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Your Guide to Selecting the Right Garage Door Color and Paint

Color is one of the most important things to consider when you’re thinking about buying a new garage door. The door on your garage takes up a considerable amount of real estate — after all, it has to be broad enough to let in one or two cars. Its size also means anyone who passes or visits your home will see it.

The color you choose for your garage door can either make your home more attractive — boosting its curb appeal — or it can detract from the overall look of your home. Wondering what color to paint your garage door? Here’s what to consider.

How to Select the Best Garage Door Color for Your Home

There are two things to consider when picking out a color for your garage door. The first is whether you want the door to blend with the rest of the features on the front of your home or if you want it to stand out.

The second factor is the color of the rest of your home and your chosen accent colors. Your garage door’s color should match or complement the color scheme of your home. If it doesn’t, it could be considered an eyesore, which can lower the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

Do You Want to Highlight or Hide?

The color you choose for your garage door will determine whether it’s an attention-grabber or a wallflower. There are a few reasons why you might want to “hide” your garage door — or at least pick a color that blends in with the surroundings:

  • You want to draw people’s attention elsewhere. Perhaps you recently planted a beautiful garden in the front of your house or spruced up your front door or entrance area. You don’t want people looking at your garage door when they could be looking at your other new features.
  • Your garage door is a little old and showing signs of wear. If the time isn’t right for getting a new garage door, giving it a coat of paint so it fades into the background might be the better option.
  • A lot is going on with your home’s exterior. If you already have shutters, trim and lots of other features on your home’s facade, giving your garage doors an eye-catching hue might make your home look a little too busy.
  • You want to make your home look bigger. If the garage is attached to your home, painting it the same color as the walls of the house can make everything look more substantial. It’s difficult to see where the house ends and garage begins if they’re the same color.

Of course, if you’re investing in new garage doors, it might seem like a waste to have them blend in with the house or hide from view. If your home’s garage doors are beautiful or otherwise worthy of attention, painting them a color that will make them “pop” or stand out is the way to go.

What Color Is Your House?

Coordinating the color of your garage doors with the color scheme of the rest of your home can require a bit of color theory. It’s time to dust off your color wheel and remember a few basic color theory tricks:

  • Complementary colors are colors that are directly opposite one another on the wheel. Red and green are complementary, as are blue and orange and yellow and purple. Since there’s a lot of difference between complementary colors, this pairing tends to be one of the boldest ones you can choose. Just think about how much a purple garage door would stand out against a yellow house.
  • Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the wheel. An example of an analogous color scheme is red/red-violet or violet/blue-violet. Since the differences between the colors are minute, the result is subtler when they’re used in one color scheme.
  • Monochromatic colors are different shades of the same hue. For example, if you add white to red, you get pink. If you add grey to red, you get a slightly darker pink. There’s little contrast between monochromatic colors, since the hue at the heart of them is the same.
  • Neutrals are colors like gray, white and black. Brown, which is created by mixing two complementary colors (or all three primary colors), is also a neutral. If your house is a neutral color, you have pretty much unlimited color options.

Now that you’ve gotten a color theory refresher, take a look at some garage door color options for specific types of homes.

Garage Door Colors for a White House

If your house’s primary color is white, the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to choosing a garage door color. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Black: Black doors will really pop against a white house. Black is also a sophisticated, contemporary color, ideal for modern homes.
  • White: If you are interested in a monochromatic look or want your garage door to blend in, painting it white is the way to go.
  • A Darker Primary Color: When your house is white, you need to be careful not to make it look like something out of a child’s storybook. Infuse a bit of color into the exterior by picking a primary color — blue, red or yellow — for your home.
  • Other neutrals: If you’re not sure about going full-on dramatic by choosing a black door, but still want a sophisticated look, going with a dark gray or brown door can be a good compromise.
  • Wood Stain: Remember that a garage door doesn’t have to be painted. Dark stained wood also looks great with a white exterior.

Garage Door Colors for a Brick House

Picking out a garage door color when your home is brick can be a little more challenging, since brick isn’t as neutral as white. There are also different colors of brick, so a color that looks great with a red brick house might clash with a yellow brick house. These tricks can help you choose the best color based on your house’s style of brick.

