A Complete Guide to Wood Garage Doors

Wood garage doors
A Complete Guide to Wood Garage Doors 1

The garage is a home design feature most people take for granted. Unless you were around before the first automobile debuted, you likely assume a garage is a standard feature.

Homes didn’t have built-in garages before the 1920s. A home might have had outbuildings for farm equipment storage or a carriage house, depending on the location.

We’ve come a long way from horse-drawn carriage storage—although carriage house-style garage doors have come back.

Today’s wood garage doors look better and last longer than their predecessors. If you’re thinking about installing a new door, this article includes everything you need to know about wooden garage doors.

Take a minute and explore the features and benefits of one of the most popular garage door options.

Types of Wooden Garage Doors

Whether you’re selecting the doors for a new build or starting a renovation project on your current home, you’ll find many types of wood garage doors, including solid panel, raised panel, and carriage house-style.

Solid Panel

A solid panel garage door consists of flat panels. There are no details to create visual interest. Because of that, solid panel doors make a relatively economical option.

Solid panel wood garage door
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Raised Panel

If you’re looking for a way to add character to your home’s exterior design, consider raised panel doors. These doors are a little more expensive than single-panel garage doors.

Raised panel wood garage door
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Carriage House-Style

Talk about a classic. You’ll often find these style doors in traditional-style homes. Today’s designs include glass and hardware choices that help them enhance just about any home design.

If you want a door with windows, you’re not limited to carriage house-style doors. A garage door technician can install windows on single and raised panel doors.

You can even opt for fully functioning windows that open manually if you’d like to use your garage for more than parking your car.

Wood carriage house door
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A Quick Note About Carriage House-Style Doors

As noted earlier, carriage house-style garage doors were initially intended for horse-drawn carriage storage. Once people started owning cars, they appropriated their storage space as needed.

Carriage house-style doors went out of style for a while. They’ve evolved, and they’re back in fashion today.

For some home designs, adding detail to the door to make it look like a barn door creates a charming look. Iron-clad or black on-door hardware completes the vintage mood of a farmhouse-style home, which is where you’ll often find carriage house-style garage doors.

Modern carriage house-style garage door systems roll up instead of swinging forward. If you enjoy the vintage look of hinges, you can order hardware that gives it the appearance of something from days gone by.

Are Wood Garage Doors Made of Solid Wood?

It might surprise you that most wood garage doors aren’t made from solid wood. Instead, manufacturers use sheets of hardwood. They use sheets instead of solid wood boards to help prevent warping.

When you buy a wooden garage door, you’ll want to make sure the manufacturer chose a rot- and moisture-resistant hardwood. We’ll talk more in-depth about the best hardwoods next.

Wood Composite

As a substitution for solid hardwood garage doors, wood composite is popular today.

Wood composite doors consist of a wood core covered with fiberboard (wood fibers and synthetic resins). The wood core is then completely covered with weather-resistant skin, which is filled with insulation.

You’ll find factory-painted or stained garage doors, but you can also order a door to be finished on-site at your home.

Best Types of Wood for Garage Doors

Due to its high aesthetic appeal, many homeowners prefer wood over vinyl, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. Buying wood doors means you’ll have several wood types to consider.

Each type of wood has distinct benefits. Here are a few of the most popular wood types for garage doors.

Plywood

In many cases, manufacturers use plywood for single-panel doors. It’s basic and the least costly. If the manufacturer adds a hardwood skin, you’ll have a more attractive door.

Cedar

You can’t go wrong when you choose a cedar garage door. Garage door manufacturers love cedar because it’s durable and strong. Homeowners like it because of its beauty.

Strength and beauty aren’t cedar’s only excellent attributes.

Consider cedar if you’re looking for a door designed with high resistance to insect and moisture damage. Cedar doesn’t warp or crack.

Its porous nature makes it lighter than many other types of wood. A cedar door puts less strain on your garage door opener.

You can finish your cedar door with your choice of stains or paint. You can also leave the door in an unfinished state for a more rustic or natural appearance.

Oak and redwood are also popular choices for wood garage doors.

Reclaimed Wood

If you’re concerned about the environment, reclaimed wood comes from locations where the wood has fallen and remained in place for years. This means no use of freshly cut trees.

Reclaimed wood is naturally seasoned because it stays where it falls for several years. 

Benefits of Wooden Garage Doors

Choose a wood door when you’re planning a makeover of your home’s exterior and want something that will pop. You won’t find many other materials that can offer more beautiful textures, designs, and finishes.

The allure of wood garage doors goes beyond their aesthetic value to several other benefits, including the following:

  • Durability
  • Strength
  • Insulation
  • Customizable
  • Updatable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Can be affordable
  • Boost home value

You also won’t want for styles. Whether your home design is rustic, classic, traditional, or modern, you’ll find a wood door that fits your personal tastes. Most people are surprised to discover the many options available when they begin shopping for a new wood garage door.

