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Newbie help on painting an old garage door.

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  • May 11th, 2008 9:03 pm
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Jul 7, 2006
392 posts
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Newbie help on painting an old garage door.

I would like to paint my garage door. It's got peeled paint and some of the wood has chipped. Here's a picture (at bottom).

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What's the best approach and steps required to prep it for paint? And how many coats of paint should I usej? should i use some kind of wood filler to patch up the areas where the wood has chiipped? I already bought the external primer and paint.

thanks a lot fo any advice

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14 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Nov 19, 2004
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Cambridge, ON
Scrape off the loose paint first and then sand the door. You don't need to sand the paint off down to the wood, just give it a decent sanding to remove any loose paint and ensure the surface is clean. Get a handheld electric sander for best results. Preparing the surface properly will ensure your new paint just doesn't peel off in a year.

Prime the areas where wood is showing and then apply the paint. I would probably aim at doing two coats of paint so your first coat doesn't have to be perfect.

The main problem you ill have is that the garage door will stick afterwards since you have no trim to remove. If you had a trim liner around the door you would leave it off for a good month to avoid it sticking. Since it is wood you can either avoid painting the very edge or you will just have to endure the time it take before the paint stops sticking (unless someone else has an idea that works).
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Aug 22, 2003
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Niagara Falls
Sorry Don, but I'm going to disagree with you. When we bought this house 6 years ago I did as you suggested with our wood garage door. Just scraped and sanded down the deepest chips, etc. Within a year the paint was cracking and chipping again, even though it was primed and 2 coats of a good paint. Last year I bit the bullet and scraped and sanded it down to bare wood. Not an easy or quick job, it took me about 3 weeks of working on it for a couple of hrs a day. We caulked along every inset panel and then 3 coats of the new Behr primer and paint in one. The paint still looks like it was just done, not a crack or chip any wear.

Now I'll say that if the OP has a garage door opener it will probably be a loosing battle with a wooden door. Every single house in our neighborhood that uses one can't seem to keep paint on the garage door. We've put it down to the jerking motion. We don't use our garage to park in so we disconnected our opener.
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2006
1007 posts
Well OP, it sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Just as well because it's too early to do any exterior painting for a while, the temps are going to drop next week and you need the temps to stay above 10 degrees consistantly for best results.
If you intend on keeping your door why not consider staining the wood? It would look better and probably be less maintainance.
Going slightly off topic but does anyone know how are metal doors are in regard to painting and peeling?
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
24597 posts
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Ottawa
As the pros say, preparation is everything.
I spent a week prepping my previous door and then primed and painted but I used a marine grade paint and it lasted a good 3 years. I Marne paint is oil based and seems to stay flexible enough to take the abuse of a garage door. I re-painted it once after that.
When the door finally needed replacement, I got a metal door with a baked on finish. Love it!!
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Aug 22, 2003
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I thought about staining ours yellowdog but it was 2 diffeent kinds of wood. The panels are only luan mahogany and the stiles and rails are what looked like pine or spruce. Definitely not stain worthy IMHO...
Deal Guru
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Nov 19, 2002
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CSK'sMom wrote:
Apr 26th, 2008 3:47 pm
Now I'll say that if the OP has a garage door opener it will probably be a loosing battle with a wooden door. Every single house in our neighborhood that uses one can't seem to keep paint on the garage door. We've put it down to the jerking motion. We don't use our garage to park in so we disconnected our opener.
I've been sitting here for 5 minutes scratching my head at that one. It makes zero sense to me at all from a materials standpoint, a physics standpoint, any standpoint. It's not like the garage door can accelerate so quickly it's leaving the paint behind.

With wood in general, and exterior wood in particular, prep is key. Get those flakes off, sand down as far as you need to go and make sure you're not leaving any giant cracks for water to infiltrate. Prime and paint with good quality materials.
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Aug 22, 2003
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Niagara Falls
deep, really watch when a garage door opener open a door. There always seems to be a jerky motion at the beginning as the door starts to open. It seems to put a lot of force on the door as the gears kicks in to lift it. With a wood door it causes everything to twist and the panels (which are freefloating in our case) to move. As I said, we disconnected ours while we have a wood door. We can drive through our neighborhood and tell who has openers just by the state of their garage doors.
Deal Guru
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Nov 19, 2002
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Well, I still don't buy it. My garage door opener pulls my door up two very parallel tracks, and there is no twisting or buckling as you describe. If your opener twists your door, it's a function of the rails, and not the pulling motion, and surely putting it up and down by hand does the same thing. Or maybe your opener is attached part way down the door and off-centre? ;)
Deal Fanatic
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Nov 19, 2004
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Cambridge, ON
CSK'sMom wrote:
Apr 26th, 2008 3:47 pm
Sorry Don, but I'm going to disagree with you. When we bought this house 6 years ago I did as you suggested with our wood garage door. Just scraped and sanded down the deepest chips, etc. Within a year the paint was cracking and chipping again, even though it was primed and 2 coats of a good paint. Last year I bit the bullet and scraped and sanded it down to bare wood. Not an easy or quick job, it took me about 3 weeks of working on it for a couple of hrs a day. We caulked along every inset panel and then 3 coats of the new Behr primer and paint in one. The paint still looks like it was just done, not a crack or chip any wear.
Sanding it down to the wood would be best of course, but as you said it is a lot of work. I used to have a wood garage door and we just took off the loose paint and sanded the whole thing to take off any sheen as I mentioned and painted the door. Lasted a good 4 years before we moved without having to paint it again and it still looked fine when we left.

