Choosing the Right Garage Door Finish

Avante AX

Choosing the right garage door finish or color can have a major impact on your home’s curb appeal. A garage door doesn’t have to be a boring, utilitarian part of the house—it can be anything from a warm and inviting wood focal point to a sleek, modern showpiece.

As a starting point, keep in mind what’s trending overall with home design as a guide to garage door finishes and colors. Incorporating natural, organic textures (like reclaimed wood) and mixed material exteriors (using siding, stone, and brick) are both prevalent. Selecting the right garage door color can enhance that design. Popular exterior color schemes like charcoal or navy siding with white trim or a white house with black windows and doors are easily matched in a garage door finish.

While there are a lot of options, the scope will narrow a bit based upon the type of door you choose. Garage doors are made from steel, aluminum, natural wood, and faux wood composite. The construction material defines what finish and color choices are available. You’ll want to pick a garage door material and style that complements the exterior of your house, perhaps matching the shutters or decorative columns and trim.

For instance, if you have a modern or contemporary style home with large, expansive windows, a glass garage door is a perfect counterpart. Take for instance Clopay’s Avante® garage doors. The sleek aluminum frame comes in 7 standard colors or can be custom color matched to any accent hue you’d like to showcase.

An easy way to “try on” garage doors is with Clopay’s Imagination Door System, which allows you to upload a photo of your house and virtually try a variety of garage door styles and colors to see what looks best.

A natural wood garage door is beautiful and timeless, adding warmth and a sense of depth that’s hard to achieve with other materials. Wood doors provide strength and inherent insulating properties, but they do require regular maintenance to safeguard it from the elements. Depending on the exposure, a wood door should be repainted every one to two years. Stained doors will need a top coat applied just as often per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Reserve Wood Custom
Reserve® Wood Custom garage door

If you need a custom wood door, such as an arched door to fit an existing opening or one that complements other architectural elements, Clopay’s Reserve® Wood Custom Series is the best choice. These doors can be made in any design from any type of wood and painted or painted to match a custom color palette.

If you don’t need total customization, there are a variety of natural wood garage door options that still allow you to choose from a number of species and finishes. The Reserve® Wood Semi-Custom Series adds a touch of historical character and sense of whimsy with its carriage-house style designs. It’s available in hemlock, redwood or cedar. And while “natural wood” might not immediately scream “contemporary design,” you’d be surprised. Clopay’s Reserve® Wood Modern Series offers looks to fit any modern home style, and comes in cedar, redwood, meranti or fir.

With the carriage-house style doors found in the Reserve® Wood Limited Edition Series, you can select from cedar, redwood, fir, knotty alder or meranti. The Classic™ Wood Series comes in a flushed, recessed or raised panel design, and depending on the style you select, wood options include hemlock, redwood, Luan, rough sawn fir or cedar.

Staining a Reserve Wood Door
Clopay's garage door finish being hand applied

Clopay’s garage door finish options for wood are a factory-finished stain, factory-finished white paint or just primer. The exact stain color will depend on the type of wood species you choose as some natural woods hold certain stains better than others. Clopay’s standard stain colors for natural wood doors include: natural, natural oak, cedar, teak, mahogany, butternut, dark oak, ebony wash and dark oak ebony.

Steel garage doors offer homeowners a broad range of design, color, insulation and price options. Standard paint color options for steel garage doors include almond, sandtone, chocolate, mocha brown, hunter green, black, and bronze, depending on the door style you select.

Gallery Steel Short Panel Ultra-Grain
Clopay's Ultra-Grain® finish on Gallery Steel

If you you like the look of wood but not necessarily the maintenance, consider a stained, wood-look steel door from Clopay’s Ultra-Grain® finish, which comes in colors ranging from medium oak to walnut.

One of Clopay’s newest color options, Slate, is on trend with darker exteriors and can be found on the Canyon Ridge®, Gallery® Steel and Modern Steel™ collections.

If you want a more authentic looking faux wood door that’s molded from actual wood pieces to replicate the natural grain pattern and texture, check out the Canyon Ridge® 5-Layer and Canyon Ridge® Modern garage doors. These doors have composite cladding and overlays that look like real wood but won’t rot, warp or crack.

Canyon Ridge 5-Layer Design 38
Clopay's Canyon Ridge 5-Layer faux wood garage doors

The doors come factory-stained in walnut, dark oak, medium oak, and slate, as well as factory- painted white or black. You can also order the doors with just a factory primer for field finishing.

While you consider your garage door color options, it’s also important to decide if you want to leave the painting to the pros or DIY. Yes, you can paint the garage door yourself but there’s a series of steps you’ll need to follow in order to get the best result. From choosing the right type of paint to cleaning the door and proper application, there’s more to painting a garage door than you might think.

For example, repainting a lighter color steel garage door black can cause issues with heat absorption and thermal bowing and will void your warranty if you use the wrong type of paint. This is true with many exterior products exposed to the sun.

Coachman Gray Doors
Clopay's Coachman garage doors with custom Color Blast®

The preferred method is to let the pros handle it for a finish that’s even and flawless. And there’s no need to worry about what colors garage doors come in because with Clopay’s Color Blast® program, homeowners can choose from nearly 1,500 Sherwin-Williams® paint options. If for whatever reason you can’t find your dream color, they can create a custom paint to match almost any solid color sample you provide. You’ll even get the chance to approve a finish test sample to ensure the color’s accuracy.

The paint used in Color Blast® is a two-part system chemically formulated to perform better with Clopay materials. It’s designed for improved adhesion and is available on Clopay garage doors made from aluminum, steel, or with composite overlays.

If you have your heart set on a steel garage door painted black, Clopay’s proprietary cool paint formula reflects UV-rays so the steel surface stays cooler to the touch. And the multi-layer baked-on paint finish and top coat will look better and last longer than a one or two coats of paint applied with a sprayer.

When trying to choose the right garage door finish, keep in mind a factory finish is ideal. The manufacturers are experts at finishing their products properly with a high-quality stain or paint that’s perfectly suited for the type of garage door material you selected. Also, the finish is backed by the manufacturer’s warranty, so you know it’s going to be done precisely.

Canyon Ridge 5-Layer Blue Garage Door
Clopay's Canyon Ridge 5-Layer garage doors with custom Color Blast®

If you’re building a new house, your builder or contractor may offer to finish the door on site at a cheaper cost. This can put the door warranty at risk if they don’t use the proper finish or paint and complete the process exactly per the instructions. This is especially important with wood doors since all six sides must be finished. This is best done by Clopay’s finishing pros in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

The best way to choose the right garage door color with confidence is to see the door on display in a showroom or installed on a house in your area.

If that isn’t an option, you can request color samples from a dealer or contact Clopay directly and we will gladly mail you up to three color samples for free. Then you can compare it to other finishes on your home and see how it looks at different times of the day.

It’s important to see the garage door paint or stain color you are considering on the actual door construction material because color can vary slightly based on the surface texture and sheen.

Color Samples

Use our locator to find a local Clopay dealer to answer any questions you have about garage door finish and color options, show you samples, and help you design the perfect garage door.

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