Faux Finished Garage Doors in a Wood Grain Effect

Recently, I was approached with a question regarding deteriorating paint on a garage door and advice as to how to correct the problem with the paint on the door.

The person wrote: Ron, we live on the west coast of Florida and I am hoping you can help me with a painting problem with my garage doors. I have attached two pictures of my garage door for you to look at. The first picture is of the top of my garage door and the second picture is of the bottom of the same garage door. To give you a little insight, we had the garage door faux finished several years ago when we had some house painting done, and now this problem is happening. Can you please tell me what has caused this problem with the finish on my garage door and how we can fix it?

I replied as follows: By looking at the pictures you have sent me, it looks like your garage doors are metal, and it also looks like the doors were faux-finished with a wood grain effect, using an oil-based gel stain. The reason I know this right away is because this happens all the time when painters use an oil-based gel stain on metal or fiberglass doors, which are directly exposed to the sun. The paint on the doors has “alligatored” so badly on the bottom and not at the top, because of the amount of sun exposure to the top of the door versus the bottom of the door. I am guessing the bottom of the garage door gets quite a bit of sun exposure and the top of the door receives little to none. Oil-based products do not hold up well in the Florida sun. When the sun hits the garage door, it heats up the door. Then, as the sun moves, the door cools down. Every time this process occurs, the door expands and contracts, causing the oil-based gel stain to expand and contract. Over time, the gel stain will stop expanding and contracting, causing the stain to separate and “alligator.”

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do, short of having the doors stripped down to the metal and having them faux-finished over again. However, if you have them faux-finished, have the painter faux them using paint instead of gel stain. By using a premium grade of exterior house paint, like Sherwin Williams Resilience or Duration, you will not have this issue.

My suggestion is to try to live with the doors the way they are currently, until the paint begins to separate from the surface and peel off. Then, you can either have them stripped and start over or buy new doors. I hope this helps.