Painting a Peeling Garage Door
June 23, 2014 12:17 PM   Subscribe

The paint on our wooden garage door is seriously peeling, and I want to re-paint it. How should I go about this? What tools do I need? What kind of paint should I use? Brand recommendations welcome.

It's a one-car garage, so we're talking about a small door. I wish I had a picture for you; the peeling is mainly on the bottom half of the door. In some places it's so severe it goes all the way down to the wood.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Test it for lead first. If it tests positive, have a professional with their Lead Abatement Certification deal with it.
posted by fancyoats at 12:20 PM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

You do want to confirm that none of the peeling paint is lead based. They have kits at Home Depot for that.

You want to get rid of all the peeling paint, so strip that stuff off. Then power wash it (I got that AS SEEN ON TV Turbo Jet Power Washer.

It sounds like work, but it's really easy. I did our back deck in an afternoon, most of that was waiting for things to dry, not actual work. Then, let it dry, sand, and you're ready to repaint.

After that, talk to the paint people at Home Depot. They'll know exactly what you should use for your area to paint the door. They'll recommend the best tools and paints for the job.

You may end up with really pretty wood under that yukky paint, or you may want to paint it white. Your choice.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

How old is the garage door? If it was built after 1978 it shouldn't have lead paint.
posted by mareli at 12:26 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Usually you need to scrape off any old, peeling paint, apply primer to any exposed wood, and then paint with your top coat. Sand if you want. This will leave you with a bit of an uneven surface. If you want the result to look smooth, then you need to strip off all the old paint. There are a variety of ways to do this, none of them very fun.

Scrapers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may need shaped blades if you are working around molding. A stiff putty knife is also a good tool to use for this.

Your hardware/home improvement store can help you select the correct paint. You'd also need a brush, roller, roller covers, a pan, a tarp, a paint can opener, a stir stick, paint thinner, rags, and a container to hold your old paint thinner.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:29 PM on June 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

I presume you own and intend on living in your house for the next 3-5 years.

Nthing testing for lead first. Note that dealing with lead can get expensive VERY quickly.

You can follow rb's advice, but if you don't have a power washer (or a sander), and are just looking for a relatively quick job that will last 6 months to 3 years and don't care a lot about aesthetics, just buy a scraper (or 2 or 3) (no more than $10 each) and simply scrap it off. sweep paint chips into the garbage bag (may not be legal in your town, see enviro disposal laws). If you haven't scraped before, just know that you won't be able to get everything off: that is not your goal. Just get the peeling parts off and anything else that is sort of bubbled up from the surface where a peel is about to occur). If you want to guess where it'll peel next, press your thumb against the paint, if it cracks, there you go, if it doesn't crack, you're fine.

After scraping, you can simply paint over it with a nice oil-based paint (haven't did as much DIY in past 2 years, so don't remember any good brands) that is advertised to be for the outdoors.

From 15-20 feet away, you probably won't be able to tell that you didn't sand it after you painted it. If the fact that someone would be able to tell from 5-10 feet away bothers you, then go with the sanding and power washing advice above.

(the variance in how long the paint will last depends on how much exposure to the elements (wind, rain, mud, snow, etc) the garage gets and what condition the wood is already in, quality of paint, etc).
posted by fizzix at 12:34 PM on June 23, 2014

Response by poster: I presume you own

Nope, renting. I just can't deal with seeing that mess of a door staring at me every time I come home.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:35 PM on June 23, 2014

Generally speaking, I would assume that it is lead-based paint. Technically, you should get a professional to come out for lead abatement. That said, the vast majority of us old home owners will prime and paint over the lead and consider it sufficient.

The main thing you want to avoid doing is excessive sanding or scraping of the lead coat. So, scrape down the flaking bits onto a piece of disposable plastic sheeting. Then get an exterior primer (I like oil-based primer). Then get an exterior paint, get recommendations from your hardware store/paint store.

I really like the Benjamin Moore Aura line, it's the most expensive tier of Ben Moor paint, but it goes on so well that the coverage you gain actually saves you money in the end.
posted by Think_Long at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2014

To be more specific, you use a garden sprayer to spray a chemical paint stripper on the door. Let it sink in, spray some more, then hit it with the Turbo Jet ($19.99) That'll get rid of about 90% of it.

Lightly sand anything just to get an even surface.

I wouldn't mess with oil based paint, there are tons of easy to use/clean latex outdoor paints out there. I'd use one of them!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2014

I would not use a power washer on older wood myself - that type of pressure could be quite damaging, especially if there's any dry rot or splitting already happening.
posted by Think_Long at 12:43 PM on June 23, 2014

Here is how I'd handle it:

1. Clean the whole door with a broom and then soap and water

2. Use a hand scraper to scrape all the loose paint off.

3. Use 100 or 120 grit sandpaper to feather out the edges of the areas where the paint came off so that there's not a sharp "cliff". Wear a paper mask while you're sanding.

4. Use a primer like Zinnser 123 to prime the bare wood sections. This will dry within an hour or so. Use a throw-away brush for the primer as it really glues up your brush.

5. Once it's dry use a 150 grit sandpaper to sand down any grain raised by the primer and also lightly sand the old paint to make a good surface for the top coat.

6. Put two coats of a good quality latex exterior house paint on. Use a decent quality brush and roller. Don't mess with oil paint, modern latex is a far better product.
posted by octothorpe at 12:48 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Old picture of the door has been found! Bad Street View photo but I think you get the idea. The sad bottom right corner has been painted since this pic (with a cream colored paint that doesn't match the rest of the door, of course).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2014

They actually make a product called PEEL STOP and it works! Obviously, you're gonna want to scrape off all of the really flaky stuff (or maybe hit it with a power washer) but then you can put the peel stop on. I've used it before with a pretty good success rate.
posted by Ostara at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2014

I once re-painted my entire, peeling, old detached garage - - without ever once thinking about lead paint! oops.

Anyway, I'd avoid power washing and chemical paint removers. Octothorpe's steps (above) sound about right to me., though I'd simplify it in the following ways:

Move step #1 to be in between steps 3 and 4, because once you've sanded, you'll want to wash away all the dust and get the surface clean and ready for the primer.

In Step #3, just sand everything that you are going to paint with a medium sandpaper - existing paint and bare wood. Being a garage, it only needs to be "good enough."

Skip step #5.

Good luck!
posted by see_change at 2:07 PM on June 23, 2014

My Step #5 should only take about fifteen minutes. Just a quick scuff sand of all the surfaces. Take a full sheet of #150 sandpaper and fold it in quarters and then use it to lightly sand. This will put little grooves into the old paint that will cause the new top layer to adhere better.
posted by octothorpe at 2:15 PM on June 23, 2014

Brand recommendations welcome.
I came by to recommend Benjamin Moore paint, which is much the best paint I've used, and best value too, but Think_Long beat me to it.
posted by anadem at 8:16 PM on June 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all, you have been very helpful. I shall post a picture of the newly painted door once I get to it (hopefully in the next few weeks).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:54 AM on June 24, 2014

« Older Help me decide what to do with a new-to-me piece...   |   Twitter feeds from academic departments/programs. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.