Many homeowners don’t give their garage doors a second thought, but a standard two-car garage can take nearly 33 percent of a home’s façade, meaning it is one of the first things people see when they look at your house.
Unlike other external fixtures (e.g. walls, roofs and chimneys), garage doors receive a disproportionate amount of wear and tear. In addition to constant exposure to the elements, they also move up and down repeatedly throughout the year.
In other words, they lose their luster quickly, and given how prominent garage doors are, people tend to notice.
It’s little surprise that improving your garage’s exterior can increase the resale value of your home. In fact, major upgrades can add up to $1,100 when done correctly.
Though even a simple paint job can work wonders. The following step-by-step guide explains how:
1. Garage Door Preparation
Don’t make the mistake of rushing and throwing on a coat of paint. To do this job correctly, you’ll need at least a three-day stretch of dry weather, since even a light drizzle can destroy hours of hard work.
You’ll also want to do this job when it’s not too cold or hot. Extreme temperatures can make garage door materials contract or expand, causing the paint to spread unevenly.
While waiting for ideal conditions, gather all of your materials. Below are some essentials:
- Drop cloths and masking tape
- Primers and paints
- Brushes, sprays or rollers
- Rags, sponges and sandpaper
- Stepladder (optional)
2. Garage Door Cleaning and Edging
The next step involves thoroughly cleaning the garage door. If the current surface has chipping paint, sand those areas before starting the cleaning process.
In most cases, you only need to wash with a little soap water to remove any dirt and dust. Adding some vinegar to the solution can help cut through stubborn stains.
You can’t start painting until the newly cleaned door is completely dry. While you wait, begin covering all of the windows and edges with masking tape. It’s also a good idea to add a few drop cloths to catch splatter.
3. Priming the Garage Door
Before painting the door, prime it with a base. This extra step adds an additional layer of protection from the elements. It also provides a solid foundation, making it easier to apply non-standard colors once the painting begins. This is especially useful if the garage door is already a dark shade.
Although there are some fast-drying primers on the market, be sure to wait at least 24 hours to let the coat completely dry.
4. Painting the Door
Now you’re finally ready to paint. Which application method to use ultimately depends on your personal preferences. The most popular tools (e.g. rollers, brushes and sprayers) each have pros and cons:
- Spraying is relatively fast — both to apply and dry. However, this approach requires more equipment, including spray guns, canisters, masks and goggles. You forfeit a little control, especially when spraying trimming and edges. You might still need to use a brush to take care of these trouble areas.
- Brushing is also fast, and you have much greater control when navigating uneven surfaces and edges. The downside is that brushing can sometimes leave uneven and unnatural streaking.
- Rolling is ideal when painting smooth surfaces. With a few simple glides, you can get a nice and even texture all over. If your garage door has indentations, however, you won’t be able to complete the job entirely with a roller.
Depending on the paint color and type, you may need to apply a second coat to the garage door. However, be prepared to wait an extra 24 hours before adding that layer (this is why you need a minimum of three days to do a professional-looking job). Some homeowners even apply a clear finish to their garage doors for additional weatherproofing.
You’re basically done. All that’s left is to remove the protective taping and drop cloths. Also, be sure to clean all painting materials using turpentine or a thinner.
Voila. You now have a freshly painted garage door that improves the aesthetics of your home while simultaneously making it more valuable and durable.
Justin White is the marketing director for Garage Door Repair LLC. Living just outside of Washington DC, Justin is extremely resourceful with resolutions on common garage door problems specific to the DC region, including Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.