How to Paint Garage Door Frames

4 Simple steps to paint garage door framesPaint exterior door frames

When we bought this house 6 years ago, it was clear the previous owners had a car that was just a bit too wide to comfortably fit through the garage door, and the paint had been scraped off the door frame at the height of a car bumper. After we lived in the house a few months, I checked my own bumper for signs of grey paint to determine if I was contributing to the problem, and fortunately there were no incriminating marks on my bumper!Paint exterior door frame

Now flash forward 6 years to today, and it was not just the bumper marks that were a problem. Although the paint on the garage doors was still in good shape, the paint was peeling off in multiple places on the frames.

Paint exterior door frame

Here is what I did:

1. Select the paint for the garage door frames

I found leftover paint in the garage labeled ‘exterior trim’. Yay! It was more than half full and was still smooth without that coating that can sometimes appear on paint that has been exposed to the elements. Yay, again! I liked the existing color and was happy to keep it the same. There was no other visible trim paint on the wall with the garage doors, so I was not worried about trying to exactly match existing trim, and skipped testing the paint on a not-so-visible area.

2. Sand garage door frame

I used medium grit sandpaper to sand every surface of the door frame, giving a bit of extra attention where the paint was peeling to ensure I removed any loose paint. I was no trying to remove all of the paint, only paint that would result in an uneven surface, or prevent the new paint from adhering to the underlying wood.

Before sanding with chipped and peeling paint:

Paint exterior door frame

After sanding with loose paint removed, but not fully stripped:

Paint exterior door frame

3. Prepare the work area

I wiped all surfaces with a dry cloth. I am usually a huge fan of using painter tape to protect surfaces that don’t need paint, but tape does not adhere well to most outdoor surfaces. The only thing I could do was to lay out drop cloths to protect the surface of the garage and the driveway.

4. Paint garage door frames

I generally start with the assumption a 2″ brush is the right tool, then I consider whether there is a reason to use something else. In this case I couldn’t think of a reason not to use the 2″ brush, but I did add a second paintbrush from my daughter’s craft kit for painting close to the brick since using tape to mask the brick was not on option. I kept a damp cloth handy as I painted, to quickly wipe away any paint that got onto the brick.

With those decisions made I started working from the top left corner downward, then I painted across the top, and down the right hand side. I am left handed, so you might want to switch it around. This way any drips from the working higher will be addressed as I moved down the side. It did mean working quickly to avoid the risk of disturbing partially dry paint when I returned to the paint the top of the door frame. I considered applying two coats, but one coat provided good coverage and no bare wood was visible.

Paint exterior door frame

I decided against trying to repair or fill the dents left by a too large vehicle passing through the doorway, and to see how it would look with just paint. In the end, I am satisfied with the result.

Paint garage door frame

It took less than a day to sand, prep and paint. The paint was free, so the only cost was the 2 paintbrushes.  Painting the frames was part of several projects to improve the drive-up appearance of the house, along with replacing the composite siding with brick, and taking down the lights for cleaning and painting.

You might also be interested in simple painting tips for window frames and trim, or touching up paint on composite  siding.Paint exterior door frames

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