Making Over My Garage Door in 2 Days

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Over the last few months I have been looking for garage door painting ideas and after considering my options, I decided to go with faux woodgrain or faux bois painting so the door has a stained wood look. It is not hard to do and is a very budget friendly way to update any paintable surface in and around your home.

As you know I have been in the process of gathering ideas for updating the exterior of my house. I have shared a few posts on home exteriors I like that are doable on a small budget. If money was no object, the exterior home makeover decision making would be a lot easier and I would hire contractors to do it all.

Since that is a dream, I have to be realistic and find ways to keep costs down, which means more DIY. More DIY, means more work for me, so the process is slow going.

The most recent change is how I updated the garage door. A new garage door can do a lot to the curb appeal of a home, adding character and charm.

Glass paned garage door on house

Don’t get too excited. :-)  We didn’t get a new garage door, but I sure like this one… it would be pretty amazing.

Replacing a garage door doesn’t come cheap and 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.


The existing garage door on my house works fine and is structurally sound, its only problem was the fading color.

Recently, we had to make the decision to use money we had budgeted for a new door to go to something more important for the lake side of the house. One that we did have to hire a contractor to do. That project was just completed. I will share more on what had to be done once I get photos taken.

Back to the exterior makeover. I am still not sure what color I want to use for the house. If you look closely, you can see where I have been testing paint colors out on the frame of the garage door.  I want to be 100% sure of my choices and feel that taking my time to get it right…is the right thing to do.

I am still searching for ideas, but a loose plan is forming in my mind.

dark green house color

Photo: Source 

Here is a one of my latest exterior inspirations I am considering. I like the rustic appeal of this home, but what caught my eye is the dark blue/green color. My house is faded teal”ish” green. I had been thinking about going with a neutral color, but maybe dark would look better. It sure would work well for the setting and the current dark exterior trends that are becoming more popular.

If you are not familiar with the current exterior of my house, you can see my house in this post. It has exposed wood on the underside of the roof and deck similar to this inspiration house. If I went with this look, I could leave the bare and stained wood alone, which would save time and money.

Hormann garage door

Source: Hormann Garage Doors

The only color aspect of the exterior that I am 100% sure of is I like the look of stained wood doors, like the wood on these garage door.

How to paint a faux woodgrain finish on any surface

I love the look of stained wood doors so much. You may remember last summer’s tutorial on how I faux painted my front door to look like it was stained wood with transparent wood grain showing through.

Before and after door faux woodgrain painting makeover

I also painted a smaller door in the garage using the same faux woodgrain technique earlier in the fall.

Both door painting projects were a success, so I decided to do the same with the big garage door.

The only problem I ran into was the weather. In the fall, we received so much rain and then it got very cold. My time window to paint was shrinking. I just had to wait for it to stop raining.

Finally, right before Christmas the weather forecast was in my favor. There were two days with warm temps and no rain. I went for it and got the door painted in 2 days. Now, although not perfect, it looks like the wood stained doors that are popular in home design now. It also matches my front door.

How to Paint a Garage Door To Look Like a Stained Woodgrain Door

For this post, I am sharing a painting overview along with BEFORE and AFTER photos.

For the Full Step-by-Step Tutorial:

I used the same paint, tools, supplies and followed the same painting steps that I shared in this post and video:

Faux Woodgrain Paint Finish On My Front Doors

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 Glaze  – Sold in craft and paint stores. Used to create faux finishes with paint.

I used a half gallon of each the base color, top color and glazing medium.


Here is the before shot of my faded teal-“ish” green garage door.

How to paint a garage door to look like wood

Once I sanded and cleaned the door and it was 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.

putting second color of paint on garage door being painted to look like it has woodgrain

Once the yellow coat was dry I made a mixture of brown paint and clear glazing liquid and applied it in horizontal strokes to one panel section of the door at a time using a cheap paint brush that had stiffer than normal bristles.

putting second color of paint on garage door being painted to look like it has woodgrain

A few minutes after applying the paint/glaze mixture, I dragged 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 I applied the paint and dragged it vertically.

How to paint a garage door with latex paint to make it look like stained wood.

Once the first coat of brown paint was dry, I added a second coat in the same manner. On a few of the panels I also dragged a wood-graining tool through the wet paint/glaze coat to make it look more like wood grain and knots.

It 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. 

How to paint a garage door with latex paint to make it look like stained wood.

I got the door painted in two days and on the third day it rained. Luckily there is a small overhang that protected the door from getting wet.

Faux Woodgrain Painted Garage Door – AFTER

Painted garage door painted to look like transparent stained wood

I will be painting the teal trim around the door and gutters a darker color then the beige swatches you see, the teal color is not staying, but since I am doing all the painting, it will take time. Instead of waiting months to show you a final exterior reveal, I will share my progress with you one step at a time.

Once the weather warms up again, I may touch up a few panels on the door to even out the color, but I am very happy with how it turned out. I especially like the fact that the garage door now coordinates with the front doors.

Once spring arrives, we will begin making over the front steps and landscaping.

Slow going…but making progress. :-)

How to paint a garage door to look like stained wood, including woodgrain

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    1. Thank you Kathleen. Sometimes I wish I could afford to hire someone to do it all for me, but when I look at the savings of DIYing, it always gives me the incentive needed to do the updates myself.

  1. Hello,

    The garage door looks beautiful! You are very good!
    Wouldn’t the trims look good in a dark solid colour (black, charcoal, chocolate brown)?

    Happy new Year! I am looking forward to all of your new posts!

    1. Thanks Chantal – Yes, I think the trim would look better dark too. The paint testing I was doing on the garage door trim was when I was thinking of going with a light neutral color for the house and trim. I will start testing new darker colors now.

      1. Hello, is your garage door made of wood or steel? Ours is wood, wondering if this would work for me?

        1. My garage door is wood so you should have no trouble painting yours. If yours is painted a solid color and you want it to look like wood without having to strip the door to reveal the wood – painting it to look like wood is much easier. I did it a few years ago and it still looks great as do the front and side doors on my home that I did the same paint technique on.

  2. Diane, the doors look so good. wow. that sure was a budget saver. We intend to replace our doors at some point but jeez they sure are expensive .

    1. Hi Laura – Thanks. Garage doors are crazy expensive, especially when the door is one big massive door like mine, plus the installation. Cha…ching….:-)

  3. The garage door looks amazing!! What a difference it makes ?. I love the inspiration photo of the dark blue/black paint that you showed. Really gorgeous look and I can see that on your house.

    1. Thanks Lynn – After finding the photo of the dark painted house, I am leaning to the dark side. :-) There was a new house built across the lake from mine in the summer. It had all neutral exterior colors. After the owners moved in they painted everything dark. It was fun to see the transformation. The house now looks like it was always there. Fits in the wooded lakeside setting.