How to Fix a Rusty Garage Door

You can fix a rusty garage door instead of buying a new one. A rusty garage door can be fixed by cleaning and repainting it. Fortunately, you can do everything on your own with the right tools available to you. Rust can compromise the quality of your garage door, and it is always advisable to clean it before it spreads. 

Getting rid of garage rust as fast as possible can help you to avoid damage and deterioration of your door. Rust removal is a gradual process, and you might be required to do it every year to keep your door in good condition.

What causes a garage door to rust?

Salty water or industrial chemicals

Salty water or industrial chemicals can cause rusting of your garage. If you live in a coastal town, salty air and water from the beach might cause fast rusting of the garage door. Your garage door will also rust fast when exposed to chemicals like acid. 

Accumulation of dirt and dust

If you do not clean your garage door regularly, it will start rusting. Dirt and grime accelerate rusting because of the impurities. It is always advisable to clean your garage door at least once every month. 

Pressure washing your garage door every month can help you to remove all the impurities that are likely to cause rusting. If your garage door is near a tree, make sure that you clean it twice a month to remove pollen that can accelerate rusting.

Using the wrong type of paint

Using the wrong type of paint can cause fast garage door rusting. For a garage door, you need to use a high gloss paint that is easy to clean. Start by using a primer that will protect the bottom layer of your door. 

The paint that you use should have a solid protective layer. It is also important to use the right painting technique to make sure that paint is evenly distributed in all parts of the garage.

Poor quality garage door

Your garage door might be rusting because you choose the poor quality. Cheap garage doors are likely to rust compared to good quality doors. When it comes to the metal garage door. Aluminum is a better quality material than steel. Aluminum doors are less prone to rust compared to steel doors.

Steps to fix a rusty garage door

Clean the garage door

The first step is to clean the garage door with water. This is the time-consuming part of trying to treat dust. Using water to clean rust might seem counterproductive because water accelerates rusting. However, using water can work effectively to treat water as long as you do it correctly. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning the garage door:

What you will need:

  • Water
  • Grease removing liquid soap
  • Piece of clothing
  • Bucket
  • Hosepipe


  • In a bucket of water, pour some liquid soap
  • Use the soapy water and a piece of cloth to remove dirt from the garage door
  • Using a hosepipe rinse, the door with clean water.
  • Wait for the door to dry.

Treat your door rust

After your door is dry, it is time to treat rust from your door. You will need white vinegar and water to remove rust from your door.

What you need

  • Clean water
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Sandpaper or steel wool


  • Mix one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Spray the rust affected area with a mixture of vinegar and water
  • Wait for it to dry or wait for 30 minutes
  • Use a sandpaper or steel wool to scrape out all the rust.
  • Clean the area with some water.

Inspect the door for holes or cracks and fill them

If your garage door has extensively been affected by rust, it is normal to see some cracks and holes on the door. Fortunately, these cracks and holes can be easily corrected using auto fillers. Always fill the holes and cracks before painting. Here are some tips to fix cracks and holes in your garage door:

  • Sand the area to expose the crack or the hole. Sanding will help you to know the exact size of the hole or crack.
  • Use an auto body filler or any other type of filler to cover the crack of the filler
  • Use sandpaper to even out the area 
  • Paint the area with a primer.

Repaint the entire garage or spot painting

After cleaning, removing rust, and filling the holes, it is time to decide whether you will repaint the entire garage. You can decide to repaint your entire garage in case you have a lot of holes, and the paint has started peeling. If your garage door is in good condition, you can repaint only the area affected by rust.

In case you decide to repaint the entire garage start by peeling all the paint. Scrap all the paint using sandpaper. It is time-consuming, but it is the only way to get a smooth finish. Applying new paint on top of your current paint might not be effective, and it will cause cracks on your garage door.

Use a zinc chromate primer

It is advisable to use a zinc chromate primer for your garage door. The role of a zinc chromate primer acts as a base coat to seal the metal from attracting rust. Using an oil-based primer is always an added advantage that can help you to prevent rust. Rusting is usually caused by using the right primer or paint, so do not make the mistake of using water-based primers.

Use an oil-based paint

Using oil-based paint is recommended when painting a garage door. A metal garage door will be exposed to a lot of elements, and you need to make sure that you protect it from water. Oil-based paint is the best for your garage door. Using oil-based paint will protect your door from rust, and you do not have to worry about water damage. The rust-resistant paint is also good for preventing garage door rusting.

Avoid future garage door rusting

After cleaning and treating dust, it is now time to make sure that you prevent future rusting. You can reduce the rusting process by protecting your door. Here is some preventive measure to prevent future garage door rusting:

Clean your garage door regularly

Regular garage door cleaning is important to keep your door cleaning can help you to prevent rusting. It is advisable to clean your garage door at least once a month to remove dirt and grime on the door. 

Dirt and grime can accelerate the rusting of the garage door. Remove stains as soon as they occur so that your door and rust will be a problem of the past. Mud and other types of dirt from impurities on your garage door and accelerate rusting.

Use the right cleaning technique

Using the right cleaning technique can make all the difference. When cleaning your garage door, avoid cleaning methods that are too harsh for the door. Pressure washing your garage door might be too harsh and is likely to peel the paint of your door. 

Using a normal hose pipe to clean your garage door, and you will be fine. The detergents that you use for cleaning can also make a big difference. It is advisable to use very mild liquid soap. If you are not sure about the right kind of soap to use, you can use the ordinary dishwashing soap.

Use rust-resistant paint

When painting your garage door, it is advisable to use rust-resistant paint. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint because it is easy to clean as opposed to using matte paint for your car. 

Cleaning gloss and semi-gloss is easy because dirt does not stick. The rust-resistant paint is also the best because it will help you prevent water from penetrating into the door and causing dust.

Proper garage door lubrication

Proper garage door lubrication can be helpful in preventing rust. You do not have to lubricate your entire garage door. 

If you want to lubricate your garage door, focus on the moving parts of your garage like rollers. These are areas that are prone to rust, and you might start noticing a squeaky noise every time you want to open or close your garage door.

Use wax

Using a wax will provide a coating on top of your garage door. This protective coating on your metallic garage door can help you to prevent rust. It will also make cleaning your garage door easy, and you can get rid of the dirt and dust without taking too much effort.

Treating rust and repainting your garage door is usually enough to get rid of dust. However, if your garage has drastically been affected by rust, replacing the door with a new one is always a good idea. Have you used any of these methods to fix a rusty garage door?

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