
Finally, make sure that you check the weather before you start painting. The last thing you want is to have to stop painting halfway through because of the weather, so pick a sunny day to get the job done. As with most painting projects, though, you’re going to want to avoid going out while it’s too hot. You need to find a solid middle ground that’s going to allow you to get all of your painting done at once without messing with how the paint dries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of paint do you use on a garage door?
You should always use an exterior paint on a garage door. Though you can probably find a few brands that advertise themselves as being designed specifically for garage doors, any exterior paint will do. Note that different types of finish are going to make a very obvious difference when you see them outside, so you might want to try to find something that works well with the exterior of your home.
Do you need to prime a garage door before painting?
It depends on whether or not the garage door was painted beforehand. If the garage door has already been painted, a full coat of primer probably isn’t needed. In this case, you’re just going to hit anywhere that’s already been patched or that is bare. If it has never been painted, though, a good coat is primer is probably going to make your life much easier and will make the final product look much better. With that said, there’s definitely no harm that can come from priming even if you’re not entirely sure it is necessary.
How do you paint an aluminum garage door?
The good news about painting an aluminum garage door is that you won’t have to worry much about sanding down imperfections. Start by hosing it off and getting rid of any dirt and grime and then move on to painting it from top to bottom. Paint one section at a time, as doing so will give you a better idea of where you have painted and which sections are dry when it is time for you to apply the second coat of paint and finish up your painting job.