How to Paint a Metal Garage Door and What Paint to Use

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Garage Doors

Featured image of what paint to use and how to paint a metal garage door

If you are learning how to paint a metal garage door, there are several factors you need to consider. To begin, you must know the best paints that work on metal surfaces and when to use a primer. Additionally, you need to follow specific steps for painting and priming. Working with metal garage doors can be challenging, but our Grand Haven garage door experts will guide you through the process in this article.  

Before Painting Begins

To ensure that the paint adheres and provides a smooth finish, take the time to prepare the surface of your garage door. Here are some of the steps you can follow:

  • First, it’s best to operate your garage door manually so you can easily maneuver around it.
  • Don’t forget to wear protective gloves and clothing.
  • Look into your garage door’s condition, fix damaged parts, and fill any holes and cracks. 
  • Clean your garage doors with a pressure washer or hose using diluted detergent to remove dust and dirt. 
  • If you notice any rust, a light sanding may be necessary. 
  • If you have a painted garage door, scrape off all the flaking paint and lightly sand it.
  • Use painter’s tape to seal off any edges, locks, trim, and crevices you don’t want to paint.   


By priming the surface, you can improve the paint’s adhesion to the surface, achieve a smooth finish, and make your topcoat less likely to flake or peel. It’s important to note that regular primers will not adhere to or help protect metal surfaces; rather, you should choose metal primer paint that is both long-lasting and resistant to rust and corrosion.

Infographic image of tips on applying primer

Tips on applying primer: 

  • Oil-based or urethane primers are popular for painters because they give off a smooth finish, are easy to use, and are durable.
  • If your doors have never been primed, apply one coat. However, if it has previously been primed and still covers the entire surface well, you can skip this step and begin painting.
  • If you sanded your doors and exposed some bare metal, use a primer to cover the patches.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the tin can for the best results.
  • Let it dry completely before painting. 


Oil-based exterior paint and premium acrylic latex are the most commonly used paints for metal garage doors. These types are often more expensive, but they can save you a ton of money in the long run because they are durable and long-lasting. 

  • Oil-based paints are water-resistant, preventing rust and corrosion on your doors. Additionally, they are smooth, easy to apply, and don’t fade easily.
  • Premium 100% acrylic latex can withstand weather conditions and prevent cracking or peeling. Plus, latex paint is an “environmentally preferable product.”

When you’re ready to begin painting, here are some good practices to keep in mind:

  • When planning to paint your garage doors, ensure it’s going to be a dry day, or else your work will go to waste. However, you also don’t want direct sunlight while painting as it may affect your paint’s quality.
  • If you require more than one coat, start with a thin one and wait until it is fully dry before adding the next. 
  • Begin by painting the door’s edges, then work your way from top to bottom. 
  • Apply the paint in even, thin coats. 
  • Work in stages until you paint the door completely. 


At this point, you already have a freshly painted metal garage door that’s good to go. However, if you want to add another layer of protection to your door against moisture, air, and water, you can apply a clear sealant. As the Department of Energy (DOE) explained, cold air and moisture affect the durability of any structure in your house. Hence, a sealant can prolong your garage door’s lifespan. 

Make sure the paint finish is dry before applying a clear coat. Then, use it according to the manufacturer’s directions and let it dry completely.  

Not Into DIY

Learning how to paint a metal garage door may appear to be an exciting and simple project, but it is actually risky. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most people do not know how to read chemical hazards or take the necessary safety precautions when painting. In short, it’s best to leave it to our team of specialists from Whitehall and Muskegon to take care of your garage doors. We’ll help you choose high-quality paints and materials so you can avoid hazards and unnecessary risks. Moreover, we can handle your garage door cleaning and maintenance to make them last longer. Contact Shepherd Shoreline at (231) 780-2847 to schedule a consultation. 


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