With garage doors making up one of the largest focal points in most homes, it is no surprise to hear that new garage doors offer one of the highest returns on investment than any other home improvement project.
So, we know that replacing our garage doors with a new one is a great opportunity but how does one choose the best garage door for their home with so many options available?
Choosing from the many types, styles, materials, finishes, colors, insulation, and decorative features can be overwhelming, in this article we will discuss everything you need to know about choosing a new garage door for your home and the many factors that need to be considered.
Considerations when buying a new garage door should start with these six points.
Making a decision about these factors before looking to purchase a new garage door will provide you with the guidance to clearly communicate the garage doors that will best suit your wants and needs.
What To Consider When Buying a Garage Door
The performance of a garage door varies greatly depending on the weight of the garage door and how often the door will be opened and closed.
On average garage doors are opened and closed between 3-5 times a day, with more than 300 days in a year, 10,000 times opening and closing or cycles, the garage door should last between 6-10 years on average.
Garage Door Cycle- A garage door cycle refers to the spring life cycle or the number of times the doors open and close.
Heavier garage doors such as wood garage doors or heavily insulated garage doors should expect the performance of their garage doors to break down quicker.
Other factors such as the construction of the garage door, quality of the garage door, maintenance, and climate affect the longevity of your garage door and should be considered.
Many homes have pretty standard application options for garage door mounting however there are some situations where standard mounting applications just won’t do. Identifying the type of mount needed for your garage door space may dictate the type of garage door available for installation in your home.
For example, rolling steel doors can be mounted to the walls on each side of the opening, while sectional garage doors are mounted to the ceiling.
Different types of mounting techniques include:
- Standard Lift
- High Lift- Best for High Ceiling Applications
- Vertical Lift- Raises Door Vertically Above the Opening Of the Garage Door
Not all garages are treated the same when it comes to garage door installation. The size of the garage and headspace should be considered before choosing a new garage door for your home.
For example, garages that are small and have low ceilings may be limited to the type of garage door chosen as there would be little space to install the new garage door.
The most expensive option is not always the best option when it comes to garage doors and garage door companies.
Homeowners should not only consider the upfront cost of the garage door but also the long-term cost of the garage doors. Each garage door type and material requires different maintenance requirements to ensure the garage door stays in prime condition. While some may only require quick maintenance twice a year, others may require a much more extensive maintenance plan, resulting in a higher lifetime cost.
No matter what garage door is chosen, cost shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, “cheap” garage doors from an unknown and unreliable garage door company are likely to result in many costly repairs and a garage door with a shortened lifespan.
Working with a reputable garage door company that partners with the industry’s top manufacturers often offers product and service warranties for an extended period of time and should be considered.
Garage door size greatly affects the overall cost of the garage door and should be considered when researching what garage door to buy. For many, standard garage door sizes will work great however for some, a custom garage door may be required.
Although standard garage door sizes vary by location, the most common sizes of garage doors are 8 feet wide by 7 feet tall, 9 feet wide by 7 feet tall, or 16 feet by 7 feet tall for a double garage door.
Maintenance requirements for garage doors heavily depend on the type of garage door you have, the material of the garage door, the climate you live in, and the garage door opener used to open the garage door.
Vinyl garage doors for example require very little maintenance due to their ability to resist dents, and rust. Unlike wood garage doors that have very strict maintenance requirements to ensure the garage door does not warp, crack, or fade.
Once these six factors have been considered the next step is to identify what type of garage door best fits your home and lifestyle needs.
Types Of Garage Doors
If the time has come to replace your garage doors as either a remodel or because the old one is no longer in its prime condition, it’s unlikely that you will know where to begin, and let’s face it, choosing the right garage door is very important.
There are many types of garage doors to choose from the three most common types include sectional garage doors, full-view garage doors, and carriage house garage doors.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types.
Sectional Garage Doors
Sectional garage doors open and close by rising up and down, panel by panel, guided by rollers on a track. Sectional garage doors often use torsion spring systems that counteract the weight of the garage door.
