Fiberglass garage doors offer many benefits – lightweight, durable, low maintenance, and insulating. However, the elements can take a toll over time, causing fading, yellowing, and overall wear and tear. If your fiberglass garage door looks dingy, a fresh coat of paint can give it new life!
Painting a fiberglass garage door is possible with the right preparations and paint products. While fiberglass can present some challenges for painting, the results can refresh the look of your home’s exterior and enhance your property’s curb appeal.
Can You Paint a Fiberglass Garage Door?
The short answer – yes, you can paint a fiberglass garage door! However, there are a few special considerations to ensure proper paint adhesion and durability.
Fiberglass has an inherently slick, nonporous surface that paint can have trouble gripping. However, with proper prep work and the right type of paint, you can achieve great results painting fiberglass. The keys are gently scuffing the surface for texture, cleaning thoroughly, priming, and using flexible paints designed for plastics.
Oil-based paints and enamels are not recommended for fiberglass, as they can become brittle and prone to cracking and peeling. 100% acrylic latex exterior paints offer the adhesion and elasticity needed for a long-lasting paint job. With a bit of care and patience, a fresh coat of acrylic paint allows you to change up the look or color of your garage door.
Preparing a Fiberglass Garage Door for Painting
Proper preparation is crucial for successful painting results on fiberglass. Here are the key steps:
1. Lightly Sand the Surface
- Use 220-400 grit sandpaper to scuff up the surface
- Creates microscopic grooves and texture for paint to cling to
- Be gentle – do not remove the gelcoat, just rough it up
2. Clean Thoroughly
- Remove any dirt, oil, mildew or chalking
- TSP substitute cleaning solutions work well
- Rinse off any cleaner residue
- Allow to fully dry
3. Apply Primer
- Priming helps paint adhere to the slick fiberglass
- Use a high-quality primer specifically made for plastics
- Plastic-specific spray paints have primer included
- Allow primer to cure per manufacturer directions before painting fully
4. Lightly Sand Primer
- Gently sand again with fine sandpaper after priming
- Smooths any drips or roughness from the primer
- Prepares the surface for topcoat paint
Thorough preparation improves paint adhesion and prevents chipping, peeling, or delamination. Avoid skipping steps to save time or rushing the surface prep.
Best Paint Options for Fiberglass Garage Doors
When it comes to choosing the right paint for fiberglass garage doors, stick with flexible, elastic paints such as:
100% Acrylic Latex Exterior Paint
- Specifically formulated for exterior use
- Bends and stretches without cracking or peeling
- Provides excellent adhesion and protection
- Available in all color options
Plastic Spray Paint
- Made for smooth plastic surfaces
- All-in-one primer and paint formulas
- Popular brands include Krylon Fusion and Rust-Oleum Plastic
- Offered in wide range of colors
Acrylic Enamel Spray Paint
- Contains acrylic resins for flexibility
- Spray application provides smooth, consistent coverage
- Formulated to bond well and resist chipping
- lacquer-like glossy finish
Avoid exterior oil-based enamels, which become hard and brittle on flexible surfaces like fiberglass. Stick with acrylic latex or plastic/acrylic spray paints in matte, satin, or gloss sheens.
How to Paint a Fiberglass Garage Door
Once your fiberglass garage door is prepped properly, follow these tips for the painting process:
1. Apply Painter’s Tape
- Tape off hinges, handles, and window frames
- Prevents drips and bleeding onto areas you don’t want painted
- Remove tape immediately after painting before it dries
2. Add Primer
- If not using a paint with built-in primer, apply a coat now
- Enables topcoat paint to adhere properly
3. Paint Thin Coats
- Brush on or spray 2-3 thin coats rather than 1 thick coat
- Thin coats minimize drips and prevent sagging
- Allow proper drying time between coats
4. Inspect for Even Coverage
- Look for any thin patches or unevenness after each coat
- Touch up as needed for full, uniform coverage
- The door should look evenly saturated after the final coat
5. Remove Tape
- Carefully remove painter’s tape before paint fully dries
- Pull slowly at a 90° angle to avoid peeling up paint
6. Allow to Cure Fully
- Give paint several days to cure and harden fully
- Avoid closing the door until paint has cured
- Park vehicles away until paint is hardened
Proper prep work, patience, and high-quality acrylic paint provide the best results. Spray painting typically works better than brushing or rolling paint onto fiberglass. Take your time with each step for a smooth, durable paint job.
Painting vs. Replacing an Old Fiberglass Garage Door
If your fiberglass garage door is very old, cracked, or significantly warped or damaged, painting it may not be enough to restore its appearance. In some cases, it may be better to replace the entire door rather than attempting to paint it.