  • Look at the color of the brick: If you notice that one color seems prominent in the brick, such as tan or white flecks, you can use that color for your garage door.
  • Think primary: In a twist on a monochromatic color scheme, you can choose a garage door that is the primary color of the brick. For example, if your brick is red, choose a red garage door. If you have yellow brick, make your garage door yellow.
  • Choose a deep neutral: For the most part, a rich chocolate brown or deep bronze will pair well with brick. The same is true of a smoky gray or buttercream hue.
  • Go high-contrast: Look at the main color in your brick, then choose the color that complements it on the color wheel. If you have red brick, a mint green garage door will be eye-catching and attractive. If your brick is yellow, a lavender-grey door will complement the exterior nicely.

Garage Door Colors for a Grey House

Like white, grey is a neutral, giving you plenty of wiggle room and flexibility when choosing color for your garage door. It’s not quite as neutral as white, however, meaning that not every shade is going to match well. For example, you might want to avoid “muddy” colors that have a lot of gray in them, as they might be too close to the color of your house, but not close enough to be the same color.

Here are few tips for choosing the garage door color to complement your grey house:

  • Go high-contrast: Either black or white can be your friend if you want your garage door to stand out against a grey exterior.
  • Go deep: A deep, rich color, such as navy blue or burgundy, will look lovely on a grey home.
  • Go monochrome: You can choose a gray that’s the same color as your home’s exterior or go a shade or two darker or lighter.

Finding Inspiration for Your Garage Doors

Before you commit to a particular color, it can be a good idea to do some exploring and see what works. It might be a good idea to drive or walk through your neighborhood and “spy” on the homes of your neighbors. Pay attention to the color schemes they’ve chosen.

There might be a fair number of white homes with wooden garage doors or brick homes with coordinating garage doors. Note what looks best to you, then use that to guide you as you pick perfect color.

Do’s and Don’ts When Selecting a Garage Door Color

If you’re still wobbly on what color will work for your garage door, remember these basic rules for selecting a shade that complements your house:

Do: Pick a Color That Coordinates With the Rest of Your Home

While your garage door color doesn’t have to match the color of your home perfectly, the two colors should coordinate in some way.  When in doubt, your best bet is to stick with neutrals.

Don’t: Go Too Trendy or “Out There”

The idea of a bright blue or hot pink garage door might excite you. But flash-forward a year or two and think about how you’ll feel. Will you still love the bright color or will you wish you’d chosen something a little tamer?

Over-the-top, bold colors can also have an adverse effect on the value and curb appeal of your home. You want people to be impressed by your color schemes, not wondering “what was he/she thinking?”

Do: Feel Free to Choose More Than One Accent Color

No rule says you must choose one main color and one accent color for the exterior of your home. Having two or three accent colors that all work together might be the better option. For example, you might have trim that’s a cream color and a garage door that’s a deep chocolate brown.

Don’t: Make Your Garage the Focal Point

Even if you want to draw attention to your garage door, you don’t want it to be the feature people are drawn to when they come up to your house. It’s better to call the most attention to your front door and hope that garage door is a nice complement, not the star of the show.

Do: Stick to One Color

Like an overly bright, bold color, painting your garage door more than one color can date it and turn off potential buyers. If you’re stuck between two colors, it’s better to pick the most complementary or coordinating shade.

Don’t: Match Your Front Door to the Garage Door

Since you typically want the front door to be the showstopper and attention-grabber of your home’s exterior, it’s best not to choose a garage door that’s the same color as your front door. You especially want to pick a different color for the garage if your front door is a bright and bold color like purple or red.

How to Paint Your Garage Door

If you’re not replacing an older garage door but want to breathe new life into a tired or dated garage, one option is to paint the door. Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is all it takes to update a garage door that was previously looking shabby and worse for wear.

Painting a garage door does require a bit of prep and planning. It isn’t the type of project you can wake up and start suddenly. Depending on drying time, it might take an entire weekend for you to paint a two-car garage door.

