5 DIY Garage Door Makeover Ideas

by Team HomeServe
Unfinished red oak garage door with stain being applied.

You might keep your lawn well-manicured, wash your windows regularly and plant bright flowers every spring — but you still have that moment each time you pull into your driveway where it just feels like something’s missing. If you’re less-than-thrilled with the look of your house, it might be time to rethink your home’s curb appeal. To that end, there’s a particular area that’s often overlooked yet one you should be open to: your garage door.

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This prominent exterior feature presents a golden opportunity for adding visual interest to your house — and the good news is, you can do it yourself. Here are five cool DIY makeover ideas that channel your creative drive into your garage door:

1. Paint It a Pop Color

Putting on a new coat of paint may be the simplest way to update your garage door — but that doesn’t mean it has to be *plain *and simple. Although white is a popular choice among homeowners and is often chosen to match the front door of the house, don’t immediately discount other colors. Black paint makes for a bold contrast to a white house. On the other hand, matching the color of your home’s exterior can create a pleasing monochromatic look that won’t detract from other architectural details.

Don't limit yourself to one color, either. Apply a contrasting paint color to recessed panels to create patterns and add visual interest. Another great option is two-step wood-look paint, which creates the upscale, textured look of woodgrain.

Whatever color scheme you choose, it’s generally best to stick with acrylic latex exterior paint for long-lasting, weather-resistant vibrancy. Prior to painting, you should treat your door with a primer designed for the material the door is made from; also, use painting tape to keep your lines sharp and to stop paint from bleeding into other areas.

2. Leave a Stain

An easy way to give your garage door a fresh, vibrant appearance is by applying a gel staining product. Gel stains are a great choice for DIYers because they’re so easy to use and are virtually drip-free. These stains come in a multitude of colors, including shades designed to create a wood-like appearance, and they can be used on most garage door surfaces, including wood, fiberglass, metal and veneer. Plus, you can choose how thick to apply it and how many coats to use for a custom finish. Better, still: Gel-stained garage doors should keep their good looks for years.

Before staining, always start with a clean surface. Rusted surfaces or those with glazed finishes may also require sanding. Keep rags on hand during the staining process to wipe away spills as they occur.

Aged red oak garage door getting power washed and refinished.

3. Get Some Skin in the Game

If you want the coolest garage door in the neighborhood, garage door skins may be the way to go. Sometimes referred to as garage door overlays or garage posters, these panels are a simple, cost-effective way to dramatically transform your home’s exterior.

Designed to be applied to traditional metal doors, skins can give your garage the upscale look of wood at a fraction of a price. If wood isn't your style, you can also choose landscapes, seasonal scenes and other unique prints, or opt to design or commission your own custom artwork for a one-of-a-kind look. And because garage door skins are typically magnetic, they’re easily installed and removed so you can swap them out at any time.

4. Accentuate the Positive

One great way to enhance your garage door’s appeal is to add creative accents to the surrounding area. This can include details that are installed directly onto your house or freestanding decor items placed nearby. Adding curb appeal to your garage door through the use of trims and accent pieces can be especially effective if your home has a wide garage or multiple doors. Try creating a unique look for your garage doors by incorporating the following trims and accents:

  • Trellises wound with lush green vines or brightly colored flowers
  • Overhead pergolas
  • Columns
  • Stacked stone veneer accents
  • Decorative planters filled with flowers

5. Channel Your Inner Picasso

If you’re aiming to create a bold, whimsical look for your garage door, unleash your creativity and approach the surface as if it were a canvas. For a unique look, design a colorful full-door mural yourself (or recruit an artistic friend or family member). For a more conservative approach, paint smaller images such as flowers, vines, geometric designs or animal shapes on recessed panels.

If free-form painting isn’t in your wheelhouse, stencils are a great alternative. They’re inexpensive, simple to use, come in a wide variety of traditional and modern themes, and are usually available in your local craft or home-improvement store.

Go With a Pro

If none of these DIY options appeals to you, or if your door’s in need of extensive repairs, a new garage door may be in order. Because an average single garage door weighs about 125 pounds, and double doors may be upwards of 200 pounds, depending on the material and thickness, they can be almost impossible for a DIYer to install. So, if your garage door makeover includes plans for installing a new door, hire a professional.

An experienced contractor can make sure the job is done correctly without sacrificing personal safety or risking damage to your home. A pro can help you navigate today’s exciting garage door options, such as:

  • Traditional barnyard doors for a charming country look
  • The Clopay Coachman collection’s low-maintenance carriage house doors
  • The Clopay Gallery collection’s grooved-panel steel carriage house doors
  • Glass garage doors that let in plenty of natural light while thwarting prying eyes
  • Slide-to-the-side doors that accommodate garages with minimal headroom
  • Side-hinged doors with retro appeal

Your garage door should always look great and add to your home's curb appeal, but it's even more important for it to function properly. Issues like track alignment and malfunctioning sensors can keep your garage door opener from doing its job correctly. Purchasing a home warranty plan can help you prepare for unexpected home maintenance costs such as garage door opener repairs. With a plan in place, you can simply call the 24/7 hotline and a licensed local contractor will be sent out to repair the issue. Learn more about what's covered in a home repair plan from HomeServe today.