How to Paint a Rusty Garage Door

2 Materials
2 Hours

There’s nothing worse that rust spots on your garage doors. If you see rust spots on your garage door, you should remove them immediately. If you let it go one for too long you will end up having to replace the entire door. Most of the time you can spot-treat the problem to prevent it from growing.

Here are a few simple steps to repairing and painting the rust on your garage door.
Ugly!! To get rid of the rust, first clean the entire door with a mixture of water and TSP. Wipe down the door using a cleaning rag or utility sponge.  Then go back over it with a clean, dry rag.
There are a couple of ways you can sand off the rust. This may take a little bit of elbow grease. In case you’re too young to know this, it’s just a saying.

My Mother use to say that to me when I was a kid. I remember one day my sister was looking under the sink for elbow grease, LOL

You can do this by hand or with a electric sander. Use a medium grit sand paper (100 Grit) to start with, then use a 220 grit to finish.
Apply the primer. I did a spot treatment primer first. My blog post has the exact primers I used and recommend. The oil-based primer will prevent water and moisture from creating rust on your metal garage door again.

Then I primed the entire door . If you decide to try my Wood Grain technique you will need to tint the primer a base color as illustrated in my step-by-step video.

If you want to paint it instead you don’t have to tint the primer. Priming the entire door is necessary, it will act as a sealer and help the paint to adhere to the door. If you skip this step you will continue to have problems.
After priming the door, paint the garage door with your choice of color. Use an exterior water-based paint. Or … if you want to give your house instant curb appeal … try Wood Graining your garage door. I teach you how to do this in my wood grain tutorial which you can find here.

Make your neighbors jealous and be the talk of the neighborhood with your expensive-looking faux wood garage!

Come over to my blog by clicking the link below for more budget-friendly makeovers and tips. I would love to hear from you!

Suggested materials:

  • Primer
  • Paint

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Cheryl Phan

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Ann
    on Oct 27, 2017

    Love that faux wood paint job! Our door faces west, so it gets a lot of is the color holding up? Will it fade quickly or at least last a few years?
    • Cheryl Phan
      on Oct 27, 2017

      I've been painting faux wood grain on garage doors for over 10 years. I did a client door 8 years ago and stoped by to look at it and it still looks like the day I did it. Prep and proper paint is important. I also use a great sealer so it won't fade. I have a step-by-step video and supply list on my website that walks you through it. here's the link if you have any questions you can join my FB group and i can help you. Here's the link for
  • Mas29121218
    on Oct 28, 2017

    My garage door is made out of fiberglass What paint or cleaner can I use Help please
  • Jmcdermott
    on Apr 19, 2020

    when a garage door has sections or areas what order is best to paint panels and edges ?



    • Cheryl Phan
      on Apr 19, 2020

      I like to paint it in the same direction that the natural wood grain would be. For instance the center panels would have the grain going in a horizontal directions as well as the panels above and below it, but the ones that are going in a vertical direction would be painted with the grain going in a vertical direction. Think about how a piece of wood would be cut and installed. You want it to look as realistic as possible. hope that helps. I have a step-by step video that show you how to wood grain a garage door with all the products and how to clean the brushes. The most important step is the prep and using the right products. Here's the link:

      You're in luck because all the videos are 80% off right now. Check it out.


Join the conversation

4 of 35 comments
  • Dee
    on Oct 28, 2017

    Thx for your reply Kim. They deleted mine too. I think we should complain about selling tutorials anytime we see them being sold. I wish others would too. Hometalk should care that it is turning off users.
    • Sally
      on Oct 29, 2017

      I bought the video and had no problem paying $77. 00. If you had a professional come to your home to do this is would cost between $1000 - $1200. The video was easy to follow and had step by step instructions as well as a supply list and a ton of painting tips. I'd rather pay a professional to tell me exactly what to use than to watch a free youtube video or listen to someone that doesn't know what they are talking about. I've messed up a couple of projects that way. BTW. No-one works for free.

  • Chubby58
    on Oct 29, 2017

    Love it! I've been contemplating painting my white garage door the wood-look as well. I think I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the inspiration! Your door is beautiful!
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