Painting Garage Walls (Complete Guide and Quick Facts)

Painting Garage Walls

When it comes to painting your garage wall, there are many points to think about. “What color should I choose?” “What type of paint do I need?” These questions are pertinent, and need answers! Luckily, I have those answers right here for you!

When executing the project of painting your garage wall, it’s best to take note of these key consideration before starting:

  • Types of paint
  • Steps for wall painting
  • Tools for painting your garage
  • Painting preparation

The average cost for fully customizable garage walls can range between $336 and $553 per day in labor cost, without the cost of materials; between $4,000 and $6,000 total.

Of course a beautiful design is the ultimate result for a project like this. The challenge is to know the right information to obtain the right result. Let’s dive in so you can quickly learn the proper techniques, colors, and tools to use in order to successfully paint your garage wall!

Should I Paint The Inside of My Garage?

Painting the inside of your garage will only increase the value of your garage, and overall home. Imagine the process of measuring, taping, painting, layering, and finishing…it will create a stunning result!

I’ll tell you this: there are factors to consider when painting the interior of your garage. Moisture, paint type, paint color, adhesives, primers and finishers all play a major role in creating the perfect garage.

Some benefits of painting the interior of your garage can be connected to an invaluable visual design, healthier work or play area, and an increased home appraisal! Let me be more specific about the benefits.

Benefits of Painting The Inside of Your Garage

  • Less likely for mold to grow in the garage
  • Visually more attractive
  • Added layer of protection between the wall material and the air
  • Increases property value
  • Adds more natural light to the entire room

With these benefits, painting the inside of your garage sounds like a good idea! This could be an exciting and new Do-It-Yourself project, or you can call a local professional to complete the task for you.

Do I Need to Wash The Walls Before Painting?

Garage walls tend to be much dirtier than the walls inside of your home, due to the nature of its use. With that being said, it is recommended to wash your garage walls before painting.

You can use trisodium phosphate (TSP) mixed with water. Simply add about 1/4th cup of TSP to a gallon of hot water, and mix. Once the solution has completely dissolved, sponge it onto the wall, and scrub it clean. After scrubbing, wipe away any excess solution with a damp cloth.

There are logical occasions where you don’t need to wash your walls:

  • If your walls are new
  • If your walls are already clean
  • Low-impact rooms that with little activity
  • No pets circulating in the house or garage

Use the white cloth test to determine if you need to wash your walls.

It simple: take a white cloth, and swipe it across your garage walls for about 15 feet. If the cloth changes from white to a light gray, then it isn’t that dirty, and you can begin painting; if the cloth color changes from white to a dark gray, or black, you need to wash your wall first.

How Do I Prepare My Garage Walls for Painting?

To properly prepare your garage walls for painting, there are a few significant guidelines that you should follow. These preparations are for both your personal safety, and for the protection of the walls.

  • Remove all vehicles and objects that aren’t bolted down from your garage, including bicycles, cars, tools, and personal mementos.
  • Use a broom, shop vac, or upholstery brush to sweep the walls clear of any cobwebs, chipped paint, or any loose debris.
  • Use tarpaulin cloth to cover the floor – plastic tends to be more slippery, but can be used as well.
  • Use a putty knife to fill in any holes inside of the wall; then clear away excess putty.
  • Use painter’s tape to cover up everything that you don’t want painted (i.e. electrical outlets, light switches, window and door facings.)
  • Seal any seams or cracks in the walls with a caulk gun and painter’s

After applying these guidelines, your garage walls should be ready for painting. Take note of the painter’s caulk. It’s an acrylic latex that paint will stick to, and works much better than silicone caulk, which paint does not stick to. So be sure that you spring for painter’s caulk.

How Do You Paint A Concrete Garage Wall?

Once you have all of your tools collected, it’s time to start painting the garage wall. Outside of prep work, the process of painting concrete garage walls is very similar to other materials.

