3 Tips For Painting A Steel Garage Door

A garage door can last for a long time. The average garage door has about a 20 year lifespan, though you may need to replace a spring or repair your automatic garage door opener during that time. However, your door will begin to deteriorate aesthetically long before it reaches the end of its useful life. With constant exposure to the elements, the paint will begin to fade, crack, or even peel off. Of course, this isn't a good reason to replace a perfectly useful door, but you will have to find a way to spruce it up if you want to keep your curb appeal. Luckily, you can paint your steel door yourself, if you want to. Take a look at some tips that can help you get through the process.


Like any exterior painting job, you need to make plans for painting the garage door ahead of time. Don't do it on the spur of the moment because you just noticed that the paint was peeling. The wrong weather can affect the quality of your paint job. You don't want to start painting and have your hard work ruined by rain a few hours after you start – check the weather reports first.

It's best to paint in the fall or the spring if possible, when the temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold. Extreme heat or cold could affect the paint and prevent your door from looking its best.  Plan to paint in the morning so that you'll be able to finish and clean up while it's still light out.


Before you begin to paint the door, you'll have to prepare it for the paint. That means scraping off any peeling paint and sanding away any rough spots. If you find dents or holes, you'll want to fill them in – the new paint will highlight them otherwise, and they'll be much more obvious that they were before. You should also check carefully for rust.

Once you've scraped, sanded, and filled, you'll need to tape off the door to prevent getting any paint where it doesn't belong. Apply painter's tape to the seals around your garage door and to the trim to protect these areas against any out-of-control strokes with the paintbrush. Before you begin, you'll also want to put a drop cloth underneath the garage door – you definitely don't want to try to clean spilled paint off of your driveway. Make sure that you opt for cloth and not a plastic drop cloth – if you do spill paint, the plastic will become slippery and unsafe. You need an absorbent material instead.


Because you're working with a steel door, you'll need to start with primer. When purchasing primer, make sure that the packaging indicates that it's for outdoor use. Start with a brush to capture the sunken surfaces on the garage door, then use a roller for the flat and wide panels. Make sure that you give the primer time to dry thoroughly.

If you're having trouble choosing a paint color, a good rule of thumb is to paint the garage door in the same shade as the house. This does two things – it keeps the garage door from standing out too much, and it can make your home appear larger. It's usually best not to use more than one color on the garage door – for example, using one color on the panels and another color in the recessed grooves between the panels. Unless you're exceptionally artistic, just pick a solid color and stick with it. Apply the paint in the same way that you applied primer, first using a brush to paint the recessed surfaces, then using a roller to paint the flat panels. Allow all of the paint to dry before removing the painter's tape around the garage door and on the trim.

Once you're done painting, take the time to step back away from the house. Go all the way to the curb and take a good look at the house. You'll be surprised at how much difference painting your garage door can make to your home's exterior, and once you see it, you'll want to be sure that you keep it up.