Painting is very easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do – Edgar Degas
Whether it’s due to accident damage or the scratches and scrapes that always seem to appear out of nowhere when you least expect, or need them to, the nicks, blemishes, and grazes that part and parcel of owning a car always seem to happen to the driver and passenger side doors.
The good news though is that you don’t need to have your whole car resprayed to cover up and repair the damage, you can have the dinged door resprayed and painted instead. The even better news is that it won’t cost as much and isn’t as difficult to have a car door painted as you might think it is.
In fact, with a little guidance and know-how, you could even paint your car door yourself for far less than it would cost a professional to do the same job.
That’s why we’re here, to guide you through everything that you need to know about painting one or all of your car doors, and how much it will cost you to do it yourself. Or if you decide to follow a conventional path, how much it will cost you to have your can door painted professionally.
The Cost Of Painting A Car Door – The Professional Way
It isn’t just the cost of the paint or the time that it takes that pushes up the price of having a car door painted professionally.
What you’re really paying for are the years of experience, ability, and dedication that the body-work specialist and auto-painter has accumulated over the course of her, or his, career that guarantees when the job is finished, your door will look as good as new.
That’s why it could, and will, costs you anything from four hundred to twelve hundred dollars to have your car door painted by a garage with an impeccable reputation that you can trust. If you’re paying that kind of money to have the job done, you may as well just have your whole car re-sprayed and painted. Click here to find out what a paint job at Maaco wil cost you.
Painting Your Car Door Yourself – How Much It Should Cost
Most amateur mechanics you ask will tell you the same thing. It’ll cost you around sixty dollars to spray a single car door – twenty dollars each for a can of primer, paint, and clear coat.
And that would normally be that if it wasn’t for the fact, that like most things in life, it isn’t quite that simple. You need more than a few cans of paint to do the job properly.
You also need the right equipment to make sure if you’re going to paint your car door yourself, then you’ll get it right the first, and hopefully only, time that you do it.
Pntgreen HVLP Spray Gun
The first thing that you’ll need is an HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray gun. If you’re only spraying or painting a low-volume area, then you don’t need a large-capacity spray gun.
You will need a source of compressed air to power it, but our top tip is to hire rather than buy that. Look up tool and automotive supply stores online and they’ll happily point you in the right direction of a good compressor for hire if you give them a call.
Any paint is dangerous, and automotive paint can be incredibly hazardous if you breathe in the fume or it gets in your eyes, so you’ll need to wear a full face mask when you paint your car door. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Stripping And Sanding
If you’re going to do a job, make sure you do it the right way, and doing it the right way means taking the door back to bare metal and starting all over again. Use the paint stripper to remove all of the paint on your car door, so that you can start from scratch by priming, painting, and clear coating your door.
And the sandpaper? That’s for when you’ve finished so that you can wet sand your car door to perfection and ensure that it looks as good as new.
Everything is about detail, and just because you’re not a professional, it doesn’t mean that your door can’t look like it was professionally painted when you’ve finished clear coating and wet-sanding it. If you do the job properly, nobody should be able to tell the difference between your work, and that of a body shop.
Masking and Cutting
You’ll need to make the area that you paint, so no overspray reaches the areas, of either your car or the area in which you’re working, that you don’t want it to. And you’ll also need a knife or razor blade to cut and shape the tape while you’re masking.
Even though a lot of professionals use a razor blade to cut and edge tape if you don’t have much experience it’s easier to use a knife to achieve the same effect. Just remember to cut slowly and carefully and take your time.
Body Filler And Spreaders
If you’re going to go back to bare metal, and want to make sure that your car looks as good as new when you’ve finished painting it, then it’s always advisable to take a couple of extra hours to fill all of dents and damage with body filler.
Bondo is relatively easy and straightforward to use, especially if you use the right tools (in this case, spreaders), to apply, and use it.
It’s easy to overspray and for paint to end up on the surfaces that you don’t want it to end up on, so we’d always recommend that if you’re not using a spray booth or paint shop, that you use a drop cloth to cover anything that you don’t want to paint the same color as your car door.
Everything that you’ll need for the entire job, and to completely paint your car door, assuming that you don’t have any of the equipment that you’ll need, won’t set you back more than two hundred and fifty dollars, which even at the most conservative estimate is around half of what it would cost to have the door painted professionally.
Choosing The Right Paint
We’ve already mentioned the three-car painting amigos – primer, paint, and clear coat, and while you’ll need to use a primer to lay down the base coat that the actual paint you choose will adhere to and clear coat to protect that paint and the finished job on your car door, you’re going to need to choose the right kind of paint for your door.
