The weather has started to warm up in Minnesota! It was so warm a few weekends ago that I had to get out and start giving my house a little up-do. The curb appeal was horrible and a little bit embarrassing. I was so pumped for what I was about to do that I was the first one waiting in the Home Depot parking lot on a Saturday morning.
Here is what I bought:
I had read a blog post on how to paint your steel front door to look like wood. I didn’t find any posts that mentioned how to paint your garage door to match, but how hard could it be to just do the same thing on a much larger door?
I started by painting my front door the orange paint color.
I used my regular paint brush for the paint. I never tape anything off because I used to be a “professional” painter in my college years. I’ve also never had luck with tape. There are always areas that bleed and need repair once the paint dries and the tape is removed. Instead, I just keep a damp paper towel and a butter knife, just in case I need wipe a tiny area off, while the paint is still wet.
The next step was to apply the stain! You can see in this picture that it’s better, but not very impressive. It was a pretty warm day, and my door faces south, so the stain dried within a few hours.
The second coat was much more exciting!
I left it for the evening and came back with one final coat of stain. I also followed a tip that I found on a different blog post. Because this door isn’t really wood, there aren’t any lines where a natural wood door would have seams. To create seams and to give it a true faux wood-look, apply painters tape to areas that would have a seam.
Don’t forget to spiff up your wreath while you’re at it! I added battery operated string lights that I found from the dollar section at Target and a “t” for our last name.
Now, for the true test…does this application also work on garage doors?!?! Yes!
Because it was one of the first days of warm weather in MN, everybody in the neighborhood is out for a walk. I was sure that they all thought I was the new weird neighbor as I started applying the orange paint. Because this is paint and primer in one, I only needed to do one coat. I started with the bottom panel and worked my way up. To get into the creases, just open your garage door a little bit at a time.
My neighbor directly across the street came home as I was nearly finished with the orange and hollered across the street that she liked the orange. Mmmm, hmmmm. Sure she did. I told her it wasn’t staying orange and that I was going to stain it to make it look like wood and she gave me one of those slow up and down head nods with a confused smile.
I wasn’t loving what it looked like after one coat of stain. I was also really anxious as each new person was out walking their dog – watching what I was doing. You can see in the bottom right corner in this picture that I was going over the stain for a second time, trying to darken it to see what it would look like.
There isn’t a magic trick to getting this to look like wood. I didn’t even let the first coat of stain dry before applying the second coat. You might want to re-stir your stain if the color has settled to the bottom of the can. It was starting to get dark outside when I was finishing up my second coat of stain because it was going to start raining soon. I still had one panel left but I was able to get it done! I started the garage door around 11am and finished the second coat about 5 hours later. *The rain didn’t affect the garage door at all.
It rained for another 6 days. I wanted to put another coat of stain on SO bad. It was a little bit too orange still and I wanted to try mixing my go-to hickory-colored gel stain with the walnut stain…
YASSSS! I used a different paint brush for each stain and applied a super tiny amount of hickory to my brush, gently feathering it on areas that I wanted to have darkened. While it was still wet, I followed up with the liquid walnut stain over the top of it. The liquid stain helped to blend the gel stain around giving it a more natural look. You can see the two lower panels that have the hickory stain added…
I only did one tiny square at a time with this darkening technique because it was pretty warm out (the garage panels were warm/hot). If you do more than one square, the gel stain will dry too quickly for the walnut stain to swoosh it around. This process took about 2 1/2 hours but was exactly what I needed.
Below is the transformation from start to finish! ❤