Custom garage doors can be expensive, but achieving the look of one doesn’t have to be! Garage door paint can transform a door both dramatically and affordably. The painting job is easy, but when it comes to garage door paint knowing when to paint, what to paint, and what kinds of paint there are to buy may be the most difficult part of planning this simple DIY job.
In today’s world it seems as if we have too many choices sometimes. Paint for garage doors is no different in that sense than any other decorative purchase. Choice is virtually limitless in terms of color palettes, and budget and climate may drive more of what is chosen to apply to any garage door. The great thing is that there really isn’t anything “special” about garage door paint and it is available at almost any retailer.
Answering the question of when to paint is easy: when the garage door needs painting. Any garage door with peeling or faded paint should be refinished. Paint yields perhaps the best return on its relatively low cash outlay – it looks fresh and spruces up the face of a home on the market. Another good time to paint the garage is when the home’s exterior is being painted. This is the perfect time to select an accent color for the garage that complements the rest of the house. Why have everything else new and clean and keep the dingy old paint on the car barn?
What to paint depends upon the construction of the garage door. Is it a wood garage door? Paint is probably necessary, particularly in damper climates when water damage and rot can set in more easily. Steel garage doors, too, may need a new coat every so often – steel, unlike aluminum, will rust (the classic brown color). Aluminum garage doors really don’t need paint. Because aluminum reacts so readily with oxygen it is already “pre-rusted” with a roughly three-molecule thick layer of an aluminum oxide protecting it from the elements. Paint for an aluminum garage door would be more cosmetic than protective.
The kind of paint to choose may involve more than just picking what is pretty. The garage door is exposed to the elements — a good heavy-duty exterior paint will last much longer than a less costly one. Another consideration is sunlight fading. Very bright colors fade much faster than more muted or neutral tones. Many garage doors receive the brunt of a full day’s worth of sunlight exposure; though there are some paints more resistant to ultraviolet light fading than others, the added expense may not be worth the cost if a wise decision in a less costly paint can be made instead.
Do not waste time trying to paint a garage door with spray paint in cans. Coverage is poor, it will take too long, and the cost would almost be prohibitive (if a typical door is 16 x 7 feet, then enough paint to adequately cover 112 square feet would be needed). If spray painting, use a mix bottle with an air hose propellant system. This insures smooth, even coverage. Good paint roller and brush work can come out well if sufficient care is taken
Finally, preparation is key regardless of what kind of garage door paint is selected. The door should be power washed of debris and allowed to thoroughly dry. Loose metal shavings can be knocked off, or small burrs in the surface gently smoothed with sandpaper. The real key, though, is to put on a good primer undercoat first. This allows a better bond with the final colored paint and will help any paint job stay looking sharp for years to come and be a great step in creating that custom garage look.