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DIY Garage Door Makeover with Stain

Thanks for Sharing!

Our Garage Door Makeover – I’m so thrilled to share with you guys this DIY project.  It’s been on my to-do list for about a year. Our garage door faces east and has been sufficiently baked over the years and was begging for a makeover.  So I decided to give it an update using stain… yep… gel stain! The results were even better than I had hoped for. For less than $20 and a few hours of work, we had a gorgeous faux wood garage door that added instant curb appeal to our home. It looks like we got a new garage door!

AMAZING Faux Wood Garage Door update a faded garage door with gel stain

Garage Door Makeover

Here’s a little video about our garage door makeover:

Gel Stain Garage Door Makeover Supply List:

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience.

Can you stain a garage door?

YES! You can stain most garage doors. If you have a wood door you absolutely can stain it, but if you have metal as I do and most are nowadays, you can with most! I highly recommend you do a test patch at the bottom corner of your garage door to see how it looks. But when you use gel stain it’s very different than traditional stain. We have an aluminum garage door, but I know others have used it on fiberglass as well.

Choose A Stain Color

I went with a walnut stain. I thought the tones would look best with our stucco exterior. You will want to factor in the base color of your garage door too, as that will affect the outcome color too.

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Door

It’s very likely that your garage door is covered with dirt like ours was. Here’s our sad garage door as it was getting a good power wash.

Our faded garage door getting cleaned before the gel stain

You can see it was a very faded brown from all that heat on the metal door.  If you don’t have a pressure washer I’d recommend cleaning it well with your hose and then giving it a good cleaning with vinegar and a sponge and finish with a good rinse. Or you could use a bucket with soap and water to give it a good scrub.

Apply Stain

Painting on the gel stain to our faded garage door

After the door was clean and dry, my husband used a cheap synthetic brush and worked one section at a time brushing on the gel stain in the direction of the grain in the door. The gel stain dries super quick, so I would recommend taking on this project when the weather is pleasant and when the garage door isn’t in the direct sunlight.

When brushing on gel stain you want to have your brush strokes barely overlap. If you keep brushing on top of the gel stain you will pull the stain off. It is a much stickier texture than regular stain.

Update Your Garage Door with Gel Stain - it's half done

Here we are halfway finished. Now gel stain is NOT like a regular stain. You are not letting it sit and minute and then wiping it off!!! . You paint on the gel stain and let it dry… that’s it… super simple!

Garage Door Makeover with Stain looks like faux wood

And all finished! What an update! It looks like a brand new door!!!!

Closeup on Garage Door Makeover with Stain looks like faux wood

I love the deep rich brown… it almost looks like faux wood!

Faux Wood Garage Door Update with Stain

We only used one coat of gel stain to achieve this gorgeous look. If your garage door is a different color than brown it might take more than one coat to achieve the color you’re looking for…. but wow… what a difference! It took my husband about 3 hours total to get this great garage door update… so it’s a great weekend project!

I’ve had lots of questions regarding a white or off-white garage doors.  My recommendation would be to try the gel stain in a small area in the corner of your garage door and see how it looks.

The quart of gel stain was about $15 and we used two brushes… so for under $20 bucks, we got this awesome garage door update!

UPDATE:  We used Gel Stain on our front door – you can read all about it here:


Another Update – Our Gel Stained Garage Door One Year Later

(almost 4 years now and still going strong)

Update Your Garage Door with Gel Stain, Create a Faux Wood Look

8 Year Update

I had many questions over the years asking if we put a protective coat on top of the stain. We did not. You definitely could put a coat of poly on top. Ask your hardware store which is best with the gel stain you use.

After 8 years our garage door started to fade a little. Nothing like it was when I did the project originally, but fading enough that it needed a refresh. So here’s what I did. I gave it a good cleaning and this time I used a gel stain with polyurethane in it! So far after 1 year, it’s still looking like it was just stained. So if you’re wanting to do this DIY project on your door I’d recommend using this stain: STAIN with POLY

Here are some other great DIY you might want to check out…

Hanging Herb Mason Jars 6

Hanging Herb Mason Jars

Mini-Blinds to Roman Shades

Mini Blind Makeover


  1. It’s great to hear about your commitment to providing quality doors and windows at competitive prices, especially with over 20 years of experience in construction. Quality is indeed a key factor when it comes to doors and windows, as they not only enhance the aesthetics of a space but also contribute to its functionality and security.

