...because home doesn't happen overnight.

The weather was so nice this past weekend that I just had┬áto tackle an outdoor project. It meant skimping on the kid / guest bathroom but it was totally worth it. My skin hasn’t felt warm sunshine in six months! So while the kids rode their bikes and played with neighbor-friends, I set to work scraping, sanding and painting our decrepit garage door.

We plan to replace the garage door all together within the next year but I couldn’t stand it’s peeling paint any longer. (You can see images of the original door here.) And I needed an excuse to be outside. I have a hard time being anywhere…I always have to be doing something. #busybody It’s something I need to work on. Can you relate? Tangent aside, I’ve mentioned painting the garage door several times to Steve but his response was always the same.

I don’t think it’s worth the hassle since we’re going to replace it eventually.

Guess what. It was worth the hassle.

stopgap garage door 1

I used an old school Red Devil paint scraper (similar to this newer one) to remove the peeling paint. It worked well but the garage door’s humble state became even more apparent once the paint was removed. The door’s frame is wood but the recessed panels are made of fiber board or the like. When I scraped the paint from the panels, I was left with a cardboard-like surface. Cardboard garage doors aren’t big sellers for obvious reasons. Sections of wood are splintering at the bottom of the door. So, yeah, our garage door is on its last leg but at least it’s going out with grace.

After scraping, I hit up the paint store for a few paint samples.

stopgap garage door 2

I grabbed Benjamin Moore’s Steel Wool and Secret thinking they would pick up on the metal roof. (The photo above was taken after Steve went over the door and sample paint patches with an orbital sander.) Perfectly matching the roof is difficult because it reflects the sky and sun so it looks completely different on a cloudy, gray day than it does on a bright, sunny one with blue skies. At any rate, we chose Secret and bought two quarts of exterior paint from the Ben line to cover the door and our mailbox post which was looking rough, too.

The highlighted circles show where Steve and I spent an hour trying to scrape who-knows-how-old paint from the windows. I tried a razor blade, Goo Gone, fingernail polish remover…nothing worked well. We like the idea of garage door windows and wanted to reveal them. But after discovering how long it would to take to de-paint them and reminding ourselves that this was meant to be a quick and inexpensive temporary solution we opted to forget them and save days of our lives. (The interior side of the windows are painted as well so that would have doubled our work time.) Why someone would ever paint over perfectly good windows, I’ll never know (I’m guessing it was done out of fear of Peeping Toms or burglars) but we vow to buy a new garage door with windows when the time comes.

With the paint color selected and the decision made to keep the windows painted, I vacuumed the door and the paint chip-covered ground with the Shop-Vac. I wiped the door down with a wet cloth, let it dry then applied two coats of exterior paint in a low luster finish. I didn’t worry about primer. Again, STOPGAP. I also hit up the mailbox post (not shown) with the same taupe-gray as the door and brushed on two coats of white paint on the trim around the garage door.

stopgap garage door 3

I’m not 100% sold on the color of the finished door but it looks so much better. Steve and I joked that even a green door would have been an improvement. Steve also happily pointed out that the new color perfectly matches the DirectTV satellite. If you take away anything from this post let it be that Benjamin Moore Secret = DirectTV satellite gray. Haha. The safe thing would have been to go with white to match the trim but since we know this door isn’t staying forever we thought we’d try a color. I don’t know? I do think it would look better with windows. And don’t get me started on that awkward vinyl trim above the door. It’s so odd.

stopgap garage door 4

Admittedly, there was an ulterior motive for my madness. We’re scheduled to have our cracked asphalt driveway replaced with concrete in the coming weeks. I couldn’t stand the thought of having a nice, new driveway leading to a sad, peeling garage door. I have never been so excited about a driveway before in my life! We have saved our pennies for this. It always been on the renovation list.

As is, there is no “clean” way to reach our house. There’s a gap between the driveway and front walk. There’s a large piece of trodden yard separating the end of the driveway from the back patio where we enter the mudroom. And entering through the garage itself is a disaster and probably unsafe. The new driveway will be widened to meet the front walk and lengthened at the back of the house. We will add large square pavers with creeping Jenny in between them to meet the back dining patio. You don’t know how happy I am at the prospect of having (not one but) two paved ways to enter the house! Right now the majority of dirt in my house comes from dirty / muddy shoes walking up through the yard.

