If you have old, painted, wooden garage doors, then it may be time to think about new garage doors. This may be wise if you notice rotting wood or large dents along the door. However, if the door is in relatively good condition, then you can probably spend a little bit of time refinishing the door with a new coat of paint. While this may sound like an easy task you can perform in an afternoon, there are some important considerations that you will need to think about first. Keep reading to learn about what these considerations are.
Test for Lead Paint
If your home was initially built sometime in the early 1970s or if your garage dates back to this period, then it is possible that the garage door has been painted with lead paint. While it may not seem likely that the paint has lasted all this time, lead paint was used due to its durability and moisture resistance. These are two things that can help the paint withstand weather damage across the door. Of course, there is also the possibility that there are layers of lead paint underneath a lead-free top layer. If you are unsure about the contents of old garage door paint, then it is wise to test it before removing it. Lead will not only cause serious and long-lasting health issues for children, but it will for adults, too. Headaches, nausea, fatigue, seizures, anemia, and hypertension are a few issues caused by lead poisoning.
To test the paint across your garage door, purchase a lead paint testing kit. Use a razor blade to scrape through all the paint layers on your garage door. Use the swab in the kit to collect a sample from the area that you scraped. This will allow the kit to test the dust from all the different layers of paint. Spray the fluid from the kit on the swab to test the paint. Usually, the swab will turn a bright red or pink color when the sample contains lead. If your first test is negative, test another area of the garage to double check the results.
If your test indicates that lead is present in the garage door paint, then you will need to use a liquid stripper to remove the paint. This will help to keep lead paint dust from flying into the air. If you do decide to strip the paint, make sure to purchase a stripper made especially for lead that contains it during the stripping process. This will help to reduce your health risks. If test results are negative, then sanding will be your best option for paint removal.
Choose the Correct Paint
Once you remove the old paint from the garage door, it will be time to add new paint. You will need to choose the right type, though, to make sure the garage door lasts as long as possible. Oil-based paint may be a good idea if your door is not likely to come into contact with snow, ice, and high winds. However, if adverse weather conditions are likely to cause chips and scrapes across the paint, then oil paints are a bad idea. Oil paint will create a waterproof barrier across the garage door surface, but water can seep into the wood wherever a chip or scratch appears. The surrounding paint can then trap the moisture and allow rot to start forming.
To prevent rotting incidents, purchase a flexible wood paint made specifically for outdoor applications. This paint is typically made out of an elastomer that allows the paint to flex as the garage door expands and contracts. It also allows the wood to breathe so that moisture does not get trapped underneath the paint. Elastomeric paints also resist chips and other types of damage, so it is likely to last longer than oil and water-based varieties.