    I’d like to share a personal experience related to this. A few years ago, my family and I decided to renovate our home. We wanted to give it a fresh look while also improving energy efficiency and security. During the renovation process, we were looking for steel front doors and windows, precisely the kind of products you seem to specialize in.

  2. Absolutely blown away by the transformative power of gel stain on a garage door. Never imagined such a cost-effective DIY could make such a significant impact on curb appeal. Your step-by-step guidance and the beautiful outcome have inspired me to consider this for my own garage. Thanks for sharing your experience and expertise!

  3. I really enjoy your blog post about DIY garage door makeover with stain . Your idea is great and has a lot of tips for everyone who wants to build their own house without spending a fortune in materials or hiring an expensive contractor/builder. Thanks again, keep sharing more articles with us.

  4. Could you please share with me the brand you used? Was it exterior gel stain cause I’ve not been able to find it.

  5. This is a neat DIY! We’ve been looking into wooden garage doors, but have been seeing a lot of DIY garage paintings. Do you think this application would be practical in an extra hold or cold?

  6. Would love to know how it holds up in the heat. We get direct sunlight on our doors. Does it fade from the sun. Would also love to do my door. It’s not metal it’s Masonite and is black. Would I need to paint it a lighter color before using the gel stain

    1. I did mine about two years ago and it looks awful. Mine gets direct sun on the bottom half. The top still looks ok but the bottom is faded and starting to peel. I even did the top coat sealant as recommended. It was a lot of work and very inexpensive but I didn’t think I would be redoing it every other year.

      1. Mine did the same thing. It took me 3 days to get all the stain off which also took the original primer coat off. I was down to the aluminum door.

        1. Can you guys tell me which stain you used? Was it gel stain? The one I used in this post? Our aluminum door is over 6 years stained now and it’s just starting to fade (lasted longer than the paint did originally on it) – but absolutely no chipping.

  7. We did this 2 years ago, East facing house with hot sun…. super easy to do, and looks great at first, but now WAY faded! I will have to re-do it again this year. I’ll try applying a bit more stain this time, but if it only lasts another 2 years will just go ahead and get so some exterior paint.

    1. Did you put a seal coat on it? The same thing happened to me, I didn’t apply a seal coat but I am going to this time I refinish it.
      Thanks for your reply.

  8. We have been considering this for over a year and want to ensure we have all the info up front. Living in Northern Idaho and get four complete seasons from below zero to over 100 degrees. Our garage door is vinyl and very white….do you have any feedback from anyone who has experience painting their garage doors. Thanks.

  9. This looks fantastic! Question: did you have any rusted areas on the aluminum? If so, did you sand or treat the areas first?

  10. Great idea, just tried some panels on my garage door… works better then I imagined

    thanks for sharing such an economical and impactful DIY project !

      1. Hello,
        Absolutely love the look of this, we have a white painted garage door…
        do we need to sand it before we apply the gel stain?
        do we need a top coat?


  11. Just did this to my garage as well. It was white to begin with. I still only had to do one coat and the color turned out just like yours. So happy I came across your tutorial!

      1. Nope! The original post above says she didn’t seal hers and four years later it still looks great. So I don’t see the point of wasting the time or money.

  12. I used an enhancer type product many years ago and my garage door looked awesome . . . briefly . . . a very long time ago. Mission creep on a solar project has the garage doors in the cross hairs as each upgrade served to highlight a nearby deficiency and well, I can’t be happy leaving them as is. I’ve nearly run out of money so replacing them will have to be put off for a bit. I found perk-up solutions for $$$ that didn’t seem durable. Then the clouds parted and I stumbled across the picture of your garage door, which could have been separated from mine at birth. Power washed (FUN!!) and slathered on a coat of hickory. The texture was gooey like stiff pudding and until some dude walked by and jinxed it by saying “How brave! No drop cloth!” I was doing just fine.

    I couldn’t stop reacting out loud about how beautifully it was coming out. Neighbors (people I didn’t know, driving by or walking their dogs) felt obliged to comment. I choose to take it as a compliment to your fabulous discovery as opposed to a reflection of our home’s prior state of neglect.

