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What Paint Finish Is Best For Garage Doors

Using either a gloss or semi-gloss paint finish will give you the best results, as they both dry hard, and are somewhat scratch-resistant.

If you’ve been thinking about painting your garage door, but are unsure about what kind of paint to use, or what type of finish will be best, then read on. We’ve done some research and found the most common questions that homeowners ask when it comes to painting or repainting a garage door, and have compiled a list of answers which may help, so you can paint your garage door with confidence and be proud of the results.

What is the best paint finish for a garage door?

Your garage door is probably the most used door in your home. It needs to be able to withstand the elements as well as frequent use. Without a doubt, paint with a gloss finish or a semi-gloss finish is your best choice. Not only do they tolerate humidity, but they are relatively easy to clean.

Do I need to use a primer before I paint the door?

Absolutely, without exception. A good primer will help the paint bond to the surface of the door. It also performs a vital function, making sure the surface is smooth, blotch, and streak-free. BUT make sure you choose the correct type of primer for the door’s material. As an example, wooden doors may need a different primer to an aluminum door.

Does the finish I choose matter?

Choosing the right finish of paint for your garage door may be a bit confusing, but it does matter. Each type of finish has a different quality and will give a different result. One finish may blend better than the next. A particular finish may be better at hiding imperfections in your door than another or withstand bad weather better. Choosing the right finish for your garage door is one decision not to be “glossed” over.

Is it time your garage door got a fresh coat of paint?

Your garage door needs to be painted if:

  1. The existing paint looks shabby because it is flaking, or rusting.
  2. Your house has been painted and the garage door looks out of place.
  3. You decide to have a contrasting shade instead of matching the house.
  4. You want to add a bit more curb appeal without going overboard.

Whatever the reason, you’ll be surprised at the effect giving your garage door a fresh coat of paint has on your property. However, make sure you read the rest of this article for insights into the types of paints, finishes, and procedures before you get the paintbrushes out.

What paint do I choose to repaint a garage door?

The paint you choose will determine whether or not you end up with a good or bad result, depending on the material the door is made of. The majority of garage doors are made from one of the following:

Fiberglass, composite, or vinyl.

Exterior latex paint is best for these types of garage doors. Oil-based exterior paint will not bond to the door and will crack over the coming months.

Metal (aluminum or steel) :

An oil-based exterior paint will give a good finish and protects the material against rust. Latex will cover but will tend to deteriorate over time.


A good latex paint is best for a wooden garage door. Oil-based exterior paint will crack, and peeling will occur. If the door is untreated/unpainted wood, then you should use a stain-blocker primer such as Rust-Oleum 3554 Zinsser High Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer or Kilz All-Purpose Primer, sealer, and Stain blocker.

Should you match the garage door color to the house color?

Your garage has the largest door in your home and should make a statement. Matching the color to the rest of the house is common but if you want to make a statement, then choose a contrast or a similar tone so that it blends in with the overall color scheme and doesn’t stand out.

Color coordinating, as opposed to matching.

Instead of matching the color of your garage door to the rest of the house, consider coordinating the color with a different shade. Many home improvement stores carry a line of color charts where you can view shades of colors that will give the door a classic look and raise the curb appeal. For example, if your house is painted a cream color, then a darker shade on the garage door with the trim painted white would make it stand out without being too bold.

What different kinds of exterior paint finishes are available?

When it comes to painting your garage door, choosing the color is only part of the equation. The finish, or as professionals like to call it—the sheen—is also important if you want the paint to last the test of time and withstand whatever “Mother Nature” throws at it. There are essentially five different kinds of paint finish as described below.

Flat or Matte.

A flat paint finish won’t serve you well on your garage door as it tends to be porous, prone to fading, and is susceptible to mildew issues. It is, however, a good choice if you need to cover up imperfections or small damaged areas in your door.


Eggshell paint, as the name implies, has a sheen like an egg. Not too flat, and not too shiny, and gives you more protection than a flat finish, while being able to be washed regularly, and occasionally pressure-washed without damaging the surface. It is easy to apply by brush, roller, or paint sprayer without leaving any tell-tale marks.


Satin paint is an extremely long-lasting, elastic paint that is resistant to mildew and peeling. It is ideal for a variety of applications including garage doors, as it is not excessively glossy, but just enough to give the impression of a shine. If you live in a sunny, hot, and humid climate, then satin paint will serve you well as it protects against UV rays more than eggshell or flat paint.


The shine on semi-gloss paint is just enough to give it an edge over satin paint. It is perfect for areas that might need cleaning more often, or that are subjected to the elements. It is a tough finish that can withstand severe weather conditions without incurring any surface degradation. It should be noted, however, that a semi-gloss paint is not the best choice if you need to cover chips, cracks, or other blemishes.