The driveway itself hold rocks, dirt, water and mud in all the cracks and low spots. It will be ripped out and excavated to make way for a wider and longer driveway. Concrete is our material of choice for its sustainability. It’s more expensive up front but will last longer and requires less maintenance than asphalt. Plus, we think it just looks better when driveways match their home’s walks and patios.┬áHaving a new driveway is really going to improve our home’s curb appeal. Our neighbors are going to be relieved. For two years, I’ve been cringing when I pull up to our house just because of the driveway. It’s baaaaaad.

stopgap garage door 5

So that’s how I spent my weekend in the warm weather. If you ask me, it was worth the $30 in supplies and two half-days of labor. The garage door is definitely looking better but I’d love to know your thoughts on the future door’s style and possible colors. White? A bluer gray that more closely matches the roof and decking? Also, what happens to that odd vinyl trim piece? Sometimes a third-party eye is better at this stuff.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

64 Comments

16.April.2014

I am actually totally smitten with the color you chose. I’m not sure how it looks in person, but from the pictures, it looks like a genius color-match with the roof. In short, I’d keep that color (but a bigger shot of the outside / yard / plans for the driveway would definitely be needed to solidfy that decision). Well done.

16.April.2014

Hi Dana. Did I miss a post about your metal roof snow guards? We live in Illinois and put our metal roof on this past fall. This winter sure made us realize the need for snow guards! Our roofing guy plans to put on a small ledge around our house slightly above the gutters, but not sure how I feel about that. Do you have any info. to share about what you did for yours? Product info./DIY or hired out? Thanks!

16.April.2014

The door looks great! I love the 5 little evergreen (I think) shrubs along your garage in front. Do you know what they are? Thanks!

16.April.2014

I am not sure if this would work, but did you try a heat gun on the windows? I think you can rent one reasonably, a hair dryer might even work. It might make the paint removal on glass a bit easier.

16.April.2014

Glass windows on a garage seem like a good idea (natural light!), but they can be problematic. Basketballs, footballs, random-flying objects always seem to find our glass windows granted our garage door is very, very old. Also, “peeping toms” get a great preview of the your garage goods (is it worth breaking in to this house???).

This looks great! Such an improvement! We did the same thing last summer and I’m so glad we did. Our color is slightly darker than yours and has a little blue it in too. We have windows on our door and while I love how they look, I am currently in the process of frosting them for some privacy. If you’re interested, check out ours!

http://www.homestylereport.com/2013/08/painted-garage-door.html

16.April.2014

We had a green (even teal) garage door as a kid – I think it’s still that color! Also do you have those weird roof pieces that stick up close to the edge? What are those little guys for?

I know you aren’t sold on the garage color but I really like it! Grey goes so well with everything so it’s probably hard to go wrong there but I think it compliments the brick of the house very nicely. Great job! :)

16.April.2014

Our houses look so similar on the outside it’s crazy. If y’all had shutters what color would you paint them? We have the same orange-y looking brick on our house and I can’t think which color would look good for a window shutter.

I also like windows on garage doors!

Nicole B.

16.April.2014

The garage doors look SO much better. The gray is nice, but I think black or the color of your front door would look beautiful on the garage doors. Also, if the garage doors were salvageable (sp?), it would probably be easier to remove the painted glass and put new panes in yourself. Again, something similar in style to your front door with the three lites would look amazing!

16.April.2014

This is funny. I will admit that I was sort of skimming while I was reading this, and then stopped short when the picture showed “steel wool” and “secret.” For a second I thought you and Steve were trying different paint scraping methods: Steve was using steel wool and you were using…deodorant. Haha! What is wrong with me that I thought that you had heard that using deodorant on old paint would take it off? I panicked , thinking how can that be safe for armpits?! Yikes. Anyhoo, once I started reading more carefully I figured it out. Good project!

Wow, that made a HUGE difference! And the color matches the roof perfectly. Definitely a good choice on putting off replacing the door and spending funds on other things…a little paint goes a long way!

I love the gray, but why not paint it the dark inky gray of the front door?!?
Also, Michelle over at 4 men 1 lady had an ugly header and covered hers with cedar shingles, it looks much better than the vinyl siding.
http://www.4men1lady.com/adding-trim-to-our-garage-door/

I painted our garage door gray too, ours is a little darker and I added a little DIY carriage door detail :)
http://thesunsetlane.blogspot.com/2014/04/5-garage-door-makeover-and-counter-top.html

Kari

I am so used to white garage doors. You picked something so different and it looks great!! We have totally switched to outdoor mode too.

16.April.2014

The gray is such an improvement! I think for your new garage door I would go darker though. Have you considered your front door color? Dark gray garage doors with windows look great!

Pics from Houzz:
http://www.houzz.com/photos/8375611/Raye-Street—Queen-Anne-contemporary-exterior-seattle
http://www.houzz.com/photos/1326764/Admiral-s-House-traditional-garage-and-shed-boston

Girl, I wish we were neighbors. I totally would have brought my brood of three, a little something to wet our whistles, and a paint brush just to help. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend. I should know, I scraped, primed, and painted two furniture pieces this weekend, whilst my kids ran around in the backyard. Everyone was happy. :D

16.April.2014

It looks great!

