One Year Later… Our Gel Stained Garage Door

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Our Gel Stained Garage Door makeover happened one year ago, so I’m giving you guys an update!  {affiliate links included for your convenience} We used a less than $20 can of gel stain to transform our paint faded, aluminum garage door. We’ve lived in our home almost 7 years now.  Since we moved into our home our brown painted aluminum garage door had faded more and more. Our garage door faces the eastern rising sun and the sun had definitely baked it. We live in Southern California in the inland area where our temps hover around 100 degrees for a couple months of the summer and we can get into the 20’s during the winter. So over this last year our stained garage door has seen those temperature variations.

Create a Faux Wood Garage Door with Gel Stain - less than $20

Gel Stained Garage Door

In case you missed the original Gel Stained Garage Door Tutorial you can read all about it here.  But here’s a look at what the garage door looked like right before we stained it. We were in the middle of washing it here.  You can see how light brown the garage door had become. We gave it a good washing with the pressure washer and let it dry before we stained it. If you had loose debris or paint, or very dirty door, you could use a wire brush or a natural bristle brush to get the debris off. If you don’t have a power washer you could use mild soap and a sponge.

To keep the stain off your driveway you can use drop clothes, plastic sheeting, of just some cardboard.

You could also use painter’s tale is you wanted around the edges. We just free handing it with a paintbrush.

This is with only 1 coat, no second coat needed. If you wanted it darker or if you wanted to use two different shades of stain you could use a second coat.

Well one year later and it’s still looking great!

One Year Later Our Gel Stained Garage Door

We still have not placed any sealer on top. We meant to, but it just never has happened. I can’t tell any fading yet. The color has adhered perfectly. There’s no chipping, peeling, etc. If you want to put a top coat on you’ll have your choice of a matte finish or a high gloss finish to get the door how you want it to look

Here’s a couple closer looks…

Close Up of Gel Stained Garage Door One Year Later

It’s still a gorgeous, rich brown.

Close Up of Gel Stained Garage Door One Year Later

Common Questions:

So one of the questions I get all the time… “are we still happy with it?”

YES!  Couldn’t be happier!

For less than $20 total in supplies our garage door looks 1000 times better!

Would I recommend it?  Absolutely!

What I’ve recommended is that you test it on a small area of your door. Obviously we started with a light, brown door… so how it will look if your door is light green right now??? I have no idea. So test it… in a small, inconspicuous area.

All I can say is it worked great on ours and we couldn’t be happier with it still one year later.

So you used gel stain not regular stain?

YES! We just gel stain which has a thicker consistency. You can find the step by step process in the original post in the box below.

If you want to read all the details on the gel stain type and color we used and the supplies you can find them here:

This is a great diyer project that can easily be finished in 1 day. The full post with all the details can be found right below. There I share all the supplies we used, for easy use.

Gel Stained Garage Door Tutorial

We also used gel stain on our front door!  You can ready all about it here:

Gel Stained Front Door

One Year Later Our Gel Stained Garage Door

I love the transformation that stain garage doors can make in a matter of hours!


  1. I love the way your garage doors turned out! I clicked on the link and just wanted to verify that you used the Walnut stain that popped up first!

  2. Names of a lot of celebrities are doing rounds on the internet who might get locked inside the house this year. Amongst those are the names of Beyhadh 2 star cast– Jennifer Winget and Shivin Narang. It is being said that the two of them have been approached by the makers of Salman Khan’s show however the former has denied the offer.

  3. Maryann,

    Ours came out stunning originally as well. Yet at the 1 year mark we began seeing “micro cracks” (It appears they’re in your closeup pic also). Then year 2 it began flaking off in spots. I followed your steps exactly, except I spent more time prepping. I’ve worked with numerous gel coat brands over the years & had some great results to well not so great (brands truly are different).

    (Speaking from my experience) DONT add a sealer, most gel coat brands don’t require or recommend them! What they do recommend & I wish I had done it is put on a very thick coat as well as a 2nd coat! Anyway, I came across your site (before & @ 1 year post) while looking for DIY interests. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reading through projects. I have to say I’m very impressed! You’re very creative & talented!

    Thank you for the great reads & ideas!


  4. I’m curious.. we recently had our home painted dark grey. Gauntlet grey to be exact. They painted the garage doors that grey as well. Are they too dark to put gel stain over? If so, what would you suggest we do? Thanks

    1. Hi Cyndi,
      I’m not familiar with that paint color. You could always use the gel in a corner and see how it looks?

  5. We did this last spring and loved it. We had a pretty mild summer and winter and the gel is bubbling and flaking up along some of the grooves. Our door is metal so we have been told to strip it before starting again. Not sure that we are up for this every year though.

    1. Michelle I’ve never tried gel stain on vinyl. I’d recommend trying on a small, not noticeable area and see how it works.

    2. It works much better on the shutters than the garage door. I did mine two years ago. I did two coats of the sealer. The shutters still look great but the door looks horrible. It gets direct sunlight part of the day and the lower half of the door is peeling and has faded very bad. It’s beautiful when it’s done, but I’m not sure if it’s worth doing it every other year.