Sectional garage doors are smooth, reliable, strong, secure, and affordable so it is no surprise they are rated as one of the most popular garage doors in the U.S.
Over the years sectional garage doors have been designed using a wide range of garage door materials including steel, aluminum, wood, and glass. These doors are easily customizable to include different styles of windows, textures, colors, and hardware making them a great choice for any home.
If you’re considering buying a sectional garage door for your home it’s important to consider both the pros and cons.
Sectional garage doors are a great choice for any home for their versatility. Although they have been around since the 1920s, sectional garage doors have the ability to look sleek and modern.
Heavy, thick panels make up sectional garage doors, making them extremely durable.
Sectional garage doors offer many insulation options including insulated and non-insulated options allowing each customer to customize their garage doors to fit their needs.
Sectional garage doors offer one of the largest selections of garage doors. From the material, style, and color, there is no doubt a sectional garage door could complement any home.
While sectional garage doors have many advantages, one of the downsides to consider is the maintenance required to keep them running properly. Sectional garage doors have many working and moving parts allowing the door to open and close smoothly. With so many moving parts it is important to schedule regular maintenance services.
Full-View Garage Doors
Looking for a modern, versatile garage door that offers a complete view? Full-view garage doors do just that. These modern garage doors are all the rage these days with many home and business owners using them as a means to separate the outside and inside of their building. But for those looking for a modern garage door that is great for the garage opening, these too, are still a great choice.
Full-view garage doors are great for homes seeking a modern touch, while some may sway from an all-glass garage door others are drawn to them for their ability to create an outdoor feel, indoors.
While full-view garage doors offer beautiful design elements, there are both pros and cons to choosing these doors.
Light Weight Frame
Full view garage doors are manufactured with an aluminum frame making these garage doors much lighter than a steel garage door or wood garage door, which may directly affect the garage door opener needed for the door, or significantly decrease the wear and tear on your current door.
Aluminum frame full-view garage doors are naturally resistant to corrosion due to a naturally occurring protective coating that protects the aluminum from its surrounding environment. Due to its natural protection from corrosive elements, aluminum full-view garage doors are a great choice for homes in or near salty or wet climates.
With all good comes the not-so-good.
If you’ve been researching garage doors for even a short period of time you’ve likely heard the term r-value.
What is an r-value of a garage door you may ask? Simply put, the r-value typically refers to the insulation provided by the garage door however it is a bit more complicated.
What are the basics of R-Values? Most commonly, when a garage door is rated with a low r-value it means it is a good conductor of heat – meaning, as we stated earlier, when its hot, the garage door material absorbs the heat making the door hot, when it’s old, the door material absorbs the cold making the door cold.
Aluminum full-view garage doors while beautiful are thermal conductors meaning they are a material that allows the energy in the form of heat to be transferred within the material. While aluminum full-view garage doors are great for climates with extreme heat due to their ability to absorb heat quickly, they are not so great for climates that experience extremely cold weather as cold quickly transfers through it.
This quality makes these doors one of the lowest on the list for energy efficiency and should be considered when making your decision.
Despite their low r-value, full-view garage doors are typically chosen for their aesthetic over their energy efficiency.
Carriage House Garage Doors
Today’s carriage house garage doors provide rustic charm and modern convenience to what was one of the first garage doors available. Original carriage house doors were used as a way to protect horse-drawn carriages that were stored in barns. Their original design sported hinges that allowed the doors to swing open, providing plenty of space for the carriage to safely enter the barn.
Modern carriage house garage doors offer similar hinge designs, but in most cases are simply for aesthetic purposes as modern carriage house doors utilize garage door openers to open and close the garage door vertically.
Versatility is one of the many benefits of carriage house garage doors as they complement both rustic and contemporary homes.
Traditionally carriage house garage doors are made out of wood, providing natural insulation.
