How to Paint a Metal Garage Door – DIY Painting Made Easy

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Metal garage doors are generally thought of as being one of the most durable exterior surfaces of any home. The truth is that they are quite durable, so robust in fact that when they do need some attention, we don’t know whether they can be resurfaced or if they need to be replaced entirely. Can you paint metal garage doors? Absolutely! That’s why we’ve prepared a short tutorial detailing how to paint metal garage doors effectively, and what tools you’ll need to ensure your paint job lasts.



Why Is It Important to Paint Your Metal Garage Doors?

As we mentioned previously, garage doors are easy to neglect because most of us simply expect them to do their jobs without considering the wear and tear they take on over time. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to show you why metal garage doors need painting every once in a while before we show you how to paint a metal garage door the right way.


Increases Longevity of the Door

Garage doors are one of the hardest working surfaces in any home and can take on a lot of wear and tear over the years, even if you don’t notice it. Paint is a surface coating that acts as an additional layer of protection for your metal garage door. What does it protect your door from?

Primarily a healthy coat of paint protects your garage door from the effects of adverse weather conditions.

Wind, rain, sunshine, hail, and snow can affect the shape and integrity of your metal garage doors so it’s best to ensure that they have a decent protective coating. While it might seem like a thin coat of paint would make very little difference, paint is actually able to soak up a ton of punishment that would otherwise directly impact the surface of your doors.


Assists With Insulation

Right off the bat metal is a pretty good conductor of both heat and cold, which can leave the interior of your garage at the mercy of the elements. A fresh coat of paint not only increases the longevity of your garage door’s surface, but it can also help retain heat and stave off the cold during those long winter months. Pretty cool right?

Why to Repaint Your Metal Garage Door

This might not be a replacement for a climate control system or interior insulation, but it certainly helps considering that out of the four walls that your garage is made of, only one of them is made of metal. Most paints designed for metal surfaces such as enamel are excellent at shedding heat and aren’t too expensive either.


Increases Curb Appeal

If there was ever a good reason to paint your garage doors aside from practical benefits, improving the look of your home would be at the top of the list. The garage section of most homes tends to be a focal point due to their size and the fact that people tend to use them pretty much every single day. Therefore, keeping your garage doors looking good can greatly improve the curb appeal of your home.

Can metal garage doors be painted

Considering that other means of improving the look of your home would likely cost you thousands of dollars, we think that you’ll find painting your garage doors to be an affordable and easy way to improve your home’s appearance when you consider the return on the effort you’ll be investing. To make sure things go along smoothly, we recommend planning ahead thoroughly.


Saves You Money

If you haven’t had a look at the price of garage doors lately, we think that you’ll find restoring them instead of replacing them is far less costly. Most doors these days are motor-assisted and need to be installed by a team of professionals should something go wrong.

That being said, a fresh coat of paint can ensure that things like oxidization don’t eat away at your door over time.

Even the most durable materials will warp and degrade over time, so why not add a lovely coat of color to your door and decrease the probability of it being irreparably damaged in one go? Painting a garage door might seem like a fairly mundane task but the benefits of this somewhat innocuous surface coating pay for themselves ten times over in the long run.



How to Paint a Metal Garage Door

Painting a metal garage door is fairly straightforward, and if your doors are prepared correctly and painted with the right type of paint, everything should go off without a hitch. To help you along, we’ve prepared a short tutorial detailing how to go about it, as well as some of the things you will need when painting a metal garage door. 

Prepare Metal Garage Door For Painting


Prepare Your Surface

Preparing the surface of your garage door is super important. It lays the foundation for the primer and paint, which will not adhere correctly if the surface is not thoroughly prepared. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that both your paint and primer adhere to your metal garage door surface and provide you with a flawless finish.


Clean the Doors

Start by cleaning the surface of your garage doors. How do you do this? There are a number of ways to go about it. You could go about it the old-fashioned way and simply jump in with some soap and water, but if you have large doors this can be time-consuming and quite tiring. If you have a pressure washer that holds soap and water, you could use this instead.

How to paint aluminum garage door

The goal here is to clean the surface as well as you possibly can. Garage doors build up a lot of dirt and grime over time, so be sure to tackle hard-to-reach areas and ensure that your surface is free from dust, dirt, grime, and as much flaking paint as possible (if any is present). Once you’re done, give the surface some time to dry completely.


Sand the Doors

Sanding the surface of your garage door ensures that all of the old paint has been removed before the new paint has been applied. How do you sand the surface of a garage door you ask? Well, the best way to go about it is to use a power sander, preferably a random orbital sander. These tend to do a better job of producing an evenly sanded surface.

We recommend sanding the door in sections, preferably in vertical lines, or you could just pick a spot and sand from one end of the door to the other. If you’re wondering what grit of sanding pad is best for this task, it would be 180 grit sandpaper. This is fine enough not to remove existing paint without damaging it without badly sanding.

Whatever you do, do not attempt this with a belt sander.

Once the surface has been sanded, give the door a thorough once overusing a clean cloth (or some compressed air if you have some available) to remove any paint and/or rust particles that may still be stuck to the surface of the door. If your garage door features patterns or indents be sure to check the little nooks and recesses surrounding them.


Prime the Doors

primer. Before you do, it’s best to cover up any areas of the door you don’t want to be painted using some painter’s tape. Painter’s tape can be picked up cheaply at any hobby or home improvement store, and all you have to do is stick it on the areas you don’t want to get paint on them.

