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Things To Know Before Buying Garage Doors

Are you thinking about buying new garage doors? If so, there are a lot of things you should consider other than how they look. Although looks are a very important factor too. Garage doors are a large investment and an important part of your home’s curb appeal. In this article we’ll be discussing the most important things the know before buying garage doors.

What color should your garage doors be? Which style is right for the house? How wide should they be and how tall? And what about more functional questions like should they have windows or be insulated. And then there are material questions. Do you want wood, metal or fiberglass. There’s a lot of thing to consider when shopping for new garage doors. They’re an important part of your homes look and color scheme. Everyone pays so much attention to the front door design and color but your garage doors are much bigger. They need careful consideration too. And the best ones will even improve energy efficiency and offer added security which helps protect your home. When you shop for new garage doors there are a lot of factors to consider.

You should always do your research before buying anything for your home. Below is a list of things you should consider before buying garage doors.

Break Your Garage Door Selection Down

An important thing to do when choosing your garage doors is to break factors down into two important categories which we’ll outline below.

Looks. The first and maybe the most important thing to consider when buying your garage doors is how they look. The garage doors are a very important part of your home’s curb appeal which affects it’s value. Are new garage doors a good investment? It depends on the doors you buy. What color they are. The style. Do they have windows or not. Everything having to do with how your doors looks go into this section. We’ll discuss all the style aspects you need to know about buying garage doors first.

Function. The second part of your garage door considerations should deal with function. Should you buy an insulated garage door or not? Should they have windows and if so what are the benefits and drawbacks? What about the material the doors are made out of? How thick and heavy should a good quality garage door be? Everything you need to consider about buying a garage door that doesn’t have to do with looks, and even some that do, will be discussed in the 2nd section of the article.

Consider The Style Of Your Home

Considering the overall style of your home is an important part of picking out your garage doors. For example, you wouldn’t put ultra modern garage doors on a Colonial. The doors would look weird and out of place, and for good reason. Modern doors belong on an appropriately styled home. The garage doors are an important part of your homes look just like everything else on the house. But for some reason many people think of garage doors as an afterthought. Don’t do this. The most beautiful homes have garage doors that work with the style of the house.

Color also plays an important part of this. We’ll talk a bit more about color later but in terms of style your garage door color should work. This is very important when you get specific with your style. For example the Modern farmhouse look. The overwhelming majority of Modern Farmhouses have wood, black, brown or white garage doors. Using another color could be out of place for the style of the home.

General Garage Door Styles

Garage doors enhance the look of your home because they’re a big part of the exterior design. For this reason, you should choose a garage door style that complements the house. Some of the most popular garage door styles include:

  • Raised Panel Garage Doors. These contain raised symmetrical rectangles. The majority of garage doors sold are raised panels. It’s a very traditional design.
  • Contemporary Garage Doors. This style has a modern look and is usually made with metal and glass.
  • Carriage House. These doors traditionally open from the center like a barn door and have a more rustic look. Although these days many Modern homes are incorporating rustic looks like the Modern Farmhouse.

Many homeowners prefer the look of wood for their garage doors. However, real wood garage doors are expensive and require more maintenance. For this reason most styles and materials come with a wood grain look and feel. Smooth doors are generally considered to be more contemporary.

Consider Other Exterior Elements Of Your Home

Another important thing to consider while picking out a garage door is the other exterior elements of the home. Sometimes there are design choices that get carried throughout the home. Light details found in the lights, window grills, railings, trim, etc. All your choices for the home should feel intentional and a part of an overall design.

You should also consider the other elements on your home in terms of materials. If you’ve got a wood front door then going with matching wood garage doors make sense.

The finish is yet another thing to coordinate with your other elements. Color is one thing but what I’m talking about is the finishing methods used. Are you painting or staining your doors? If the front door is stained wood then you may want to match that look with your garage doors. Sheen is another consideration. If your front door is flat then a gloss garage door may look strange.

Think of the garage doors as part of an overall exterior design. Don’t just pick doors you like in a photo without the context of your home’s other exterior elements.

Know The Pros And Cons Of Garage Door Materials

Maybe you love the look of a real wood garage door. But do you understand all the pros and cons that come along with having one.Below we’ll list the major types of garage door materials with some pros vs. cons.

Wood. Real wood garage doors are beautiful. They have a rich look that’s loaded with charm and hard for any other material to match. In fact, most other garage doors have a wood grain finish designed to look like real wood. So why not just use real wood. Well, there’s a few reasons. For garage doors that are in the direct weather without an overhang, they need a lot of maintenance. Wood needs to be sealed/stained every year to keep it looking it’s best. And it’s expensive. A high quality real wood garage door is the most expensive kind. Can be stained, left unstained but with a sealant or painted. Wood doors can be repaired and generally are when damaged. Some high end wood garage doors are considered a lifelong purchase.

Steel. The cheapest material. Very durable with lower maintenance requirements. Doesn’t dent easily. A good quality steel door can be repaired. Can be painted or left bare metal. A high quality steel door can be a lifelong purchase. Can rust.