While there are different types of car paint that you could use, the only types that you’ll really need to think about are enamel and urethane, and if you do a quick google search on the make and model of your car and the year in which it was made, you’ll easily be able to find out if you need either urethane or enamel paint.
It’s important to get the right paint so that it’ll precisely match the color and the way your car looks.
How Much Will The Paint Cost?
Again, some forums and car people will tell you that you could probably get away with a couple of rattle cans of primer and the right paint.
They’d probably cost you about twenty dollars all in, and while the paint job might look pretty good at first and it’s an easy, quick solution it’ll soon fade and won’t look the way you’ll want it to.
That’s why we’d recommend doing it properly and using a spray gun and the right primer, paint, and clear coat.
Even with six coats of paint (two each of the primer, paint, and clear coat), as the average area of the car door is around six square feet, it won’t cost you more than twenty dollars a can for the paint, which means a total outlay of around sixty dollars for three cans of paint.
First Things First – Before You Start Painting
Rather than trying to figure out the pieces of the door painting puzzle while with a spray gun in one hand and a can of paint in the other, it’s always better to know what you’re doing before you start painting your car.
And the best way to find out how to paint your car door? That would be YouTube. There are literally thousands of instructional videos on how to paint car doors, so take a couple of hours out of your busy schedule to watch some of them and find out how to do it properly. You’ll be glad you did.
Estimating The Professional Cost
Although they’ll have to purchase the same paint, stripper, and body filler as you will, any body shop that you employ to paint your car door will already have all the necessary equipment.
What you’re paying for, is the time, labor, and expertise of the specialists who’ll actually do the job. And those costs, can, especially if there are any additional issues that they find while stripping down and repainting your door and do mount up.
All told, including the labor costs, having your car door painted professionally will cost anywhere between four hundred and twelve hundred dollars.
Sometimes though, the process can be taken completely out of your hands.
If you were involved in an auto collision or reported the damage that you’re doing to fix by painting your door to your insurance company, they will usually insist on you having your car, wherever the damage is, repainted and repaired by a professional.
And if that decision is taken out of your hands, as there’s nothing that you can do about it, so you’ll just have to go with professional painting flow.
Of course, there are a couple of advantages to having your car door painted professionally – you know that any work will be done to an exacting standard, which will help your car, if at some point you decide that you do want to sell it, to retain its value
Reducing The Cost Of Painting Your Car Door
The easiest way to reduce the costs of any automotive job that need to be done to your car, whatever it is, is by doing it yourself.
Even though it will take you far longer to do the job, and you’ll inevitably have the odd slip up along the way, you won’t have to pay yourself for the time that you invest in painting your car door. That time is your own and as your labor is your own, it won’t cost you anything.
While a body shop would inevitably be able to do the job in a fraction of the time that you could, every minute that they spend working on your car door will have a detrimental impact on your pocketbook.
The majority of costs involved in any professional painting job aren’t for materials, the filler that’s used to restore your car door, or the paint that makes it look as good as new, they’re all to do with the time and labor that’s invested in the job. If you want to save that money, do the job yourself.
Even though the initial outlay for the equipment that you’ll need to paint your car door can be costly, once the job is finished, and if you don’t intend to do it again, you can always attempt to sell the equipment either through a car forum or on eBay.
And if you don’t have the money to initially invest in any of the equipment, you could try asking for advice on car forums (a quick Google search will reveal thousands of them) and see if anyone on there is selling any of the equipment that you need instead of investing in brand new spray guns, masks, and paint.
And while we’re talking about paint, sometimes it’s also worth asking if anyone (again online, and if you don’t want to try car forums, you can always try groups on social media) has any leftover paint that they could let you have.
Car people are some of the friendliest folks that you’ll ever meet and they’re always more than willing to help a fellow four-wheel devotee out. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. What have you got to lose?
The last and most effective way to make sure that you’re being as financially responsible as possible and at the same time making sure that your car door is painted properly and professionally is by getting as many quotes from as many different body shops as you possibly can.
The more quotes you have, the easier it’ll be to decide whether you want to do the job yourself or let the professionals do it for you.
The Car Door Painting Verdict
Everyone likes to save a dollar. In this uncertain world, every cent counts, believe us we understand and we totally get it.
And if you’re committed to stretching your budget as far as you absolutely can, then you can paint your car door yourself and you do it for far less than most body shops and garages would charge you to do the same job.
However, if it is within your budget to have your car door painted professionally, we would always thoroughly recommend that you do that and focus on making sure that you get it painted by someone who knows what they’re doing.
The time, headaches, and stress that it’ll save you will be worth every extra cent that it costs you. And when the job is done, the paint fumes clear and your door is dry, if you’ve had it painted by a professional, your car will look as good as new.