Can I Paint My Garage Door ?! – The Complete Answer


Garage doors with speckles, rusts, and faded paint can greatly diminish the aesthetics of your house, not just your garage. Nowadays, garage doors come in various designs, material compositions, and functionalities. Regardless, repainting your garage doors may come as a challenge as there are a number of things to consider.

Some may even question if they can paint their garage doors without damaging it. Rest assured that your garage doors can definitely be painted. By following some basic procedures, including those specific for certain garage doors, you can have a well-painted and visually pleasing garage door.

Can I paint my garage door? Yes. You can paint garage doors, except those of vinyl and plastic. It would be inadvisable to paint vinyl and plastic because it may damage the door’s outer layer. For aluminum and steel, professional painting is advised. For clopay garage doors, use acrylic paints.

Let us dive right into the things you need to consider when painting garage doors. Every type of garage door would need a specific type of paint. Some even require professional painting to avoid cracks and to maximize paint adhesion. For garage doors that do not require professional painting, read on and learn the necessary procedure in painting your garage doors, whether it be a roller garage door or a regular one.

traditional garage door lock and key
rusty garage door in need of fresh coat of paint

The Material Composition Of Your Garage Door Is Material

Knowing the material composition of your garage door is important because some types of paint are incompatible with some garage doors. Some do not even work well with paint, in general, and should be left with the color tint it was manufactured with. An example of this would be the vinyl and plastic types of garage doors.

Painting your garage door is not just for aesthetic purposes but for maintenance too. The coat of paint that covers the surface of your garage door serves as a shield to environmental factors, such as UV rays, rain, snow, ice, and dust particles. Although some materials are expected to be more durable than others, for instance, steel and aluminum type garage doors are known to be very durable.

Wood and Wood Composite Garage Doors Can be Painted

Yes, garage doors that are made up of wood and wood composite can be painted by any kind of exterior paint. The recommended paint, however, would be the acrylic paint. Acrylic paint adheres very well to wood surfaces. When used over wood surfaces, the acrylic paint dries off quickly.

For wood surfaces, you may use paintbrushes, rollers, or spray paints. The choice is up to you, as long as you clean the wood properly before painting it, then you would easily get professional painting results. Remember that paint may chip off from wood surfaces easily, so you would need to seal the acrylic paint on wood with an acrylic sealant.

I love this topic. Adding a fresh coat of paint can really make an old garage door shine. But have you thought about what other applications strong hard wearing paint can be used for? In this article Can Garage Floor Paint Be Used Outside – The Answer we investigate this very question!

Aluminum Garage Doors can Also Be Painted but Professional Painting is Recommended

Professional painting is simply one that is done by a professional painter. A person who has been painting for a living, not the Vincent Van Gogh type, but the Uncle Jerry type who paints the neighborhood for a certain fee. Of course, if you are a professional painter then you would have the expertise and knowledge needed to get the work done.

Aluminum garage doors are advised to be painted by a professional painter. There are many things to consider since painting on aluminum requires the application of a primer coating. For aluminum garage doors, you may choose either acrylic paints or latex paints. It would be advisable to use acrylic or latex that has a matte or satin finish; a glossy one will show the imperfections of the aluminum.

Steel Garage Doors should also be done by professional painting

Similar to aluminum, steel garage doors can be painted but should be done by a professional painter. This is because metals and alloys, like steel and aluminum, will shift and expand depending on the temperature. If not done properly, there would be visible cracks on the surface of the dried paint.

As for the type of paint to use, you can either use acrylic or latex paints. They do well with steel surfaces. Although a primer coating would also be needed to avoid cracking and peeling, polyurethane paint will be a good substitute for acrylic and latex when it comes to steel and aluminum garage doors.

Fiberglass Garage Doors Can be Difficult to Paint

You can paint fiberglass garage doors, but it will be challenging, even more than aluminum and steel types. Fiberglass has a smooth and non-porous surface, which makes paint adhesion extremely difficult. You will really need to scrub clean the surface of the fiberglass; otherwise, you will be just wasting time and money as the paint may just peel off.

The only paints recommended for fiberglass surfaces would be acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethane paint. Acrylic paint is very flexible and can be applied to almost all surfaces. Epoxy and polyurethane are commonly used in boats, as it is extremely water-resistant. Regardless of which paint among the three you choose, it would best to use spray paint to maximize results.

