Your Guide to Choosing a New Overhead Garage Door

Replacing your garage door: is it worth it? As it turns out, installing a new garage door is one of the best renovation options for your home. It generates an ROI of 98.3%.

In the meantime, your home will feel more personalized, and its curb appeal will significantly improve. Updating your garage door is a no-brainer that will almost guarantee benefits.

But when it comes to the process of replacing your garage door, it’s easier said than done. From choosing the right material to the final color, you may not feel confident selecting a new garage door.

Lucky for you, we’ve created the following guide explaining everything you need to know about making an informed decision to find the best garage door for you.

Keep reading to learn more!

When to Replace Your Garage Door

You may not be sure if you should replace your garage door. Here are a few of the signs that it’s time to start looking for a new one.

Speed & Sound

First, observe the speed and sound of the garage. When you press the garage door opener, it should only take a moment for the garage to start moving. If there’s a lengthy delay, it may be time to contact a professional.

How loud is your garage door? Newer garage doors will be smooth and fairly quiet. As the door gets older, it will start to run rougher and louder.

At some point, you may notice that the door suddenly becomes much noisier or seems to screen when opening and closing. When this happens, you may need a garage door maintenance check – or a new door altogether.

Additional Renovations & Appearance

Consider other renovations you are making to your home. Are you renovating other parts of the exterior? Maybe you’re preparing the home for sale.

If you’re looking to improve the appearance of your home, it’s worth considering if you need a new garage door. Replacing your door will do wonders for your curb appeal. It’s also a major change that costs relatively less than, say, renovating your kitchen.

Damage

Look at the damage to your garage door. Over the years, dents and dings will build up. You can manage damage as much as possible, but you’ll need a new door eventually.

Energy Bills

Think about your energy bills. Are they higher than you’d like?

It’s possible you’re losing quite a bit of energy from an uninsulated garage door. Opting for a new insulated model can save you in the long run.

Garage Door Basics

Before we start discussing garage doors styles and finishes, let’s discuss some of the basics of garage doors that will help you when learning how to choose a garage door.

Shopping for a garage door will look different depending on the size of your garage and the additions you choose to add, like window and installation.

This section will also explain some of the factors that will go into the final costs of your new garage door.

Garage Door Size

The first thing you need to think about is the size door that you need A single-car garage door will usually be between 8 to 9 feet wide and 7 to 8 feet tall. A double-car garage will be the same height and double the width.

Keep in mind that these are just average estimates. You may have a garage designed for taller vehicles, so you would need a larger garage door.

To find out your current garage size, simply measure your garage configuration. Measure the wide and the height of the opening – without the stop molding – for the size of the door.

Also, take into account that you need space in your garage for the overhead tracks and springs. The garage door needs to be able to one into the garage.

For the best fit, custom garage door builders can make doors that are designed especially for your home. Their doors will match the unique size of your garage opening rather than using a standard option.

Garage Door Windows & Installation

Garage door window 3

You’ll also have to make choices about features that you will add to the panel. Namely, these will be windows and installation.

Garage door window 2

Windows are a stylistic choice that you should consider when selecting your garage door.

Garage door window

Garage doors don’t require windows, but they can transform the look of the door by adding extra character and curb appeal. You’ll also gain natural light by adding windows.

There are countless options for window designs that you can select for your garage. You can configure styles to fit with almost any garage door, and winds are available in almost any configuration or arrangement that you can think of.

Windows can also be customized based on the glass used. There’s textured glass, tinted glass, and clear glass. Insulated glass is available to help maintain garage temperatures.

And speaking of installation, this is another basic garage element to consider when selecting your garage door. An insulated garage door will keep your garage at a stable temperature.

Without insulation, your garage will become very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Whatever is inside will not be protected by extreme weather conditions.

Insulation also helps with energy efficiency. An insulated garage door will prevent hot or cool air from escaping your home.

New Garage Door Costs

The cost of replacing your garage door depends on a few factors. The most important one is size. Will your garage be storing one, two, three, or more cars?

The size of your garage will determine the number of garage doors that you need and how big each one will be. The more doors you’re replacing, the more expensive it will get. You can expect each additional door to cost anywhere between $500 and $2500.

Another important fact for determining the cost is the type of garage door that you use. One type of garage door may match your home better but will come at a higher cost.

For instance, a sectional garage door with several small panels will cost significantly less than a carriage house garage door with double doors that swing open.

