How To Paint that Garage Door to Look Like Wood

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Estimated Time: 
Approximately 1-2 days (depending on drying time)
Garage Door Gorgeous: Faux Wood Painting to the Rescue!

 garagedoor1garagedoor2

Tired of staring at that massive white on white garage door every time you pull up to the house? So was our featured Jane, Lana, who wanted the rich look and feel of a thick wooden door, but didn't have the spare $10,000-$12,000 it would cost to swap out her standard aluminum wood grain model for the real thing. Faux painting to the rescue! Click here to watch the video.

garagedoor3 DESIGN PHASE

Designer Look Without the Budget

Lana had a garage door that was in great shape although it was a blanket of white. We used photos of her trip to Europe to inspire us to create a new faux wood look on her garage door to warm it up and blend it in to the rest of the house.

garagedoor4PLANNING PHASE

Watch us turn Paint into Wood

The only materials we needed for this project were basic painting tools and supplies and a good dose of patience. Faux painting is a process where you design as you go, meaning you change the look slightly throughout until you're sure that you're at a point you like. Then you're done!

Tools

Tool Name Brand Size Power Cost
Paint brushes Purdy 2" and 3" N/A $12.97 ea.
Paint Rollers Foam Pro 4" Mini Trimmer N/A $3.75 ea.
Paint Tray Linzer 8 Piece Professional Paint Set N/A $10.69
Power washer (rented) 2000 PSI 6.5 HP $50/3 hrs
Roller covers Graco 1/4" low nap N/A $8.96

Materials & Supplies

Material Quantity Size Cost
Deep tint primer 1 Gallon $18.00
Exterior paint (we used a deep chocolate brown to add highlights) Left over from garage door project, about 1 quart Leftover N/A
Glaze Gallon $18.00
Clean rags 1 box N/A $2.19
Disposable painting buckets 3 5 Gallon $8.55
A dropcloth or tarp 2 9' x 12' $2.97 ea.
Painter's Tape 1 roll 1" $5.37
Masking paper 1 roll 72" x 90" pre-folded $10.98
Disposable protective gloves 1 pair/person small $6.99
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) 1 box $2.99

Step 1

Prep

garagedoor51. Preparation Makes Perfect
We started by cleaning the existing door with a power washer, but you could just as easily use a soft scrubbing sponge and a cleaning mixture made from Tri-Sodium Phosphate (or TSP) and water. Rinse the door thoroughly and make sure it's dry.

gd62. Remove decorative items
Remove any window inserts, hardware, or decorative elements that might get painted by a careless brush or roller.

gd7 3. Mask off the perimeter
Then mask off any adjacent walls as well as handles, trim, locks or flooring that you want to protect using blue painter's tape and masking paper. Be sure to spread an ample sized drop cloth on the driveway to protect your workspace and tape down the edges to secure it.

Step 2

Prime Time

gd8Depending on the type of door you have, you may need to sand the surface first to give the paint the best chance of adhering to the surface. Lana's pre-painted aluminum door was fairly new and therefore didn't need much sanding or scuffing. Like any painting project, preparation is essential to a long-lasting, good-looking job. In particular, if your door is wood, take care to remove any loose or flaking paint, fill in minor dings or holes, give it a thorough sanding, and wipe down with a damp rag to remove any dust.

For our aluminum door project, our next step was to apply a deep tint primer in light brown. "Deep tint" primer is simply a standard white primer that has color added to it. Have the folks at the home improvement store do this for you when you are buying your paint. Tinting the primer helps to minimize the number of coats necessary to complete the job. Our final color was a deep brown, so our primer came out just a bit lighter, and gave us a better foundation to start with for the new paint.

Step 3

A base to build on

gd9We applied a base coat in a medium brown using both rollers and brushes because Lana's door has plenty of nooks and crannies. In particular, we used a sponge roller which manages to get into those grooves without spraying paint everywhere like long-nap "furry" rollers often do.

Aim to make the coat even, with no buildups or drips. If your door has stiles or other decorative elements, paint from the inside and work your way outward. Let the base coat dry fully before moving on to the next step.

Step 4

Glad to Glaze

gd10Because we're going to be applying the paint by hand with a set of rags, we needed to make sure to dilute it with glaze. Glaze is a milky substance that helps thin the paint and make it easier to work with. We also add a time extender because we don't want the glaze drying too rapidly.

Aim to make the coat even, with no buildups or drips. If your door has stiles or other decorative elements, paint from the inside and work your way outward. Let the base coat dry fully before moving on to the next step.

If you haven't already, put on some disposable gloves. If you're allergic to latex, try the blue nitrile gloves that we used in the video. They're latex-free and quite durable. You'll find them at most home improvement stores. We mixed our glaze and paint together in a new bucket, following a traditional mixture of 4 parts glaze to 1 part paint. Now onto the fun stuff!

Step 5

The Ultimate Faux

gd11Have a bucket of clean water and a big bunch of clean rags handy. Don't use paper towels for this process as they'll break up in the paint and ruin your finish.

Dip two rags in the bucket and wring them out well; you want them damp, not dripping. Next, dip one rag in the paint/glaze mixture and begin wiping color onto the door, working a small area (no more than 3 feet across) at a time. Rub the paint into whatever grain or crevices you find; be careful to avoid any drips or streaks.

Step 6

Wipe on, Wipe off

gd12Now, immediately take the other clean, wet rag and begin gently wiping off the paint you just wiped on. The trick is to remove most of the paint/glaze layer, but leave a thin patina of color—just enough to permeate the cracks, crevices, and grain. You want a "wax on, wax off" motion (with apologies to the Karate Kid).