Aluminum. Even cheaper than steel or wood and not as durable as either. Comes with a wood grain finish. Generally painted. Doesn’t require much maintenance. Dents easily. Most people don’t bother to repair an aluminum door because of how cheap they are to replace. Resists rust.

Fiberglass. Similar in price and quality to an aluminum door only more durable and heavier. Generally painted. Can be repaired with a fiberglass patch. Can crack in the cold.

Choose 24-Gauge Steel

If you’re going to buy a steel door, make sure it’s made from steel that’s at least 24-gauge. The gauge of steel is a measure of how thick it is. The higher the number the thinner the steel is.

Most economy garage doors are cheap because they’re made made from 25-gauge or thinner steel and not 24. Steel garage doors are generally all uninsulated and hollow which means they dent easily. Thicker steel helps to prevent dents.

Should Your Garage Door Be Insulated?

Whether or not your garage door should be insulated or not really depends on how your garage will be built. Here are a few important factors to consider before buying your garage door.

Insulated garage doors reduce the transmission of heat or cold through the door. R-values show how energy efficient a product is. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating properties of the door. The biggest drawback to a higher R-value is the price. In general the higher the R-value the higher the cost.

If your going with an insulated garage door then I recommend buying a door with an R-value of between 15-20. If the garage is insulated and temperature controlled then an insulated garage door will make a difference.

  • The Garage. If your garage is insulated and you plan on keeping it that way they you’ll need an insulated door. In this case check the R-value on the door you buy and make sure it’s installed properly so the seal is tight. But if your garage is uninsulated then there’s no reason to spend a ton of money on an insulated door. The cold will pass right through the walls.
  • Attached or Detached. The energy efficiency of your garage and therefore your garage door insulation value only matters if the garage is attached to the house or has living space. If you’ve got a detached garage then it doesn’t matter much unless you plan on working inside the garage when it’s cold outside.

Keep in mind that insulation also helps in summer too. A well insulated garage will stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Although the entire room needs to be insulated, not just the garage door.

The Benefits Of An Insulated Garage Door

When your shopping for a new garage door, you’ll notice that the insulated doors are generally more money than the non-insulated ones. This is of course due to the addition of rigid foam insulation inside the door. But is that insulation worth the extra money. Keep in mind this added price will vary based on the size of the garage door and what material it’s made of.

Insulation can help improve the energy efficiency of your home which is a benefit in both Summer and Winter. Basically any time your using either AC or Heat, better insulation saves you money.

Insulated garage doors are also thicker and more durable than non-insulated doors. This makes them a bit more durable. They also tend to be on the higher end and better quality. Other benefits of insulated garage doors include:

  • They’re more attractive and can increase curb appeal.
  • Good quality doors can add value to your home.
  • The insulation acts as a noise barrier. This can be a benefit to keep outside noise out or inside noise in.

Insulated garage doors also help regulate the temperature inside the garage which helps prevent condensation and mold.

Keep in mind that insulated garage doors should be used in an insulated garage. If you install them in an uninsulated garage the benefits will pretty much all be lost. Also pay attention to the installation and door seal. If you don’t install the door properly and there’s an air gap then the door won’t perform as well.

Upgrade Your Insulation

If you’re planning on buying an insulated garage door then you should know there are two main types.

  • Extruded Polystyrene. This is the standard and cheaper garage door insulation. A typical garage door insulated with extruded polystyrene is around an R-9.
  • Polyurethane Insulation. This is an upgraded form of insulation that boosts the typical garage door to around an R-18.

The insulating value of a garage door is its R-value. The larger the number, the better it insulates. By upgrading to Polyurethane insulation you can double the amount of R-value you get with basically the same door thickness.

You should also know that insulated garage doors are heavier and tend to be thicker. The more insulation they have the heavier and thicker they tend to be. This means you’ll generally need a higher quality opener that can handle the weight or a calibrated counterweight spring system to make lifting the door easier.

Insulated Doors Are Quieter

Garage doors made with a polyurethane insulation core and nylon rollers are generally quieter than hollow core doors. This benefit does not apply to wood doors and some made from steel. Here’s why:

  • The garage door insulation dampens vibrations that would normally be amplified by a hollow core steel door.
  • Nylon rollers are quieter than metal rollers on a metal track.

If you’re also installing the garage door opener, buy one with a belt drive. They’re generally quieter than chain drives.

Tips On Choosing The Right Garage Door Windows

If you want a garage door with windows there are a few things you need to consider before buying.

  • If your garage is heated or cooled, upgrade to insulated glass. Even though the garage door is insulated that doesn’t necessarily mean the glass is of good quality. Windows have their own R-value that has nothing to do with the door.
  • For extra privacy you can get tinted or one way glass. You can see out but they can’t see in.
  • Match the glass style to your house windows if possible. This includes grills if you have them.
  • If your garage door opening has angled corners, don’t install glass that goes behind them. It’s a strange look. Windows should not be covered when the doors are closed.
  • Windows can add some natural light to the garage. This is a big benefit if you don’t have garage windows.
  • As with anything glass, garage door windows may eventually need to be cleaned. Especially if you live in an area with dust or sand in the air or salt.

