How to Paint Aluminum Garage Door

A well-maintained and freshly painted aluminum garage door can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal while also protecting from the elements. Over time, your garage door may become faded, chipped, or weathered, making it less attractive and susceptible to damage. By painting your aluminum garage door, you can not only refresh its appearance but also extend its durability and lifespan.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of how to paint aluminum garage door, from choosing the right paint and primer to preparing the door and applying a professional-looking finish. By following these simple steps, you can transform your garage door and boost the overall appearance of your home.

How to Paint Aluminum Garage Door

Key Takeaways:

  • Use oil-based primer and 100% acrylic latex exterior paint for best results
  • Thorough surface preparation, including cleaning and sanding, is essential
  • Apply paint in multiple thin coats, allowing proper drying time between coats
  • Follow weather guidelines and painting tips for a professional-looking finish

Choosing the Right Paint and Primer

Selecting the appropriate paint and primer for your aluminum garage door is crucial to ensure a long-lasting and visually appealing finish. Here’s what you need to know when selecting the right products for your project:

1. Selecting an Oil-based Primer for Aluminum Doors

An oil-based primer is ideal for aluminum garage doors, as it helps the paint adhere better to the surface and provides a suitable base for the topcoat. Ensure that the primer you choose is specifically designed for use on aluminum surfaces.

Use on Aluminum Surfaces

2. Best Paint Options for Aluminum Garage Doors

There are several high-quality paint options available for aluminum garage doors. Some of the best options include:

  1. USSC Direct to Metal (Satin)
  2. Rust-Oleum 8781502 (for aluminum galvanized metal)
  3. BEHR ULTRA® Exterior Satin Enamel
  4. Montage Signature Paint
  5. Diamond Brite All-Purpose Enamel
  6. POR-15 45401 Rust Preventative Coating
  7. Rust-Oleum 7215502
  8. Zinsser Perma-White RUST-OLEUM 03101

These paints offer excellent coverage, durability, and resistance to various weather conditions, ensuring a long-lasting finish for your garage door.

3. Choosing the Right Paintbrushes for the Job

To achieve a professional-looking finish, it’s essential to use the appropriate paintbrushes for your project. For acrylic paints, use synthetic-bristle paintbrushes, such as a 3-inch flat sash brush for flat surfaces and a 2- or 2.5-inch angled sash brush for cutting in around edges and other detailed areas. These brushes will ensure smooth and even paint application, helping you achieve a flawless finish.

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Use Synthetic-bristle Paintbrushes

5 Simple Steps for How to Paint an Aluminum Garage Door

Here are five simple steps to paint your aluminum garage door:

Step 1: Clean the Garage Door

Before you begin painting, thoroughly clean the garage door to remove dirt, dust, and grease. Use mild soap and water to wash the door and rinse it properly. Allow the door to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Put on protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses. Remove any rust or peeling paint with a wire brush or sandpaper. Sand, the entire surface of the garage door to create a smooth and even surface for the primer and paint to adhere to.

Step 3: Apply Primer

Choose a light, oil-based primer suitable for aluminum surfaces. Apply the primer to the garage door using a brush, roller, or sprayer. You can thin the primer by mixing in some paint solvent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the primer to dry and set for a full 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

Allow the Primer to Dry

Step 4: Paint the Garage Door

Select the best paint for your aluminum garage door based on whether it is latex or oil-based, the color, and the finish. Apply the first coat of paint using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Make sure to paint hard-to-reach recessed portions of the panels with a handheld brush for better coverage. Allow the first coat to dry for at least 12 hours before applying a second coat, which will ensure a solid finish and fix any imperfections from the first coat.

Step 5: Allow the Paint to Dry

Once you’ve applied the second coat of paint, let it dry and set it for at least 24 hours before touching the door or using it. Keep the door closed and keep any vehicles at a safe distance during this time.

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7 Effective Tips and Tricks for How to Paint Aluminum Garage Door

Achieving a professional-looking finish when painting your aluminum garage door can be accomplished by following these helpful tips and tricks:

1. Masking Off Areas Not to Be Painted

Before starting the painting process, use painter’s tape or masking tape to cover any areas that you do not want to be painted, such as windows, trim, or hardware. This will help protect these areas from accidental paint splatters and drips, ensuring a clean and precise finish.

2. Using a Drop Cloth to Protect the Surrounding Area

Lay down a protective drop cloth or plastic tarp on the ground beneath the garage door on both sides. This will help prevent paint stains from dripping or splattering onto your driveway, walkway, or garage floor, making cleanup much easier.

Lay Down a Protective Drop Cloth

3. Cutting in Around Edges With an Angled Sash Brush

When painting the edges of the garage door or any detailed areas, use a 2- or 2.5-inch angled sash brush. This type of brush will allow you to achieve precise lines and minimize paint buildup, resulting in a more professional finish.

4. Painting in the Correct Order

Start painting from the top of the garage door and work your way down. This will help you maintain a wet edge and reduce the chance of visible brush strokes or roller marks. Be sure to paint any recessed or grooved areas first, followed by the flat surfaces.

5. Monitoring Weather Conditions

Avoid painting your garage door in extreme temperatures or high humidity, as this can affect the paint’s drying time and the overall finish. It’s best to paint on a mild, dry day with low humidity to ensure optimal drying conditions and the best results.

6. Thoroughly Stirring the Paint

Before applying the paint, make sure to stir it thoroughly to ensure consistent color and texture. This will help avoid any streaks or inconsistencies in the finish.

7. Allowing Proper Drying Time Between Coats

If you need to apply multiple coats of paint, be sure to allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. This will help prevent the color from becoming too thick or uneven and ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Apply Multiple Coats of Paint

By following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a professional-looking finish on your aluminum garage door that will not only enhance its appearance but also protect it from the elements and extend its lifespan.

You can also check out Paint Garage Door Without Sticking.

FAQs About How to Paint Aluminum Garage Door

What Type of Paint Do You Use on an Aluminum Garage Door?

To paint an aluminum garage door, it is recommended to use 100% acrylic latex exterior house paint. This high-quality paint will provide good coverage, but you may need more than one coat for the best results. Before applying the paint, make sure to clean the door, apply a primer suitable for aluminum, and allow it to set for at least 24 hours.

Can You Paint Over Aluminum Garage Doors?

Yes, you can paint over aluminum garage doors. Most metal garage doors come with a durable factory-produced coating, such as baked enamel or powder coat. If you decide to paint over this coating, it’s essential to clean the door and apply a suitable primer for aluminum. The best paint for aluminum garage doors is one that doubles as a primer, such as HGTV by Sherwin-Williams. It is weather and corrosion-resistant and can be applied over rust. Typically, two coats of paint are needed, with at least 12 hours between coats. After painting, allow the paint to sit for a whole day before touching it.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use to Paint Aluminum?

To paint aluminum, use a self-etching primer followed by spray paint in the color of your choice. You can also apply a clear coat afterward to seal and protect the painted surface. Remember to sand the aluminum surface first and clean it to ensure proper adhesion of the paint.


Painting your aluminum garage door is an effective way to refresh its appearance, increase your home’s curb appeal, and protect it from the elements. You can achieve a professional and long-lasting finish by choosing the right paint and primer, preparing the surface thoroughly, and following the proper painting techniques. Don’t forget to consider the tips and tricks provided in this guide to ensure a smooth and even application, resulting in a beautiful and durable garage door that will stand the test of time. With some patience and attention to detail, you can transform your garage door into a stunning and functional focal point for your home.

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