Do you want to paint your metal, aluminum or previously painted wood garage door to look like stained wood? Not sure what type of garage door paint you should use? Learn how to paint your garage door so it looks like a new garage door and has the appearance of stained wood without needing a “wood look garage door painting kit” or product brand. Painting your garage door this way is easier than you think.
Can You Paint Garage Doors to Look like Wood?
Yes – you can paint garage doors to look like wood, and you can do it without needing an expensive paint kit. If you have ever painted a wall in your home or a piece of furniture, the preparations are the same – except you need to use a primer and exterior paint.
On my home’s exterior, I painted over the green painted garage door to look like stained wood using a very easy faux finishing wood graining technique that anyone can master in 20 minutes. By DIYing it, I saved myself a lot of money. I am thrilled with the results.
My Garage Door Before Painting
The existing garage door on my house functions and is structurally sound, its only problem was the fading green color.
Source: Hormann Garage Doors
I wanted the entire surface of the garage door to have the depth and warmth like the stained wood doors in the photo above, but replacing a garage door doesn’t come cheap.
A new garage door can cost thousands depending on the type and style of door chosen, whether you need to repair or replace the hardware that allows the door to open and close, and even whether you need to resize the doorway or reframe the exterior.
If your garage door is in good shape and functions, then painting it is an affordable option that can add a lot of curb appeal to your home.
You may remember my tutorial on how I faux wood painted my front door to look like it was stained wood with transparent wood grain showing through.
I also painted a smaller door in the garage using the same faux woodgrain paint technique.
Both door painting projects were a success, so I decided to do the same faux woodgrain or faux bois finish on the garage door.
The Garage Door After Getting Painted to Look Like Stained Woodgrain
Now the garage door looks like the wood stained doors that are popular in home design now. It also matches the front door and the wood Slat Wall that was added to my home’s exterior.
How to Paint a Garage Door To Look Like a Stained Woodgrain Door
I used the same paint, tools, supplies and followed the same painting steps that I shared in this post and video on how I painted the front doors on my house.
Watching the Youtube video will give allow you to see how easy the faux woodgrain process is.
The Paint Base and Topcoat Colors I Used:
- KILZ® Premium primer
- KILZ® Complete Coat in semi-gloss in the colors:
- Base coat: Golden Sunrise
- Top Paint/Glaze coat: Tonka Bean
- Liquid Mixing Medium – Sold in craft, home improvement and paint stores. Used to create faux finishes with paint.
Before painting, check the weather conditions. You don’t want to paint when it’s too cold, hot, or there is high humidity with rain in the forecast.
Also avoid painting in direct sunlight or when the surface is warm to the touch. Wait for the door to be in the shade when applying the primer, paint and glaze finish.
Step 1: Prep The Door For Painting
Prepping the door is the most important and time consuming part when painting a garage door if you want your new paint finish to look its best and last for years.
- Remove any existing loose paint with a wire brush and if it is a metal door, get rid of any rust with a paint scraper. You can use a chemical stripper and sandpaper on a sanding block or electric sander to remove all of the old paint.
- Hose the door down with water and then fill a bucket with hot soapy water. Use a scrub brush to clean the surface well to remove dirt. Rinse with clear water and let dry.
- Once the door is dry, use painter’s tape to mask the handles, trim, and windows.
- Put a drop cloth or a row of flattened cardboard boxes under the door to protect your driveway and garage floor from paint splatters.
- When priming or painting inside the garage, make sure it is well ventilated.
- Wear both a dust mask and safety goggles.
Step 2: Prime the Garage Door
For proper paint adhesion, use a paint brush or roller for the application of one thin coat of primer to the door. Use an angled paint brush to paint the inset areas around each door panel. Let dry, Read drying time on primer can’s label.
After priming the door – lift the door so the edges of each panel are exposed. Prime these edges and let dry before closing the door.
