JULY BLOG: How To Restore a Vintage Garage Door

If you have a beautiful vintage garage door at home that adds character and charm, it might be better to refurbish it than upgrade to something new.

The good news is that keeping a vintage sliding door is a relatively straightforward DIY project.

When you follow these steps, you can get to work this weekend to restore the original look while beautifying your home.


Steps to Follow to Restore a Vintage Garage Door

1. Deconstruct the Garage Doors

You’ll need to remove the garage doors from the brackets. It helps to place blocks underneath to relieve some of the pressure. After removing the bolts, slide the doors out. It helps to lay them on sawhorses.

Once you’ve completed that task, it is time to unscrew the brackets from the track, remove the side jams, and take off the rollers.


2. Restore the Rollers

You can restore vintage garage door rollers by giving them some new lubrication. A spray-on degreaser is used to clean them.

Once dry, apply white lithium grease to help everything run smoothly.


3. Strip and Paint the Hardware

Apply a thick coat of metal paint stripper to each bracket and your other hardware components. It might take more than one effort to get through multiple paint layers. Once you see the paint bubbling, you can remove it with steel wool.

Brush the brackets with lacquer thinner to remove anything that remains. Once everything is clean, you can give the hardware a primer layer before applying the paint. It can take between 10 to 60 minutes for each coat to dry.


4. Rebuild the Window Frames

Most vintage garage doors have windows installed. You can rebuild these by sanding, attaching, or replacing items as needed.

If you must replace part of the frame, it helps to have a miter box available to use your saw for appropriate angle cutting.

You’ll need to repair each window frame and affix all components before proceeding to the next step.


5. Prep and Paint the Doors

It helps to use carbide scrapers, orbital sanders, and similar equipment to remove loose paint from your vintage garage doors. Once this step is complete, prime the door and window frame with an exterior-quality product. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time.

Once the primer is in place, install the glass for your windows. If you had to remove broken panes, it might help to invest in high-quality plexiglass for a more resilient product. Tempered safety glass is another choice to consider.

After the glass is installed, you’ll need to paint the doors your preferred color. It might take 2-3 coats to create the final look you want, so please remember to allow the paint to dry each time before proceeding.


6. Finalize the Installation

Before hanging your restored vintage garage doors, you’ll want to review any interior or exterior hardware that could have corrosion. Grinding these areas out to the bare metal, followed by a protective coating, can prolong the life of that installation.

Once these areas are prepped, you can hang the doors in the reverse order you removed them from the rails.


What Else Can I Do with Vintage Garage Doors?

Although restoring vintage garage doors can be a fun DIY project that keeps your home’s character intact, it can also be more work than you want to tackle.

Another option is to contact the Middleton Overhead Door Company to talk about a new set of garage doors for your home. Today’s best options can still deliver the character you want while offering modern features at an affordable price.

If you need help with your garage doors, we’ll work together to find a solution that works well for your home.

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