How to Paint a Wooden Garage Door

A nicely painted wooden garage door gives your home a beautiful and clean look. Conversely, a door with dulled color or peeled-off paint makes your home look old and shortens the lifespan of your garage door. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure your garage door is well-painted for better aesthetics and durability.

In this post, you will learn all the steps you need to follow to paint your wooden garage door, the best paint types, and how to go about painting your door for a clean and polished finish.

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How to paint a wooden garage door

Painting a wooden garage door is a simple step-by-step DIY. You can get a professional to do it at a charge, or you can save money and still enjoy yourself doing it. If you decide to paint the door yourself, follow these steps to get the best results.

Watch the weather

Before you begin painting, watch the weather as a preliminary process. Mild and clear day weather is the best for outdoor painting. Paint primers and paint take an average of 12 hours each to dry. Rain can wash off wet paint, and freezing temperatures will make the paint dry irregularly. Also, it is best to work outside when the weather is conducive for the body.

Tools you will need

  • Sandpaper/electric sander
  • Ladder
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paper towel/rag
  • White Spirit
  • Paint stick
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint
  • Sander

Step 1: Remove old paint from the door

Remove old paint from your garage door to ensure the new color will stick properly and the coating will be even. You can use chemical strippers, sandpaper, or a heat gun to get the old paint off the door’s surface.

You can use sandpaper to sand out the old paints, but it is slow and will be perfect for small doors or when you have much time to spare. An electric sander will help you sand faster and can be crucial if you are involved in other DIY projects.

Using a heat gun, use a proper chemical stripper for the best result.

Step 2: Check the condition of the garage door

Now that you have removed the paint from the door’s surface, inspect the door and check for areas that need to be repaired. The bottom of the door and places where the paint had peeled off earlier are more prone to damage.

Use a two-part resin agent or a wood filler to repair rotten parts. If the damaged part is significant and needs replacement, get a woodwork expert to repair the door before proceeding with painting the door.

Step 3: Tape off and cover areas you do not want to paint

After you check and the door is in good condition, it is time to prepare your wooden garage door for painting. Cover the areas you do not want to paint. These areas may include windows, locks, or the garage brickwork around the garage door.

Use painter’s tape to cover any unique color design on the door’s surface. It is cheap and also easy to use. Have a step ladder to help you comfortably reach the area on top of the garage door.

Step 4: Clean the garage’s door surface

Once you have covered all the areas you don’t want to paint, it is time to clean and remove dust from the door’s surface. Paint sticks better on a clean surface.

Remove as much dust from the surface as possible. A clean surface will help you apply the paint evenly on the surface. Use a few drops of white spirit on a paper towel or rag for the best results. White spirit removes oil and grease on the door, making it cleaner for paint application.

Before you proceed to the actual painting, spread a painting drop cloth under your garage door. The fabric will catch dripping paint and prevent it from staining the floor.

Step 5: Sand the Garage Door

Sanding is a necessary process when painting wooden doors. Your new paints can potentially peel off over a short time if you fail to sand the door.

You can use an orbital sander. Once you have finished sanding the door, you can use a brush or a vacuum to eradicate the particles you have sanded off. Your door surface will now be ready for priming and subsequent application of paints.

Step 5:Prime the garage door

Now, it is time to prime the garage door. Use a good primer that is specially designed for outdoor use. You can use a paintbrush, a roller, or a spray gun to apply the first primer coat. Many primers take about 12 hours to dry, but you should check the instructions on the primer to see how many coats you should apply and how long it takes for one coat to dry.

Step 6:Paint the garage door

After all that preparation, it’s time to paint your garage door. Refer to the instructions on the primer you used to see whether you need to sand before painting the first undercoat. When applying the paint, start with the garage door recesses if the door has some, then paint the main surfaces.

Make sure you apply an even paint coat, and that the paint reaches all corners. Refrain from painting the raised garage door stiles while still painting the recesses. Paint the door stiles when you are done painting all the recesses. Doing so will make sure that the top coat is even.

If you can still see the primer after the undercoat is done, wait for 12 hours and add another top coat. After each top coat, check whether you can still see the primer and add another coat. Different paint types require many coatings to achieve a clean, polished look. Most paint types require three coats. However, refer to the paint instructions to check how many coats you need to apply.