    It took about 1 1/4 quarts to cover a single and a double door. Bouyed by my (your) success, I’m going to use the rest of the second can to refinish the front door, which previously made dollar signs spin in my eyes like a cartoon character. Now I’m adding years of life to two garage doors and a front door for $30 and a pair of sweat pants that were victims of the jinxy neighbor’s curse.

          1. Maryann is your door still holding up well? What date did you actually stain the door as opposed to today’s date? Your door looks great! Thanks for the inspiration!

          2. Valerie – we stained it over 4 years ago now. It’s still looking great. We never sealed it.

  13. Look who popped up when I was in the stain isle and googled ‘what kind of stain metal garage doors’! Got me some walnut to update a rental property. Brush on and leave on, no wipeing off right?

  14. Hello- I love it! I’m finally going to bite the bullet! Could you tell me if your husband stained between the panels? When the door goes up and they separate, there is that edge. Wondering what to do with it…
    Thank you!

    1. we did not Sheila. We figured it wouldn’t be seen much, but you’d have to stain one edge at a time, let it dry and then open it more for the next, etc.

      1. I have the same situation with my metal garage doors. I got the Gel Stain. As discussed, the Gel Stain is very thick. I tested it by using a brush to paint it on in the direction of the metal doors wood grain. It so thick, it leaves a heavy film on the door. Am I supposed to just paint it on and leave it? As a experiment, I tried wiping it off like you would with wood, but that didn’t work very well. It’s so thick, and leaves such a heavy film of stain on the surface, its almost like a coat of paint, so why not just use paint over this instead of the Gel Stain? – Thank you.

        1. Hi Kevin,

          You want to put an a full, thin coat. No wiping. Just let it dry. As I recommend above make sure it’s not too hot or cold as gel stain is sticky and it will be hard to work with.

          1. Thank you.
            I used the Hickory stain.
            It looks great.

            Some Observations:
            – The finish is shinny.
            – You need to pay attention when applying, because as it is a “stain” and it could be blotchy if it
            isn’t uniformly applied.

            – If I were to express a concern with using a stain on a metal door, it would be a concern of how
            well its going to hold up. I live in Texas. I don’t have winter issues, but It can get hot at times.

            – If anyone has else has used this product for this application, I would be interested in hearing
            how long you’ve had it on your garage doors, weather conditions, and how well its holding up.

            – I’ll keep you updated.

            Thank you again.


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  16. With outside wall the garage door paint color looks outstanding 🙂 what color you used in door ? thanks for sharing

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  19. Wow! I gotta say I loved the outcome of the garage! <3 So you washed it down first and THEN painted it ?? Did you use anything other than the gel ??? And how many times did you paint over ???
    Thanks, Marj

      1. Did my garage door last summer. After a brutal upstate NY winter,still looks beautiful!!! Thank you, thank you ,thank you.!!!!!!

      2. I’m in the process of using Minwax gel stain on front door, one cost done but will need two. However, you didn’t mention using a protective polyurethane as recommended on product? After talking with a Lowe’s employee he fully recommended as to protect from weather, especially direct sunlight. Because it is a stain and not an exterior paint. You garage door looks fabulous!

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  22. This looks really great! I love how it really does look like wood and it looks extremely durable. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Not sure how long ago you did this – but I would be interested in a follow up story – and photos of how your project has held up after a season of beating sun….. in other words = How well does this last over time?

    It looks awesome, and I have a home I am preparing to update (10 years of renters have had a toll, but we want to move back in soon!)
    Just not wanting to RE do this in a year or two….

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  25. was amazing, the banister of my wood is pretty ugly also does is good technique is applying? I think I will do the same. thanks for sharing!

    1. I haven’t tried it personally, but I’ve seen others who’ve used gel stain on their stair railing. I’d think you’d need to sand it to get rid of any shine so the wood could absorb the gel stain. I’d suggest trying it in an inconspicuous spot and see what you think. Good luck!

      1. We tried gel stain on our banisters. Did not work. We had to sand them due to the previous finish. We then used black gel stain. Right after we had the hardwoods refinished and the guys put poly on the rails when they did the floors. Has held up great 4 years later.

    2. It works fantastic. I used a rag (over a rubber glove) and just wiped it on, a little too heavily, best to go lightly at first, you can very easily do touchups, just wipe in right direction. I did not sand, maybe should have lightly, however gel stain did stick. On the bannister, it is wearing off a bit, just dabbed a bit more on. Not a big problem, probably should seal it, maybe later. I re-stained the inside, med-oak, orangey doors too, hated them, but did it in “streaks”, looks more like real woodgrain. Love this stuff.

