How to Paint a Garage Door

With the right tools, paint and prep work, you can turn your average garage door into the star of the neighborhood.

A person prepares to paint a garage door in a few simple steps from prep to priming to painting.
See how to repaint your garage door with tips from the experts.

Repainting your worn garage door is a great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. With the right tools, paint and a few expert tips, your garage door makeover can be as easy as painting a wall inside your home.
A premium quality Benjamin Moore paintbrush used for painting a garage door. A premium quality Benjamin Moore paintbrush used for painting a garage door.

Step #1: Select the Right Paintbrushes & Paint

  • For a wood or metal garage door, consider a 100% acrylic, like Benjamin Moore’s AURA® Exterior or Regal® Select Exterior High Build.
  • Use synthetic-bristle paintbrushes for acrylic paint: a 3-inch flat sash brush for flat surfaces, a 2- or 2.5-inch angled sash brush to cut in around edges and windowpanes.
  • Rollers always work well for large, flat surfaces.

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Helpful Tip

Check the Weather

Use the Benjamin Moore guide for optimal painting conditions. And be sure to avoid rain and direct sunlight, which will dry the paint too fast.
A person preps a garage door for painting by cleaning it first. A person preps a garage door for painting by cleaning it first.

Step #2: Prep Your Garage Door

Before applying any primer or paint, make sure your garage door surface is free of loose, chipping paint, and properly dulled from any previous glossy finish.

  • Disconnect the garage door opener so you can manually move it up and down as you work, and to avoid the door accidentally moving when you don’t want it to.
  • Use a sponge to scrub the door with an all-purpose cleaner. If needed, pressure wash carefully to remove any loose or peeling paint. For mildew, wash with a combination of ¼-cup TSP (a popular cleaning agent), ¼-cup bleach, and 1-gallon of warm water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after using TSP and bleach.
  • Spread a drop cloth under the door to protect the garage floor and driveway.
  • Sand rough edges of paint that didn’t wash off. Use 80- to 220-grit, depending on the severity of the edges. Sand until smooth. Be sure not to let sandpaper touch windowpanes, as it will scratch the glass.
  • For metal doors, loosen rust with a wire brush and spot prime just those areas with a rust-inhibitive primer like Ultra Spec® HP Acrylic Metal Primer or Corotech® Acrylic Metal Primer. Consult your Benjamin Moore retailer or other professional if there is any significant damage.
  • Tape off windowpanes, trim and hardware.

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Important Safety Note

Pressure Washer Tips

1. Remain aware of power cords, stepladders, other equipment and all surroundings.
2. Take care not to spray people, windowpanes or other sensitive items.
3. Always wear personal protective equipment.
A person applies primer to a garage door before painting it. A person applies primer to a garage door before painting it.

Step #3: Apply the Primer and Paint

Once your garage door is prepped, it’s time to apply a primer.

  • Use a high-quality acrylic exterior primer like INSL-X® STIX® or Fresh Start®.
  • When applying both the primer and paint, start with the top panel and work your way down. Use a brush to cut in around the trim and the edges of the door and fill in any recesses in the panels. Then coat flat surfaces.
  • Follow recommended dry times between coats of primer and paint.
  • Most projects require one coat of primer and two coats of paint for best results. If your garage door is already painted and in sound condition—and the colour change is not drastic—a primer may not be necessary.

Unsure of how many gallons of paint to buy? Use the Benjamin Moore paint calculator.

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Helpful Tip

Struggling with choosing a colour?
Visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer and purchase a few paint colour samples. Be sure to observe the colours during different times of the day, as well as under artificial lighting outdoors at night.
A person cleans a premium quality Benjamin Moore paintbrush. A person cleans a premium quality Benjamin Moore paintbrush.

Step #4: Cleanup

Acrylic paint requires only soap and water cleanup. Be sure to wash your brush before it begins to dry by rinsing in warm, soapy water. Remove any excess water, taking care to keep bristles in their original shape, then hang to dry. If you saved the brush’s cardboard wrapper, you can rewrap the dry brush for safe keeping.

Don’t forget to reconnect your garage door opener.

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Helpful Tip

If paint drips dry over the seams of individual panels, use a utility knife to carefully cut them away. Use a small piece of sandpaper to clean them up.

Considering Paint Colour for Your Garage Door

When choosing the perfect colour for your garage door, think about your current home exterior, including trim and shutters. Do you want your door to blend with what you have? Or stand out? Get inspired by other exterior and garage colours in your neighborhood, and test your colour before committing.

Popular colours tend to be neutrals, like white, beige, and gray. Use the Benjamin Moore Colour Portfolio® app to see colours directly on your exterior using the photo and video visualizers.

Your local Benjamin Moore retailer carries all the supplies you need for painting your garage door and many other DIY projects on your to-do list. You can also save some time by ordering from our online store, and picking the paint up from your local Benjamin Moore retailer.
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