When choosing the best paint for a garage door you need to consider a few things: The sheen level of your paint, the quality of finish, durability, and longevity. As a Painter and Decorator, I’ve lost count of the amount of garage doors I’ve painted over the years.
In this blog, I’m going to talk through everything you need to know about painting garage doors. I’ll talk about the different paint finishes you might choose, prepping a garage door, then I’ll recommend the standout products for each paint finish.
The Different Paint Finishes You Can Use on a Garage Door
There are three main paint finishes available for this type of work.
You could go for high gloss, which stands loud and proud, and looks fantastically sharp on modern homes. This looks particularly good when used in vibrant colours such as black, red, or deep blue. The sheen level of this paint is around 90%.
Satinwood is becoming a popular finish nowadays and can look good on any type of garage door. The sheen level of satinwood is around 40%, and it isn’t as shouty!! It’s also good to use low-sheen paints on a garage door that you can’t get completely smooth, simply because it doesn’t highlight imperfections like gloss does.
Or there’s eggshell, which is a lower sheen again (around 20%). For me, eggshell suits older, more traditional looking properties. It is soft, non-threatening and subtle.
Prepping You Garage Door
Garage Doors can be made from various materials, including metal, wood, fibreglass and PVC. Your door may be previously painted, or bare. I don’t think you need to change your paint depending on the material your garage door is made from, but the prep can change slightly.
Metal or Galvanised Garage Doors
Bare metal needs to be abraded to create a key, then cleaned. Previously painted metal should be sanded and any loose paint removed. Rust should be spot-primed using red oxide primer to prevent it from coming back further down the line. Damage and imperfections can be filled using car body filler before painting. Remove all dust.
Wooden Garage Doors
Bare timber should be primed using an appropriate paint primer, then abraded. Previously painted wooden garage doors should also be sanded, and any loose paint should be removed. Imperfections can be filled with a good quality wood filler. Larger repairs can be made using Oxera Resin Repair. Remove all dust.
PVC and fiberglass Garage Doors
Much the same as metal. Abrade bare surfaces to create a key for adhesion reasons. Depending on the paint system you go for, you may need to apply an adhesion primer. In which case, I’d recommend Bullseye 123. Click here for product info.
The Best Gloss for a Garage Door
Dulux Trade Weathershield Gloss
This is my favourite gloss for a lot of my exterior decorating. It’s an oil-based product (I’ll give you a water-based alternative next). Opacity is great and it’s relatively easy to work with. However, the reason this paint stands out is because of its overall sheen level and appearance.
It has a very strong bold sheen that will really make your garage door pop, particularly in deep colours like black! You should use a mini roller as well as a brush to apply this paint, and you will need an adhesion primer if using it over a PVC or fiberglass garage door.
One other advantage of using Dulux Trade Weathershield gloss for a garage door is the longevity of the finish. It’s very flexible, so it’s able to cope with expansion due to the elements. The colour and sheen also stay vibrant and bold for years after you’ve painted.
Dulux Trade Weathershield Quick Dry Gloss
Water-based gloss has come a long way in recent years, but there are still not many I’d recommend for exterior painting. However, Dulux Trade Weathershield Quick Dry Gloss is one of them. Opacity and overall finish are great for a water-based product, and it is certainly durable enough to cope with the wear and tear of a garage door.
I can’t speak to the longevity, simply because it’s a relatively new product, but so far, I’ve been impressed with it. It won’t give you a finish to rival its oil-based counterpart, but you’ll still get your garage door looking awesome, and it comes with all the advantages of water-based, including the environmental benefits and easy clean-up.
The Best Satinwood for a Garage Door
The best satinwood for a garage door is an easy one for me. Zinsser Allcoat is a fantastic product, and nothing else comes close in my opinion. It’s easy to use, no undercoat needed, available in any colour, and looks great.
You can buy this paint as a water-based or oil-based product, but I tend to stick to the water-based version. Opacity in white is a bit iffy, so apply thick coats and be prepared to need an additional coat, but it absolutely flies on and is quick drying, so no biggie. Opacity in colours is brilliant.
As the name suggests, you can use Zinsser Allcoat on pretty much anything. So you could paint your garage door, masonry, iron gates and railings etc in the same product without issue (always use oxide primer on rust if you’re using this paint on metal). This is a paint I love, and probably use more than any other to paint garage doors.
One Can is a water-based product that contains rust inhibitors, can be used on multiple surfaces, is easy to use and looks fantastic. It also blocks stains, meaning it will stop tannins coming through wood, or rust bleeding through metal.
This makes it the perfect paint for any type of garage door. Opacity in white is a little dodgy, so expect to need an additional coat, but it’s still a great choice.