We got a new driveway a few years ago and it was AWESOME!! It doesn’t seem exciting, but it really made our house look so nice and updated!

16.April.2014

Wow, your garage door went from Crack House to Malibu Mansion with 2 quarts of paint and some elbow grease…GREAT job! :)

Totally. Absolutely worth it.

And oh do I feel you on the whole sunshine thing. It’s like my body can really breathe. I’ve never been so appreciative. And I’ve been running more even on the colder days because I CAN!! Vitamin D was great for winter but theres no replacement for fresh air and sunshine

16.April.2014

Hey Nicole, I’m obviously not Dana, but I was just thinking today about how beautiful black accents (doors, trim, shutters) look on brick houses. Brick houses are super common where I live and a handful of people have started painting their white trim black. I think it looks elegant, fresh and modern!

16.April.2014

OMG! I love how it turned out! I just recently too repainted my garage door. It pretty much was in the same condition as yours and when I was scraping it I could actually gouge out sections. Needless to say after a lot of scraping and painting it looks 1000% better! I’m only bummed I didn’t take pictures and blog about it. (I was in a rush since we had an inspector coming) :)

16.April.2014

Idk if itd be weird – but I think black or matching to the front door for the new door would be good. At least in my mind’s eye. And definitely windows! And what’s undr that trim piece? brick? I would just remove it – does it serve a purpose? It just seems awkward. The stop gap paint job looks wonderful – night and day difference!

16.April.2014

I think white would be a better choice. The grey kind of looks strange with the shade of brick on the house. It looks loads better than it did before though!

16.April.2014

Looks awesome! I am envious (in a good way!) that you are replacing your driveway. It is on our to-do list and I am still nervous about the cost. Is that taboo to share how much it is going to cost? I just want to know what I am in for…you can email me in private if you prefer!! :)

16.April.2014

Hello,
I really like how the door color matches the roof, I think it looks nice. I would totally remove that strange overhead thing when you get your new door. I can’t remember…did you mention once before that others in your area had that same thing above their doors too? I am curious about it. I built a new garage 2 years ago and considered windows at the top of the door. I really like that, but if could not justify the extra expense. My garage is detached so it is not often that I would be inside with the main door closed. I thought it would be nice for the natural light. I do have windows in my garage though and I’m so glad I did that. It lets in a nice cross breeze and was great when I had a rummage sale at the end of last summer.

So jealous of your new driveway, yea for you! It will look spectacular and I completely understand why you chose to spuce up the door until you can get your new one.

I love the gray you used here but also thought a modern wood one with sleek lines would look great with your house’s style and bring some warmth. Or black too :)

16.April.2014

The refurbished door looks fabulous…great work…The red brick of the house can support any color…I’m partial to primary colors…but if you use the current color, it will look magnificent..!! Luv it!!

17.April.2014

I’m going to go outside the box and suggest a muted chartreuse or a pistachio. Something like farrow & ball’s churlish green – but maybe a bit more saturated. Something to echo the color of the shrubs in the front. It’s a mid-century ranch. It can handle a little retro twist.

17.April.2014

I really like the color, but I think I would like a darker blue-gray even more. I think white would look a little harsh and would pop too much – you probably don’t want your garage door (even a new one) to be the focal point of your house.

It is always amazing what a little paint can do. Your garage door looks great. It will make the waiting for a new one that much easier, since it looks so nice now. We have done several concrete projects around our house and I am always amazed how excited I am about concrete. It will look great!

17.April.2014

Hi Dana. I have a couple questions for you! How is your design class going (Shefields I think you mentioned) any feedback would be appreciated. Also how about your design services you advertised a while ago– how is that coming along?

wishing you the best.

Please oh please oh please tell me you can take off that vinyl trim??? I think it’s super awkward looking right now–like poorly cut bangs on a face :)
I like the gray–though if your telling us you might find a gray to more closely match the roof then that’s what I would go for!
I love your ‘stopgap’ fix. Our garage door is dingy white–maybe it needs a nice coat of paint!
Abby

17.April.2014

We got a quote for $9685 for everything: tear out, removal, new widened & lengthened driveway, new culvert, burying gutter drains, etc. We asked if he would go any lower if we paid cash. (We save $$ to pay cash for projects not only to avoid debt but also to score cash discounts. It’s win-win.) He said yes. We’re paying $9000 which is no drop in the bucket…which is why it’s taken us so long to save up and get it done. It’s a local guy recommended by several family members. We’ve seen his work and it’s great.

17.April.2014

Oh, it’s still got a crack house vibe going on with the driveway…

17.April.2014

You sound like an awesome neighbor ;)

17.April.2014

Oooooooh, love those!

17.April.2014

I don’t know what’s under the trim or if it serves any purpose. It’s gotta go though. Almost all the houses in our neighborhood have it.