Although wood offers a beautiful distinctive design, it can cause a carriage house door to be very expensive and require significant maintenance. Modern carriage house doors are now offered in a wide range of materials including steel, aluminum, and wood composite that resembles natural wood.
Garage Door Materials
Wood Garage Doors
Wood garage doors offer a classic and elegant look that can be met through many types of garage door materials including:
- Wood Composite
- Reclaimed Wood
The level of sophistication wood garage doors bring to any home is enough to convince us to choose one for ourselves however it should be noted that wood garage doors require extensive maintenance to prevent rot, warping, and fading. While that may turn some people away, for most, the benefits of a wood garage door greatly outweigh the downsides.
Wood garage doors greatly increase a home’s curb appeal and value and can easily be customized to complement any style of home.
Wood Garage Door Design Customizations Include:
Wood Species Available
- Red Grandis
- Douglas Fir
Finish Options Available
- Faux Stain
Climates For Wood Garage Doors
While wood garage doors are beautiful and work well with most home styles, it is important to recognize that they are not great for all climates. Wood garage doors are best for homes in moderate climates with low to moderate moisture.
Wood garage doors are not recommended for homes in coastal areas due to the high humidity and salty air.
Steel garage doors are classic. Their style, durability, and lifespan make them a great choice for many homeowners.
Steel garage doors are one of the most durable garage doors on the market and have great insulation options to ensure the doors are maximizing their energy efficiency.
At nearly ⅓ the cost of wood garage doors, steel garage doors are a great cost-effective choice for homeowners seeking wood doors, without the high cost or maintenance. Due to their malleability, steel garage doors can easily mimic wood grain, giving you the strength of a steel garage door with the beauty of a wood garage door.
Aluminum Garage Doors
As stated earlier in the article aluminum garage doors are a great choice for homeowners seeking a modern touch to their homes. While these doors are the most energy-efficient, they still offer many great benefits such as their lightweight material.
Lightweight garage doors are a great benefit for homeowners who really want to maximize the lifespan of their garage doors and components. Lightweight garage doors put less stress on the opener allowing the components to last significantly longer than heavy garage doors.
Aluminum garage doors come in a variety of options allowing for a wide range of budgets.
The fluctuating costs of an aluminum garage door may include different design aspects such as windows and stylish add-ons.
Garage Door Design Options
Garage Door Colors
Although there are many customization options available for garage door colors, most garage door manufacturers offer their version of 5 basic colors. These colors include:
- Desert Tan
It should be noted that most companies keep white and almond color doors in stock but may have to special order other colors which may take longer to ship.
Garage Door Windows
Garage door windows have the ability to add beautiful design elements to your garage door and are offered in a wide range of styles.
There are many types of glass to choose from for your garage door windows, some with no privacy and others with complete privacy. Choosing the type of glass for your garage door windows will come down to the amount of privacy you desire.
Garage door window glass includes clear glass, tempered glass, and insulated glass.
Clear glass is great for homeowners seeking significant light transfer through their garage door windows giving an outdoor feeling from the indoors.
Tempered glass windows are much stronger than traditional glass and provide great security and privacy. These windows prevent easy access to intruders, and maximum light transfer, and are safer if broken as they break into tiny harmless pieces.
Insulated glass panels are available for homeowners who seek the look of glass windows but need protection against the elements. Insulated glass garage door windows are a special kind of glass that is created by two glass panes separated by inert gas. This gas works to keep the temperature of the window steady, greatly increasing your garage doors’ energy efficiency.
Choosing The Right Garage Door
When it comes to choosing a garage door, there is no one size fits all solution. The many design aspects, materials, and styles allow homeowners to choose a garage door that fits their wants and needs.
Replacing an old garage door greatly improves your home’s curb appeal and significantly increases the value of your home. Maximize this by taking the points made above into consideration to help you choose the best garage door for your home.
If you’re looking for more information, or guidance, or are ready to install a new garage door, we at OGD® are happy to help. Contact us to learn more.