Also depends on the type of paint already on the door. If it is oil based, then the latex will probably peel right off within a year so you would need to use an oil based paint again to repaint.
Jr. Member
Aug 8, 2007
196 posts
1 upvote
Oshawa
Here's what you do.

Scrape and sand down the door to the wood. Let it sit a couple days for the wood to dry out.(important)

The day you are going to paint it sand it again with a 120 -160 grit paper. This ensures a slight rough surface for the primer to stick on.

Wipe and vacuum the door down.

Apply high quality(not cheap $20) oil based primer for wood. Sico and Benjamn Moore make this specific primer. 1 coat of primer is more than enough.

Let dry 12hours(overnight) unless otherwise specified on the label. Important to let the primer dry fully before applyin paint.

Apply high quality exterior 100% ACRYLIC paint. The lighter the color the better. When you add tint to paint it takes longer to dry and is not as durable as white...in most cases.

Wait 6-12 hours the longer the better and then apply 2nd coat.

Your done.


little bit of explanations here:

the oil based primer will help fill in the sanding grooves left by the rougher sandpaper. it will also help to keep moisture from entering in from the back side of the soor inbetween the paint.

100%acrylic paint is used because of it's superior adhesion and flexibility. oil paint doesn't flex(this is why it cracks like spider webs)(don't confuse this with the oil based primer), acrylic paints are normally made with some kind of vinyl which allows them to expand and contract with the temperature.

the longer you wait in between coats the better. why? if the coat of paint you are painting on is not fully dry the coat you are applying will reintroduce moisture in the previous coat. Now the first coat has to try and dry under the fresh coat you put on. Not good. Won't happen. LET EACH COAT YOU PAINT DRY TO THE MANUFACTURERS RECOMMENDED TIME and you won't have any problems. You will also get better coverage and hiding this way.

Paint on the opposite side of the sun.

Like has already been said. Preperation is the key to success: before painting and during

good luck

Mike
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
12754 posts
3649 upvotes
The one comments I haven't seen posted, but is very important, is to make sure to properly protect the surrounding areas/floor from getting paint dripped/splashed onto them.

The owner before me painted the garage door and now I have paint stains on my brick and cement. Take the extra 30 minutes and tape things off and at least put some newspaper down to prevent any stains.
[OP]
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Jul 7, 2006
392 posts
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everyone thanks for your advice...I've read everybodies sugestions.

i'm going to be following kingpin111's advice.

I just started the project and have stumbeld upon a roadblack....it's taking me an awfully long time to strip the paint, even with the chemical stripper. one reason has to do with the design of the door...if it was a perfecvtly flatt surfece it wuld have been quicker.

It seems the paint is justreally hard to kome of. should I apply 2-3 coats of the chemical before I try to scrape it off?

also, wil it make the job easier if instead of the scraper, i used a wire brush attached to an electric drill?

when it comes time to pinting the actual door, i've decided to use a regular brush to use a regular brush to paint the hard to reach areas and a sponge roller to paint the large areas to avoid strokes and lines that would be caused by a regular roller/brush.
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Jr. Member
Aug 8, 2007
196 posts
1 upvote
Oshawa
Depending on what chemical stripper you are using depends on how much time you should wait after applying. I usually advise doing it in small sections of 2x2' and waiting until about 1 minute after the stripper starts to bubble to start scraping.
Sometimes you just have to do multiple coats and lots of sanding. It seems to be the only way sometimes.
Make sure after your finished stripping the door you wipe it down with mineral spirits or varsol to remove any stripper that still may be present.
Wire brush, scraper, chisels, anything you can use to remove the paint without harming the wood to much you can use. I found the plastic stripping wheels work real well.
If you are using oil based primer like i said you should use a natural bristle brush. When you are using the acrylic paint you should be using a synthetic brush. Get yourself a 2 1/2" angle brush for cutting in grooves and such and a 3" straight brush for the rest. Forget about the foam roller(i think they are useless and make more work and mess) and get a roller with a 13-19mm nap depending on how rough the surface of the door is.
Don't buy the cheap $3 brushes either. Maybe for the oil paint as its best to just throw out the rollers and brushes, but for the acrylic paint get yourself a decent $12-20 brush, it will make the world of diference.


Mike
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