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    1. I wasn’t able to pull up the comments and see that you did comment on how it has aged. Thank you!!

      1. Hi Erin – It’s been 2 years since we did this and it’s still holding up great!

  28. I’d like to stain my door so this guide has given me some helpful information as to how I can go about that. I like the pictures you included with the steps, its very helpful for seeing how to go about staining. Thanks for the useful garage door tips.

  29. Is your garage door itself made out of wood or metal or some other material? I just want to make sure this will work on ours, which I believe is a metal base.

  30. Painting your overhead garage doors can really make them look new again. I would love to paint my garage door soon and freshen up the outer appearance of my home. I am glad to know that painting your door is really not that costly.

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  32. Hello! I stained my garage door this past weekend. It is really too dark and there are so many spots that are dull where it looks like we patched up some spots. I would like to change it. Any idea where to go from here? Can I use regular paint over the gel stain?

  33. These look amazing and I am so excited to try making them for a spare bedroom! Thank you for the nicely detailed instructions and photos.

  34. OMG my garage door is 3/4 done when the HOA stopped by to tell me that I can not paint without Authorization from the board!!! I’m am livid because it was looking sooo NICE and they are just gonna tell us to paint it back to how it was. Just please let people in here that have HOA to please talk to them first and now I need advise on how to take it off or do I just paint it back white? I’m so upset because it looks super nice. I’m still going to fight this regardless because I have noticed other people with different garage door colors,,that is why I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t know you need approval to paint the garage door from HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION.. So bummed.

    1. Hi Shelia… sure…. I wanted it to have a faux wood finish. I think stain does a great job on that.

      1. Did you use something over the gel stain to prevent it from weather damage? If not, how does it look now?

        1. We still haven’t sealed it and it’s still holding up beautifully – it’s been almost 2 years.

          1. Maryann, what part of country is your garage door. I am in North Texas in summer many days 100 plus also my garage door is south facing an gets a lot of sun both winter and summer. I want do something to this bland white door. email an answer please

  35. If this is a gel stain, I’m wondering what you used for a topcoat, protectant?
    Would it stand up to snow and harsh winters? Mine also faces east., full morning sun Thanks.

    1. Linda we did this project over a year ago and we’ve yet to put a topcoat on it. It still is looking great! We might do it this fall when it gets cooler. We don’t get snow here in So. Cal., so I can’t tell you how it will hold up. We do get into the 30’s in the winter and around 100 in the summer for a few months.

      1. Looks like I have a project for this weekend. Been looking to do something wood tone and get away from the plain colors. Mine faces west, so we’ll see how it holds up…Thanks!

  36. I purchased a specialty fiberglass and stained glass front door. I was instructed to use the Minwax gel stain as a faux wood finish on the fiberglass. Now, six years later, the finish has dulled or faded or peeled off depending upon how much sunshine hit each area. I’m not sure what to do with it now!

      1. Thanks for the suggestion! It can’t hurt! The interior of the door is still gorgeous! The exterior makes me want to cry! It was manilaeenvelope colored fiberglass. In the areas where the morning sun hits it is awful! In the areas shaded by the porch overhang it looks as good as the day I did it!

    1. Regina . . . I had the same color (steel, not fiberglass) on a set of french doors leading out to my deck. I used a Minwax faux wood grain kit to finish the door. It was a two step process (graining with a special tool, then staining over the top after thoroughly dry), but it turned out very realistic and has held up well. I did use two coats of a clear polyurethane finish over the top to protect the surface. I think the kit was around $30-40 five years ago. Good luck!

  37. Do you think this would work on one of those plastic fake fences that are so popular now? We have a white one that came with the house that we bought in Florida and I hate it. I would love to try this. Such a cheap fix. Do you think it would work on the fence?

    1. Carol I really couldn’t say for certain, since I haven’t tried it. My recommendation would be to try it on a small area that isn’t really noticeable and see what you think.

      1. Typically on plastic, if you darken it from the white, it will heat up from the sun and probably warp the plastic. That is why you don’t see dark colored plastic outside much.

  38. I love it!!! Hey for $20 bucks it was well worth the experiment!!! I have used gel stains on items that were not wood and it held up better than any paint!! Kudos to you for stepping outside of the box!!

