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DIY Garage Door Makeover with Stain

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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.

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… {affiliate links included for your convenience, you find read more here}


Gel Stain Garage Door Makeover Supply List:

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 power 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.

Painting on the gel stain to our faded garage door

The Hubster used a cheap synthetic brush and worked one section at a time brushing on the gel stain in the direction of the pattern 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.


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

Here we are halfway finished.  Now gel stain is NOT like 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!


And all finished!  What an update!

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 the Hubster 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

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

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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?


  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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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