How to Prepare and Paint Exterior Wood

Garge door before and after painting

We have some pretty tough winters here in Western New York and it sure does take its toll on exterior wood.

My garage door was in bad shape, cracking and peeling paint made the door a real eyesore. So I decided to fix it up with a fresh coat of paint, and here is how I did it.

Preparing the surface:

First I had to decide what type of paint I wanted to use. I choose a white latex satin, your tools will clean very nicely with soap and warm water after use.

The next step was scraping the old peeling paint, for this I used a combination of small putty knives and a wire brush.

Only scrape the peeling paint, if you force it you may dig into the wood surface.

If you have any areas that are mildewed mix a solution of 2-part bleach to 1-part water. Use a rough scrubbing pad and wear rubber gloves to scrub off the mildew.

After scraping take some 120-grit sandpaper and try to blend in where the bare wood meets the old paint.

Then brush off the surface to remove any remaining paint chips and dust, I used an old paintbrush for this. 

The next step is to paint all of the bare wood with a quality latex wood primer-sealer. If you are painting a different color it is a good idea to tint the wood primer with the final color. The primer should dry for at least four hours before applying the finish coat of paint.

Apply the finish paint:

Mix your finished paint well, if you have more than one gallon it is a good idea to box the paint, this means mixing them together this will ensure a uniform color.

The temperature should be above 50 degrees before applying paint the ideal temperature for applying paint is between 65 and 85 degrees.

One gallon of paint will cover approximately 400 sq. ft. depending on the paint.

Using a good quality paint brush, start painting at the highest point applying a nice even coat, paint from dry areas into the paints wet edges, and finish in one direction. 

Well, this is how I prepared and painted my garage door, I hope this helps if you have some exterior painting projects.


  1. We have to do our deck soon. I worry a bit about going into the wood but it is a job that absolutely needs to be done next year at the latest. Enjoyed this article and picked up a couple tips.

    1. Hi Lorelei, For a deck you might want to use a power washer to remove paint, although you still have to be careful about digging into the wood. Glad you found some tips here!! Thanks for stopping by.


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