It Was Just A Dirty Old Garage Door, Until Homeowner Transformed It Into A Gorgeous Table

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Most of us look at our garage doors as simply the things that keep our cars safely inside. They look nice enough from the outside, but most of us would probably never think to bring these big, paneled doors inside.

After all, these doors are huge and dirty. What can you do with a repurposed garage door?

But Instructables user jmitch77 realized that the old pine-and-plywood garage door from his house deserved better than being tossed in the trash when they replaced it with a modern, lightweight aluminum one.

The family was also in the market for a new dining room table. And what’s a dining room table but a large panel of wood? The transition seemed natural. Plus, it was a great way to reuse something that might have outlived its original purpose, but still had a lot left to offer.

Of course, you can’t just pop a garage door into your dining room. Years of dirt, grime, and car exhaust mean it’s pretty dirty, certainly nothing you want to eat off!

In addition, it was covered in several coats of paint to match the exterior of the house, and that had to be dealt with, too.

Jmitch77 knew, though, that with some planning and plenty of work, the old doors could be transformed into a beautiful addition for the inside of the house, and could show off the real beauty that was hiding in those plain old doors.

See how he did it below, and you might just be inspired to turn an old item into a completely new one.

[H/T: Instructables]

the old garage door before it became a table

When Instructables user jmitch77 replaced the old, pinewood garage door with a lighter, more modern aluminum one, he knew he didn’t want to just toss the old doors.

“I hung onto the panels since they were made with high quality pine wood and marine grade plywood,” he says.

One of the panels was converted into a workbench for the garage, and that gave him the idea of turning the other three into a dining room table.

planning the garage door table in CAD

First, he plotted out the table’s design in CAD, a design software program, to get as clear an idea of the project as possible.

Of course, when it comes to DIY projects, planning sometimes only gets you so far!

“My approach to this project was to try to plan as much as possible, but the majority of the work was trial and error,” he admits.

removing the paint from the garage door

Each panel was coated in about 60 years worth of paint, so the first step was removing all of that to get down to the wood underneath.

He wasn’t sure if any of the layers were lead-based paint, so he was very careful to wear protective gear and to sand down any flaky pieces, as the underside would be left painted.

He advises any crafters out there to take the possibility of lead-based paint into consideration in projects like this.

sanding down the garage door

When the paint was all removed from the top side, it was time to sand. And sand. And sand some more.

“The doors had either been stained on the inside or had just absorbed many years worth of dust and dirt as they were definitely dark and dirty,” he says.

He used an orbital sander for the ribs, and sanded the recessed areas by hand. A wire brush ended up working great for removing grit and dust too.

garage door edges are rounded out

Near the bottom, the wood had begun to rot due to years of exposure, so about an inch was removed from the bottom edges.

He also rounded out the corners to get rid of any splintery edges.

the project manager surveys

And of course, the project was frequently checked on by the real boss.

building the table's legs

After some deliberation about the style of the legs, jmitch77’s wife showed him a tutorial on how to make these farmhouse-style legs, which matched the rustic style of the doors perfectly.

distressing the legs

The legs were made of new wood, so to make them match the aged look of the doors, jmitch77 used a torch to distress them.

Burning and sanding gives the wood a deeper tone and a variation in color and texture, and brings the grain out more.

He also stained the legs and coated them with polyurethane to keep them safe.

support beams on the underside keep the garage door sturdy

To prevent the doors from sagging when they were balanced on the legs, jmitch77 built a support structure for the underside.

He admits that he probably went overboard, but better safe than sorry, we say!

support structure under the garage door table

The support structure was attached to the underside of the doors, which still retained the old paint.

In case any of the paint was lead based, the paint had been sanded down and sealed to prevent any contact.

attaching the legs to the garage door table

Next, the legs were attached. The support structure was also stained to match the legs and surface.

applying the first coat of epoxy to the garage door

The doors had recessed pockets that needed to be evened out so the table could be used.

“I tossed around several ideas on how to fill the recessed pockets of the door sections,” jmitch77 says.

“The first thought was to fill them with concrete and grind and polish the surface much like a concrete countertop. However, if I did that, it would cover up most of the beautiful wood grain.  So I decided on a clear epoxy.”

applying epoxy to garage door

“Because of this decision, I found out how much epoxy is required to fill the recesses and cover an entire 48″ x 83″ table top, and also just how expensive it is!”

He doesn’t regret the decision, though. “Sometimes, finding the right solution to upcycle materials will cost you more money than just buying new ones, but where is the fun in that?”

repurposed garage door with epoxy coating

After lots and lots of epoxy, the table had a smooth, even surface and a super-shiny gloss with some serious reflective qualities.

Plus, the beauty of the wood is completely visible.

repurposed garage door as a dining room table

And then the table was done! It looks amazing in the house.

You’d never even know that this used to be a garage door.

repurposed garage door as a dining room table

The legs blend with it seamlessly, and this table is a beautiful and elegant addition to the home.

Jmitch77 admits that it came out a little differently than he’d initially imagined, but that’s often how DIY projects go. But he’s glad he was able to give new life to an old item.

“I hope it inspired you to go out and use, reuse, and upcycle items to make beautiful furniture yourself!  The less we throw away the better it is for everyone!” he says.

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