119 - Millennium Collection - Carriage House Garage Door - White - Glass

How to Properly Paint a Garage Door


Painting your garage door can completely revitalize the curb appeal of your home and will add a protective outer coating for your garage’s entranceway. But this project can quickly go awry if you don’t follow a few simple steps for painting a garage door correctly.

Today, we’ll outline everything you need to know about how to paint a garage door to get the best results possible.

Benefits of Painting a Garage Door

When everything is functioning properly, it can be easy to forget your garage door is even there. However, as time goes on, the appearance of your garage door can begin to lose its luster. Painting your garage door is a quick and easy way to enhance the appearance of your home. You can add a new color for a sharp looking contrast, or even add a textured paint to give it a wood-look.

Beyond giving the front of your home a better look, another benefit you may not have considered is how painting your garage door helps to seal it off for protection against the elements. Small scratches and dents that wear off your garage door’s protective paint can expose the metal beneath over time. When subjected to the elements, metal will rust and corrode. Properly priming and painting any exposed metal adds that protective layer back in, which can extend the life of your garage door.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools for Painting

As with most things in life, having the right tools to do the job correctly is half the battle. While it can be tempting to go with the economy options for a lot of these tools, you’ll receive better results and a more finished product if you use high-quality, professional grade tools and equipment.

Your Garage Door Painting Toolbox

To paint your garage door properly, make sure you have the following tools and equipment handy for a hassle-free experience:
  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • Safety eyeglasses
  • Sandpaper with fine grit
  • Large sponge
  • Cloth or terry towel
  • Painter’s drop cloth or plastic sheeting
  • High quality exterior-rated latex paint
  • Step ladder
  • Face mask
  • Scrub brush
  • Cleaner (recipes for garage door cleaner below)
  • Hose or large garden sprayer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Metal primer
  • Paint roller
With the right equipment, your garage door painting project will go smoothly and produce better results. Continue reading to view our outline on how to properly prep your garage door for painting.

Prep Your Garage Door for Painting

First and foremost, the garage door surface must be properly prepared for painting. A thorough, deep clean before painting can be performed using common household materials. Below, we’ll outline two options for mixing your own, basic household garage door cleaners.

Option 1: Laundry Detergent Garage Door Cleaner

  • 1 cup laundry detergent to 5 gallons of warm water.
  • Any household detergent may be used to prep your garage door for painting. Use a laundry detergent that has less than 0.5% phosphate.
  • Mix 1 cup laundry detergent with 5 gallons of warm water. Do not use a blend of detergents and do not use detergents with bleach.

Option 2: Ammonia Garage Door Cleaner

  • 1 cup household ammonia to 5 gallons of room temperature water.
  • Household ammonia may be used as another option for cleaning your garage door and preparing it for repainting.
  • Be sure to use room temperature water.

Clean Your Garage Door

To wash the garage door, you can use either option of cleaning solution, in addition to a well-soaked cloth, sponge or very soft bristled brush . A low-pressure spray washer can also be used. Once the door is washed, rinse well with clean water to eliminate the possibility of leaving any leftover residue on the door that may interfere with painting.

Sand and Buff the Garage Door

If you encounter minor imperfections, such as small scratches that have not left the metal substrate exposed, they can be lightly sanded or buffed to create a smoother surface. With your gloves, safety glasses, and mask on, you can carefully sand the area. But be careful not to overbuff the surface—you do not want the metal substrate exposed as this can increase the chance of rusting.

To prevent rusting, any exposed metal must be treated. If there is exposed metal on the garage door, lightly sand the area and apply a primer specifically designed to protect exposed galvanized steel from rust and corrosion.

Painting Your Garage Door

After the door has been cleaned and all imperfections or exposed metal have been addressed, it’s time to paint. For the best results, painting must be completed within 24 hours using high-quality latex exterior house paint.

Step 1: Choose Your Day Wisely

Pay close attention to the weather in your area. It’s best to avoid painting when temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The best temperature range is between 50 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also want a relatively low humidity, without any rain in the forecast at least for a couple days to really help the paint set in well.

Step 2: Final Prep for the Paint and Door

Ensure the paint is mixed well—mechanical mixing is recommended to ensure that no settling on the bottom of the container remains. Use painter’s tape to cover up anything, like windows that you don’t want paint on. Place the painter’s drop cloth on both sides of the door to catch any drips.

Step 3: Paint Away

Apply a uniform coat of paint at the manufacturer’s recommended dry film thickness range. Generally, one-gallon of paint is more than enough for a two-car garage door. Start at the bottom, then ease over to the middle and continue to work your way up. Use your step ladder to reach the high portion of the door. Save the trim for last. Let the paint dry for at least 12 hours before attempting a second coat. Once completely finished, remove your painters tape and let your new paint dry overnight.

The next day, use the “touch test” to make sure the paint is dry and isn’t sticky. High-humidity like we can get in the North Carolina summers can take longer to dry. Once the paint is dry to the touch, you can open and close your door worry-free.

Garage Door Painting Pro Tips

  • The garage door must be completely dry before painting.
  • Painting should be done early in the morning to give yourself enough time to finish.
  • Please note, the instructions we’ve outlined above are a general summary of proper painting practices and does not cover all aspects of repainting steel garage doors.

Schedule a Garage Door Consultation

When it comes to your garage door, it’s easy to push a button and forget about the whole operation until there’s a problem. For any garage door repair questions you may have, our skilled technicians can be a trusted resource to help you understand all your options.

To book a free garage door consultation with one of experienced garage professionals, just give us a call at 704-397-3002, book your appointment right online, or fill out our handy online contact form and we’ll be in touch.

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  • Hi, I'm Tisha Broome. I'm one of the owners here at Presto. I'm an expert in helping clients choose the right garage door, garage floor and gutter system. I can also help you with all of your repair and maintenance needs. You can text me with any questions. I typically respond in less then 15 minutes during normal business hours. I'm available to speak by phone, email or by video call if you'd like me to see the visual details of your project.

  • Terry Caldwell
  • Hi, I'm Terry Caldwell. I've been a member of the Presto Team since 2015. I've been working with clients to choose their perfect product solution since 2018. Before that, I was our lead garage door installer and then our lead repair technician. I can help you find solutions to even the most difficult problems. Feel free to text me your questions. I typically respond in less than 15 minutes during business hours. I'm available to speak by phone, email or by video call if you'd like me to see the visual details of your project.