How to Paint a Rusty Garage Door

Cheryl Phan
by Cheryl Phan
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
Cheryl Phan
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Ann 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?

  • Mas29121218 Mas29121218 on Oct 28, 2017
    My garage door is made out of fiberglass What paint or cleaner can I use Help please

  • Jmcdermott Jmcdermott on Apr 19, 2020

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



Join the conversation
2 of 39 comments
  • Chetyhosh Chetyhosh on Jul 25, 2022

    It is really hard to remove the rusty parts from a garage door. First, you will have to clean the rusty parts of the door with a mixture of water and a special cleaner liquid. After that, clean the door using a rag and then might wait for a little before starting to apply the paint on the door. It might be a better choice for the long run to change your metal garage door with one made from wood. My father was searching for a wooden door last month and found a good one on at an affordable price.

  • Cheryl Phan Cheryl Phan on Jul 25, 2022

    The process I used in my blog really works. I did this garage door 5 years ago and the rust never come back.