    1. I was just wondering how your stained garage door is holding up? Mine faces east and gets full afternoon sun. How often will you need to re-do?

      1. GLS… it’s been almost a year since we did it and it’s still looks brand new. I’ll be doing an update post next month (1 year mark) with new photos, etc.

  39. I was just wondering where on your site can I find the pictures of your garage re-do after the year has past. I kept seeing several comments about showing it again after a year but haven’t seen or can’t find those pics.

    Thanks and I love the idea!!!!

  40. I did this project this weekend. I loved the look of it. Once I put the Spar Urethane Satan Finish on it, it was extremely glossy. I have used other Satan Finishes and never had this problem. What kind of Finish would you recommend?

    1. Christine I haven’t put a finish on ours yet. So I can’t see from personal experience. Did you ask someone at the hardware store? Was that a recommendation?

  41. There is a reason you should not use gel stain outdoors… it doesn’t last! The weather patterns change this, and checking for wear after a few months is not a true test. Check again after all four seasons have come and gone.

    1. It’s been 9 months and it’s still looking great. I will be doing a post after a year to share how it’s holding up. For under $15 I can’t complain.

      1. What state are you in? I’m looking at doing this to our front door and garage in Arizona as I’m putting my house on the market and need that extra curb appeal boost (I’m going to put a urethane top coat over it) but just curious what kind of weather conditions yours has been facing 🙂 It looks fantastic!

        1. Hi Natalie ~ I’m in inland So. Cal. During the summer we’re over 100 degrees for a couple months and we get down into the 20’s during the winter.

          1. Thank you so much for the reply! 🙂 The location of my house in Arizona hits temps at about 120 in the sun during the summer… 😀 Nice to know that it won’t bubble off 😀

        1. Hi! I really don’t know. I haven’t tried it. If you really aren’t happy with what you have I’d personally try it on a small area… maybe the inside of the cupboard door?? See what it looks like and if you like it.

  42. i work in a paint store and we sell gel stain. its really only made for interior use so if you want to use it outside you need to put an exterior urethane over it. also its a pudding like stain i recommend trying it out on something and getting the hang of it first. its good for wood but great for fiberglass!

    1. Lisi, I have also asked Maryanne this – seeing that you work in a paint shop, what do you think I can do with a red panelite kitchen floor unit? I love the cupboard, but the faded red panelite really needs to be changed?

  43. I love gel stain and have used it on tons of indoor projects. I would really like to hear and update in about 6 month as to how it weathers the weather!!!

  44. Hi,
    I love this and want to do this on our garage. It looks awful and its wood 🙁 Can this gel stain be used on wood too? The door isn’t all wood… there are parts that are not wood. Not sure the material.

  45. Hi, would love to try this but living in Tucson AZ and the hot summer sun baking on the garage doors for hours – do you think it will fade immediately or not to try it?

    1. We have this stain on our new front doors. Within a year the top poly coat faded and messed with the stain. Poly it and if possible plant some trees to help with sunlight.

  46. Did you have to wipe it down once applied with the brush, like you would with actual wood projects? I started doing my front door and am a little scared by the results looking blotchy. Just didn’t know if maybe I should’ve been wiping it down as I went.

  47. Maryann, I LOVE the way this looks! My husband has a question though…he thinks the color looks like it may be a bit splotchy in a couple of the pictures. Is it?

    1. I don’t notice it looking splotchy in person… maybe it’s just the lighting. I’m going to be doing a update post in a couple months so I’ll have new photos at that time.

  48. I did this very project last summer. I scrubbed down my garage doors with a mixture of white vinegar and Dawn dish soap. I used the jel stain, but, be prepared, even outside the fumes can be strong, especially on a still day! My garage doors face South, which presented the problem of them heating up fast in the sun. When the doors are hot, your brush doesn’t glide, and the stain dries instantly! Kinda scary! My remedy for this was having my husband rig a sheet from the gutters to hang down and creat shade, hence, keeping the doors cooler. this is a project for a cool, shady day! if I was to do it over again I would wait for a cloudy, Autumn day. I ended up doing three coats of stain, mainly to correct the incorrect drying because of the heat. additional coats cover mistakes. Also don’t tape areas off….I did this with Painters tape and the adhesive on the tape got gooey on my door! I panicked, but, goo- be-gone took it right off! My neighbors were pretty skeptical as. I was doing the door…they all have told me it’s beautiful! People that were just driving by would stop and ask all about! it has been almost a year since I did this, and my doors look great! I do have to put a coat or two of poly on, but, I am waiting till fall. we live in Iowa and had one of the worst winters, and my doors look great! BTW, my doors are fiberglass. I did a double, and two single garage doors, and used around 4 quart cans of jel stain! the more coats you put on, the darker it gets. I did 3 coats, it, a very dark rich look. I love it, and am so glad I did it!

