If you’re wondering about how to repaint a metal garage door, well then you’re in luck! I wrote this article after doing this job myself and struggling to find much on the internet that just gave me simple step-by-step instructions.
So, without further ado, here is the process I used to repaint a metal garage door.
Step one: Get the right tools in place
To repaint a metal garage door is relatively straightforward, but you do need to have the right tools and place. In no particular order, these are:
- An orbital sander (these are pretty cheap nowadays, and having one will save you about an hour of your time vs. hand standing)
- A wallpaper scraper (To help flake off bigger sections of paint).
- A old sheet / bit of tarp (To sit under the door and collect paint drips).
- Some painters / masking tape (to stop paint marks on things like the door lock).
- A paintbrush … I feel that’s quite self explanatory.
Most importantly, you’ll also want some paint! To do my project I used Hammerite Metal Paint. It’s probably been about 12 months since I painted my door and there are zero signs of fading or flaking. So, I can hand on heart recommend this brand of paint (find it on Amazon here).
Buying this paint brand also means you don’t need to prime the door with an undercoat – saving you more time and cost.
I found that it took two tins of 750 ml to apply two coats of this paint to my garage door, and it left it looking really good.
Step two: Prepare the garage door for painting
Now, this is really straight forward. Basically, all you need to do is scrape away at the door to get rid of any bits of peeling paintwork and then sand.
You might also want to look at removing your garage door lock to help avoid getting paint marks on your lock. This is entirely optional, but it makes the prep work much easier. Don’t be too intimidated by removing the lock – on most UK garage doors it’s just a matter of undoing a few screws from the other side of the door. See my article on replacing a garage lock for more info.
Before sanding, it’s best to wear a mask/eye protection. Old paint can sometimes have nasty chemicals in, and getting a paint fleck in your eye hurts like a …
When you’re scraping, you can afford to apply quite a bit of pressure with your scraper when you’re doing this. At first it will seem like not a lot of paint is flaking off, but then you’ll get a chunk and it will be o-so satisfying!
Once you’ve gone over your garage door once with a scraper, hit it with your orbital sander with rough 40 or 80 grit paper. Again, you can do this by hand with sandpaper wrapped around a block, but you’ll easily loose an hour of your life.
Sanding basically helps to make sure that any remaining old paint on the door doesn’t have any flaking edges, and it helps the new paint to bond.
You may find that after sanding you’ll have to repeat the scaping/sanding process again.
Most likely this will be because the sanding reveals new flaking areas – don’t cut corners just scrape and sand again.
The worst thing doing this sort of job is to come back six months later and see some of your new paint starting to flake away.
Step three: Wipe down the garage door surface and sweep up
Sanding your garage door is going to kick up a million little paint flecks.
They’ll be most visible on the floor, as well as on you!
It’s pretty important then to make sure that you wipe yourself down and wipe the door down. A big old paint brush helps to do this with the door, as would a regular sweeping brush provided it’s clean.
Once you’ve done that, sweep up as much as you can to avoid a gust of wind ruining your new paint job.
If you’re wanting to paint right away, don’t use a hose/power washer because then you’ll have to wait for everything to dry off.
But, if you can wait a few hours, then wet away to your heart’s content.
Step four: Start painting your garage door
I’m assuming here you’re using a paint that doesn’t need primer – if you need to use a primer paint, you’ll have to paint this on first before your topcoat.
Now, I don’t really want to patronise anyone here, so I’ll assume that 99% of people know how to paint.
But, I will give a few tips specific to painting a garage door!
First is to make sure that you set up some sort of ground sheet underneath the door. No matter what you do, you’ll have a splatter on your floor and you don’t want that. Also tape up your door lock, and anything else you don’t want paint marks on.
Second is to start painting from the top and work your way down. If you’re short, get a step ladder.
Painting your garage door will result in drips. Painting from the top down helps you to blend these drips in section by section before they dry.
Third, is to paint in long, light brush stokes. Any paint suitable for a metal garage door is going to be thick and gloopy. If you put on too much and paint in little movements, you’ll end up with hundreds of visible feather strokes. It will look bad.
Also, make sure to follow the direction of any pannelling you have. If it’s horizontal, paint horizontal.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, unless you’re a painting pro, you’ll find that the paint will pool and gather in places (particularly if you have any grooves in your garage door.)
You can make sure everything is even by running your brush (with little to no paint) back over each section when you finish it. This will help to smooth out any “thick” bits.
Step five: Apply another coat
I don’t care what the paint tin tells you, but I’ve never found that a one coat paint actually gives you one coat.
Mainly, this is probably down to user error. They’ll always be a section that you have gone lighter on than others, or a bit you’ve missed.
To get a really good “like new” finish on your garage door, you’ll have to apply at least one more coat of paint.
If you’re painting a new colour onto the door, then you may even have to have a third.
Refer to your paint tin for how long to leave between coats.
Step six: Tidy up.
Ok, we all know this is the most boring part, so I’m not going to bore you with how to tidy up.
The only thing I will say is not to sweep up or do any other messy jobs near the garage door while it’s drying. Nothing worse than a newly painted thing having little flecks of dirt stuck to it.
How long does it take to paint a garage door?
If you follow the steps above, the total time it takes to paint a garage door is approximately 1 and a half hours. This includes time to prep, paint and tidy up, but doesn’t include the time for additional coats. For each extra coat of paint, I’d budget an extra half an hour.
How much will it cost to pay some one to paint a garage door?
Based on the fact that an average painter and decorator will charge approximately £20 an hour, and will be a bit more thorough than an average DIYer, you can expect that it will cost you in the area of £100-150 in labour to paint a garage door.
This accounts for the wait time between coats, and the fact that they will supply their own brushes, dust cloths etc.
Normally you’ll have to pay the costs of the paint too, so the total cost of hiring someone to do the job is likely set you back around £130-200 depending on where you live/what sort of finish you want.
Now, for a job that you can do pretty easily while listening to a podcast on a sunny Saturday, I’d say that this job is easily worth doing yourself to save some pennies.
Can you spay paint a metal garage door?
Well, yes you can spray paint a metal garage door and this helps to achieve a really smooth, well finished surface. However, the time it takes to prep will increase as there’s more risk of other things (like brick work) getting painted too.
This additional prep time means, at least to me, it’s not really worth the hassle to spray paint your garage door.
Also, to get a really good non-streak finish, you’ll need a paint spray gun, which themselves are an extra cost and require a lot of cleaning after use.
Summary: How to paint a metal garage door
Hopefully this article has been of some use to you in setting out the steps needed to paint a metal garage door.
Honestly, in my opinion this is one of those nice, easy house maintenance jobs that doesn’t take ages to do and has a big impact, especially if your garage door is looking old and faded.