Cost of Hiring a Professional Painter

Hiring a professional painter can be costly, so prepare yourself for the necessary expenses. The cost may range from $1,000 to $6,000 depending on the assignment, not yet including the cost of materials such as paint. For garages, it is best to estimate it with $2 to $7 per square foot or, if on a per hour basis, $20 to $60 per hour. It may seem expensive, but if possible, always have it done by a professional painter.

Vinyl And Plastic Garage Doors Are Best Left As They Are

Vinyl garage doors are best left as they are. They can be painted, but the problem is very few paints can actually adhere to vinyl. Latex and other oil-based paints are not advisable either. The good thing is that vinyl is very durable and low maintenance.

You do not need to paint Vinyl surfaces to protect it from wear and tear. As for aesthetics, vinyl is already color-tinted during its manufacturing process. Therefore, whenever purchasing or ordering for vinyl, have it come in the color you desire. However, keep in mind that tests have shown that color vinyl is less durable compared to the usual black tinted vinyl.

Qualities and Nature of Vinyl Garage Doors

For starters, vinyl garage doors are lightweight, extremely durable, and maintenance-free. Your vinyl garage door is expected to last long because they are not susceptible to rust or rot. Furthermore, vinyl garage doors are extremely dent-resistant, which makes it perfect for families who have kids playing near the garage.

Vinyl Garage doors are also surprisingly affordable, with an estimated cost of around $1200 for a two-car door garage. For context, an aluminum garage door of the same size would cost you around $2,000. In coastal communities, beach houses, for instance, a vinyl garage door would be perfect because the material is resistant to salt air.

For the qualities described above, your vinyl garage door will not be needing a paint job just for maintenance purposes. The material itself is expected to last long with little to no maintenance need, probably only a regular cleaning session would do. In fact, as a testament to its durability, most companies give a 20-year warranty for vinyl garage doors.

Colored Vinyl is your option if you want other colors

If you are wondering how vinyl garage doors became unpopular despite its excellent characteristics, the answer would be a lack of aesthetic appeal. The natural color of vinyl garage doors is often black or metallic gray. So unless you are someone who is into dark colors, then you are most likely to be discouraged from buying vinyl garage doors.

However, colored vinyl garage doors are now available in the market. The colors available are not that many, though, as only the variations of white, black, brown, and gray are available. Regardless, these are the colors typically used in garage doors anyway, unless you’re into orange or yellow garage doors.

Plastic Garage Doors Are Also Best Left Alone

Similar to vinyl garage doors, plastic garage doors are best left alone. A bad paint job would do more harm than good to your garage door. Fortunately, plastic garage doors come in a wider variety of colors than vinyl garage doors. Aesthetics will not be greatly compromised because you can just purchase plastic garage doors in the color desired.

Basic Guide In Painting Garage Doors 

In doing your garage paint job, there are a lot of things to consider. From methodology to proper tools, knowledge over these things can help you maximize the results in painting your garage doors. 

Spray Paints, Paint Brush, Paint Rollers

Spray paints are quite convenient as it is faster, more efficient, and smoother in the finish. The only drawback to the use of spray paint is that it is relatively expensive. You will also need to practice using spray paint as not everybody knows exactly what they are doing. Fiberglass garage doors are best suited to spray paints.

Paintbrushes are also convenient in the sense that it is affordable. The use of a paintbrush also allows you to accurately paint the sides of the garage door. Furthermore, using a paintbrush requires lesser preparation time too, as compared to spray painting. Paintbrushes are also really good at conserving paint.

Single Coat or Double Coat

First off, a double coat is always better than a single coat. Using a single coat of paint will not be able to fully display the color. Aside from color vibrance, a single coat will only last for up to three years, while a double-coated garage door will last for an average of 10 years. Paint is an investment because not only it beautifies your garage doors, but also protects them.

Primer or No Primer

There are garage door surfaces that would require a primer before the paint is applied, some do not. For starters, garage doors that are made up of metal, aluminum, steel, and fiberglass would definitely need a primer. Wood surfaces do not need a primer, but instead would require an acrylic seal.