Fiberglass doors can become brittle and degrade over time, especially after prolonged exposure to sun and weather. If the door has become extremely faded, has visible cracks or holes, does not open or close properly, or feels flimsy, replacing it may be the wiser option.
However, a fresh coat of paint can provide an inexpensive facelift for doors that are still in relatively good condition. Painting can update the color to match your home’s exterior, hide small blemishes or scratches, and help protect the fiberglass from further UV damage.
Consider how the door operates, its overall integrity, and the extent of any damage. Get quotes for replacement doors if you feel yours may be beyond just a cosmetic update with paint. In many cases, painting provides a budget-friendly way to spruce up curb appeal and gain years of additional life from an old fiberglass garage door.
Recommended Paint Colors for Fiberglass Garage Doors
One of the great benefits of painting a fiberglass garage door is choosing fun, bold colors if desired! While white is a popular neutral shade, you can pick virtually any color that suits your home’s style and exterior color scheme. Here are some of the best hues to consider:
Black – A classic, sophisticated choice that pairs with any style and many exterior colors
Gray – Choose a light or charcoal gray depending on your color palette
Deep Purple – Makes a dramatic, eye-catching statement on a home’s exterior
Navy Blue – For a nautical vibe or to complement blue or green exterior tones
Forest Green – Earthy and natural looking, great with brown, tan, or gray houses
Red – From bright candy apple to deeper barn red based on your preference
Yellow – Cheerful and sunny; soft pastels or bold primary shades
Wood Stains – Offer a natural faux wood look without the maintenance
Metallics – Silvers, coppers, bronze, and gold for modern flair
Consider the overall look you want and how the garage door paint color will appear against your home’s siding, trim,Shutters, and front door. An accent color contrasting the house’s body can help the garage door pop.
Avoiding Paint Problems on Fiberglass
To ensure your freshly painted fiberglass garage door maintains its great new look, keep these paint pitfall pointers in mind:
- Don’t rush surface prep or painting steps – patience prevents problems!
- Tape off all hardware, windows, and trim to prevent drips and smears
- Apply multiple thin coats of paint rather than one thick, heavy coat
- Read all manufacturer instructions and allow for proper cure times
- Park vehicles away until paint has fully hardened over several days
- Clean and lightly sand the door before applying fresh coats of paint in the future
- Avoid using oil-based paints, enamels, or latex house paints lacking acrylic
- Inspect for any cracking or peeling annually and touch up as needed
With the right prep work and paint products, you can enjoy a beautifully painted fiberglass garage door that maintains its freshly updated look for years to come.
Here are some commonly asked questions about painting fiberglass garage doors:
How long does it take to paint a fiberglass garage door?
Plan ondevoting 2-3 days from start to finish. Surface preparation takes the most time – allow a full day for cleaning, lightly sanding, and applying primer. Painting will then take 1-2 more days for applying coats and allowing proper drying time between them.
Should I use a sprayer or paint brush?
Spray painting typically provides the most smooth, consistent coverage on fiberglass. If spraying, use light passes and keep the nozzle about 8-12 inches away to prevent drips and runs. Brushing on paint takes more time but can work nearly as well. Use high-quality brushes and rollers made for smooth surfaces.
How many coats of paint should I apply?
2-3 thin coats of paint properly spread out creates a durable finish. Apply coats in a crisscross pattern for thorough coverage. Inspect after each coat dries and touch up any thin spots before the next coat.
What kind of primer works best?
Look for primers specifically made for plastics, fiberglass, or PVC, such as Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer. Always check that the primer matches and works with your choice of topcoat paint.
Should I use oil or latex paint?
100% acrylic latex exterior paint is highly recommended. Oil-based paints become hard and brittle and are prone to cracking and peeling on flexible surfaces like fiberglass.
How long will the new paint last?
With proper preparation and application, expect your freshly painted fiberglass garage door to maintain its good looks for 5-7 years or longer. Keeping the door clean and touching up paint as needed helps extend its lifespan.
How soon can I close the door after painting?
Avoid closing the door until the paint has fully cured, typically 2-3 days. Park vehicles away from the door for at least 3-5 days to prevent damage to the new paint.
Will the paint fade in the sun?
Some minor fading over time is normal. Using premium exterior paint and applying coats properly helps minimize fading. Keeping the door clean helps maintain its freshly painted vibrancy.
Can I get spray paint in custom colors?
Many brands offer custom color matching if you provide them with a color sample. This allows you to get the exact garage door color you desire.