17.April.2014

Thanks for the links to those doors! How clever are you with your paint sticks?!

17.April.2014

I mentioned that to Steve…replacing the painted glass with new…but he said he didn’t think it’d be worth it at this point. I think we’re just going to save our $ for a new door.

17.April.2014

The house did have shutters – white wood ones that were rotted. We removed them almost immediately. If we had shutters, I’d paint them black along with a black or red front door. Personally, I don’t like shutters on our house because the windows are so wide and squatty. Flanked by skinny shutters, they just look strange.

17.April.2014

Those are snow guards. They help break up ice / snow when it starts melting on the metal roof. Basically, they’re supposed to prevent avalanches. They don’t work so great though. We’re looking into a snow fence around the perimeter of the roof instead.

17.April.2014

Love it!

17.April.2014

With the current state of our garage, I’m guessing any prospective burglars would pass on us. Haha!

17.April.2014

Oh yes, forgot to mention that…we did try a heat gun! I think the decades old paint is baked on.

17.April.2014

Our snow guards don’t work so well. At least not for the slope and orientation of our house paired with our snowy winters. We’re actually looking into having a snow fence installed around the perimeter of the roof.

17.April.2014

Bigger shot soon…had to crop out the front entrance as I’m posting that reveal next week!

17.April.2014

HAHA! I thought the exact same thing, except I thought the “secret” was some kind of ninja secret technique. I had to read and re-read it to finally figure it out (2 hours of sleep last night….)

17.April.2014

hahaha, I thought the same thing! I was wondering how the heck deodorant would take off paint.

17.April.2014

I would have slapped paint on that sucker a long time ago. Of course I don’t deal with snow (Florida) like you so…… I think your new one should be dark with some sort of modern window. Also, why not good old paint stripper on the windows????

17.April.2014

Under that trim piece is a rectangular “header” board, or at least I think that’s what it’s called. When I had my soffit covered last summer, I had the installer look at the house (now empty) across the street from yours, as I saw that its trim job retained the rectangle shape. Thanks for alerting me to the prevalence of the ugly option in the neighborhood. I am delighted with the way mine turned out.

17.April.2014

Laziness? We didn’t have any on hand :(

17.April.2014

Thank you for sharing! That does help!! :)

17.April.2014

I second the idea of keeping garage door windows covered for security reasons. If you really want windows, maybe frost them or put something on them so that you can cover the windows if you want. We have been broken into before (prior to having an alarm installed) and we’re pretty sure they broke in by checking that there were no cars in the garage, so they went around back and kicked in the back door. Love the paint job, BTW. Yay! for instant gratification. Paint covers a multitude of sins!

Totally worth it. It looks great! The new driveway will be awesome too!

18.April.2014

We have a security system which eases our minds somewhat.

18.April.2014

I have glass windows on our garage door and so far. You should paint your house white or something. That would look awesome with the roof. We are building a house soon- I’m the GC and the designer. Most folks think I am insane but I like a challenge. Was the tin roof much more expensive than shingles? I want black tin. I like your embellishments on the roof too.

18.April.2014

You are probably aware of this option, but thought I would put it out there. They do make faux garage windows. They give the look of windows without the problems that others have mentioned. Home Depot sells some, but there are a lot of different styles out there. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Crown-Bolt-White-Decorative-Faux-Windows-2-Pack-10038/203233043
Too much money for a temporary solution, but just in case the garage door you want is too expensive with windows, something else to consider.

19.April.2014

I was reading this on feedly and had to click through to tell you I too am completely and utterly beyond excited about a driveway, after living in our ‘beyond fixing’ house for 12 years, we finally knocked it down 12 months ago and rebuilt from scratch. We are about 3 weeks away from putting in our driveway and I’m mega excited – I have lived with a broken up paved driveway for 12 years, I am still pinching myself that I’m finally getting a finished house and driveway together. Fingers crossed the weather keeps dry (for both of us) Sydney, Australia has seen a lot of rain lately, but the sun has been shining for the last few days.

20.April.2014

Drastic change to the door — looks great. Agreeing with the number of people who suggested matching the front door colour (if I recall correctly it is a dark charcoal?).

20.April.2014

Thanks for the link! Definitely something to consider…

21.April.2014

Yeah, it’s a moody blue-gray and we still love the color. It’s now in the running for the color of our new garage door (whenever that happens)! It does help to have other pairs of eyes look at our home and make suggestions – especially for the exterior.

26.May.2015

[…] your waste bins? Electric meter? What outdoor projects are you working on this year? Last year I painted the peeling garage door as a stopgap measure and we had the elderly asphalt driveway replaced with concrete. Even if we […]

[…] your waste bins? Electric meter? What outdoor projects are you working on this year? Last year I painted the peeling garage door as a stopgap measure and we had the elderly asphalt driveway replaced with concrete. Even if we […]