Lastly, consider the role materials place in cost. Low-cost aluminum and steel can be thousands of dollars less than wood or glass.

In later sections of this article, we will go into more depth about choosing the style and material of your garage door.

Choosing the Right Color

Curb appeal is an important factor for your home – homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of 7% more than similar homes that do not have a visually exciting exterior.

Your garage door is a massive visual point for the outside of your home, and therefore is key to your curb appeal. You may have a few different ideas for your garage door color, but you’ll want to find the option that most tastefully complements your home.

Your home should have three colors:

  1. A dominant or primary color
  2. Trim color for awnings and door frames
  3. Accent color for doors and shutters

Will your garage door match your dominant or trip color? It depends on the garage door placement and what colors need to be balanced.

The general rule is to choose a garage door color that is the same as the dominant color of the house or choose white. A garage door that is similar to the colors of the home will make the exterior of the space look even bigger.

Below are some of the factors to include when choosing what color you should consider for your garage door.

Color Schemes

First, let’s look at how colors work together on the color wheel. Below are three basic color schemes that are likely one of the color palettes for your home.

Monochromatic

A monochromatic scheme will use different amounts of lightness within the same color. Consider the color yellow. A monochromatic scheme may use golden yellow for the front door, light yellow for the house exterior color, and yet another shade of yellow for the accents.

Monochromatic color schemes create cohesion because all colors are from the same color family. They’re visually pleasing and easy to look at.

Analogous

An analogous palette will use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, you may use green, yellow-green, and yellow for an analogous palette.

Complementary

A complementary palette will use two colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors provide contrast and add excitement to your home decor.

They can be harder to balance but will create the most stunning visual effects if done properly.

With complementary colors, it’s key to make sure that one color dominates the other. This means that one color should be in the background and the complementary color should act as the accent.

Choosing Garage Door Color

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Your Guide to Choosing a New Overhead Garage Door 5
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Now that we have a better understanding of how colors work together, we can use these palettes to explore the different color options for garage doors.

Bold Garage Door Color

If you want to make a statement with your garage door color, consider using a bold one. Bold colors are daring and add energy to the property. Typical bold colors for garage doors include red, yellow, and occasionally even purple.

When it comes to choosing a color that is “bold,” look for one that will add contrast. This can come from using the complementary color scheme that we referred to above or using another bold color.

If your home has a soft cream or beige stone exterior with green vines, a red wooden garage door can add a striking factor to the property.

A bright yellow garage door can completely change the feel of a charcoal grey home with white trim and wooden accents.

Red will make the strongest statement because it evokes the strongest emotion of any color, according to color psychology. Cooler colors like blue and green are typically associated with being calming, while red conveys excitement.

Sophisticated Garage Door Color

If you want a more elegant appeal, it’s often wise to go with a garage door color that follows a monochromatic or analogous color scheme.

Using different variations of the colors already present throughout the home’s exterior will add depth to the curb appeal while keeping a sophisticated appearance.

For instance, say a home’s exterior is made from warm yellowy-beige brick. Warm, dark brown wood garage doors will bring out the brown tones of the brick while adding a luxurious appeal.

Neutral White Garage Door Color

When in doubt, go for a neutral white garage door color. You can almost never go wrong by choosing a shade of white.

However, whites come with one caveat. Keep in mind that stark, pure white may disrupt the flow of your home’s visual appeal. In some cases, white may be appropriate – a white garage door will look striking against a brick house with white trim.

But for the most part, go with off-white variations. Different shades of creams and ivories will mimic the effects of white while giving a softer impression.

Choosing the Right Style

What style is your home? From classic to contemporary homes, there are types of garage doors that will work the best for each.

Carriage Doors

Carriage house door

Traditional carriage house doors used wood with thick iron hinges. Users would pull them forward by hand, swinging the door forward.

Now, carriage doors are updated for the modern home, so there’s no need to pull them by hand anymore. But they have retained their classic look.

Carriage doors are often associated with elegance and tradition. They’re usually from wood or high-quality steel. They’ll also be adorned with decorative details and finishes.

Sectional Doors

Classic steel clopay

Sectional doors are one of the most popular garage door styles. They’re convenient for many homes because they don’t take up too much space and open easily.

Sectional garage doors have panel sections. Each panel is connected with hinges, and the panels roll on a track as the door opens.

The hinges between each panel bend over the tack to let the door sit parallel to the ceiling when the garage is open. When the door is closed, the panels are in line with the walls.

Sectional doors usually are made from steel. They’re low maintenance and customization options for windows and colors.

