Three Oversized Single Garage Doors With Curved Top Painted To Look Like Wood

The dreaded curved top on garage door openings.  This has to be the biggest challenge I have in painting garage doors to look like wood.  Let's take a look...

The doors came out looking beautiful and the homeowners love them but it's a real struggle to get that top row painted with a wood grain pattern.  First off because the garage door opening is curved at the top these doors are about a foot higher than your typical garage door.  

I can not create the wood grain look on the top row without having the door open up all the way and then standing on a ladder.  In this first pic you can see the slight gap between the door and the curved top of the opening.  I am also applying the primer here.

This next photo shows the gap better and also shows that I have put on the base coat paint here which is a Sherwin Williams color, SW Toasty.  I only use exterior acrylic paint.

The next photo shows the situation of working with the door open.  In this photo I have primed and base coated.  I had primed the top row of panels with the door up so that is done.  But you can see the base coat of paint and the curved line it creates when I painted it on with the door closed.  Now I have to paint on the base coat where I could not get to with the door down.

Complicating the deal is the bar that the opener uses to open and close the door.  It runs right in the middle of the door and has about a 2.5 to 3 inch clearance from the door.  The space between the panels which I use to create a vertical wood grain is sitting right below this bar.  A really big challenge to paint in a wood grain with that bar there.

Here is another photo of working on the top row with the door up.  The thing is I have to paint in the top row of panels with the door up because I want the wood grain to run from side to side on the panels and I can not do that with the door down because the curved top blocks me from getting the whole panel.  So I tape off what I can get to with the door down then put the door up and tape off the rest that way.  Then with the door up I paint in the wood grain.

Another big challenge doing the painting like this is to be able to get the top panels to match the rest in tone.  By that I mean getting them the same degree of darkness or lightness as the rest.  It is way harder to do that with the door open than it is when the door is closed.

I would estimate that it takes about 3.5 to 4 times the amount of time to paint in the top row with the door open compared to when the door is closed and it's much harder to get it to look right too.

Why even bother to paint in those areas you can't see with the door down?  Well first off I do a good job and that's part of doing a good job.  Second when the door opens the track makes all doors bend back and when that happens you can glimpse the top of the panels.  Very unprofessional to leave the top of the panels unpainted even if you can't see them when the door is closed.

Ditto with part of the garage door that is covered up by the weather strip on the sides.  I always paint that in too because if you do not you will see a white strip there when the door opens.

I go over all this in great detail in my Garage Door Tutorial.

Enough with the complaining... here are some in progress photos.  The first one shows how after I have painted in the center of the panels with a horizontal wood grain I then tape off and paint in the area between the panels with a vertical wood grain.  The white arrow shows one vertical grain area complete and the green arrow shows one in progress.

The colors I use on these doors is SW Toasty for the base coat, then the first coat of brown wood grain is SW Fiery Brown, the second and darker coat of wood grain is SW Black Bean.

The next photo shows how I have started on the door and got two rows done and the space between them also.  I started on the bottom row and have the Fiery Brown painted on those.  By the way I raise the door up when working on the lower rows, that way I can paint standing up.

The next photo shows how I am working on three rows at a time.  I have the first wood grain color on.

 In this photo you can how I have started and painted in as much as I can on the top row.  I could actually get most of the two center panels with the door down but not the two outside panels at all.

 A couple of shots of the finished project.