Applying paint to a metal garage door

These areas are more than often any non-metal pieces of the door like trim pieces and the rail the doors run on. Be sure to cover these areas of the door by carefully laying down the tape and smoothing the taped sections down with a flat object like a gift card or a putty knife if you happen to have one handy.

Next, it’s time to get your primer out. Shake the container to ensure that the lighter particles at the top of the mixture are reintroduced with the heavier particles that may have sunk to the bottom due to the can sitting on a shelf for a while. Once your primer has been mixed, you can either pour some out into a paint tray if you are using a brush and roller or pour some into the hopper of a paint sprayer.

Both application methods are perfectly fine.

If you are using a brush and roller, simply start at one end of your garage door and work your way to the other, preferably applying your primer in vertical lines, ensuring they overlap as you go along. If you are using a sprayer, start on a taped section applying minimal trigger pressure, and then move your wrist in one smooth, uninterrupted motion across the surface of your garage door gradually increasing trigger pressure as you go along.

Repeat the priming process most applicable to you until all of the door’s surfaces have been coated. Once you are done, be sure to check the container for the manufacturer’s recommended drying period, and wait for this amount of time to elapse until additional coats of primer can be applied. That’s it, your doors have officially been prepared!


Paint Your Garage Door

Before you get to painting, we thought we would discuss what type of paint to use on metal garage doors. If you were wondering what type of paint to use on metal garage doors, there are actually two primary paint types that are best suited to the application.

Below we’ll show you what these paint types are and how to apply them once you’ve made your choice.


What Type of Paint to Use on Garage Doors

Choosing a paint type for your metal garage door can seem like a huge challenge but in reality, pretty much any type of metal paint can be used on these surfaces. Painting a steel garage door can be done with the same type of metal paint as an aluminum garage door. That being said, what are the best paint types for garage doors overall?

What kind of paint to use on metal garage doors

Well, most painters tend to agree that exterior acrylic latex paint generally gives the best results in terms of color, finish, and durability when used on garage doors. As we mentioned previously, enamel paints can also be used on the surface of garage doors, which makes sense considering that this paint type is often used to paint engine blocks too.

There are dedicated metal paints that contain special additives that allow the paint to adhere to metal surfaces especially well. Things like self-priming solutions make painting certain surfaces much easier, but there are some things that you should keep in mind if you are going to be using specialized paints.

For one, aside from self-priming paint, some metal paints can only be applied with a primer that is the same type as the paint you intend to use.


Painting Your Garage Door

Now that your doors have finally been prepared and you know what types of paint are best suited for this application let’s get painting. Painting is practically the same as priming a surface. First, shake your paint can so the lighter particles floating at the top of the container are reintroduced to the heavier particles floating at the bottom.

Now that your paint is ready for action, it’s time for you to choose an application method. If you are using a roller and brush, pour some paint out into a paint tray and dip it in your roller. Pick a side of your door and start painting, preferably applying your paint in parallel lines, working your way from one end of the door to the other, ensuring each stripe overlaps with the next.

Can you paint metal garage doors

Repeat this application process until all of the surfaces have been painted, then fill in any smaller areas using your brush. When painting using a sprayer, start at the edge of your door, and apply minimal pressure to your trigger. Next, move your wrist in one smooth motion across the surface, gradually increasing trigger pressure as you move, and tapering off as you reach the other end.

You can choose to spray horizontally or vertically. Simply repeat this technique until the entire surface has been painted. Regardless of your application method, ensure that your initial coat has had the opportunity to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended period before additional coats are applied.

Apply as many coats as you’d like (preferably two though) and allow it to dry completely before operating your door.


Maintaining Your Painted Garage Door

When painting a steel garage door, you might wonder how to maintain your paint job after the considerable effort and time you’ve invested in the upgrade. Garage doors don’t usually require an awful lot of maintenance, in fact, you pretty much only need to clean them around once a year, or once per change of season to ensure dirt and debris don’t build up on them.

How do you clean them? You can clean them by hand using some water, elbow grease, and any detergent that doesn’t contain a phosphate of higher than 0.5%. Alternatively, you could use a power washer on a light setting, provided that it’s able to work with soap as well. Once your door has been cleaned, allow it to dry completely before operating it.

Painting a Metal Garage door

If you do happen to chip some paint, you can perform a spot repair by sanding the affected area, priming it, and then applying paint using a finely bristled brush in order to blend the section with the surrounding paint. This can be tricky, so be sure to take your time and allow the paint to dry a bit before applying any additional coats.


Now you know exactly how to paint your garage door! If you live in an area with adverse weather, be sure to choose a metal paint that’s able to soak up damage as well as expand and contract with temperature changes. Be sure to wear a mask, some gloves, and eye protection if you’re using a sprayer, and take extra care during the preparation stages.




Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Paint Metal Garage Doors?

Metal is smooth and hard, and lots of garage doors these days are made of metal instead of wood. Can you paint metal garage doors the same way you would wooden ones then? Absolutely! With the right primer and paint, painting a steel garage door is entirely possible.


How Do You Paint Aluminum Garage Doors?

Aluminum can be a tricky material to work with, and since more and more garage doors are made using this material, you might be wondering if you can paint them. If you are wondering how to paint aluminum garage doors, all you will need is some exterior latex house paint and a paint sprayer or roller.


Do You Need to Sand an Aluminum Door Before Painting?

Yes, you definitely need to sand any aluminum surface before painting. If you are wondering how to paint aluminum garage doors or aluminum patio doors, the best way to go about it is to sand them lightly with a sandpaper of 180 grit. After this, primer and paint can be applied as you would with any other metal surface.