Roll-Up Doors

Roll up garage door

If you don’t have the ceiling space for a sectional garage, you may want to consider a roll-up garage.

You probably have seen roll-up garages in commercial applications. They’re easy to move up and down without taking up too much space, which makes them an ideal choice for many warehouses and storage spaces.

However, roll-up garage doors also can be an elegant choice for your home. Roll-up doors are made from 2- to 3-inch steel slat sections. They roll around a drum around2 the door’s opening.

Because roll-up doors are made from steel, you’ll likely only use them for a home with a modern or industrial look.

Roll-up doors are made to withstand heavy use and conditions. They can be one of the best choices in extreme climates.

Slide to the slide garage door

Slide-to-the-Side Doors

Slide-to-the-side doors operate just how they sound. They bend to one side of the garage. The door sits parallel to the garage to allow your vehicle to enter.

Sliding to the side garage doors are a common choice for garages with little to no headroom. They allow trolleys that work with the ceiling and floor. They also have a built-in motor for automated operation so they don’t need a ceiling-mounted operator.

Side-Hinged Doors

Side hinged garage door

Side-hinged doors swing open and close to the side from a hinged frame. They usually look like large barn doors and are made from wood.

They’re often a popular choice for homes that have a more rustic style, though they can be modernized and commercialized by using materials like steel.

Side-hinged doors are a classic choice that will never go out of style. Demand for side-hinged doors is popular, especially for garage doors with limited headroom.

You can add a side-hinged garage door by fitting it into your existing garage opening or by buying pre-hung steel frames.

Canopy Doors

Tilt up door

Tilt-up canopy doors also operate like how they sound. When the door opens, they tilt up slowly.

The tilt-up canopy door won’t have sections. It’s made of one solid piece. These doors operate on a pivoting hinge mechanism.

The door sits parallel to the garage ceiling. It will extend straight past the front of the house when the garage door is open.

Choosing the Right Material

Now you have an understanding of how to select your color and what the different garage door style options are.

It’s time to learn more about different garage materials so you can make the perfect combination of all 3 elements: color, style, and material.

There are several different garage door materials you can go with. We’ve included the best four choices.

Steel Doors

Steel is the most common garage door material option, and for good reason. But no material is perfect, so we’ve included the pros and cons of steel garage doors below.

Benefits of Steel Doors

Steel is an exceptionally durable material. When it is galvanized or coated to protect against rust, it becomes even stronger. When steel is coated, it can withstand outdoor elements without warping.

Even better, steels’ strength does not come at a high price tag. Steel is one of the most affordable options for garage doors. Factors like the size and features of the door will of course determine the price, but you can expect relatively low costs compared to other materials.

Because of steel’s popularity, you can find steel garage doors in a wide range of styles and options. You can select a color and finish that matches your home. Some steel even can mimic the look of wood.

Many homeowners like steel because it is a low-maintenance garage door material. Other than occasionally re-painting your steel garage door, it won’t require much attention. (But make sure to inspect it every now and then to check its condition.)

Drawbacks of Steel Doors

Steel is strong but not infallible. It is a metal that makes it prone to rust and corrosion. When your steel garage is exposed to the elements, it may get damaged. Luckily, most garage door manufacturers will galvanize steel (the steel is dipped in molten zinc) to protect it.

Metal can also be dented. Steel may be dented if your car hits it or another impact occurs. Choose lower gauge steel to help protect the door from any denting.

Steel also won’t be much of an insulator on its own. To keep your garage at a similar temperature to the rest of your home, you will need to insulate your steel garage door. Many garage door manufacturers will have models that include insulation between the layers of steel.

Wooden Doors

If you want your garage to have a timeless look, choosing wooden garage doors will allow you to customize your doors for a more classic or rustic look. Below are some of the advantages and potential drawbacks of using wooden doors in your garage.

Benefits of Wooden Doors

Wooden doors are one of the most beautiful options out there. Homeowners often select wooden doors because the natural material has a timeless elegance.

Wood has the ability to fit with more rustic or classic styles while also fitting in with a more modern look. If your garage is next to your home, having a wooden garage can significantly improve curb appeal and elevate the style of the home.

Wooden doors are also customizable. They come in both carriage house and classic raised panel designs. You can also choose from different types of timber, paint colors, and stain finishings. Your wooden doors can be customized to fit into your property seamlessly.

Because wood is a natural material, it is also eco-friendly. It’s a renewable resource with a long life cycle. Your wooden garage door could last for decades if you take care of it properly.