Cleaning your garage before painting 

Before you even get to start painting your garage door, you would need to clean the surface first. Dirt and other particles can be trapped between the layers of paint. This causes the paint surface to create bubbles, which will end up as cracks by the time the paint dries off. That is not something you would want on your finished product.

Clean your garage doors with a simple rinse of water and soap, with a few scrubs here and there. Of course, a pressure sprayer would be very effective in cleaning and rinsing the garage door surface. Most surfaces, except fiberglass ones, will need to be sand first before the actual painting. After the cleaning, let the water dry off completely before applying the paint.

Weather and Time 

The ideal time for you to paint your garage door is in the early morning or late afternoon. The temperature you should be aiming for is between 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not paint your garage door during the peak heat of the sun.

Avoid painting your garage doors whenever the humidity is high too. The humidity can mess with paint because when the humidity is high, the water vapor in the surrounding air is also high. When you combine low temperatures and high humidity in painting outdoor projects such as garage doors, condensation on the surface of the paint often occurs. This condensation can damage the paint finish, like lifting, disadhesion, and over paint failure.

Tools and Costs

Aside from the paint, primer, and paintbrushes, prepare all other materials and tools you would need at least a day before starting to paint. Preparation time is crucial because it allows you to carefully plan your course of action beforehand, instead of improvising on the spot.

The other materials you would most likely be needing include: drop cloth, garden sprayers, hose, paint roller, paint scraper, paintbrush, putty knife, roller tray, sanding block, screwdriver, shop vacuum, stepladder, woodblock, wrenches,100-grit sandpaper, 2×4, box of TSP, exterior caulk, and painter’s tape. If you can afford a spray paint, then that would be very good too.

Acrylic versus Latex

Acrylic and Latex paints are actually made up of the same things, acrylic resins. The only difference between the two is that latex is a water-based paint, while acrylic is a chemical-based paint. Both, however, are very good exterior paints.

Between the two, latex is less expensive, more convenient, and safer than acrylic. Latex is more convenient than acrylic because the former dries up quickly. Furthermore, latex is safer than acrylic because the latter is chemical-based. As for durability, acrylic is way more durable than latex.

Estimates of the Cost of Painting A Garage Door

The average cost of the materials and tools needed to paint your garage door ranges from $300 to $500. So assuming you seek to do the paint job by yourself, you would only be spending around $500. It may seem costly, but in actuality, the cost is nothing compared to the investment you are making in preserving and prolonging your garage door.

Painting Branded Garage Doors: Clopay and Hormann

You also might be wondering if you can paint your branded garage doors, especially from Clopay and Hormann. Yes, you can paint them both for maintenance and aesthetics purposes. The manufacturers of Clopay and Hormann themselves said that their garage doors could be painted, as long as the paint used is of the type they recommend.

For Clopay, the recommended paint would be acrylic. It has to be a high-grade 100% acrylic paint, or else you run the risk of damaging the surface of the garage door. The option to choose between matte, semi-gloss, or satin is all up to you. Aside from that, you would also most definitely need a primer, except for the steel ones, as they are typically made up of galvanized steel.

For Hormann, the recommended paint would be latex paint. Like Clopay, you actually do not need to paint your Hormann Garage door. Nevertheless, should you still want to, you may do so as long as you use high-quality latex paint. You would also need a primer to maximize paint adhesion.


To summarize things up, yes, you can paint your garage door. If you have a vinyl or plastic-type garage door, unfortunately, you should refrain from doing so. It will cause more harm than good because the paint will not adhere to the surface of the vinyl properly. Know that your paint job is not just for beautification or artistic display of your garage door but also for its maintenance.

Paint gives not only the surface color but also protection from the harsh effects of the environment, such as UV rays, rains, ice, and dust. Keep in mind when to use a primer coat and when not to, including which paint types match well with a given surface. Lastly, preparation and planning are every bit as important as the actual act of painting the garage door.


That’s it for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you think it might be useful for someone else then please share it on social media, email or your own website! It really encourages us to write more content and grow the site!


If you’re interested in reading more about smart light, smart garages and smart homes checkout some of the other houshia categories including:

Smart Lights

Smart Home

Smart Garage



Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

Recent Posts