Over the following several sections of this article, we’ll look more closely at each of the above benefits.

How Long Do Wooden Garage Doors Last?

Since a new garage door is a financial investment, you want to choose a door that allows you to maximize your investment. A garage door’s lifespan depends on several factors, including quality, usage, climate, and maintenance

A new garage door today can last between 15 and 30 years. Durability is one feature that draws homeowners to wood garage doors.

Wooden garage doors resist damage from wind, hail, and other weather extremes. As noted earlier, depending on the type of wood used in manufacturing, a wood door can resist damage caused by insects such as termites.

Unlike metal and vinyl garage doors, those constructed from wood aren’t prone to cracking, and they certainly won’t develop dents.

As far as strength, wood doors are comparable to hardwood floors. They’re strong enough to hold up under heavy use.

Think about how often you open and close your garage door. A lighter-weight material may not be able to withstand heavy use.

We’ll share a few tips on maintenance later in the article, but we stand behind the idea that a well-maintained garage door can last beyond the estimated lifespan.

Garage Doors and Insulation

Garage door insulation adds one more layer of protection to your wood door. Insulation also helps keep the temperature inside the garage consistent.

If you’re replacing an aluminum or vinyl door, a wood door should help reduce your energy bills. A wood garage door can also act as a sound barrier. You won’t hear as much noise from the street—or your noisy neighbors.

Before you buy your door, talk with the garage door installer about R-value.

The higher the R-value, the better the insulation works. While wood has some excellent insulating properties, the insulation inside the wood core helps keep the temperature in the garage balanced.

To determine the best R-value for a garage door, you’ll need to factor in the climate where you live and your heating and cooling system.

Garage Doors Customized for Your Space

Another benefit of wood garage doors is that they’re customizable. That’s a plus for two reasons.

First, the house you live in may not have a standard-size garage door opening. It’s also possible you don’t have a level garage floor.

You can have it customized to meet your specifications with a wood door. You can’t always do that with other garage door materials.

Second—and much more fun—is the idea of customization options. You have nearly endless options with wood doors, including wood species, windows, hardware, and accents. You can also order an overhead door constructed from wood.

You can have your door your way when you go with a wooden garage door.

Wooden Doors are Updatable

Another facet people love about wood doors is that they’re updatable. Here’s how it might work:

Maybe you don’t want the expense of a custom door right now. So, you select a standard size and don’t worry too much about fancy hardware or windows.

Later, you can remove and replace the door panels. At that point, it’s a cinch to replace the top door panels with windows.

Also, if you get tired of the finish with a wood door, you can sand it down and refinish it with a different paint color or stain.

Wood Garage Doors Are Kind to the Environment

You’ve likely heard about the rise in sustainable building. Often referred to as green building, it’s a way architects and home builders can contribute to their communities by designing environmentally friendly homes.

If you value sustainability, choose wood. Here are a few features of wood that make it an excellent garage door material:

  • Lower carbon footprint
  • Sustainable and renewable resource
  • Biodegradable

One positive result of choosing wood is the impact on forestry. Studies show that with a focus on sustainability, U.S. forests have seen an increase in the net forest area of roughly 2% between 2007 and 2017.

Also, since wood is biodegradable, you can feel more comfortable knowing you’ve purchased a product that won’t end up in a landfill when it comes to the end of its useful life.

Choosing a wood door is one way to reduce your impact on the environment.

Are Wood Garage Doors Affordable?

While wooden garage doors tend to be a bit pricier than other garage door options, they can be affordable. Here’s what you need to know about the cost of this type of garage door.

Wood garage doors have a wide price range.

Choose a lightweight model if you’re looking for the most cost-effective wood door. You’ll still get the insulation. And you’ll still get the look of solid wood because of the plywood or hardboard skins.

When cost isn’t as much of an issue, you can select doors made from premium wood such as cedar, mahogany, or cypress. These more expensive options have wood frames and panels.

Another thing that affects the price is the quality of the wood. You’ll likely pay more for your garage door if you want wood with an unusual grain.

In general, wood doors will cost more if you have them custom-made. Many homeowners save on the cost by minimizing the amount of customization and choosing styles and materials that don’t cost as much.

Next, we’ll talk about wood garage doors and home value.

How Garage Doors Increase Home Value

While some home improvement projects add value to a home, that’s not true for all of them.

For example, most people believe installing a swimming pool will boost a home’s value. Homebuyers are fickle when it comes to pools.

Swimming pools only increase home values in specific neighborhoods where many other homes have pools. The value of a pool appears to be in the eye of the beholder because some buyers look at pools as a liability.