Make sure you have stir sticks to stir the paint to make sure it is well mixed. Also, only partially dip the paintbrush in paint but use it when wet for a more straightforward paint application and to avoid paint dripping on the door’s surface.

Is it better to paint a garage door with a brush or roller?

A paintbrush or a roller is suitable for painting a wooden garage door. A brush is better for some garage doors, while a roller is better for others. These are the reasons that make each suited for painting different doors.

  • Paintbrush

It is easier to control paint while using a brush than a roller. If your garage door has designs on the surface, such as recesses and stiles, you should use a brush. A 2-inch brush reaches the corners and edges better because it is small and flexible. Additionally, you can use a paintbrush to create a textured effect with brushstrokes.

If you use a brush to paint your garage door, use the right brush. A nylon/polyester brush is best for latex paints, while a natural paintbrush is best for oil-based paint. Consult an expert for help if you need help choosing the right brush.

  • Roller

It is best to use a roller if your door has a flat surface without any unique designs. The painting surface of the roller holds much more paint than a paintbrush. Therefore, it distributes an even layer of paint much faster and easier, making the roller a good option if you have little painting experience.

If you opt to use a roller, a smooth-surfaced roller will create a smooth finish, and a rough-surfaced roller will produce a textured finish.

How do you paint a wooden garage door white?

A white garage door looks cleaner and more modern than other colored doors. Painting your door white is almost similar to painting different colours; the only difference is preparing the door before painting.

Below are the primary considerations when painting your door white to get a perfect design.

Step 1: Sand the surface of your door thoroughly. 

Remove any old paint from your door’s surface. White paint is more sensitive than other colored paint, and it will show slight imperfections in the finish if you apply it over old paint. Use a heat gun to remove old paint from deep areas where the sandpaper cannot reach or the edge of an electric sander.

Step 2: Clean the surface of your door

After sanding the wooden door’s surface, clean it to remove dust, oil, and grease. You can use white spirit and paper towels or a rag to clean the surface or apply sugar soap using a sponge. White paint sticks better on clean and smooth surfaces, so make your door surface as clean and smooth as possible.

Step 3: Prime the surface of your door.

When painting a wooden door using white paint, it is necessary to use a primer. The best primer to use is shellac or an oil-based primer because white paint sticks poorly on other primers. The primer seeps better into the wood when you use a foam roller to apply it. A natural brush is also good if you don’t have a foam roller.

Step 4: Paint the door.

Use an oil-based white paint for a fine and smooth finish. Two coats of paint will be fine, but adding the third coat will give a better finish. In addition, the third coat will protect the door from UV light, making the paint and the wooden door last longer. A third coat will also better protect the door from external elements and make cleaning the door easier.

To make your wooden door look polished and maintain a smooth finish, oil every six months.

The video below illustrates how you can paint your old wooden garage door

Can I paint a wooden door without sanding?

Yes. You can paint a wooden door without sanding. Sanding is not always a requirement before painting. However, while sanding your wooden doors before painting is not a must, sanding protects your paint from peeling off quickly. Also, sanding will ensure you do not get a ragged finish and that the paint perfectly sticks to the surface.

These are the conditions that make sanding necessary.

  1. There are deep blemishes on the door’s surface. Deep blemishes still show after painting. Therefore, it is necessary to remove them by adequately sanding the door before painting.
  2. There is old paint on the door. New paint sticks poorly on old paint, especially when the new and old paints are different. It is essential to sand a wooden door to remove old paint before painting again.
  3. The door’s surface has holes or dents. These holes and dents will still show after painting the door, and you cannot remove them after the door is painted. Sand the door before painting to remove all the holes, dents, and dings for a smooth finish.

Do I need to prime a wooden garage door before painting?

No. You do not need to prime a wooden garage door before painting. A primer only helps the paint to stick better and last longer. When you do not plan on using a primer, consider using paint with a built-in primer for better results.

Even if you don’t need to use a primer, it is better to use one if it is available. These conditions require you to apply a primer before painting your garage door.

  1. When you are using oil-based paint. Oil-based paint is difficult to apply, and a primer makes its application easier.
  2. When you do not plan to clean oil and grease thoroughly from your garage door’s surface. When you don’t have much time to prepare your door for painting adequately, you must use a primer.
  3. When you are using white paint to paint your wooden garage door. White paint requires a primer to have a smooth and fine finish.

