How to Choose the Best Garage Door
How to Choose the Best Garage Door
How do you choose the best garage door to complete your garage? Follow our step by step guide and become a garage door expert.
So you’ve figured out your theme, your floor and more. But what about the outside? The garage door is a very important factor to completing your dream garage.
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What Are the Important Factors?
Don’t worry, we’re going to take you step by step through safety, sizing, materials, appearance and more.
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Garage Door Safety
Do you remember back when people were getting trapped in refrigerators? It’s crazy the scary things that can happen with technology and appliances that we never consider. That’s why garage door safety is the most important thing to consider when choosing your garage door.
The good news is, like refrigerators, garage door safety standards have come a long way. You can no longer even get a garage door that doesn’t have the technology to detect something in its path and prevent it from crushing whatever that may be.
Remember when you could close the garage door from inside the garage and then run under it before it closed? Yeah, those days are gone.
We’ll talk a little later about more of the safety features. But it’s worth stressing in its very own section that safety is always the #1 concern.
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Garage Door Sizes
Something you would never consider until it’s time to buy a garage door, but not all garage door openings are built the same. The good news is, as with regular doors, there are a few standards that most garage doors fall into.
These standard sizes will fit your average car, truck, SUV, etc., but they will not fit your big ol’ toy hauler.
One Car Garage Door Sizes
Two Car Garage Door Sizes
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Garage Door Construction
Not all garage doors are constructed the same. This primarily comes down to one thing – what’s it made of? Let’s talk about it.
Just like a traditional front door, you have lots of options or your garage door. And these days, things are not always as they seem.
One of the hottest trends in the flooring world has been deception. Lookalike floors in less expensive, lower maintenance materials. Garage doors are doing the same thing – offering you multiple looks in almost every material.
So what should you be looking for in a garage door? Well, obviously who enjoys sunsets and long walks on the beach. Just kidding. This isn’t your eHarmony profile.
You want a garage door that’s durable, dent and fade resistant, quiet and attractive. Okay, maybe this isn’t so different from online dating…
Okay, okay, back to business. Here’s what you have to choose from.
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Steel Garage Doors
I mean, steel just sounds like it’s going to be hardcore, doesn’t it? And, it’s true, it is. They’re strong and durable, yet light and quiet – a great combination, if you ask me.
Steel is not exactly known for its insulation properties, but luckily many steel doors can be insulated with foam to keep the harsh temperatures outside where they belong.
The downside to steel is it can rust pretty easily, especially if you live in a wetter environment.
Aluminum Garage Doors
Would you believe that aluminum is typically pricier than steel when it comes to garage doors? It seems like it would be the bargain option, but a good quality aluminum garage door is pretty darn top of the line.
Aluminum can also be insulated and offers the same dent-resistant properties of beefier steel. However, aluminum is much better in wet environments than steel and far less likely to rust.
Wood / Wood Composite Garage Doors
Like wood flooring, wood garage doors are the real deal. While these other materials can mimic the wood look, at the end of the day, nothing quite compares to the look and feel of solid wood.
Just like wood flooring, the best look doesn’t always offer the best features. Wood doors are heavy, and high-maintenance, often requiring much more work down the road.
The good news is wood composite, similar to composite decking, gives you the closest resemblance to a wood look, but in a lighter, easier to maintain material. If you’re really set on wood, we recommend going with a composite rather than the real deal.
Vinyl Garage Doors
Just like vinyl floors, vinyl garage doors seem to be virtually indestructible! Built to stand up to kids, weather and more, vinyl is the low-maintenance garage door option.
Of course, you can’t always get the exact look you want with vinyl, which is the one downside. But man, these babies are built to last.
Fiberglass Garage Doors
A fiberglass garage door also offers a realistic wood look without the weight and maintenance of a solid wood garage door.
Fiberglass is popular in temperate areas. It’s great in the rain, but it does not love the cold. In fact, super cold environments can cause the door to turn yellow or even break over time. So if you live in Alaska, this is not the garage door for you.
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First thing’s first: Do you actually need to insulate your garage door? Well…it depends.
If you live in a harsh climate and plan to spend a lot of time in your garage, it’s worth springing for the insulation. Obviously, you don’t want to invite the guys over in the middle of July only to have a sweat fest happening in your garage.
However, if you are just parking in your garage, insulation could be keeping in things you don’t want like fumes and chemicals.
If you are insulating, the good news is that most new garage doors come with built in insulation. We recommend going that route, is possible.
If you are stuck with an older garage door or can’t find an insulated one you like, there are lots of great DIY tutorials out there using inexpensive materials like foam to keep you safe from the elements.
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Garage Door Features
Remember when getting a new car boiled down to just speed, looks and reliability? Now, you can go for things like cooled seats, built in massagers and even cars that basically drive for you.
We are living in the era of bells and whistles and, these days, the more the better. So why shouldn’t your garage door have bells and whistles, too? Just take a look at some of your options.
Okay, so automation is technically more about your garage door opener. But it’s a thing you can do with your garage door so we’re gonna talk about it anyway.
There are tons of automation features for your garage door and the good news is that if you decide to go for automation, most devices will do all of them.
Lights, closing, deliveries, you name it, it can be automated. check out one of the many automated garage door openers if this is something you think you might be interested in. Most of them connect with apps on your phone, Alexa or Google Home.
Remember how I was like “YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOUR GARAGE DOOR IS SAFE!!!” up above? No it’s time to discuss what makes it safe.
There are three main safety features you want to look for when choosing your garage door.
- Manual controls. This means you can manually open and close your garage door in an emergency if it breaks or you lose electricity.
- Motion detection. This is how the garage door senses that there is an object (or human) in its path. It is very important.
- Auto-reverse. Okay, so your door can detect objects. That’s cool. But it doesn’t matter if it can’t, upon detection, automatically reverse its path to keep from crushing those objects. This one’s a biggie.
Now, having all these features is great, but you also need to make sure you’re regularly testing your garage door to make sure all features are working properly. Better safe than sorry!
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Garage Door Aesthetics
Now for the fun part! Although things like safety and materials are, in my opinion, more important than the way your door looks, we all know that choosing the look is the exciting part.
There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s take a look.
So the truth is many people end up painting their garage door down the road anyway. Color is important, yes, but it’s not permanent. You can always update it later so don’t worry too much about it being perfect right away.
Unless you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, your color options are really endless. Personally, I love a garage door that works as an accent to complement the rest of the house. You can still do this even with a neutral color.
If your house is painted in light, bright colors, consider a deep, rich brown garage door. Alternatively, if you have a darker home, you can do a bright white garage door.
If you want to get really fancy, there are some beautiful turquoise and pastel yellow garage doors I’ve seen. These definitely make a statement, but I love a good statement.
Do you like a garage door with windows? I think it looks so beautiful and elegant. Okay, maybe “beautiful” and “elegant” aren’t things you want in your man cave, but they are a great way to compromise with the other in your life that may be slightly more style-conscious.
You can go for no windows, a few top windows, huge sweeping windows or anything in between. Look around and see what you like and what will look best with your home.
Is it just me or is picking out hardware the most tedious task in any project? I remember picking the hardware for our cabinets. It’s just so hard to picture how everything will look on the finished product.
I recommend seeing if you can grab a few samples or at least measure the hardware to see how much space it will take on the door and give you a better idea of what you need.
You can choose different colors, finishes, styles, you name it. There is something for everyone.
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How to Make the Decision
The time has come: decision time! Determine which things are most important to you then just searching your options. Take pictures, hold them against your house and get a few different quotes.