Drawbacks of Wooden Doors

But even with its unique advantages, wood may not be the most popular choice for garage doors. Depending on your lifestyle, wooden doors may not be the right choice for you.

The main deterrent for homeowners is the cost of wood doors. Wooden doors are higher-end options that will typically be one of the most expensive materials for your doors.

And once your wooden doors are installed, you will have additional maintenance costs. Wood requires more maintenance than metal, so it will need to be repainted or restrained every one to two years.

Wood is a porous material, which means that moisture could seep in for the outside and cause it to rot. To prevent this, wooden doors should be treated regularly.

Wooden doors are also not very good insulators. Wood has even less insulation than steel, but it can be fitted with a layer of insulation. However, keep in mind that this will be an additional cost.

Aluminum Doors

Steel is the most popular garage door option, but aluminum is a close second. Aluminum doors can be completely metal or can consist of an aluminum frame that holds panels.

Aluminum is championed as an eco-friendly material because it is completely renewable. 75% of the aluminum that has been produced in the past is still in use today.

Below are some of the reasons to consider using aluminum in your garage door, as well as some of the concerns you should be aware of.

Benefits of Aluminum Doors

If you’re going for a sleek look, aluminum is one of the best choices for your garage door. It’s one of the best styles for a modern feel.

Aluminum garage doors are usually covered in frosted glass that allows sunlight to come into the garage, adding an airy feel to the space.

As a metal, aluminum is more resistant to corrosion and rust than steel. If you live in a humid client, aluminum may be a better choice. You can also add protective coatings and paint to protect the metal even further.

Another thing that makes aluminum a great choice is its light weight. Aluminum is a lightweight material that won’t put too much strain on your garage system. Many extra-wide garage doors use aluminum because it is so light.

And an at even lower price tag than steel, aluminum is one of the most affordable – if not the most affordable – garage door material choices out there. If you’re a homeowner working with a tight budget, aluminum is a great choice for you.

Once you install your aluminum garage door, you won’t need to do much to maintain it. Some people even describe aluminum doors as maintenance-free.

Drawbacks of Aluminum Doors

But like with any other material, aluminum does have some problems. Homeowners may be concerned about the following:

If privacy is one of your main concerns, you may not like an aluminum door with glass panels. People driving by will be able to see inside your garage.

However, you can choose glass panels that are frosted to help observe the view. Some people may choose solid aluminum panels with no glass if they want the utmost privacy.

Aluminum is also a weaker metal than steel. This makes it prone to denting. Accidentally tapping your garage door with your car could cause notable damage.

You can remedy this by going for double-paneled doors. Double-paneled aluminum doors will resist denting better than single-paneled doors.

Also, keep in mind that glass panels can crack or break if hit with another force. This is unlikely, but still worth considering.

Aluminum is also a poor insulator. It could make your garage very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. You can choose a panel with a layer of insulation that will help to regulate temperatures.

Fiberglass Doors

If you want a door that combines some of the best features of wooden and metal doors, consider a fiberglass garage door. Fiberglass doors have a steel frame and insulation within a fiberglass coating.

Here are some of the pros and cons of fiberglass doors.

Benefits of Fiberglass Doors

First and foremost, fiberglass doors are durable. They are one of the strongest materials you can choose for your garage door material and will last even longer than traditional steel doors. Fiberglass is also resistant to insects, salt, and moisture.

And all of these benefits come at a fairly affordable price tag. Fiberglass doors are less expensive than wooden doors but more expensive than steel doors.

Since fiberglass doors are non-porous, they’re easy to maintain. They don’t require any ongoing services or paint jobs. Fiberglass doors aren’t painted, so you won’t have to worry about maintaining your chosen color.

But even though fiberglass doors aren’t painted, there are still a variety of customizable options. Fiberglass surface comes in numerous styles that can even mimic the look of wood.

And lastly, fiberglass is one of the lightest materials for a garage door. They’re easier on tracks and for your garage system. They’re also easier to pull up and down manually.

Drawbacks of Fiberglass Doors

However, fiberglass doors still have some potential problems. Be aware of the following issues.

Fiberglass is generally a durable material, but it has the potential to crack. In high winds or cold temperatures, fiberglass can become brittle. This can cause the material to crack.

Fiberglass is also prone to discoloration from excessive sunlight. A constant stream of sunlight day-in and day-out can cause lines or yellowing to occur where the sun shines on the door.