    1. It is a great project Michelle… a yes a cool and preferably cloudy day is best.

    2. I too live in Iowa and we are completely changing the exterior look of the 1950’s home we purchased last year. Gel Staining my south facing white garage door is something I plan on doing this fall as well.
      Michelle, was your door white to start? Have you had any issues with peeling? Have you polyurethane the door? I’m looking for any suggestions to make this work!
      Curious if you live in the Des Moines metro area — I’d love to see in person.
      Thanks for any input!

    3. Hi Michelle, I am curious as to how your door looks with multiple coats versus 1. I am not sure if more coats will end up looking too dark. It would be so helpful to see a visual. Is there any way you might be able to post or send me a picture? Thank you sooooo much!! Christinedc5@cox.net

  49. Hi! Looks beautiful!! Can you tell me was this done on a wood door or aluminum garage door?? I would love to achieve this look on our home, but we will be having an aluminum garage door! Thank you!

      1. Can you tell me if you can purchase this stain gel at Home Depot or Lowes are do you have to buy it from a speciality store? Also, could it be used to paint the trim of your house?

  50. Love this! I want to do this of my front door which is currently black. Do you think I wld have to prime it or paint it a lighter color before I apply the gel stain? I was planning on using the walnut gel stain color.
    Thanks so much

  51. Hi Maryann,

    I would love to do this to our garage doors but wondering if the dark brown ‘wood look’ would look ok with our black front door and shutters? The garage doors are on the side of the house with no other windows. What color is your front door? And shutters if you have them? Your project looks amazing!!! TY

    1. Hi Chris ~ Our front door and shutters are actually black too. I’m planning to do the staining on our front door too as the black paint is faded, but I’m going to leave the shutters black for now. Our home is a light/medium tan, but we have iron details in black, so it works.

  52. So just for clarification, if I am starting with a plan white garage door that has never been painted before. You would suggest painting it caramel/tanish color prior to applying the Hickory gel stain to ensure that it has a more faux wood look?
    I’m very excited about finding this on pinterest since my husband and I had been debating about ordering a faux would garage door. This will literally save us hundreds of dollars.

    1. Hi Raquel! Personally I think I’d test a small corner with straight gel stain on it first. If it’s the look you want you don’t have to deal with painting and if not then you can paint the whole thing a tan color and then gel stain it. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  53. My hubby and I just did this process on our garage door, turned out fantastic! We pressure washed the door, then applied one coat of hickory gel stain. We plan on putting on a coat of polyurethane in a couple of weeks to further protect it. Overall we are very pleased with the outcome. Thank you for the inspiration and directions.

  54. I can’t wait to do my garage doors, front door and utility shed!!!! I saw this some time back on line and then lost it. Was so bummed THANK YOU for the information and you patience to all the people who do not take the time to read all the comments. The info is all there yet you keep patiently answering the same question. Great attitude!!

  55. We did this over the weekend and it turned out really well. We had to do two coats of the gel stain to get the look we were going for, but overall, it turned out exactly how we had envisioned. We also went to Home Depot to get the carriage garage hinges and handles to add a little more detail to the door!

  56. I’m going to try it on the new kitchen door we installed. I’ve hemmed and hawed about what to do with it, but I have a beautiful dark bronze storm door outside. I think the wood stain would compliment it well. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  57. I am doing mine now, have about 1]2 done right now it looks like a stained mess! I am so hoping when it drys it looks better! Cross your fingers! Using all the right things so mayb I am in to big of a hurry!

  58. MaryAnn, project is fantabulous!! And you are incredibly patient beeeeeeeyonnnnnd words having to repeat every single thing you mentioned in your post, that people just scroll right past (and risk missing all the good stuff?????). Thank you for the idea and all the tips!

