Is your garage door an eye sore? Since a garage door is the largest facing feature on a home, it really sets the bar when it comes to curb appeal. An unattractive door doesn’t just make you an embarrassment to the neighbors — it can seriously dampen your property values. But if you’re not yet ready to install a brand new garage door, painting is always a more affordable option. And the beautiful thing is a repainted garage door is totally a DIY repair. This brief guide to painting your garage door will teach you how to paint your garage door like a pro.
Should You Paint or Install a New Garage Door?
Before you buy new paint or even pick out a color, the first step is to determine if painting the door is really the best step forward. What’s the condition of the door itself? Is it dented or warped? Are their panels missing? Have bugs eaten out large holes in your door? Is the wood badly decayed? Is rust an issue?
Are there safety issues to think about? How smooth does the door open? Do you trust the door with your kids?
Paint can make most doors look good as new, but some doors are so badly beyond repair, it’s best to start over with a brand new garage door.
Prepare Your Garage Door
Like a blank canvas, you need a garage door that is free of dirt and blemishes. Any dirt stuck to the garage door will remain stuck there covered in a fresh coat of paint for years. This can cause a strange texture. Spray the entire door with an all-purpose cleaner. Thoroughly wipe away any stuck dirt or grime with a cloth. You want to wax on, wax off like the Karate Kid on that garage door surface. Then rinse it with a hose. Once it’s dry, cover any handles, trim around windows with painters tape. Place a drop cloth on the garage door floor and driveway to protect from any dripping paint or primer.
Time to Strip
Yes, we’re talking about the door, so give the neighbor’s a break. It’s a family neighborhood. Remove any existing paint with a wire brush. Remember to use safety goggles. Take a paint scraper to any rust. A chemical stripper and a sponge works great, or you could try a sander, or any combination of both. This is where the work gets tedious, but it’s absolutely necessary. Getting rid of the old is the only way to make sure the new paint not only looks great but lasts.
Prime the Door
What kind of material is the door made of – metal, aluminum or wood? There are a number of latex exterior primers that work well on any type of surface. Just check that whatever primer you use will work well with the type of garage door you own. First, make sure the area is well ventilated. You’ll want to wear a dust mask and safety goggles.
Be sure to make it easy on yourself. A paint sprayer makes this job a piece of cake. You’ll at least want a paint roller or wide brush. You can thank us later.
Let the primer dry for 24 hours.
Paint the Door
Like the primer, what you use to apply the paint will ultimately determine how difficult this job is. Stick to a sprayer, or at least a paint roller or wide paint brush. You’ll want to stick to a latex exterior paint, one that complements the rest of your house.
If you are using a paint sprayer, practice first on a piece of cardboard. It works so fast that it’s easy to lose control. Be sure to adjust the spray to what you need.
Watch out for running paint. You want it nice and even without any streaks. Remember to paint both inside and outside the door. Let the paint dry, and apply another coat, or two or three.
You’re almost there, but the clock is ticking. Dried paint can be very difficult to clean up. Thoroughly rinse any brushes, rollers, and spraying equipment in running water until the water’s clear. Hang any brushes on hooks to dry, preferably out in the sun. Pick up any drop cloths. Always remove the painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to prevent removing any fresh paint in the process.
Is It Time for a New Garage Door?
While a new paint job can be a great way to give a garage door a face lift, sometimes it only does so much good. If your door is warped, falling apart, or otherwise in disrepair, a paint job might not be good enough. Chances are you already know if this is the case.
Garage doors are meant to be replaced every 20 to 30 years. Parts wear out. Panels fall off. Technology becomes out of date. If you own a home, eventually you’ll probably have to install a new garage door. It’s just simple math. The good news is that a new garage door has one of the highest returns on investments for all home improvements — 97%, virtually dollar for dollar. The reason for this is a new garage door can substantially improve the equity value of your property. Most of your home’s value is based on curb appeal. There’s no better way to improve your curb appeal than install a new garage door.