Composite Garage Doors Are Like Art

By Anne Richards

Of all the materials possible for garage doors, the best and most fun to work with is the composite garage door.

Wood garage doors are pretty, but can rot and break easily, and clearly show signs of weather. Steel can rust and dents very easily. Aluminum is lightweight, but a fairly unattractive, un-paintable surface. Vinyl is a good insulator, but looks fake-y.

If you want the best in design, hardiness, longevity, and looks, you might do best to pick a garage door that is made of composite materials. Composite garage doors bear bad weather conditions admirably, don't dent very easily, are natural insulators, can look very natural and come in a variety of styles and shapes.

However, there is one thing you have to take into consideration with a composite material door, and that's if you want to color, stain, or varnish your door. You have to keep certain things in mind, but it doesn't completely preclude you from doing it! It just takes a little more planning than, say, a wooden door.

Composites don't tend to absorb liquids as naturally as wood does (part of what makes them so hearty!) but this means that staining can be a bit of a struggle without the wooden grain. Be sure to test the stain on a small, out-of-the-way area first to determine if the color results are to your liking. And if you have a fake-woodgrain pattern on your door, it should end up looking quite nice.

For a varnish, you have to test the properties of the product you will be using. Again, do a practice run, and remember that the foundation of the composite (whether it be plain white, oof-white, gray, or some other color) might affect the resulting hue once the varnish dries. If you want to make sure this doesn't happen, you can apply a primer layer of what's known as stain sealer to the surface of your door, ensuring that the color will come out as you want with little or no interference.

And if you're trying to go the paint route, again you have to prime the surface of the door this time with an opaque exterior latex paint. The fun thing about this stuff is that it's like gesso for artists- you can use it to smooth a surface, or add texture with certain brushstrokes. It can really wake up the inner artist in you! And then of course you get to add any color(s) you want on top.

Once you're done with any (or all!) of the above procedures, be sure to add a UV-resistant sealer as a top coat to maintain the integrity of your magnificent new piece of home art.

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This article was published on 05 Oct 2009 and has been viewed 483 times