New Year, New Look

New garage door not in the budget? Why not paint? Follow the painting instructions below for an affordable way to update the look of your home.. (If you haven’t already cleaned the door, it is best to do so before painting.)

Best practices for repainting steel garage doors

1. Review your garage door warranty and manufacturer guidelines regarding painting your door. High quality 100% acrylic latex exterior grade paint should be appropriate for most doors. Please note insulated doors may have specific paint color requirements in terms of the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of the paint color. Again, check with the door manufacturer for specific requirements and to avoid any warranty issues.

Climate can affect your results, so best to paint your door on a mild, clear day.

2. Prepare the surface

Any steel door surface to be repainted must be properly prepared to assure the continued performance of the coating system. The following four problem areas must be addressed before repainting can begin.

  • Dirt and mildew: To prepare your door for repainting, it must first be properly cleaned. If dirt remains after following the cleaning practices above, it may be necessary to wash the door with a diluted solution of Spic and Span (1 cup into 5 gallons of warm water). Always rinse the surface thoroughly to remove any of the agents used in the cleaning procedure. Residual cleaners left on the surface will damage the adhesion of new paint.

  • Surface imperfections: Minor scratches can be lightly sanded or buffed to create a smoother surface. However, do not expose the metal beneath the painted surface. Once this exposed condition exists, the likelihood for rusting is greatly increased. If the metal substrate is exposed, see the following paragraph.

  • Exposed metal and rust: If you have exposed metal, do not destroy the galvanized surface. Use a dull putty knife to remove all loose residue and rust. Then use a primer specifically designed to protect exposed galvanized steel from further corrosion. Allow sufficient time for the primer to dry before applying the topcoat. See instructions below re masking off items not to be painted and wiping off primer that gets between sections and on trim before it dries. It may be best to apply primer one day, starting in the morning, then paint your door the next day to allow for sufficient drying time.

3. Painting

  • Use painter's tape to mask any exposed locks, handles, decorative hardware and windows. Also tape off the trim if you don't intend to paint it.

  • Paint your door early in the morning so it has time to dry before you need to secure your door at night.

  • Paint your garage door while it is closed, then immediately open it to the point where the inside joints are exposed (usually about ¾ of the way up). If any paint leaked into joints, wipe it out thoroughly. This is to prevent the sections from sticking together when paint is wet and during hot weather when the paint can get sticky.

  • Wipe away any paint that got on the inside of the PVC trim around the perimeter of the door. You can do this when the door is open. Also check that paint has not collected along the edge of the PVC. This is to prevent the trim from sticking to the door when it’s wet and during hot weather when the paint can get sticky.

  • Make sure your garage door and PVC trim are completely dry before closing the garage door.

  • Damage to your door due to improper painting will not be covered by your warranty.

For owner's manuals for Clopay brand garage doors that include detailed painting requirements for Clopay brand garage doors, visit:


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