  59. I have a question as you did not mention the fact that there was a top coat put onto the gel stain. I know that Minwax recommends that you use their Helmsman’s Spar Urethane when using their gel stain on exterior projects? Do you think adding that would help my project stay fresh for a very long time? I LOVE and I mean LOVE their Spar Urethane, as it has the UV protectant and rain/moisture seal. Just any thoughts would be great. I live in Utah and have an East facing garage door which also has not weathered well.

    1. Hi Robbie ~

      Yes… I’d recommend sealing it. It’s on our to-do list. That’s a great recommendation!

  60. You just remarked to Jennifer about how quickly the color bakes off. Has yours already shown wear in just a few weeks?

    1. Hi Tammy ~ My remark was on how quickly the original paint color faded. Our garage door still is looking great with it’s gel stain update 🙂

      1. You mentioned your husband went by sections…If you had to do over would you go by horizontal strip. My husband did our front door with gel stain about 2 months ago. He did a great job and I love the look. Looking at the garage door pic you took, it looks like you can see where the paint brush stopped between each section. That is
        why I was wondering about going by horizontal sections

        1. We purposely did it that way because of the inlays on the door, plus with how quick the gel stain dries it’s easier to work in smaller sections.

    2. +Tammy: “Love the way this turned out – we did something similar with ours.” are referring to their updates; “They just don’t last that long, do they?!” and Maryann’s reply, “It’s amazing how quickly the color bakes off (fades from high heat) Jennifer!”, are references to the original color of the garage doors.

  61. Wow, this looks amazing. We are wanting to do this with our plain white double door. You said early on this post that you used “walnut” color gel stain. Then towards the end you said, “hickory.” Can we clarify which one it was, and also if my door is white, would I need to paint it a caramel/light brown/orangish color base coat like some the tutorials on here?

    1. Sorry Kyle – It was Minwax’s Hickory Gel Stain. In regards to your door being white I’m not 100% sure, since our’s was brown originally. I think I’d try a small corner area and see how it does. If it’s not as rich as you’d like you’ll need to paint it first with a light/medium brown before using the stain to get that wood look. Good luck and let us know if it works on the white!

      1. So we did it over the weekend. We painted it an orangish/caramel color first and then went over that with the gel stain. It turned out amazing!! I wanted to add something though for those using the gel stain. It will dry glossy, so I took steel wool (1 grade), and went over the garage door rubbing off the sheen. It looks a lot more like real wood IMO. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

      2. In the products needed, you stated you used Minwax Walnut Gel stain, then later in comments, you said it was Hickory. You might want to fix that. I was going for the look in the picture, so I did the Walnut, it is pretty dark. Now I see that it was actually Hickory. Thanks for the inspiration. I like my door, even thigh it’s darker than I hoped for.

  62. We did this with MDF crown moulding in our bathroom to match the other wood details. I painted the base a light tan color because I needed to match it pretty dark. Everyone thinks it is real stained wood.
    The garage was my next project but I have been putting it off. Thanks for the inspiration. It looks fabulous.

    1. That’s great Susie… you’ve got me thinking about some future projects now!

  63. Maryann, That does not “almost” look like real wood. It “absolutely” does! I love love love wooden garage doors. And since they are the price of a new car, what you did there is amazing!! I can’t believe the difference in those metal doors. The money spent was minimal, the amount of work was doable, and the result WOW! This is one of the best curb appeal ideas I have seen.

  64. FYI ladies!!!!! I just went to Lowe’s and they have stopped carrying gel stain. Home Depot still has it though!

  65. It’s beautiful!!!! I have a question about the application, when your hubby painted the stain on did he let it set and then wipe some off? Like when staining regularly? Or did he just apply an even coat? Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Julie ~ He just painted it on. Gel stain works differently than regular stain. It’s dries quick and there’s no need to wipe off excess.

      1. Thank you for getting back with me so quickly! I’m going today to buy the supplies! I’m excited!

  66. I showed this to my husband last night. It’s all he could think of all evening. He kept bringing it up and asking me what the weather was going to be like on Saturday. LOL I’m betting this will be our Saturday project.

        1. You can get Gel Stain at a Benjamin Moore Paint store I am in the process of transforming my living room WHITE cabinets with Gel Stain. It looks amazing! Gel Stain is my favorite transformation product!