Step 4: Paint the Garage Door With an Undercoat of Yellow
Once the primer is dry, I put two coats of yellow paint/primer on the door. Why yellow? It is the under color that is needed to make the topcoat/glaze color look more like stain than paint.
Both the UPS delivery guy and one of my neighbors, skeptically questioned me… “You’re painting your garage door yellow?” I had to explain to them that it was only a base coat and they would soon see why it was needed.
Step 5: Add a Brown Paint & Glaze Coat
Once the yellow coat is dry, make a mixture of brown paint and clear glazing liquid.
To Make Paint/Glaze Mixture: Mix 4 parts Tonka Bean with 2 parts liquid glazing medium in a container. Mix well and stir a few times while you are using it on the door.
Apply the paint/glaze mixture in horizontal strokes to one panel section of the door at a time using a cheap “chip” paint brush that had stiffer then normal bristles.
A few minutes after applying the paint/glaze mixture, drag the ends of a whisk-broom through the coat to allow some of the base yellow color to come through.
On the vertical sections of the door, apply the paint and drag it vertically.
Once the first coat of brown paint is dry, apply a second coat in the same manner. On a few of the panels – also drag a wood-graining tool through the wet paint/glaze coat to make it look more like wood grain and knots and to give the faux wood finish the overall uniform appearance of wood.
If you are wondering… One of the bottom panels on the door had a cat door installed. We removed it when we first moved into the house and replaced it with a new piece of wood. Not a perfect fix, but we didn’t think we were going to keep the door at the time.
Faux Woodgrain Painted Garage Door – AFTER
After the door was painted to look like stained wood. We had the teal trim on the house painted in a Glidden paint color called Khaki Bronze.
It made the painted garage door look even better.
I also did an aging finish on the black metal planter by the side of the garage. You can read about how I created it in this post: Creating a Rusted Patina
I am very happy with how my painted garage door turned out. I especially like the fact that the garage door now coordinates with the other wood elements on the front of the house.
Garage Door Painting FAQ’s Answered:
Yes you need to prime, but to save time, make sure your base color of paint is a paint and primer in one formula of paint.
The best paint finish for a garage door is semi-gloss or gloss. I used semi-
gloss on my door. It is durable and easy to wipe clean when needed. A matte finish would get easily smudged and hard to clean.
Update: 05/1/23 – It has been 3 + years since I posted this wood look garage door painting tutorial and the door still looks amazing! If you follow the steps I did you can have a long lasting wood look garage door completed in a weekend.
It depends on the style of house and how much color you want to see.
Painting the garage door the same color as the front entrance door or the window shutters always adds a nice contrast.
When deciding what color to paint my garage door, I asked myself if I should I paint the front door and garage door the same color?
After more thought I decided it would look best on my ranch style home that has modern lines to paint them the same color. I even added a slat wall in the same color to create a color balance across the house.
This does not mean it is the only choice. Painting the doors the same color as the house trim or shutters also looks nice.
The key to getting the color combination right is to make sure if you have the color on one part of the homes exterior it should be on another section to create a balance.
A front door painted a color is an exception. It can stand alone, but other parts of the exterior look better when they are balanced.
For lasting durability and to hold up to the weather use a brand name exterior primer and paint in one formula.
I used a half gallon of each the base color, top color and glazing medium. This can vary depending on your garage door’s material, size, as well as the color of the paint you’re using as it compares to the color you’re painting over.
No. The type of paint to use to paint a garage door does not have to be labeled “garage door paint”. What it does need to be is water-based latex acrylic paint.
Any major paint brands exterior paint formula will work – Sherwin Williams, KILZ, Behr, Glidden, Benjamin Moore, and Valspar are a few.
Is it Worth Painting a Garage Door?
If you are wondering – do painted garage doors last? Then the answer is YES. If you prepare the surface correctly – sand, prime and roll on brush on light coats of brand name exterior paint, the paint can last for years.
More Exterior Home Improvement Projects You May Like: