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Garage doors | Staining a metal door in a woodgrain finish

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Garage doors | Staining a metal door in a woodgrain finish

Are you tired of looking at your faded garage door and want to give it a fresh new appearance? Maybe you’d like to give it a more rustic look? Then, why not create a faux woodgrain finish? You can either do it yourself or hire a professional painter. To achieve the desired results, you’ll have to take an approach that’s a bit different from regular painting. But with a little patience and artistic skill, you’ll end up with a garage door you can be proud of.

garage door with Faux woodgrain finish

Tools you’ll need

  • Good-quality paintbrush (2 to 3 inches wide)
  • Paint roller (4 to 6 inches)
  • Paint tray
  • Roll of masking tape
  • Rubber gloves
  • Disposable all-purpose rags and paper towels
Tools you'll need: paint brushes and pan


This is the key to success. Depending on the condition of the paint that’s currently on your metal garage door, you may have to do a little sanding to remove any superficial rust. If your garage door is less than five years old and has a glazed paint finish, you’ll have to sand it to remove the sheen in order for the stain to adhere properly.

A good washing with soap and water using a pressure washer at the lowest setting should suffice. However, if there are grease spots, you may need to use a rag to scrub the target areas with an appropriate detergent.

If you have PVC weather-stripping installed around the perimeter of the door, you can remove it to make staining easier. However, if your weather-stripping is installed on a wooden base, you can leave it in place and stain the wood part to match the rest of the door.

washing a door with soap

Choosing a stain

Visit any good paint store in your area and you should be able to find the stain you’re looking for, like dark walnut, for example. It’s recommended that you use a gel stain, rather than a conventional stain. It has a thicker consistency, so it won’t be as likely to run or drip. Avoid stains with a high-gloss finish. A matte finish is preferable.

Gel stain can

Before you start working on the project, do a little color test on a small section of the garage door or on another metal surface. You’ll need to wait until the stain is completely dry before you can really tell if you’ll be satisfied with the results or not.

Depending on the current color of your garage door and the final shade you’re going for, it may be necessary to apply a base coat. Make sure the door is completely dry before you start. Use cardboard, a tarp or a drop cloth to protect the threshold and the area around the door from any possible drips or spills.

Start by using a brush on all the recessed areas and then use a roller on the flat surfaces. You can then create a woodgrain finish with your brush using a strié technique. As much as possible, try to imitate the natural texture and grain direction of real wood. Allow 24 to 48 hours for the stain to dry completely.

result: a painted panel


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