Should You Paint A New Garage Door?

Painting exterior surfaces is a well-established technique for improving durability and matching look. And your garage door is a large and central eye-catching surface on the outside of your home. So you are wondering, should you paint your new garage door? In this post, we have collected research in order to provide a full understanding of the pros and cons of garage door painting.

Whether you paint your new garage door or not depends on the garage door material and your desired finished garage door color. New metal doors usually come pre-painted and usually should not be painted. Wood doors come sometimes finished and sometimes unfinished but do eventually require either paint or stain. For vinyl, you can choose whether to paint your new garage door or not.

In the rest of this post, we will cover each garage door type question in depth. Once you have read this post, you should know everything you need to make your garage door painting decision easy. In addition, we will include the answers to a few related questions and some garage door painting tips.

Two car wooden garage in a brick house with clay roofing. Should You Paint A New Garage Door

Garage door material 

The material of your garage door makes a big difference when deciding whether to paint or not. Doors come in three primary categories, metal, wood, and vinyl. Each garage door type requires different paints, primers, and painting.  The variability in the difficulty of painting each of these surfaces and the future maintenance requirements change for each door material.

Metal Garage Doors

Metal garage doors come with a factory-applied finish known as baked enamel or powder coat. These highly durable coatings are applied with state-of-the-art techniques, making them hard to mimic at home. While it is possible to paint over the factory finish, it is not recommended, especially for new doors.

Open garage door in suburban family home .Should You Paint A New Garage Door

The factory finish often lasts many decades, even in inclement weather and/or the baking sun. A fresh coat of paint does not enjoy the same longevity. This decreased longevity means that if you do decide to paint your new metal garage door, expect the need for regular maintenance. 

Chipped metal door, detail of wall damaged by time and erosion

Even a professional painter who follows all the proper priming techniques and uses the best paint will not be able to match the factory finish durability. The new paint will inevitably start to peel and flake. Fixing this requires regular touch-ups and full repaintings every five to ten years (versus many decades). In short, only paint your new metal garage door if you really do not like the original color or if it comes unfinished, which is rare.

Wood Garage Doors

Wood garage doors sometimes come pre-finished or are delivered raw. Either way, you will want to make sure your garage door is finished in some way. An unfinished garage door will weather much faster and therefore fail sooner.

Two car wooden garage

How you make sure the door is finished is up to you. Sometimes, factory doors will come prepainted. If you like the paint color, then there is no urgent need to repaint (but you can if you want). Other times, the doors are only primed or perhaps unpainted. For primed doors, you should paint to match the color scheme of the exterior of your home. For unprimed and unpainted doors, you have a choice to make.

These raw doors can either be painted or stained. Both of these options produce lasting finishes that can really look great. Paint provides a bold color that is easy to match with other places on the home, while stain provides a rustic/timeless natural look.

No matter the finish type for your wood garage door, you will need to repaint or restain every five to ten years. Generally speaking, just refinish your garage door at the same time that you are refinishing the rest of your home.

Vinyl Garage Door

Vinyl garage doors always come with a color, the original color of the vinyl. Usually, these doors are purchased to match the color scheme of the rest of the house. Since vinyl is highly durable, it does not require any paint like metal or wood.

New Paint Job on Garage Door Frame

You can choose to paint your vinyl garage door if you would prefer a different color from the original. However, if you do decide to paint your vinyl door, this does come with that same maintenance schedule. No paint lasts forever, so expect to repaint your vinyl door in about five to ten years.

What is the best paint for a garage door?

The best paint for your garage door depends on the door material and your local weather. Different paints react differently on wood, metal, and vinyl and in different climate conditions. Understanding the best paint for you requires a trip to your local paint store or perhaps a consultation with a painting professional. These pros will most certainly recommend a high-grade exterior paint.

Do you need to prime the garage door before painting?

If you are painting a raw metal or wood door, you should prime before painting. Primer greatly improves the bond between the surface and the paint. This leads to less frequent repainting and a better-finished look. For vinyl, primer is unnecessary but do make sure you get the proper paint for the job.

Is it better to paint or stain wood?

This is a question for the ages. Whether paint or stain is better for wood mostly falls to the eye of the beholder. Both paint and stain provide a solid durable finish. One general rule of thumb involves matching your garage door to the rest of your house. That is to say, if most of your home is painted, paint your garage door and if most of your home is stained, then stain it.

Traditional American Garage With Dark Wooden Door

There is one strong argument for stain that falls outside of aesthetics to ease of refinishing. Since paint flakes, you need to scrape, sand, and even re-prime before painting again. Stain, on the other hand, just slowly fades. This means that adding another coat is all it takes to refinish.

How to choose the right garage door color?

Choosing the right garage door color is no easy task. Garage doors are truly huge and it is difficult to understate the impact they make on home curb appeal and appearance. Painting your door to match trim or painting to match siding are both legitimate design choices.

A great place to start is home design and painting professionals. These individuals usually have very informed opinions about the best garage door color. Another tip is to peruse what other people have done. Since garages usually face the street, all you have to do is drive around to view a wide selection of garage door painting choices.

Read these articles for some help on choosing garage door paint color "What Color Garage Door Goes With A Gray House?" and "Should The Garage Door Be The Same Color As The House?".

In Closing

This post has provided a thorough answer on whether you should paint your new garage door or not, depending on color preference and door material. Remember, repainting an old door requires a different decision matrix. No matter your door type, be sure to consult a professional painter for the longest lasting and best look. Good luck!

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