  1. Clean: Use your TSP solution to clean the walls, if necessary. Allow it to take effect for 20-30 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Let the walls completely dry for the next 24-48 hours.
  2. Prime: Set up your wall by filling in any holes or cracks with concrete filler. Be sure to prime at least six inches away from the corners and edges.
  3. Paint: Use a medium size brush to begin painting. It’s suggested to use long, horizontal (side-to-side) stroke to help control paint drip. Start at the top, and work your way down. Allow the first coat to dry for about 12-16 hours.
  4. Scape Unsuccessful Surfaces: Scape away any debris of paint from the first coat that didn’t stick to the concrete.
  5. More Paint: Use a paint roller this time to add a second layer of paint to the interior of the wall. This will make the paint bolder, and give it a thicker look. Allow it to dry for another 3-5 days.
  6. Remove Tape: Once the wall is completely painted, and the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape. Pull it down at an angle, starting from the corners.
  7. Dry: Use a damp cloth to wipe down your freshly coated garage walls. For dried globs of paint, chip it off using a spoon or hard plastic.

Tools You Will Need

Strong and efficient tools are what make the painting process easier and more effective. Certain types of brushes create a certain type of look. A list of painting tools for garage walls:

  • Rags and cloth
  • Shop vac or broom-
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint roller with extendable handle (9 inch long with ½ inch nap is best)
  • Paint tray (for roller)
  • Concrete filler
  • Edge brush
  • Interior paint

You can obtain these tools from your local mom-and-pop hardware store, or favorite major franchise department store. Once these tools are collected, you can start the painting process for your garage wall.

What Type Of Paint Do You Use on Garage Walls?

It depends on the type of wall you have. Garage walls are typically made out of one of four materials: wood, concrete, drywall, or brick. For each material, there are two primary bases of paint that can be used: oil or latex.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints are best for the outside of the garage wall. They are more durable than water or latex-based paints, yet, they tend to take longer to dry. They are made of either alkyd (synthetic) or linseed (natural) oils.

The best use of oil-based paint when designing your garage wall is during trim work. It works better there because the trim of walls usually take more of a beating from the excess use of the garage wall, so the oil-based paint will hold up over time.

Latex-Based Paint

Latex-based paint is a more common choice for painting garage walls. They are a bit more affordable than its counterpart, oil-based paint. Although more common and more affordable, latex-based paint does not hold up as long, and tends to chip away more easily once dry.

Latex-based paint are also less likely to emit harmful chemical vapors. Unlike oil-based paints that are filled with toxic chemicals, latex has less than half the amount; therefore, it has less of a chance to hurt you while you’re breathing it in.

Should I Paint My Garage Floor?

Some people respond to this question with “It isn’t necessary, so why should you?” However, the general consensus from professionals say that painting your garage floor could be a good idea; majorly for aesthetics and a matching foundation.

Here are some other reasons as to how painting your garage floor could benefit you:

  • Protection – The paint acts as a buffer between your hot car tires and the ground itself. Concrete can be porous, which will allow mold and bacteria to build up. The paint you choose will fill in these tiny holes, and cause less of a hassle for your health.
  • Cleanliness – Dust lives in the air of a garage, and tires rolling back and forth makes it worse, considering that most of the dust comes from the ground. A painted garage floor significantly reduces air dust because most of it is trapped beneath the paint layer.
  • Light-Reflective – Paint tends to reflect light, which is what makes it look shiny. Therefore, if you paint your garage floor, it will increase the boldness and brightness of your garage.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing – There’s no denying that a painted garage floor will create a stunning look. With the floor matching the color scheme of the walls, the design will come together, and increase the overall value of your home.

Although a laughable question, with a presumptuous answer at face value, painting your garage floor seems like a solid idea to make your garage more attractive, and apparently, more suitable for your ground floor.

What Color Should I Paint My Garage?

Any color that exist! There are many choices to choose from when it comes to garage paint colors, and they all come in various tones. The important aspect to choosing the right paint color is to first decide on your design scheme.