If you do prefer a traditional oil-based paint for a garage door, then you can still opt for Sandtex-X-Tra. The opacity of this paint in any colour (including white) is fantastic. This product is slow drying, but it looks fantastic and really does last for years.
Common Questions and Their Answers
How much would a Decorator charge to paint a garage door?
I can give you some indication, but obviously each Decorator sets his or her own rates. I normally charge a day’s rate to paint a garage door. If I’m using water-based paint, I will spend the whole day there and complete everything. If I’m using oil-based, I normally complete the work over two or three visits.
Can you use the same paint on a garage door as you would a front door?
Absolutely! Each of the products mentioned on this guide can be used on any exterior trim, including front doors, windows, door frames and fascia boards.
What is the best way to paint a garage door?
You’d prep a garage door in the way I outlined further up on this guide. Then you should work on one section at a time, paint any detail with a brush, then use a mini roller to paint the flat areas. Once you’ve rolled, ‘lay off’ by passing your brush lightly over the area you’ve just painted. Then move onto the next section.
By working like this, your paint will be even, flat, and you will keep a ‘wet edge’, which avoids any visible overlaps.
The Best Paint for a Garage Door – by Mike Gregory
Examples of Work Carried out by Other Decorators
I had to paint these garage doors twice due to the client not being overly happy with the flat sheen finish they’d originally selected. (Which was Zinsser Allcoat Exterior Satin tinted to the colour ‘Calamine’)
So, this is the finished result. We painted it using Johnstone’s Aqua Satin, which is a water-based product that can be used inside or out. The client insisted on a brushed finish as appose to the brand-new looking spray job.
We painted this garage door using Bradite One Can coloured in Farrow and Ball Teresa’s Green.
Bradite One Can is perfect for a job like this in my opinion. The garage door is made from metal, and although we prepped everything properly, there is always a chance of rust further down the line. Bradite One Can has something in it which stops rust, so I know it will look good for years.
We painted this one in Zinsser Allcoat to match the rest of the trim on the house. But instead of using a brush and roller, we used a HVLP sprayer.
We did this for a couple of reasons, but mostly because the garage door was in really good shape when we painted it, and a sprayer allows us to achieve a factory finish. It looked like new when we’d finished, and the customer was chuffed to bits with the results. The colour is Anthracite Grey, which really pops.
Literally just finished this garage door. We used Toupret powdered wood repair filler and loads of exterior caulk in the prep.
The product we used to paint it with was Bedec Barn Paint, which is brilliant for anything like this. It’s a fully water-based multi-surface paint that we use a lot of. It’s an easy paint to use, has great flow, and it’s easy to get a good finish on large flat areas like this garage door.
The colour is Anthracite Grey, which is probably the most popular strong grey around.
We painted these in Zinsser Allcoat Exterior satin, which is the best paint for a garage door in my opinion. It flies on, covers well, looks great and lasts for ages. Plus, it’s self-undercoating, so you don’t need to mess around with separate primers.
These doors came up well. A quick clean, sand down, then two coats of Allcoat. Very easy to do.
We used Zinsser Allcoat Satin on this one. The actual garage door is metal, and it was painted in bright red before we started. There wasn’t much prep needed because it was in good shape. Then two coats of Allcoat covered it without issues.
This door will look good for years now. Zinsser Allcaoat lasts really well.
I’m feeling a little reflective – So, this painting lark. My dad taught me how to paint – prep then prep then prep – if you don’t get the woodwork prepared to a good standard, then you are wasting your time.
Then we would water based undercoat – and then rub down, hoover, clean and wipe down.
And then he taught me how to gloss – with oil based – usually Dulux Brilliant White (in later years pro).
He showed me how to play with the paint. How to make it cover and how to stop it running.
And to fair when I’d finished it was flawless, like a sheet of glass.
12 months later it would be yellow.
30 years later then along comes these new multi surface paints – all water based.
Well, I just repainted my garage door – 2 coats with no undercoat in less than 30 mins and it looks fine.
Good as my dad’s taught me? No not at all.
But left me enough time to go down the ale house and have a pint with him.
And moan about these crappy “new fangled” paints
Repainted with Bedec MSP
Paul Jye Reynolds
Zinsser Allcoat Gloss on a steel garage door.
We applied 1 x Dulux Quick Dry Weathershield undercoat and two coats of water-based Zinsser Allcoat.
A lot of people think that water-based gloss is no good on a garage door because it needs to stand up to the elements, but that is nonsense. This door looks good and will last for years. I would highly recommend Zinsser Allcoat gloss. It’s a great paint.