How to paint a garage door

We show you how to paint garage doors, whether timber, metal or fibreglass, in this simple step-by-step guide

White garage door on a shingled home
(Image credit: Getty)

Giving your garage door a fresh lick of paint will keep your whole home's exterior looking its best because, whether attached to the house or set apart from the main building, it forms an integral part of the overall appearance of your home and as such should be maintained with the same care. 

Factors to consider are the material the garage door is made from, its current condition and, to a lesser degree, the way in which it is fitted. 

Most garage doors can be painted on a DIY basis, although depending on the condition of the door and the time you have available, you may wish to hire a professional decorator to do the job for you. Use our step by step guide to find out how to paint your garage door to get the best finish.

Need advice on painting your whole house, outside and in? Use our essential guide for all the info you need.

How much does is cost to get your garage door painted?

Top tip

Avoid painting on a very hot day, particularly if your garage doors are facing the sun. The heat may cause the new paint to blister. 

If you decide to call in the professionals to paint your garage doors, what can you expect to pay? 

This job should take no longer than a day, depending on the condition of the doors and weather allowing. Therefore you should work on a day rate of between £120 to £200, not including paint. Some companies offer a garage door spraying service too.

Choosing the right paint for your garage door

It is important to use a primer and paint that are specifically for garage doors or external wood or metal when painting a garage door.

In the case of galvanised steel garage doors it is particularly important to check that the paint you are using is suitable as not all metal paints last well on a galvanised surface.

There are specific garage door paints out there, such as those by Hammerite’s Garage Door Paint, whilst Dulux Weathershield is suitable for both wood and metal surfaces.

Finally, Bedec Barn Paint is also suitable for wood and metal doors, including galvanised – plus it comes in a range of finishes such as matt, satin and semi-gloss. Zinsser Allcoat Exterior Satin is another product to note.

It is also important to choose a suitable primer for your garage doors — some paints offer a two-in-one application, such as Hammerite Direct to Galvanised Metal Paint

You will also need a good set of brushes and rollers.

Side hinged white steel panel garage door from Garador

Georgian white steel panel side-hinged garage door from Garador

(Image credit: Garador)

How to paint a garage door: step-by-step

Before you begin, make sure you have all the tools and materials you require and choose a dry, warm (not hot) day to carry out the work. These instructions relate to timber and metal doors.

You will need:

1. Clean the doors

Begin by cleaning the doors off. A diluted sugar soap solution or simply warm soapy water will do the job – ensure any product is well rinsed off before the doors are left to thoroughly dry.

2. Remove door furniture

Either remove door handles, hinges and brackets or use masking tape to cover them up.

3. Sand and prep

Sand the doors down. In the case of flaking metal garage doors, you might need a wire brush. For timber doors, a fine or medium grade sandpaper will do the job. Ensure there is no loose material left on the doors and wipe down again.

4. Prime the doors

Unless you are using a product that doubles up as a primer, begin by priming the doors. A large paintbrush (between 3in and 5in) is a good choice for this job – it is hard to get in between panels using a roller. Let dry completely having first checked for any paint runs.

5. Paint the doors

Paint the garage doors using a large brush, using a smaller model for the edges of the doors. It should not be necessary to remove the doors for painting, even in the case of ‘up and over’ designs. Paint from top to bottom in the case of vertical panel doors, or from the top then side-to-side with horizontal panels. Two coats will usually be required – allow to dry thoroughly between coats.

6. Leave the pain to dry

Leave the doors to dry for at least 12 hours before using – or for the time stated on the paint you have chosen.

7. Clean up

Clean brushes using a solvent such as white spirit.

Painting glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and fibreglass doors

Fibreglass doors can be painted, but they are not structurally as strong as the alternatives, so before deciding to go to the effort of repainting, do check that their condition has not deteriorated beyond repair.

When sanding GRP or fibreglass, wear a mask and go gently – a brillo pad, wire wool or very soft sandpaper will be enough.

Fireglass can be resistant to paint, so use a good bonding primer and a paint recommended for fibreglass.

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