4 Great Ways to Update Your Garage Doors

jencu/flickrWhat's one of the most noticeable features when you view your home from outside? Why, the garage doors, of course. If they are in need of a facelift, they'll make your whole house exterior look drab. Here's a list of four great ways -- from small to large -- you can update your garage doors.

1. Paint Them

Have you got garage doors that are in great shape … but a little dull and faded? No need to replace. Just give them a new lease on life with stain or paint.

For your garage door makeover, choose a dry, sunny day when mild temperatures are forecast. (Besides being uncomfortable to work in, overly hot weather will cause the finish to dry too fast.) Get an early start so you can make the most of the daylight. Begin by disengaging the garage door's automatic opener. Follow by sanding any rust or peeling paint and then cleaning thoroughly, using a pressure washer or your garden hose. Spread a drop cloth to protect your driveway and garage floor.

Gel stain does not require a primer. If you are staining over a similar (or lighter) color, you will probably be fine with just one coat. Use an inexpensive paintbrush to dab it on. Work quickly, since the gel dries super fast. For extra protection against the elements, add a finish when the gel stain is completely dry. This is a fast 'n' easy weekend DIY.

Paint will adhere better and provide the best coverage for a dark color when you begin with a primer. Make sure both your paint and your primer are meant for outdoor use. A brush is a great tool for detail work, but you can speed up the painting process by using a roller on larger areas.

2. Add Windows to Them

Create the elegant effect of carriage-style garage doors for less. Apply paint or stickers to your doors to add faux windows; this is a simple project to do yourself.

Perhaps you'd prefer real windows, though, to increase ventilation and sunlight as well as giving the doors gorgeous good looks. If you don't want to invest in new garage doors, it is definitely possible to install practical, attractive windows in your existing doors. However, because this somewhat tricky fix changes the weight distribution, you will be best off leaving it to a garage door professional. Request tinted glass if your garage gets a lot of sun.

3. Reface Them

Trending now: wood home decor is uber fashionable. Think hardwood floors or board and batten walls. You can inject the same chic into your garage doors. Dress them up with handsome wooden trim such as wainscoting or molding … or cover worn and faded doors completely by having them refaced with wood.

An alternative way to achieve a similar effect is using wood-look PVC. Whatever type of trim or refacing you choose, consult a pro to make sure the addition won't interfere with your garage doors' smooth and safe functioning.

4. Replace Them

Are you wondering whether to refurbish or replace your garage doors? Well consider this -- garage doors have a lifespan of approximately 30 years. If your doors are close to that age, it is probably not worth your while to invest time and money in redoing them. New garage doors come in a huge variety of styles and colors that will add enormously to your curb appeal. (Be sure to choose a type that complements your home … and the rest of the neighborhood.) What's more, they are equipped with the latest safety features and are available in insulated versions that can save you money on your heating and cooling bills.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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