There are a number of reasons you might want to paint your garage door. A fresh coat of paint makes the door more durable, essential for combatting rust and wear during our cold Canadian winters. What’s more, a fresh coat of paint looks good, and whether you’re aiming to sell your house or improve your surroundings, that’s something to look forward to.
What You’ll Need
- Protective gear (goggles, rubber gloves, dust mask, clothes you don’t care about)
- Wire brush
- Fine sandpaper
- All-purpose cleaner (or soapy water)
- Water hose
- Towels or rags
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloth (drop sheets, tarps, or large pieces of fabric)
- Exterior primer
- Exterior paint
- 2-2½” paintbrush (nylon or polyester)
- ⅜-¾” paint roller
- Stirring sticks
When to Paint
Painting your garage in the middle of winter is obviously a terrible idea so when should you paint? Paint is actually pretty finicky - it doesn’t adhere properly if it’s too hot or too cold. You’ll want to aim to paint in late spring or early summer. You should find a few days where there’s going to be no precipitation and the temperature isn’t going to drop below 10º C or go over 35º C; aim for temperatures in the high teens and low 20s. This process may take a few days, so be sure to look at overnight temperatures and account for humidity and precipitation. Opt to paint when sunlight isn’t hitting your garage, as this can make the paint dry too quickly.
How to Prep
Prep work is essential to getting a good-looking coat of paint; when surfaces are unclean, the paint, if it even adheres, can start to lift and peel. Put on your protective gear and look for any spots that are rusty. Scrub these spots with your wire brush. Now take your sponge, dunk it in your cleaner or soapy water, and thoroughly clean the door from top to bottom. Some people prefer very strong cleaners but here’s a word of caution: beware of using chemically strong products. There are some such products that might interact negatively with the paint on your garage door or the door itself. Simple is best, here.
Once you’ve cleaned off all the grime, rinse the door thoroughly with your hose, then blot it dry with towels or rags. Be aware that the door needs to be totally dry before you paint it. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to leave it to dry in the sun for a day.
Applying the Paint
A few notes before we apply the paint. The paint you select should be made for the weather in your region - in much of Canada, that means extreme changes in temperature and a lot of snow. Latex paint is the way to go. You won’t likely need more than a gallon of paint, though it depends on the size of your garage and the material it’s made of (wood, for example, is more absorbent than aluminum, and so requires more paint).
Get your painter’s tape and start covering anything you don’t want to get paint on: handles, locks, and the perimeter around the garage door (or the trim, if you don’t want it painted). Take your drop cloth, drop sheets, plastic tarps, or old blankets, and use them to cover the floor and driveway inside and outside the garage. Set your garage door to manual mode so you can move the door and paint the bottom without lying on the ground.
Raise the bottom to a height that’s comfortable to paint at, and you can finally start priming but don’t forget to stir the primer first! Many garage doors have inset panels; you’ll start using your paintbrush in the recessed part of these panels, then prime the perimeter of the panels. The areas around the panels are called the stiles; you’ll prime these in a bit, so wipe off any primer that gets on the stiles with a clean, dry cloth. Start at the bottom panels; when they’re finished, prime the stiles with your roller. Keep working your way up (moving the garage door down manually) until all the panels and stiles are primed. Use a ladder or stepladder to access the top panels. You’ll prime the trim last. Leave the primer to dry for at least 12 hours - this is why you want about a three day window of good weather for this painting project.
Now that everything is primed, prim, and proper, it’s time to paint. You’re going to use the exact same method you used with the primer, here; be sure that your paintbrush has been cleaned thoroughly, that the primer has had enough time to dry, and that you’ve swapped roller covers. You might decide to apply a second coat of paint if the colour isn’t vibrant enough or if you feel like you’ve missed some spots. Be sure to let the first coat of paint dry for at least 12 hours first.
Just like that, your garage door is painted! Not the most labour-intensive project on the planet, but one that feels fantastic to accomplish. Some people hesitate to do this kind of thing themselves, worrying that they won’t get the colour right or that the paint won’t be applied evenly. For those reading who fit that profile, don’t hesitate to get in touch with professional residential painters who will always do an impeccable job!