Did you know that about 70% of all new residential construction projects in 2017 included a carport or garage? Despite limited current data, it’s likely these numbers have only gone up.
With each of these projects, choosing the right garage door is essential. Your garage doors say a lot about you as a homeowner and help you customize your living space. The right garage door is also key to keeping your space safe, easy to access, and energy-efficient.
So, how do you know which garage door panels are right for you? Luckily, we’ve assembled this guide to help you find out.
Choosing the Right Materials
Whether you’re replacing your garage door panel or building a brand new garage, there are lots of different materials to choose from. There are also quite a few different factors you’ll need to consider to decide which material is best.
While you may think it’s all about looks, you’ll also want to consider the following:
- How durable the material is
- The cost of the material
- How much maintenance you’ll have to do
Additionally, the climate in your area will play a large role in determining which materials are best. Remember, garage door panels act as insulation for your garage interior.
The most common materials you’ll find include:
Wood is one of the most classic garage door materials on the market. It can give your home a rustic, natural look. It is especially well styled on a Victorian or Colonial style home.
Plus, thanks to the wide variety of woods available, you can have an easily customizable look. You can further customize by choosing a stained or painted finish for the final look.
If you’re looking for replacement garage door panels that won’t break the bank, wood is also a reasonably affordable option. You can make it even cheaper by opting for options such as:
- Wood veneers
- Composite overlays
The only downside to wood is the amount of upkeep required. If you live in a wet climate, you should be aware that wood is prone to warping and shrinking without regular maintenance. You’ll likely also have to consistently reapply stain or paint to keep up its appearance.
A popular choice for both new builds and garage door replacement panels, steel is the strongest choice on the market. Steel will likely be your best bet if you need a garage door that can stand up to the elements.
If you like the look of wood, you can also get custom-made steel doors designed with a wood-like appearance. This gives you the look you want without all the additional upkeep.
Plus, a protective coating can make your steel doors last even longer. By preventing rust, the maintenance you’ll need to do on a steel door is minimal.
A warning, though: steel doors can be susceptible to dents. They can also be a bit difficult or costly to repair or replace.
Opt for a 24-gauge rather than a 28 to prevent dents. The lower the gauge number, the more durable the door.
Generally, this type of door features clear or frosted glass set within an aluminum frame. This leaves you with a translucent appearance, creating a light and airy feeling without sacrificing privacy.
Because these hardly ever rust, the maintenance required is generally minimal. However, they can yellow over time, which may lead you to want a garage door panel replacement down the line. They’re also not quite as durable as other materials, such as steel.
Aluminum doors are also easily customizable. There are a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and glass types that you can use to achieve any look you want. They look especially great in more modern home styles.
If you live in very warm or very cold climates, however, please note that aluminum doors are not the best insulators.
A long-lasting, lightweight, and affordable option, vinyl panels are great for a wide variety of homeowners. Some benefits of vinyl garage doors include:
- Little to no maintenance
- No rusting or rotting
- Resistant to weathering from humid, salty coastal climates
The only place vinyl garage doors can fall short is in the aesthetic department. Some homeowners may not like the plastic-like appearance of this door type. Additionally, darker colors tend to fade quickly, so it’s best to go with a lighter door.
If you are considering vinyl garage door panels, it’s best to view them in person first to be sure you like the appearance.
Garage Door Panels: Basic Types of Construction
Materials aren’t the only thing you’ll have to choose from when it comes to your garage door panels. You’ll also need to consider the construction method.
These methods can range from premium to low-end. Typically, low-end doors will only have one layer of materials, whereas premium layers will have multiple. Which type is best for you will depend on your climate, neighborhood, and needs.
There are three different construction methods. These are:
Single-layer doors are the lowest end of construction methods. As the name suggests, they only have one layer of material separating the interior of the garage and the outside world.
These are definitely the most affordable option. However, they won’t offer as much insulation. They may also be slightly less secure.
A nice middle ground, double-layer doors offer two layers of material. Usually, an inner core made of polystyrene board will be placed between the material. This offers additional rigidity and insulation.
The insulation offered by a double-layer door may not be enough for all homeowners. However, this moderate insulation is usually sufficient, especially for those who live in more moderate climates.
Premium doors will have a thick polystyrene board core surrounded by thick layers of your chosen material. Usually, steel, wood, or fiberglass helps to provide added insulation and rigidity.
This type of door offers the most insulation by far. It also leaves your garage incredibly secure.
There are quality doors available for each construction type. If budget is a concern, single-layer doors are best. However, if you live somewhere with an extreme climate, you may want to consider double-layer or premium doors.
An Eye on Design: Consider Color and Style
You can have your garage door styled almost any way you want. From intricate designs to simple lines, the possibilities are virtually endless.
It’s important to choose a style that works with the rest of the home. After all, your garage door will take up a large portion of the home’s face, making it incredibly important when it comes to curb appeal.
You can also use your garage door to add character to ready-made homes. When choosing a style consider the following:
- Would you like the garage door to serve as a focal point or blend with the rest of the home?
- How do you feel about the current doors?
- What do you like or dislike about garage door styles you’ve seen?
Some style options you may consider include:
If you want a more streamlined, modern style, consider flush panels. These are flat panels with only light texturing.
Typically, flush panels won’t draw a lot of attention to themselves. If you want a style that blends, flush panels are perfect. You can also choose to add windows for a bit of additional flair.
If you want a bit more of a decorative look, consider raised panels. Oftentimes, there will be detailed borders around these raised panels to add an additional touch of character.
Raised panels are especially great for adding a bit of depth to the door itself. This is a classic look that many homeowners tend to appreciate.
You can choose between longer panels or shorter panels, depending on the style you prefer.
Carriage House Panels
An old-fashioned look that’s quickly coming back into style, carriage house panels add a historical touch of character to your home. To add detail, these panels often feature boards that cross at different angles.
Occasionally, carriage house panels will also feature handles or hinge-like details to give the appearance of a genuine carriage house door.
Consider the Architectural Style
The architectural style of your home is essential when it comes to choosing a garage door style that works for you. For example, traditional home styles such as Victorian or Colonial houses work well with more traditional garage styles, such as carriage house panels.
More modern homes can play around with sleek, sophisticated styles and materials. Ranch-style homes, on the other hand, benefit from the classic raised paneling with simple horizontal lines.
You can also consider adding color or windows for even more visual interest. These simple, but eye-catching elements, can give your home character and boost your curb appeal.
Style and Function All in One
With all the garage door panels available out there, you’re sure to find one that’s both aesthetically perfect and genuinely functional. Keep your climate, personal style, and budget in mind when deciding on the perfect garage door.
If you’re ready to get research started for your garage door panels, talk to our experts. With locations around the country, we’re happy to answer any and all questions you may have and make sure you end up with the best garage door possible.