Step back and have a look; keep experimenting until you find a combination that works. You'll quickly appreciate the value of the glaze—it gives you more time to work the mixture until you get just the right look. Move on to the next 3X3-foot section; changing rags often. The secret to solid faux work is to work subtly and you can't be subtle with rags that are completely saturated. Again, be especially vigilant and immediately deal with drips or streaks the moment they occur.

Step 7

Admire; Repeat as Necessary

gd13After you've covered the whole door, let it dry. Step back, admire, and reconsider. Does it need another coat? Some accents? Faux painting is a pretty subjective process; let your artist's eye make the final call. We found that Lana's door needed some selected accents to bring out the stiles and corners of her door. We used a 3-inch brush and dappled on the paint full strength to bring out the details.

All told, it took us less than a day. We'd transformed a bleak white aluminum eyesore into a luxurious "wooden" door that had the neighbors wondering how we did it. The fact is that it's easier than it looks. So, feel like giving it a try? You can do it!

Related articles:
Install an Inviting Front Gate
Build a Pathway Arbor
Build a Beautiful Fence Hotw to Paint Wood Grain

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48 comments

11
Aug

What are the paint colors used in this project? (From the garage door project)
24
May

Glad you liked this project! it was pretty easy and turned out great, even better than the pictures show (a lot more detail and variance in color). It really did look like wood! With 3 of us if took an afternoon. We used Behr paints from Home Depot. The names of the paint color I don't remember (trying to see if we can find out for you), however for the base color we chose a medium chocolate brown in "satin" finish - which is slightly glossier than eggshell, but less glossy than semi-gloss. The medium-chocoloate brown wasn't too red in tone, it was a relatively flat brown. You could go a bit more reddish brown though if you wanted more of a mahogany look. For the top coat, we washed over it using rags dipped in part black-ish brown paint in satin -- think very dark right chocolate, nearly black - and part glaze (and it's going to look *very* dark in the can but don't worry, it will blend well with the lighter coat). Even though the glaze is translucent white when you pour it out, sort of like glue, it just extends the drying time and doesn't actually lighten the darker paint. Another idea: we didn't have time on this project, but another great way to add to the wood look of the newly painted garage door is to add black metal brackets and detailing to the sides of it like you see on expensive wood doors.... Have fun!
2
Oct

We are having a home built with a Tuscan theme inside/out. The only problem is is that we have a bright white garage door, a white framed window in front, as well as a white vent which we'll be painting the same color as the stucco. My question is did the lady you did this faux painting for have dark framed windows and if so, would you still recommend painting the garage door dark to match our trim color even though we have a white framed window OR do you have another recommendation for us so the garage door doesn't stand out so much?

Thanks!

Camille

13
Apr

Lighting transforms the look of anything, and this is a great guide for beginning DIY'ers. There are two main components of this project. One is the selection of the lights. As mentioned above, it is important that they look good during the day and at night. The second is the installation. Sometimes, electrical work can seem daunting. If you are worried about doing this part correctly and safely, you can consult an electrician. Angie's List can provide you with options for electricians. I hope you find this project easy and beneficial to the look of your home! Good luck! BH0-006//MB2-866//MB2-868//000-115//642-165//650-251//
29
Dec

what were the paint colors used? specifically what color was added to the primer and to the glaze?
23
May

great tips! thanks.
23
May

What a good idea! I love it!
23
May

I foresee many faux-wood garage-door painting parties taking place all across the country
23
May

I have a Spanish-style home built in 1926. My garage door is white aluminum, so this is perfect for making my garage look more style-consistent!
25
May

decormarsha looks fabulous! I'm surprised. good directions, too
1
Jun

Finally - some help with great, big, ugly garage doors.
22
Feb

Is it necessary to use an exterior specific glaze? Paint stores I've talked to say definitly yes. Ally
13
Jan

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23
Mar

i need help with glaze told an extor glaze is needed what kind of glaze did you use? help please
12
Jan

FANTASTIC job on your Garage Doors ! It looks amazing...so much better! I would have never thought of painting our garage door!
27
Jan

Whoa! I'm amazed! The door looks amazing. Thanks for the tips. I would really like to apply this on our house. I really like my garage to look pretty when my husband come home this weekend.
13
Jan

14
Sep

It's really great to read about your DIY project. Your post will surely inspire as well as help people who want to do such remodeling job by themselves but do not know how to start. Last year, I renovated my house. I did most of the work by myself. I piled up all the trashes at my backyard. But after completing the whole process, I found that it was impossible for me to remove all those junks by myself. So I called Debris Removal San Diego and they efficiently solved my problem.
16
Sep

The transformed garage door looks magnificent. It looks like as if it is made out of real expensive wood. The outcome of the effort is brilliant. You people should congratulate yourselves for having done such a great job. Homes look beautiful when they are beautifully painted. Even for those who prefer Mobile Homes could color their homes the way they like.
13
Jan

7
Oct

It goes much without saying that renovating or remodeling is a tough job. But I think the most difficult part is to maintain things after remodeling. You need to check your interiors as well as exterior to detect whether it needs a repair or not. You should call pest control services periodically to make your home insect free.
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Dec

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Jan

Wie der Tagesgeld Vergleich online geht.
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Jan

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22
Feb

Using exterior paint is the most recommended way of going about refreshing the garage door so that it can stand the test of time and weather Kitchen Renovation Ideas | Bathroom Renovation Ideas
24
Feb

I was just wondering about the facts are using for color the garage door to make it look like wood door these are really very impressive. imgarde
29
Feb

You have done great job on painting the door. You want to get all the dust off the entrance before you sand or clean it because it can harm your entrance. Austin Custom Home Builder  
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Mar

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Mar

In addition to painting a garage door to look like wood there are also other great options. You could have an aged copper or bronze metallic look or one of an aged patined copper.Garage Door Repair Bellevue

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