Garage doors don't just come in different materials like wood, vinyl, steel, fiberglass, and aluminum. They also feature different designs and mechanisms.
Here are some of the most common types of garage doors and the benefits of each:
Sectional - This garage door is made of sections of panels connected by hinges that roll inside a vertical track on the sides of the door’s opening. It’s the most popular option for most homes thanks to its low maintenance requirements and can be customized with your own color, hardware, window inserts, and more.
Roll-up - This design is most common in commercial buildings like mechanic’s garages, but it also works well if you have limited clearance on your personal garage ceiling. Typically made of steel, roll-up garage doors roll around a drum over the opening and offer high durability for heavy use.
Side-hinged - Similar to a traditional door, the side-hinged garage door swings open and closed via a hinged frame. This option looks like an oversized barn door and is commonly made of wood, although some galvanized steel and aluminum options are available. You can find this design in a pre-hung frame to fit into your existing garage door opening to give your home a rustic look with easy installation.
Canopy or tip-up - This garage door doesn’t have sections; instead, it’s made of one solid piece of material. The door opens using a hinged mechanism that tilts it up into your garage. It sits parallel to the ceiling and extends out from the front of your house when open. Many people like this option thanks to its easy tilt-style open and closed design.
Not all garage doors are insulated, but you can ask your local garage door company about available options based on your location and budget. No matter what climate you live in, it’s best to have an insulated garage door to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you don’t get an insulated garage door, warm air can escape from your home into and out of the garage. The insulation serves as a buffer between the inside of your home and the outside air, saving you money on home heating and cooling costs.
Another benefit of having an insulated garage door is that it may help protect your car from freezing temperatures, which can cause issues with your vehicle during the winter. Ask your garage door company about the door’s R-value rating, which refers to its degree of thermal efficiency. The R-value determines the door’s ability to block cold and hot air from entering the home to help protect the inside temperature and prevent fluctuations. A good rule of thumb: the higher the R-value, the more effective its insulative properties.
Most aluminum garage doors are made with special solid-core insulation. Not only does this help to improve your home’s energy efficiency, but it’s also a very durable, dent-resistant design. Single-layer garage doors are not usually insulated and typically consist of just one panel made of metal or wood. A single-panel, non-insulated garage door may cost less, but it won’t provide you with any additional benefits in terms of energy savings and durability. When it comes to energy efficiency, opting for an insulated garage door is a smart long-term investment. Always make sure to choose the option that offers your home and garage the most benefits possible.
Aside from wood, steel and vinyl are two of the most common garage door material options available. Be sure to consider things like the price, look (or style), durability, and operational features before you choose one for your home. While wood always looks beautiful, it’s much more vulnerable to elements like water and insects, making it prone to rot or warping. Some vinyl garage doors are embossed with a wood grain design to look like real wood but with better durability. Steel garage doors are even more durable than vinyl, although they can get dented more easily.
A steel garage door is modern, sleek, and easy to clean. These garage doors come in a wide range of sizes and styles to suit your home and hold up well to extreme temperatures. Steel garage doors won’t peel, split, or splinter like wood can over time. If you choose a steel garage door, make sure you pay extra to have it insulated. Generally, these garage doors are thin and must have additional insulation installed to keep your garage and home comfortable all year round.
Vinyl garage doors are affordable and durable. This composite material doesn’t need paint touch-ups like wood. Vinyl is quite durable, rust-resistant, and won’t split or splinter. It also handles extreme hot and cold temperatures, and you can apply a special sealant to prevent the color from fading. Like steel, this garage door needs additional insulation. Unlike wood, vinyl can’t be painted, so you’re stuck with whatever color you choose during the initial installation. Choosing between steel and vinyl garage doors comes down to looks and cost, but both are great choices in terms of durability.
Steel and fiberglass are two very popular options for most residential garage doors. There are some distinct differences between the two materials. Fiberglass typically costs more than steel, but it’s also a bit more durable and has a longer lifespan. Fiberglass garage doors feature a steel core molded to a fiberglass surface to make it stronger. Unlike steel, it won’t dent and is resistant to rust and corrosion. Steel costs less than fiberglass, but it’s also available in a wider range of styles. This option also requires very little maintenance.
Steel garage doors are made of an alloy consisting of iron and carbon, which gives them exceptional durability. However, steel can dent more easily than most other types of garage doors, so careful handling is recommended. If your garage has a lot of cars coming in and out, then steel might not be the best option for you. Scratches are also more visible on steel than fiberglass, so regular touch-ups or buffering may be required to keep it looking as good as new. Deep scratches can cause the steel to oxidize, leaving permanent marks. This heavy material also adds a layer of security to your home.
Fiberglass garage doors consist of a plastic material embedded in resin, applied over a steel center core. This material is much lighter than steel and wood, so installation is easier. It’s important to note that fiberglass is more brittle than wood, so it’s much more prone to damage. Heavy winds or a lot of wear and tear can actually lead to these garage doors cracking or showing dents. Once the door is damaged, it must be replaced. In terms of durability, steel is a better option for a residential or commercial garage door.
For years, wood was the most common choice for garage doors. While this material still looks beautiful, it does have its own unique set of pros and cons. Wood looks attractive and can improve your home’s curb appeal, but it also requires a lot of maintenance. Wood is vulnerable to water damage, which also means that it’s susceptible to rot or pest infestations. It can also warp, splinter, or crack over time, especially after being exposed to direct sunlight and extreme temperature changes.
These garage doors come in a variety of attractive grains, colors, and textures. They can also be painted or stained to your preferred color or shade. If a wood garage door gets dented, it can be sanded out and repainted or refinished, unlike steel or fiberglass.
Wood is a decent insulator. However, steel, vinyl, or fiberglass garage doors with additional insulation can do just as well at keeping your home energy efficient. In terms of security, wood is easier to breach than steel, making it a less viable option if security is a priority. You can usually wash steel, fiberglass, or vinyl garage doors using a mixture of soap and water and a garden hose. However, wood garage doors must also be dried immediately after cleaning so the water doesn’t seep into the material and cause it to warp or swell.
Wood is also more prone to mold and mildew, which can leave an unattractive layer of green or blue discoloration on your garage door. If you decide to pressure wash your wood garage door, make sure you use the correct PSI, so you don’t damage the finish or the wood itself. Overall, wood garage doors may look beautiful, but they’re not better than some other newer options.
While a durable garage door adds a certain amount of security, it might not be enough to keep potential criminals at bay. Ask some local garage door companies about whether installing an electric garage door is the best option for you. These models make it easier for homeowners to open and close, which also makes it easier for thieves to get inside. Manual garage doors are actually less secure than electric models, but hackers are coming up with new ways to get into electric garage doors, too.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your garage and home security: