How To Paint A Metal Garage Door?

If your metal garage door is faded or peeling, it can have a serious impact on the overall appearance (and even the value) of your home. Is it possible or advisable to paint a metal garage door? In this article, we answer this question and provide good advice and tips to help you make your metal garage door look its best. Read on to learn more.

Painting metal garage door Best Practices

should you paint a metal garage door

It can be easier to paint your metal garage door in a shade that is very like the existing color. Be sure to choose a color that matches or enhances the color of your house. This will add to your home’s curb appeal.

Attention To Detail Produces Great Results

Since you will be painting the exterior of your garage doors, you want to choose a nice day to do the job. This makes the job more pleasant, and it ensures that your paint will dry correctly and produce the best looking finished results.

How Do You Prepare A Garage Door For Painting?

how do you prepare a garage door for painting

As with any paint job, you’ll want to invest a great deal of time into prep work. Follow these basic steps to prepare and paint your metal garage door:

  1. Use dish soap and/or degreaser to clean the surface of the metal. Rinse it thoroughly and let it dry thoroughly.
  2. Use sandpaper and/or tack cloth to abrade the surface of the metal.
  3. Wipe the dust off the surface.
  4. A metal door may also have rust spots or dents that need to be repaired before painting.
  5. Mask off any surfaces you don’t want painted using painters’ tape.
  6. Use drop cloths to protect the surfaces underneath the door.
  7. Apply primer.
  8. Raise the door about a foot to prevent painted seams from sticking.
  9. Let primer dry and clean your tools.
  10. Close the door and use the same process to apply one or two coats of paint.

Do I Need To Prime A Metal Garage Door Before Painting?

With metal garage doors, it’s very important that you use a bonding Primer to make certain that the paint will adhere to the surface and be long-lasting.

If the door has not been primed in the past, you’ll need to apply at least one coat of specific metal primer to the entire door and the frame. Be sure to use the metal primer exactly as instructed. Let it dry thoroughly before painting.

What Kind Of Paint Should You Use On Metal Garage Doors?

After priming with a metal primer, you can use a high quality acrylic latex exterior house paint. Don’t use oil-based paints or rust inhibitive paints at this point.

How To Paint A Metal Garage Door With A Roller?

You can use a brush or roller to paint your metal garage door, but if you’re going to use a roller it’s best to choose one that has natural fibers, not man-made.

Apply several light coats of paint using your roller until the metal is completely covered. Take great care to allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.

How To Paint A Metal Garage Door To Look Like Wood?

You may find it surprising to know that you can make plain steel garage doors look like wooden doors. The most important aspect of doing this is technique.

You must take great care to apply the brushstrokes in a way that looks like wood grain. To make this look realistic, you must use a light touch. Don’t overdo it, and be careful to follow the natural vertical and horizontal structure of the door so that the end result looks like patterns in wood.

Follow these steps:


As with any paint job, you’ll want to prepare the door thoroughly, as described above, before beginning your task. When you mask off with painters’ tape, mask all of the vertical panels.

Is primer necessary?

If the door is already painted, you may not need to prime it. If it is new, hasn’t been painted in the past, is painted a definitely non-wood color or is in bad shape, you’ll want to prep it thoroughly and prime it.

Use acrylic latex paint that is designed for exterior use

You’ll want to use two different colors in layers to create your wood grain effect. Begin with a tan or cream color of paint. Dip your brush and drag it over the panels creating lines. Take great care not to make perfectly straight lines. Remember that you are attempting to imitate wood grain. Paint all of the horizontal panels first.

Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly

Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly and then apply the second coat using the same technique but with a darker shade of paint. It could be:

  • Mahogany
  • Walnut
  • Cherry

Again, drag the brush horizontally over the panels to make a wood grain effect. Use a light touch. Let the lines and streaks of the first coat show through the second coat.

Step back and take a look at your work in progress frequently. If you notice inconsistent areas, quickly use your dark color to fill them in.

Paint the vertical panels

Once you’ve allowed the horizontal panels to dry, remove the masking tape from the vertical panels and repeat your paint process with vertical strokes.

If you are careful a careful painter, you can do this without masking off the horizontal panels you have just painted. If you’re a bit messy, you may wish to mask off your work.


  • If you’re unsure that you’ll be able to create good wood grain, you might want to practice a bit on some other surface before painting your garage door.
  • Keep in mind that if you use a stiffer brush, you’ll get a more grainy pattern.
  • You may want to mix up your brushes to get more natural results. For example you might use a wide brush for the base coat and smaller brushes for the topcoat.
  • You’ll get the best results if you paint on nice day when the temperature is at least 60° (and the surface of your garage door is also 60°) if it’s too hot or too cold, your results may suffer.

Should You Paint A Metal Garage Door?

It can be a bad idea to paint aluminum or steel garage doors because when they are manufactured, they are equipped with very durable, baked enamel or powder coat finish. This type of finish is very long-lasting and takes very little care.

If you paint over it, you will need to paint over it every five or ten years. This finish can contain dangerous substances, such as lead, and disturbing it can be hazardous as described in this handout from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Before you begin sanding the surface of your metal garage door, take steps to determine exactly what sort of substance you may be dealing with.

Always wear appropriate breathing and eye protection to prevent inhaling potentially toxic materials that may be freed by the process of sanding old, damaged surfaces.

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