If you live in an area where your garage is in direct sunlight for most of the day, it’s best to consult with experts before selecting a fiberglass option.  But as long as the door isn’t exposed to the sun for more than a few hours a day, the fiberglass material will hold up.

Also, keep in mind that fiberglass is resistant to paint. It’s nonporous and sometimes completely smooth, which means that paint and primers won’t stay on. If you do want to paint your fiberglass door, it’s best to consult experts who can prep the surface appropriately.

Garage Door Shopping: Do’s & Dont’s

You’re almost ready to begin the process of picking a garage door! Before you go, consider the following do’s and don’ts of selecting your garage door.

Don’t Forget Insulation

Your garage door may likely be your primary entrance. If you own a car, you’re likely leaving through the garage every time you enter and exit your home.

If this is the case for you, consider insulating your garage door. Insulating the door will keep the entire space much warmer, which will make entering and exiting your home that much more comfortable.

You’ll also be able to save on electricity. Think about how much electricity you lose through windows that aren’t insulated. The same principle applies to your garage, but on an even larger scale.

The garage is the biggest opening in the home and can play a huge role in your overall energy efficiency. Keeping your garage’s ambient temperature similar to that of the home will make the entire property more energy efficient.

An uninsulated garage can suck out all of the air that is being regulated by the climate-control system in your house. But an insulated garage door can help to lower your utility bills and maintain your home’s ideal temperature.

Do Choose a Practical Door Type

Different types of garage doors operate in different ways. You have the traditional garage door that opens outward from a central split. Others will slide left and right – think like an entrance to an old barn.

The most popular design for homes is the overhead sectional doors. Overhead sectional doors roll up and down on mounted tracks from the top of the garage. They don’t require any clearance and they’re easy to pair with an automatic garage opener.

Overhead sectional doors are the most practical garage door option for the modern homeowner, but you won’t always need to compromise your tastes for the door. There are many options that look like old-fashioned garages of a certain style but have modern overhead functionality.

Don’t Ignore Care Requirements

Your garage door is used every day, if not more often. As one of the most hardworking elements of your home, your garage store should be treated and maintained properly so that it can function smoothly.

With this in mind, understand the care requirements of the type of garage door that you choose. For instance, natural wood requires periodic refinishing, while synthetic materials provide a similar look with less upkeep.

If you live near a coast or humid climate, you’ll likely need to wax your door to prevent surface rust.

Consider your environment and the realistic commitment you want to make to your garage door. Do you want a one-and-done operation, or are you okay with more frequent refinishing or maintenance?

Do Visit a Showroom

Since your garage door is such a large investment, visiting a showroom will give you the best opportunity to select the right door for your home.

By visiting a showroom, you’ll be able to get a sense of how different door styles and materials look and how they may feel for your home.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you can take pictures or find samples of your favorite materials and colors to get an idea of what the door would look like on your property.

From style to the presence or absence of windows, a wide array of variables can affect the overall look and feel of your garage door. Looking online is a great way to get your search started, but we recommend always going to see designs and materials in person before making a final decision.

Don’t Underestimate Weather

Because garages are so large, they are vulnerable to high winds of storms. If a tornado or hurricane breaks through your garage door, it can have devastating consequences on the entire structure of your home.

Garages are large enough that they cannot really be windproof. But in many areas, governments require doors to be code-compliant so they can withstand a certain level of wind resistance.

When shopping for a new garage door, look for one with ratings in negative and positive PSF (pounds per square foot). If you’re unsure about which doors are wind-rated, it’s best to speak to a professional.

Do Speak with a Professional

If you’re still unsure about the garage door you should choose, it won’t hurt to speak with a professional.

Professionals will have years of experience helping customers select garage doors and install them. They’ll be able to give you insight into which materials and styles will best fit your lifestyle needs, as well as which colors may complement your home the best.

When it comes to selecting your next garage door, the decision is ultimately up to you. But having input from a trusted expert may help to ease the decision and help you finalize your choice.

And even if you’re completely sure that you’ve made the right choice for your garage door, it’s still wise to confirm your choice with a professional. They will verify that your final choice is appropriate based on your location and preferred maintenance schedule.

Trust Garage Door Professionals

The right garage door has the power to upgrade your entire property. It’s key to know about colors, styles, and materials for your door before you make a decision.

Want more guidance? Look to the pros. The OGD™ Overhead Garage Door experts are here to help you with your garage door selection and installation. Contact us to learn more.

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