  6. looks great do u need to wash door with anything before putting gel stain on, any kind of brush and if u do seal it what would u use thanks cant wait to get started we live in jax fl so hopefully start soon

    1. Hi Jerry – I’ve got all those details in the tutorial. Just click the link above for all those details.

    2. Jerry, I’m close by Jax, FL close to the beach and am wondering if you did do your door, how it has held up? I’m a bit conserved as our hurricane rated doors (a double and a single) are so expensive. Thanks!

  7. Our gel stained garage door looked great until it was exposed to Texas sun and heat. It is now flaking and fading. It looks horrible. Has anyone ever painted over gel stain?

    1. I’m curious what material your garage door is made of? We have 100+ days for months where I live and haven’t had that issue.

    2. Hi Jane! I live in Texas too and gel stained our garage door. It was metal and had been painted a light beige when the house was built. 4 years later and it still looks great…no peeling. But it has faded a little bit which has changed its color from walnut to an orangy red. So I’m going to do it again (gel stain over gel stain). I’m so sorry yours peeled!! I have no regrets and am happily going to go over it again as it’s a wonderfully cheap but beautiful DIY. Maybe sand yours and start again?

    3. I’m in Michigan and the gel stain worked great through one winter and summer. We are ending this second winter and my door that goes up and down much more than the third stall is peeing bad in the cracks/seam (? – where the door folds). I need to repaint ASAP to sell the house. How should I prep this? It’s a metal door.


      1. Same problem in Michigan also. Looked good for anit 1 year. Peeled right down to the raw metal. Scraped them, treated them, painted them last spring. They’ve peeled even worse over this mild winter. We’ll try to get the loose paint if of them, sand them, prime them and repaint then this spring, but, if it happens again, may have to replace them. Never had peeling before gel stain at all, just fading…

  8. My front door was gel stained 10 years ago when it was built. And it needs to be done again. What do I need to do to prep it to gel stain it again?

    1. Is the door wood Jan? If so I’d suggest sanding it down. You want to give the gel something to stick too.

  9. Where do you live? I live in Wisconsin and we get very harsh winters with snow, ice, the whole bit. Would this still hold up as well? I would probably seal it to be on the safe side…

    1. Did you do this here in WI I just ran across this and wish to update mine this spring. Wondering if you did yours how it held up to WI winters

  10. I used gel stain many years ago on glossy white interior bathroom cabinets. My friends thought I was crazy, but after 8 to 10 years of constant use the cabinets still looked great. I only had to touch up a couple of spots when I nicked the doors with a heavy piece of furniture. Everyone thought my cabinets were new. So go ahead, Gel stain is a great product.

  11. Hi! We’ve got a white (paint) wooden garage door. Any idea how this would work for us? Would we just need to lightly sand the door or sand down to bare wood? Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. I have just finished my front door and all of our vinyl shutters with the gel stain. The garage door is my next weekend project. The shutters look amazing and I can’t wait to tackle the garage door. I was advised to put a polyurethane sealer on it as the stain isn’t made for outdoor use. I did two coats of stain and one clear and couldn’t be happier! I hope my turns out as good as yours!

  13. DId you clear coat your door after using Minwax gel stain? If so what did you use? How is it holding up to date with or without a clear coat?

  14. Thank you so much for this idea! I did this to our garage door (off white) this summer. I did have to do three coats but it was well worth it. The only thing I regret is not taking before and after pictures. So far it has held up great!

    1. Hi Valerie. We didn’t stain them. The inside edges were white prior to our staining. When they painted the garage door it was just the front panel that they did. So we just stained the brown, faded paint area. I was use to seeing the white as it rolled up and down, so it doesn’t bother me at all. 🙂

  15. Using the link to the gel stain, the product description indicates for interior use. Is that what was used here?

    I have a similar issue with our front entry way door and want to be sure I purchase the correct product. I’m thinking I will take the kick plate off the door for a period of time and experiment with the stain on that small area.

    Thank you.

  16. Hi, I love this look and want to do this on our garage door, but I am wondering how it holds up when exposed to high humidity weather. Is it humid where you live? It is where we live and I just want to make sure this is a project that will last. Thanks!

    1. We live in a relatively dry climate Reba. We get a few weeks of thunderstorms in the summer, but most of the time it’s low humidity.

  17. Hi. Great tutorial. One question…do your doors have panels that separate (a little)as you open the garage door, as it’s curving to go inside the garage? If so, (and they’re not not solid panel that pulls out), do the inside of the cracks/seams (whatever you call them) stay white and look bad? …or does the curving happen only after the door is facing up and you don’t see the white onsides?

    1. Hi Lisa… yes they are separate panels that show when it bends. It shows the white, but it did that before I stained it and it was painted my faded brown, so it doesn’t bother me.

  18. Your garage doors look so awesome. I took your advice & painted ours. Turned out as good as yours. Can’t thank you enough for your informative post. So glad I did this.

  19. Beautiful!
    I would love for you to stop by my blog on Mondays and join our Something to Talk About link party!
    Have a great week!

  20. I’m so GLAD you posted this! painting my garage doors to look like wood is on my “list”. I love how yours turned out and how well they handled the weather too! Now, I’m off to read your original tutorial! Thanks for sharing! – Visiting from the DIY Suday Showcase 🙂

    1. I don’t know why not… it’s designed for wood so it would look great I’d bet.

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