How to Paint a Garage Door for Fresh Curb Appeal

Instantly update the look of your home with our easy instructions for painting a garage door. All it takes is a fresh coat of paint and plenty of drying time.

Painting your garage door can instantly transform the look of your house, so it's an easy way to give your home a fresh update without spending a lot. And unlike painting the entire exterior of your home, painting a garage door is a relatively simple task you can complete in a weekend.

We'll walk you through how to paint a garage door, including which paintbrushes to use and the proper painting technique for covering the traditional inset squares you'll find on many garage doors. We'll also go over which kind of paint is best for a garage door.

Give yourself two to three days to finish this home improvement project (don't worry—most of that is drying time) and be sure to check the weather before you begin. You'll need multiple dry days in a row, ideally with temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees. With our easy instructions and a fresh coat of garage paint, you can update the look of your home in just a few days.

home exterior with dark painted garage and blue front door
Greg Scheidemann

How to Paint a Garage Door

Learn how to paint a garage door with our easy step-by-step instructions.

What You'll Need

  • Sponge or washcloth
  • Bucket
  • Towels
  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • Painters tape
  • Rubber gloves
  • Exterior primer
  • Exterior paint
  • Step stool
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller

Step 1: Pick the Right Exterior Paint

While painting a garage is a fairly simple project, it does require plenty of time and materials—so make sure to choose the right paint the first time around. Just like if you were painting your home's exterior, you need to use exterior paint for a garage door. One gallon should be enough to cover a two-door garage door, and you'll likely have some left that you can save for touch-ups later on.

Keep in mind that if you choose a contrasting color to what's already on your garage door (for example, applying white paint to a black garage door, or vice versa) you'll likely need to do an extra coat. If you're working within the same color family as the existing door color, one coat of paint is likely enough.

Step 2: Wash and Prep Garage Door

Before you begin painting, be sure to wash the garage door thoroughly to make sure no dirt, dust, or bugs get mixed in with the new paint. A bucket of water and a washcloth or sponge should do the trick, but you can also use a pressure washer if the door is particularly dirty.

After cleaning, the door will need to dry completely before you can begin painting, so check the forecast before you begin. Use a towel to dry off moisture then let dry for at least an hour. Once the door is dry, use painters tape to tape off the top and side edges of the door frame, along with the bottom edge where the door meets the garage floor.

You'll also want to tape over any handles or decorative elements on the door. If your garage door has handles attached with screws, it will likely be easier to unscrew them and reattach later, rather than trying to paint around them.

Step 3: Prime the Garage Door

Once the garage door is clean and dry, apply a light coat of latex exterior primer. This will give the paint something to stick to, which means it'll last longer and you won't have to repaint the door as frequently. When painting and priming, you might want to wear rubber gloves or other protection to keep paint off your skin and clothes.

Use a 2-inch nylon paintbrush to paint the recessed areas (the inset square designs found on many traditional garage doors) first. Then go back and prime all the flat parts of the door with the same brush or with a roller brush. You only need a thin coat of primer, so don't overdo it. Let the primer dry for at least 12 hours before you begin painting.

Editor's Tip: A step stool or ladder can help you reach the top of the garage door, but it might be helpful to manually raise the door up when you get to the bottom panels so you don't have to paint while hunched over or seated on the ground. To do this, turn off the electrical open-and-close function of the garage door (usually found on the control panel inside the garage), then manually lift the door to a comfortable painting height.

Step 4: Paint the Garage Door

After the primer has dried for at least 12 hours, you can begin painting the garage door. Use the same technique for painting as for priming: Use a 2-inch brush to apply a thin coat of exterior paint to the recessed areas, then use a paint roller to cover the rest of the door.

If you need to apply a second coat, allow the first coat to dry for at least 12 hours before painting again. Once the door is dry, be sure to remove all painters tape and reattach any handles or hardware you removed earlier.

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