How to Paint a Wood Garage Door

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Painting a wood garage door is a simple task. A poorly done job, however, will be embarrassingly obvious. Proper preparation before you paint constitutes 99 percent of the work. Inadequate preparation may lead to paint surface failure and, in extreme cases where the door is exposed to continual water, dry rot. If your door has been previously painted, you must strip off any old peeling or blistering paint before applying a new top coat. Use exterior-grade latex paint for a new door or for an old door with old latex paint.


A painted garage door can be a thing of beauty or an eyesore.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint Tray

  • Water In A Bucket

  • Painter'S Tape

  • 2-Inch Paintbrush

  • 1-Inch Paintbrush

  • Exterior Semigloss Latex Or Oil-Alkyd Primer

  • Paint Stirrer

  • Mineral Spirits

  • Small Plastic Sandwich Bag

  • Plastic Putty Scraper Knife

  • Mild Detergent

  • Vinyl-Based Spackling Compound

  • Paint Roller And Roller Handle

  • 100-Grit Sandpaper

  • Orbital Sander

  • Clean, Dry Rags

Prepare the Door Surface

Step 1

Sand the garage door, including any recessed or raised panels. If the door has been previously painted, use a plastic scraper and orbital sander to scrape or sand bumps, ridges, peeling paint or blisters from the old paint.


Video of the Day

Step 2

Fill any pits, dents or holes with a vinyl-based spackling compound and the plastic putty knife. Allow to completely dry. Sand smooth with sandpaper or the orbital sander.

Step 3

Thoroughly wash the door with fresh water and mild household detergent such as a pine cleaner. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely before continuing.


Step 4

Cover the garage door handle with a plastic sandwich bag, and tape it down with tackless painter's tape. Cover any exposed hinges or hardware with painter's tape.

Step 5

Apply a thin coat of exterior latex or oil-alkyd primer with a 2-inch natural bristle paintbrush, starting at the top of the door and working your way down. Use a 1-inch paintbrush to work the primer into crevices or routed surfaces in recessed or raised panels. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time. If you used an oil-alkyd primer, soak the paintbrush in mineral spirits to remove the paint and clean the paintbrush.


Step 6

Apply a second coat of primer. Allow to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the instructions recommend that you apply a third coat of primer, do so. Allow the primer to completely dry before painting the door.

Paint the Door

Step 1

Stir the paint in the can with the paint stirrer. Stir frequently throughout your painting project, every half an hour or so.


Step 2

Paint the recessed or raised panels with the 1-inch and 2-inch paintbrushes. Begin at the top of the door and work your way down. Paint thin coats to prevent drips. Several thin coats are better than few thick coats.

Step 3

Pour some of the paint from the can into the paint roller tray reservoir. Dip the paint roller into the tray and rid excess paint by rolling the paint roller across the ribs of the paint tray. Apply the paint smoothly and thinly to the top of the door first, to the frames of the garage door around the panels. Allow the first coat to dry completely before continuing to the next coat.


Step 4

Paint a second coat on to the recessed or raised panels with the paintbrushes. Carefully wipe any drips.

Step 5

Apply a second coat of paint to the door with the paint roller. Allow the coat the dry completely. Follow the paint manufacturer instructions for drying times and number of coats required.


Consider painting the recessed or raised panels of the door in different colors. Use a 1-inch paintbrush to paint the tight corners around the panels.

If you are using latex paint, place the used paint roller in a plastic grocery bag and seal with tape in between coats; this will prevent the paint from drying on the roller and prevent you from washing out the roller in between coats.


Do not apply latex paint over an old oil-based paint surface; the latex will peel off. If your door has been previously painted with oil-based paint, apply a new top coat of oil-based paint after you have prepared the surface of the door.

Do not apply paint on your garage door in direct sun. Provide shade for the door or paint on an overcast day.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...