Make sure that your floor design matches your wall design, and vice-versa. The complement of the color(s) will make your garage more homey and inviting.

Lighter colors reflect light better, and gives off a shiny sheen; on the other hand, because of its lightness, it will reveal more dirt and filth that ends up on the wall.

Here are a few recommended garage colors that will be useful to you when picking colors and shades:

  • Beige
  • Gray
  • Tan
  • Blue (various shades)

These colors are known as “neutral scheme colors.” These colors are much easier to clean, and creates more opportunity for other various color schemes. Finishers are also a great way to add some fancy to your color.

A list of finishers that they propose using for an ultimate finish:

  • Eggshell paints: They have the least amount of sheen, but still a solid finisher
  • Semi-gloss paint, or satin, is most commonly used in rooms that require frequent cleaning.
  • Satin finish has the advantage of not exposing surface imperfections
  • Glossy paint provides creates a better shine! It also makes the surface easier to clean, while protect and highlight trim work

What Is The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint?

Simply put, interior paint is used for the inside of the garage, while exterior paint is for the outside of the garage. Both paints are similar in nature, but contains a few, yet significant differences that make them suitable for either the interior or exterior of your garage.

The major difference between interior and exterior paint is resin.

Interior Paint

Interior paint has non-pliable resin inside of it that creates powerful adherence to walls that have low-to-moderate temperatures (anything under 80 Fahrenheit.) This is why it’s used on the inside of structures. This rigid resin binds the paint to the wall, which makes it a powerful adhesive.

In addition, interior paint is less toxic. Because of inhalation, most interior paint contains minimal amounts of harmful chemicals.

Exterior Paint

Exterior paint is designed to be sturdy and long-lasting. It contains flexible resin that is used primarily for protection. The strong resin is able to manipulate itself, and “move around” in order to keep the structure of the paint strong.

It does very well against outdoor measures such as sunlight and natural phenomenons that may occur. Its durability also makes it highly resistant to chipping, smearing, or fading in sunlight.

Can Interior Paint Be Used on The Exterior?

You can, but it isn’t a good idea.

Interior paint is meant for the inside walls of your garage, not the outside. It isn’t strong enough to withstand the outside weather, and will start chipping and scraping away, sooner than later.

The major reason as to why interior paint should not be used on the exterior is because of the pigment. Interior paint pigment is usually organic, which means that it will be biodegradable within a natural setting. Thus, eventually, the color will fade, and your garage walls will lack the luster that you desire.

Is It OK to Use Exterior Paint Inside of The House?


The biggest reason as to why it is not O.K. to use exterior paint inside of the house is because of the volatile organic compounds (VOC), or fumes. Exterior paint tend have higher amounts of VOC. Using it to paint the walls inside of your garage would be absolutely detrimental to your health!

Short-term issues like coughing, dizziness and nausea are some symptoms that could occur; long-term illness like pneumonia, respiratory disease, and liver damage are also high possibilities. Due to the health factor, keep exterior paint use outside.

Exterior paint is set up to sustain environmental factors. It’s durable resin component is what makes it resistant to natural sunlight, chipping, caulking and scrapings. It uses inorganic pigment, which can stand the test against the sunlight, and not fade in color.

Tips for Applying Garage Wall Paint

In addition to all of the information provided, I have a few tips for you that you can use to make sure your garage wall design comes out just the way you want it!

  • Check to see if you actually need a primer (you’ll save money if you don’t!)
  • Latex tends to be the best choice for painting interior garage walls.
  • Look for interior wall paint that has little-to-no VOCs
  • The fastest way to apply paint to your garage walls is with an airless paint sprayer.
  • Use metal mesh patches if you need to fix a large hole in drywall.
  • Use an extension pole when using a paint roller for energy-efficient work
  • Create a painting timeline so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Cover everything in your garage before you begin to paint, including your car, bicycles, tools, and cabinets.
  • Wear old, loose-fitting clothing, because this will be messy, but fun job!

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