What about new wood garage doors?

No matter what neighborhood you live in, a new garage door —specifically, a wood door—may increase your home’s value by 4%. If you’re looking to sell your home, a new garage door of any type can help your home sell faster and at a higher price.

When you’re choosing a new garage door, one thing to keep in mind is style.

A new door can enhance your home and make it stand out in the crowd of other properties on the market. It can also detract if you choose a style that doesn’t go well with your home’s design.

Later in the article, we’ll share a few tips on selecting the best garage door if you’re hoping to sell your home. Let’s look at how maintenance could impact your decision to buy wooden garage doors.

Wood Garage Door Maintenance

Whether you have wood, metal, vinyl, or aluminum garage doors, you’ll need to care for them. Here’s what regular maintenance looks like for wooden garage doors:

Cleaning

Clean your garage door once a month using a cloth and hot, soapy water. 

Inspecting for Wood Rot

While wood garage doors are durable and not prone to rot, that doesn’t mean they’re not vulnerable. Inspect once a year and look for the following indications of rot or decay:

  • Soft wood
  • Areas lacking paint
  • Discoloration

If you have stained doors, look for an area with worn stain. An easy trick to detect worn-off stain is to spray the door with a fine mist.

If you notice water soaking into the door, you may have a problem. All is well if the water beads up and runs down the door.

Staining and Painting

Routine staining and painting can extend the life of a garage door. Most experts agree that a wooden door benefits from annual re-staining or painting.

If you don’t notice rot or decay and keep the door free of dirt and dust, you can likely re-stain or paint every 2-3 years.

Sealing

Before you re-stain or paint, clean the wood. Next, fill in any cracks and imperfections with wood filler. Once the wood filler dries, sand down the door.

After sanding, use a degreaser and mold removal product (if needed). Then, apply a coat of primer.

Once the primer dries, you can re-stain or paint. See how easy it is to maintain wood garage doors?

While it does take some time and energy to keep wood doors looking beautiful, it’s worth the effort. It would be best if you also planned to include your door opener in your regular maintenance routine. 

Are There Any Accessories for Wood Doors?

Have you heard of the icing on the cake? It’s the finishing touches that make a delicious cake even more enjoyable.

Use the same principle for garage doors.

The small finishing touches are what people notice when they’re out walking in the neighborhood and glance at your garage doors. Here are a few ideas for things you can add to make your door really stand out.

Decorative Hinges

Since modern carriage-style doors don’t operate on hinges, you can still achieve the nostalgic feel of the style by installing decorative hinges.

Decorative Pull Handles

These handles come in lever, pull, and ring handles. They’re usually not functional because most garage doors today use automatic openers.

Decorative Garage Door Kits

Keep a uniform look with a kit that includes matching accessories: handles, hinges, and nails. You’ll’ save time and sometimes money if the store offers a discount when you buy the set.

While a wood door can hold its own, the right accessories add just enough of a punch to enhance the charm.

How to Pick the Right Garage Door

If you’re looking to create some curb appeal magic, choosing a new garage door that complements your home’s style is an excellent place to start.

We’ve chosen some of the most popular home designs with ideas to help you decide on the type of wood garage door that works best.

Craftsman

Classic craftsman homes feature low-pitched roofs and tapered columns. A wood garage door with rectangular top windows and handcrafted details adds an authentic touch to this home design.

While you’ll have a wide variety of stains to choose from, select a color that matches the home’s exterior trim if you prefer a painted finish.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse-style homes draw on natural light and crisp, fresh color palettes. Complement the vintage charm of this design style with crossbuck panels on the garage door.

Go with a wood-toned stain or paint the garage door white, gray, or black.

Rustic

Wood, hand-hewn stone, and earth tones form the rustic look. Carriage house-style garage doors in cedar or redwood work well here.

A solid door rather than one with windows complements the rustic style.

Modern

Clean lines, smooth materials—think wood—horizontal designs make up the modern style home design. Glass-paneled wooden garage doors complete the sleek aesthetic.

Black and gray are both popular colors, but you can also match the door paint to the color of the home’s window frames.

Have the door designed with rectangular windows stacked on one side for a unique modern touch.

Traditional

Carriage house-style doors and traditional home designs make great partners. The garage door’s color should pair well with the home’s exterior, front door, and trim paint.

Transitional

In a transitional style home design, modern and traditional elements come together. Clean lines and sustainable features, including wood garage doors, complement the transitional style.

You can pull the look off with a simple wood door without hardware.

Ready to Have Your New Wood Garage Door Installed?

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide to wood garage doors. Don’t let the selection process overwhelm you. Use this guide to help evaluate all the features and benefits of wooden garage doors.

When you’re ready to order your door, or if you have more questions, a team member from OGD™ can help. 

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