My husband and I recently purchased a 20+ year old home and it came with all the 1990-2000s design styles – round columns, lots of angles, lots of arches, and on the exterior – a pinkish brick and white aluminum garage doors that we hoped to someday upgrade to wood garage doors.

After moving in we immediately started to think of cost effective ways to bring our exterior more up to date – and the first thing we landed on was our garage doors. This beginner level project can be done in 1-2 days for less than $50.

wood garage door

Wood Garage Door Supplies:

  • Sanding block
  • Tack Cloth
  • Painters tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Soap and water
  • Sponge
  • Natural bristle brush
  • Gel Stain
  • Protective Top Coat
  • Mineral Spirits

Step by Step Instructions To Make Your Garage Door to Look Like Wood:

Step 1: Clean clean clean!

Your garage door sees a lot of weather, so the first (and one of the most critical) steps is to use a mild soap and water to clean your garage door! I used a soft sponge and brush to get in all the crevices. Once clean, let it fully dry before moving on to the next step.

painted wood garage door

Step 2: Lightly sand

Use a light to medium grit sanding block to remove any remaining debris on your garage door and give a light sanding to the entire garage door. Use the tack cloth to wipe the surface clean. This will ensure your stain goes on smoothly and gives you the desired finished look.

Step 3: Prepping the space

We’re almost ready to start staining – but before we do, make sure to tape off anything that you don’t want stained! I focused on the trim and weather stripping around the garage doors. You can also use drop clothes or cardboard on the ground if you’re worried about staining your driveway. If you do accidently get stain somewhere, you can quickly clean it up using Mineral Spirits on a clean rag.

Step 4: Apply the gel stain

Select your gel stain color (I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut) and a natural bristle brush to apply the stain. To ensure a quality finish, apply when its between 55 and 85 degrees, and ideally when the garage doors are shaded from the sun.

Start by staining the raised panels first, followed by doing even strokes in the same direction as the faux wood grain on the aluminum door. Begin with a lighter coat – you can always add more if you want a darker or less grainy look. I ended up doing two coats!

wood garage door

Step 5: Apply the protective top coat

When you’re finished staining, allow your gel stain to completely dry before applying your top coat. Apply in the direction of the wood grain on your doors. I used General Finishes Protective Top Coat and it went on very smoothly!

wood garage door

Fall in love with the wood garage door and exterior of your house all over again!

Now when I pull into our driveway or float past the house on the boat, I love the view!

home exterior with wood garage door
The newly stained doors compliment the deck and pergola stain so much better now!
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I hope this is helpful as you consider simple and cost effective DIY projects for your home! If you have any questions on how to transform your garage door to a faux wood finish look, you can find me on Instagram @the.westnest!

For more awesome tutorials from Our Faux Farmhouse contributors, check out these recent posts:

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