Metal vs. Wood Garage Door

The material of your door might influence the type of paint you use on it. Usually, an exterior latex paint is appropriate for either metal or wooden garage doors.

Depending on the age or condition of an aluminum door, you might need to strip the paint off entirely, deep clean the door, and prime and paint it. If rubbing the door gently leaves a trail of powder on your palm, you should consider stripping the paint, then adding new coats of primer and paint.

Picking a Day to Paint

Certain seasons and weather conditions are best suited for painting outdoors. If it’s going to be very humid or if rain is in the forecast, forget about painting that day. Not only will it be an unpleasant experience, but it will take forever for the paint to dry between coats.

The ideal temperature for painting your garage door is 75 degrees or cooler, but warmer than 50 degrees. Humidity should be low, too. It’s also a good idea to either paint in an area that doesn’t get direct sunlight or to wait until the sun isn’t shining directly on your garage door. A cloudy but warm day is just right.

Since you might wake up to a rainstorm or a surprise heatwave on the day you’d planned on painting, it’s a good idea to allow for some wiggle room in your plans. Don’t put off painting your garage door until the weekend before an open house, for example.

Preparing Your Garage Door for Painting

Preparing your garage door before you paint does two things. First, it helps the new paint adhere to the surface better so that it’s less likely to chip or peel off. Also, it helps the new paint last longer.

Even if you’re not thoroughly stripping the door of paint before you begin, you’ll still want to give it a good cleaning. Use a wire brush or scrubber to scrape away any rust spots or chipping paint. If your door is wood, you’ll want to sand it down to remove any unevenness before you paint.

Once blemishes are gone and the surface of the door is smooth, give it a cleaning. You can use an all-purpose spray or soap and water to wipe down the door. Afterwards, rinse it off with a hose or with a clean, wet towel. Let the door dry completely before you move on.

Tape off any areas you aren’t going to paint, such the trim and handles, before you start painting. If the door has glass windows, add tape around their borders to keep the glass clean.

Painting the Garage Door

How you paint the door itself depends on its style. If your door has inset panels, the rectangles you often see on garage doors, you’ll want to use a brush to paint those first. You can then paint the raised areas, known as the stiles, with a roller brush. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps that will typically be involved in painting a garage door:

  1. Add a coat of primer around the recessed area of a panel using a brush.
  2. Prime the rectangular panel itself.
  3. Wipe away any primer that got onto the stiles while you painted the panel.
  4. Repeat with the remaining panels.
  5. Add a coat of primer around the perimeter of the garage door. You want to paint a band that’s about three inches thick along the top, sides and bottom edge of the door. Start at the top corner and work your way around.
  6. Pour primer into a paint tray, then use a roller to apply the primer to the stiles until the entire garage door is covered in primer.
  7. Let the coat of primer dry, preferably overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
  8. Repeat the process above, this time using your paint. Start with the recessed area around the panels, then the panels themselves. Next, paint a border around the edge of the garage door. Finally, use a paint roller to cover the stiles in paint.
  9. Let the paint dry overnight if possible.
  10. Repeat the process again, adding a second coat of paint.

Keep in mind that if your garage door is flat or doesn’t have any paneling, you use just use a paint roller and paint it like you would a wall. Apply the paint using “W” or “M” strokes, making sure to dip the roller in the paint tray as it dries out.

You might also consider spray-painting your garage door, which can make the project move more quickly. Figuring out how to use the sprayer to create an even coat can be tricky, though. If you’re not sure of your painting abilities, it’s probably better to stick with the good old paint brush and roller.

How Much Paint Will You Need?

Usually, you won’t need to buy a great deal of paint if you’re only painting a garage door. Even if you end up needing two or three coats of paint to cover up a dark color underneath, one gallon of paint and a gallon container of primer should be sufficient.

Select A New Garage Door Design Today!

If you’re ready to give your garage a facelift, American Overhead Door has a variety of garage door styles to choose from. Contact us today for a free estimate and learn more about what we have to offer! We are proud to offer garage door installation and repair services.  Get in touch with our Colorado Springs location by calling us at 719-538-9900 or 719-530-3000 for our Salida location. 

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