A garage door makes up about a third of your house’s facade. A faded old door can really affect the curb appeal. If you have a weekend, we have a project that will give your house a facelift for under $100.
The best garage door paint
We have a brief look at some exterior paints that you can get from either a paint supplier or your local big box store. And since you’re subject to the elements with this project, we focused on the features that make this paint job as painless as possible.
Valspar Duramax Semi-Gloss Latex Exterior Paint
If you’d like to get right to it, the best garage door paint we came across was Valspar Duramax Semi-Gloss Latex Exterior Paint. It’s not the cheapest gallon of paint you can buy but it sure is worth the price you pay. At around $40, Valspar’s Duramax line is primed and ready for outdoor applications.
The best praise that this paint could receive was that it could be applied in one coat. Now I’m sure you hear that a lot from premium paint lines. Practically anything that includes the primer is marketed as “only needs one coat”. From reading reviews, however, you’ll find that a common disappointment is that it takes two, sometimes three coats to complete most jobs.
Almost every remark about Valspar’s Duramax paint was that it was very thick to apply, didn’t drip, and looked good after just one coat. It should be mentioned that, depending on the initial tint and quality of the wood or aluminium you’re painting over, actual coats may vary.
Behr Premium Plus Ultra
If you find yourself shopping at Home Depot, you’re probably familiar with the Behr line of paints. For all of our interior projects, we’ve used the Premium Plus Ultra mix and have always been left satisfied. I’ve never been able to get away with just one coat, but it’s been that old dependable paint that just looks purdy when the project is complete.
The Marquee line of paints is a step above the Premium Plus Ultra and features Behr’s most advanced dirt and fade resistance technology. I don’t know about you but our garage door seems to be a dust and dirt magnet. I’m all for any kind of paint that won’t have me showering our door with the hose every season.
Time to prime
Most professional painters will use a separate primer and a premium can of paint. By using a product like Kilz 2, they ensure that any existing stains or marks will be completely covered before they attempt any painting. For those who want to be in full control of your paint, consider these paint options for your garage door.
Benjamin Moore Aura Series 632
The Aura series was the highest rated of the non-primed paints. It has a thick consistency and rolls on smooth. You have to be careful, though, since it dries very quickly. You can’t thin out this paint or else you’ll compromise its protective qualities. At about $62 for a gallon, along with the can of primer, you’re looking to spend about $75 for this option.
Sherwin Williams Snap Dry
Well, just as the name suggests, this is another quick drying paint. If your garage door has some trickier sections, namely windows or decorations, make sure it’s properly masked so you can easily stroke the brush. Getting caught having to clean paint or remask might leave you with some parts that have already dried. This paint was the most expensive at about $75 just for the gallon of paint.
Valspar Professional Exterior
Valspar returns to this list with another exterior grade paint, this one displaying the pro moniker. This paint, too, is well-reviewed and shares all the necessary features for exterior grade paint: durability, fade resistance, and mildew resistance. Even on untreated rough sawn wood, this paint will adhere and look good with just a couple coats.
Should I paint my garage door?
Like we said in the beginning, an average ranch style home has a garage door that takes up over 30% of the facade. If your garage is of the darker variety, the paint can look like it’s chalky and fading in certain spots. Lighter colored doors can just as easily show dirt and rust stains after just a few short years.
Painting your garage door, professionally or by yourself, will be a fraction of what it would cost to completely replace/reface the door. The entire project can take a couple days, so mark this down as a weekend warrior project and start to check off the tools needed to make it a success.
What tools am I going to need?
You may not need the entire list we’ve compiled below. Mentally go through the process of the project and visualize how you would approach each step. Does your garage door have windows? You’ll definitely need the painters tape and 2-inch paintbrush. Nice driveway? Place a drop cloth below the inside and outside of the garage opening.
- Gloves: rubber, nylon fabric, or even leather
- Dust mask
- Safety glasses
- Stainless steel wire brush
- 220 grit sanding block
- Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) to clean
- Lint-free rags or shop towels
- Painters tape
- Drop cloth
- 2-inch nylon paintbrush
- 3/4-inch nap paint roller
- Step stool or ladder
- Exterior-grade latex primer
- Exterior-grade latex paint
Things to consider before you begin
You’ll be working outside in the elements so you’ll be subject to the sun, humidity, and temperature. While all three of these can affect your work performance, more importantly they will affect the application of the paint.
Optimal temperature for garage door paint application—even though some paints can be applied in temps of 35° F—is between 50 and 75°F. The lower the humidity, the less tacky your paint will be and the faster it will dry. Also, painting in direct sunlight, especially with faster drying paints, you’re just asking for problems. Paint in the shade if at all possible.
Preparing the garage door
It can’t be stressed enough that you should clean the garage door extensively. Use the TSP and get that layer of dirt and grime off the door. Sand as much of the surface area as you can and be sure to get in the crevasses around any windows and behind the rubber siding. Wash it all down with your hose and wipe it clean with your shop towels.
Only when it’s been cleaned to a point where you would feel comfortable eating off of it should you begin the process to paint. Okay, it’s not quite that important but you’re going to save yourself a lot of headache by cleaning off as much as you can now.
So you’ve got your door all cleaned and the weather is just perfect for some garage door painting. Let’s get started.
How to paint your garage door
Just when you thought you’d be getting to the fun part, you realize you have to mask off and protect everything you don’t want to get paint on. This can be somewhat of a pain around ornate windows but it will make the painting portion a breeze. Trust me.
Mask off the vinyl siding if you plan to paint the door in-place. We recommend releasing the garage door and rolling it up as you paint along. Work smarter, not harder. Once you’ve released the door, place your drop cloth down. That should account for pretty much anywhere you’d be getting paint.
Hop on your ladder or step stool and paint the top row. This will likely be the most difficult as the door is pressed right up against the siding and you may have windows to contend with. Just as you would with a paneled door, begin painting the primer around the rectangular framing of the windows with your 2-inch brush.
When the top row is complete, raise the door so the next row is within reach and the previously hidden area between rows is exposed. Get your brush in there and apply lightly. The rest is simply a matter of rolling your primer on.
If you’re working with a solid-faced or wooden door, the paint pattern should be the same as if you were painting a wall: move the roller in all directions for an even coat. The more common aluminum door will have stacked rows. Paint each one those horizontally.
Whether you’ve gone with the paint-and-primer-in-one or decided to prime first and then paint later, you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours to apply that second coat. Applying the second coat too soon may cause your paint to release what I call “turds”. If it’s almost dry you can get that second coat on but you might be left with unsightly roller marks when you look at it in the right light.
Be patient. Wait a day and paint on that nice, even final coat. Your garage should look practically new for less than $100. And any project that can be completed in a weekend is a bonus in my book.