If you want to make your garage door stand out in the neighborhood, then a high-gloss finish will do the job. It is the most durable of paint finishes, next to enamel paint, and the shine will add that touch of class to any project. A good high-gloss paint applied correctly will have almost a “mirror-like” finish, but it is the most difficult of the paint finishes to apply. Not only is it difficult to apply successfully, but it will show every imperfection in the garage door due to its high sheen.

NOTE: If you are in any doubt about being able to paint your garage door with high-gloss paint, it is worth bearing in mind that the average cost to hire a professional painter to paint your garage door, depending on your location, can vary between $200.00 and $450.00 for a double garage door. Choosing to paint it yourself will save you the price of the labor which is roughly 80% of the total, but you will have to buy the paint and other materials. A gallon of good quality paint will cost between $35.00 and $50.00, with brushes, rollers, tape, etc., costing around $10.00. Quite a saving.

Overall, what is the best finish for a garage door?

As we stated at the beginning of this article, the best overall finish for a garage door is either a semi-gloss or a high-gloss paint. They both have similar properties since they have a superior sheen, reflect sunlight, and are extremely resistant to moisture. While having reflective qualities is an advantage, there is also a big disadvantage. Every blemish, dent, ding, and scratch will be revealed more with a glossy finish than if you selected a paint with less sheen.

What is the durability of a painted garage door finish?

If you want your garage door to look as good as it does when you finish painting it, then as long as you prepared the surface correctly, chose the correct type of paint, and applied the paint in multiple, thin coats, you should be able to cross repainting the door off your “honey-do” list for at least five to ten years.

Does any paint finish hide blemishes and imperfections?

If your door has dents, dings, other imperfections, then using a glossy paint finish, while it may look good, will highlight every flaw on the surface. A flat or matte paint finish is the best for hiding a multitude of sins but is not the ideal finish for a garage door since it is extremely porous and not ideal for external use. A good quality satin or eggshell paint will cover up those annoying dents and scratches but they are not as easily cleaned as a gloss finish.

Exterior or Interior paint? What’s the difference?

Both exterior and interior paint are made with the same fundamental ingredients—pigments, additives, resins, and solvents—but the main difference between the two is located in the resins and the additives.

The resin in exterior paint is flexible so that it can stay in good condition as the painted surface is subjected to changing weather conditions. Plus, it has additives to combat mildew, fading, and staining. Interior paint isn’t subjected to the same conditions so the resins are more rigid making it easier to keep clean and more resistant to scuffs.

Which paint finish gives the best UV protection?

Since UV rays cause paint to deteriorate and fade, the more UV light is allowed to be absorbed by the paint, the quicker the surface will begin to decline. To combat this, the more light that is reflected off the paint’s surface, the longer it will last, so, a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint finish will perform the best.

Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I pick the best paint for a garage door?

Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t have any problems using quality, exterior, latex paint, as long as you properly prepare the surface of the door before painting. Exterior latex paint will perform well on all garage door types, metal garage doors, however, do tend to last longer if painted with oil-based paint.

What’s the best paint finish for a garage door?

The finish should be able to cope with severe weather, rain, snow, heat, sunlight, and everything else that can damage the paint. High-gloss or semi-gloss paints dry to a hard finish and do not scratch easily, so, in the long run, they are the best finishes for a garage door.

Can I paint my garage door with semi-gloss?

Semi-gloss paint is an ideal choice for a garage door as it reflects sunlight, withstands harsh weather, and is relatively easy to clean, but it will not conceal scratches, dents, or other blemishes.

What is the best paint finish for an external door?

For an external door, a semi-gloss finish is your best choice. It has more wear- and stain-resistance properties than satin or eggshell finishes while being just shiny enough to make cleaning easy. It will also do a slightly better job of masking any flaws in the door’s surface than high-gloss paint.

Is it a good idea to paint a garage door?

Absolutely, especially if it is a wooden garage door. Applying several coats of quality latex paint is the best way to protect it and keep it in good working condition. Painting other types of garage doors also protects them from weather damage.

What’s the best paint for a metal garage door?

If you have a metal (steel) garage door, then you would be better off using oil-based paint which will do a better job of protecting the metal against rust than latex (water-based) paint.

What is the best kind of finish for a wooden garage door?

A wooden garage door should be painted using exterior latex paint with either a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish to give it the ultimate level of protection against water damage.

What is the best kind of finish for an aluminum garage door?

If your aluminum garage door is in perfect condition, then a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish will work. If, on the other hand, the door has some dents, or scratches on it, then a satin finish would be best since it hides blemishes better than a gloss.

Looking to paint or re-paint your garage door? New York Gates operates in the entire tristate area. You can contact us at 1-718-614-0616 or e-mail for more information today. Our trained garage door technicians have the expertise to troubleshoot and service your garage door, and we can identify any potential issues with it before a breakdown occurs.

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