how to paint a garage door

How To Paint a Garage Door in 8 Easy Steps (DIY Guide)

Do your garage doors have rust spots and/or flakey paint? Could they use some TLC?

If so, this guide on how to paint a garage door will give your garage a new look without spending big money on new doors.

In a Hurry? Find top-rated painters & decorators in your area by clicking the button below:

Tools & Materials

When buying garage door paint, make sure you pick the right paint for the type of door you have, e.g. wood or metal. Be extra careful if your doors are made from galvanised steel, as you’ll need specialized ‘Direct to Galvanised Metal Paint‘ for this surface.


  • Sandpaper
  • Wire brush
  • Masking tape
  • Dust sheets or newspaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Roller (optional)


  • Cleaning materials (such as sugar soap or washing up liquid and a cloth)
  • Undercoat or primer – if required
  • Topcoat
  • White spirit or turpentine

How To Paint a Garage Door — Step-by-Step Instructions

brown garage door

1. Clean the Garage Doors

You should give your garage doors a good clean before you start painting. Doing this will help reveal any imperfections that need touching up.

Use sugar soap or warm soapy water and an old cloth or rag. You want to remove all dirt and grease. Ensure you get in all the nooks and crannies. Open the door and do all around the edges as well.

Pro Tip: Clean around the door frame so that when you shut the door, it doesn’t transfer the dirt to your fresh paintwork

After cleaning, ensure the door is fully dry before applying any primer or paint.

2. Remove or Cover Fittings

To protect your fittings from paint splatters, remove them or cover them with masking tape. You want to ensure door handles, hinges, and brackets stay in good condition and look their best after the paint job.

3. Smooth the Surface

Now that you have a clean and dry surface, inspect it thoroughly and look for any rust, loose paint or any notable drip marks in previous coats of paint.

Take the time to smooth out these imperfections using coarse sandpaper or a wire brush. Pull any flaking paint off and use the sandpaper to blend any ridges you can feel to ensure a lovely smooth finish.

Wash again using a warm soapy solution to remove any dust from the sanding down, and allow to dry.

4. Prime (only if required)

Depending on your garage doors, this step can differ.

Check the options below for what you will need to do

  • Many new garage doors come ready primed, so only a finish paint is required. E.g. these glazed side-hung doors from B&Q.
  • If any bare metal is exposed, use a metal primer.
  • Use an undercoat if you’re painting over old paint.
  • You can get combined primer and undercoat if you have a mix of surfaces to prepare.

Place dust sheets or newspaper around the garage doors to catch any drips or paint splatters. Then use a paintbrush to apply the primer or undercoat, as required, to your garage doors.

Pro Tip: Use special galvanised metal paint if you’re painting galvanised metal; otherwise, the paint will peel off. Find out more about painting galvanised steel here.

5. Clean Again

Yes again! Cleaning in-between steps is a good tip to get the best finish possible. Allow the primer to dry completely, then wipe it down again with a damp cloth and allow it to dry before painting.

6. Apply Finish Paint

Normally when painting wood, you should go with the grain. However, if there are any fine splits in your doors, paint across the grain to cover the split, then go over it again, following the grain. The paint will act as a filler and give you a smooth finish.

You should paint in layers rather than putting paint on too thick. You’re likely to need at least two layers. Allow the first layer to dry completely before adding the next one.

You should inspect the paint’s finish when it’s dry to assess if another coat is required.

Pro Tip: Paint when the temperature is between 8C and 25C to get the best finish on your garage doors.

7. Remove Protective Materials and Refit Fixtures

Carefully remove the dust sheets and masking tape. Only do this when the paint is completely dry. Otherwise, it can pull at your new paintwork or disperse dust, which can stick to the surface.

Refit any handles, hinges or brackets that you removed at the beginning. If you need to replace the hinges, read our guide to the most important types of hinges.

8. Clean Your Brushes

Look after your brushes by giving them a good clean in a solvent such as white spirit or turpentine (known as “turps”).

Pro Tip: If you want to see a quick version of this process, check out the video tutorial below:

YouTube player

Don’t fancy doing this job yourself? Find top-rated painters & decorators in your area by clicking the button below:

Final Thoughts

By carefully following the steps above, your garage door will perfectly complement your home and remain in good condition for many years.

If you need more help painting your garage doors, check out this handy guide from Hammerite on ‘How to paint a garage door‘.

Pro Tip: If your garage has a metal roof, check out our reviews of the best paint for corrugated metal roofs.