          1. Yes! I have been wondering if I could put this gel stain on my white cabinets. Mine are not painted white, just the white laminate type stuff. Did you paint that? Curious how it looks/came out. thanks

  67. I think you door looks great, I wanted to do something like that to mine but unfortunately my house is a dark brown with white trim. Would you have a suggestion of another color you think would look good on the door. My front door is a blue, but it isn’t on the same side as the garage door.

    1. Susan what about a light brown gel stain? Hard to say without seeing a picture… but if it’s similar tones it would look good.

  68. Wow, it turned out fantastic! I have never used a gel stain before. Do you think it would work on vinyl siding? I would love to update the ugly shed in our backyard.

    1. I’m not sure Jen… I’ve never tried. If you have a small, inconspicuous spot you might try it???

  69. I was thinking about getting new faux wood garage doors until I saw your garage door makeover. I read where you said how quickly the color is baking off. Is it already coming off and was it worth the work?

      1. Dee – it’s been rinsed a few times now and it’s staying perfectly. I think gel stain responds more like a paint.

        1. I work for a window & door company. We use Gel Stain on fiberglass & steel doors all the time. A lot of direct sun can cause fading especially on darker colors or colors with a red hue to them. I would definitely recommend using a clear coat polyurethane over the stain to help protect it.

          1. Do I need to strip my fiberglass door first? We have a faux wood front door and it looks rough! I have been wanting to paint it but this would be a better idea!

    1. Sarah – the stain isn’t coming off at all yet. The painted garage door was fading. The door was installed about 8 years ago and after 8 years in the sun it was very faded. The stained door is still looking great!

  70. We had painted our Garage door brown 5 years ago, looks nice but also needs an update as well. Looking a little dull. Great job, it looks gorgeous!
    Question though, I noticed in your pictures on some spots in looks a little faded, (which I love by the way) just wondering if that was on purpose, or it just happened that way?

    1. Veronica – We pulled the brush back through the stain to try to give it a more “wooden” look. Nope, no primer. Just cleaned really well before applying the gel stain. We are planning to add a coat of poly (non yellowing). We just finished the project a few weeks ago.

      1. Thanks! We just finished ours, used the same exact one and it looks amazing! What a difference!!

  71. We have the exact same doors. They came in white and they are still white 20 boring years later. To jazz them up we were planning on replacing the top panel with the window lites. Yours look fantastic, I’ll be looking forward to an update, but I’m also checking out my gel stain color choices, and pinning!

  72. I really wanna do this but how often do you have to reapply the gel stain and does it look good after reapplying? That part concerns me a wee bit.

    1. Hi Becca – we only did the update a few weeks ago, so I can’t tell you for certain. I definitely plan to do an update post in a year though.

  73. It looks fabulous. My in-laws did this to their garage door. It looks so much more high end. Not sure I could start this trend in my neighborhood.

  74. Love this, how is it holding up? It has nothing to absorb into so I was curious. Also did you use kilz underneath?

    1. Val – we completed the process about 3 weeks ago. I’m planning an update post at the end of our 100+ degree summer.

      1. Oh and no we didn’t use anything underneath. Just a good cleaning and then straight onto the faded painted surface. Gel stain reacts differently than regular stain.

      1. In a previous comment:

        Jennifer Priest says
        May 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm
        Love the way this turned out – we did something similar with ours. They just don’t last that long, do they?!


        And you agreed that:
        Maryann @ Domestically Speaking says
        May 31, 2014 at 10:19 pm

        It’s amazing how quickly the color bakes off Jennifer!

        1. To K: “Love the way this turned out – we did something similar with ours.” are referring to their updates; “They just don’t last that long, do they?!” and Maryann’s reply, “It’s amazing how quickly the color bakes off (fades from high heat) Jennifer!”, are references to the original color.

  75. That is amazing! I wonder if I could do my aluminum shed that way. It’s still in good shape but like your door, parts of it are getting over-baked.

    1. I don’t see why not Sharon. Maybe try on a small area, but the garage door is aluminum.

  76. I just love this! Amazing job!
    Would you care to share what gel stain and color you used?

    Thank you,

  77. It turned out fabulous! I have been wanting to do ours for awhile now but have to get the makeover approved by HOA!:( What is your door made of? Ours are aluminum/metal so I wonder if the gel stain would even stick to it and dry or if it would stay tacky to the touch.

    1. Thanks Pamela! Ours is made of aluminum too. Gel stain dries much quicker than regular stain and by the next morning it was smooth and completely dry to the touch.

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