While at it, be keen on choosing the type of primer you use. Use an oil-based primer if you will apply an oil-based paint for the top coat. Consequently, use a latex-based primer if you will use latex paint for the top coat. Mixing up primer type and paint type makes the paint stick poorly and the paint coat shady and uneven.

What kind of paint do you use on a wooden garage door?

Choosing the right kind of paint to use on your wooden garage door is very important. Making the right choice will not only make your wooden garage door last longer but also make it look better and polished.

You can use two kinds of paints on your wooden garage door; Oil-based paint and latex paint.

Oil-based paint is the best for painting your wooden garage door. Oil-based paint is better suited for outdoor use than latex paint, which is best for interior use. In addition, oil-based paint lasts longer and offers more protection to the wooden garage door against elements such as water and color stains. Oil-based paint is also easier to clean. Therefore, it is suited for a high-activity garage door.

However, oil-based paint is more challenging to apply, toxic, and takes longer to dry than latex paint. It is also more expensive compared to latex paint but is the best on a wooden garage door.

How to Paint a Garage Door

Painting your garage door will restore its aesthetic value, give your home or garage a new look, and enhance its life expectancy. Often, your garage door is exposed to different elements that can shorten its life, including dust and moisture, while consistent usage can strip off its paint.

As such, it becomes important to learn how to paint a garage door to give it a completely new look and lengthen its life. The best part of this practice is that you do not need to hire a professional to help you with the painting process. Instead, you can do it all by yourself and still get the most impressive results.

Read along to learn how best to paint your garage door yourself.

Step 1: Clean the Garage Door

The first process of painting a garage door is cleaning it. Your garage door’s exterior surface is often exposed to different elements in its surrounding that can result in grime or dirt build-up. You can use a garden hose to soak the door before using a brush with a solution such as phosphate trisodium to clean it and enhance the scrubbing process. Ensure you effectively rinse the door with a garden hose to remove the dirt and allow it to dry.

Once the door is dry, use painter’s tape to mask the windows, trim, handles, and any other surrounding areas that you do not want the paint to get to. Ensure that before you begin painting, you have a drop cloth below the door to protect the garage floor from the dripping primer or paint.

Step 2: Remove Old Paint

Ensure you completely wipe out the old paints before applying a new one. Use a paint scraper to eradicate the old paint. You can also use a palm or circular sander. If you have a chemical stripper and a sanding sponge, this would also form a perfect alternative to removing the old paints.

Even though some individuals always avoid the sanding process as it looks tedious and tiring, it is an essential step to preparing your garage door for new paints. Sanding your garage door before priming or painting prevents the fresh paint from peeling off quickly.

Once done with sanding, you can use a brush or vacuum to remove the particles you have sanded off. Sanding the doors also provides a clean and uniform finish.

Step 3: Prime the Garage Door

Painting the garage, in general, requires first establishing the material your garage is made of. You may slightly take a different approach when painting a metallic or wooden door. Today’s garages are made of metallic doors (How to Paint Metal Garage doors). However, the older garages still have wooden doors. You can learn how to paint wooden doors in the first section.

However, you can choose a primer that will work best for both types of doors. The latex exterior primers are versatile and can produce perfect results for any door type or surface.

Use a wide paintbrush, paint sprayer, or paint roller to apply the primer. If you have decided to use a paint sprayer, ensure that you have a shield, such as large cardboard, to protect the surrounding areas. Once you have applied the primer, give it time between 12 and 24 hours.

Step 4: Paint the Garage Door

Again, you can paint your garage door using a sprayer, roller, or paintbrush. You can choose latex-based paints or even oil-based paints. However, latex-based paints are perfect, especially for wooden garage doors, because, unlike oil-based paints, they will not showcase the little flaw in the surface of your garage door.

Paint both the inside and outside of the garage door. Allow the first coat to dry before you apply the second coat. You can repeat the same process for the third coat and allow a drying time of about 12 hours.

Do not forget to clean the tools, such as the paint brushes you have used in the process. Clean them up and tidy up the garage space after painting.


A garage door is an extension of your home, and it can make or break the aesthetics of your home. Painting your wooden garage door is necessary not only for good looks but also for making the wooden door last longer. You have learned the steps to follow when painting your garage door and the types of paints, tools, and materials you need to paint your wooden garage door.

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