Buy Good Quality Springs

Springs are what help your garage door go up and down easier and with more control. You may not realize this but garage doors can be very heavy. They may seam light but that’s because of the spring lifting most of the weight. And those springs don’t just lift up, they also help control and stabilize the door on the way down.

Most garage doors use torsion springs. They’re usually visible above and on either side of the door. Buy a spring that’s rated for about 10,000 cycles. Every time you open and close the door that’s one cycle. So with a 10,000 cycle spring that’s 10,000 uses. If you use open and close the doors twice a day, once when you leave in the morning and again when you come home, that’s about 13 years. On average most people get 10 out of the springs before they need replacing.

Spending an extra $50 will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles. It’s worth the upgrade if you use the doors more than average.

Get A Warranty

This is one area many people forget to consider when choosing a garage door and that’s a mistake. I can tell you first hand from many years working in the construction industry how important good customer service and a warranty can be. No matter how good a manufacturer or product is, they can still have problems. Just think about how many times even the best cars can have recalls or service issues.

Do your research on the garage door manufacturer and model before you buy. Reading reviews is a great way to see if a company honors their warranty. And you should also read the major coverage areas of the warranty.

Customer service is important too. If there’s ever a problem I like being able to call the company for help.

A five year warranty is the standard for a good quality garage door but some garage door manufacturer’s offer a lifetime warranty on their parts and door panels.

You should also get a separate warranty for garage door installation labor if your hiring a company to install it. Installation is not typically covered in the manufacturers warranty unless the company is installing the door.

Warranties typically come with limitations, so it’s important to understand what’s covered and what’s not when you purchase your garage door.

Cons of Wood Garage Doors

Real wood garage doors are very appealing. When you look through magazines or online at pictures many of the most beautiful homes will have wood garage doors. But they come with some drawbacks you need to be aware of. We touched on most of these above but I though it was worth it’s own section.

Real wood doors look fantastic when they’re new and well maintained. But unless you’re willing to spend time and money keeping them that way the look won’t last long.

Wood is a natural material which means it needs to be sealed. Especially when left in the elements like garage doors generally are. You’ll have to re-seal the wood, re-paint or re-stain more often with wood doors than any other material. Sometimes this even involves some sanding. It can be a lot of work and there’s no real way around it.

There are also considerations regarding the type of wood used to build the doors. Find out the maintenance requirements not only for your door but also the type of wood it’s made of. Some types of wood require less maintenance than others.

Wood is also an expensive material compared to fiberglass, aluminum and even steel. Prices range depending on what type of wood is used to build the door but I’ve never seen a cheap wooden garage doors. None of good quality anyway.

The good news is you can get almost every material with a wood grain look and feel. Manufacturers know people love the look of wood so that’s what they give them. And wood look garage doors are cheaper, require less maintenance and are fairly durable. But they’re not nearly as beautiful.

Tips On Buying Garage Doors

Here are a few important things to consider when shopping for and buying garage doors.

Security

Security is an important factor for many homeowners. Some garage door openers have what’s known as rolling code technology. With this feature, the security code changes each time someone uses the remote. This helps prevent people from stealing your garage door opener code. And with more than a billion combinations on some of the high end models it’s very unlikely someone would guess what it is.

Safety

Installing a garage door opener with safety sensors is a must. Especially if you have kids. If the sensor detects an object or person in the path of the door while it’s closing, it will either stop or reverse directions. This is now an industry standard. Every opener you buy should come with the sensors but it’s up to you to install them properly.

Motor

The horse power of your garage door opener matters. Buy a motor that matches the weight of the garage door. A heavy all wood door will need a much stronger motor than a light weight aluminum door.

Convenience

Add a smart phone or wireless keypad to your door opener. Being able to operate the door from my car is a great feature.

Gallery

Here’s a gallery of some beautiful garage doors. Hopefully one or two will help you buy one that’s the right fit for your home.

Real wood garage doors stained dark brown. Stone siding with stained wood cedar shake. buying garage doors.

Real wood garage doors stained dark brown. Stone siding with stained wood cedar shake.

Wood look garage doors with a medium brown finish. Vertical taupe siding and cream trim. buying garage doors.

Wood look garage doors with a medium brown finish. Vertical taupe siding and cream trim.

Beautiful home featuring real wood garage doors and a matching front door stained medium brown. buying garage doors.

Beautiful home featuring real wood garage doors and a matching front door stained medium brown.

Steel garage door painted blue to match the homes blue color scheme.

Steel garage door painted blue to match the homes blue color scheme.

Light grey home with real wood garage doors stained medium brown.

Light grey home with real wood garage doors stained medium brown.

Fiberglass garage doors painted medium brown with a raised panel design.

Fiberglass garage doors painted medium brown with a raised panel design.

Modern smooth fiberglass garage doors on an Ultra Modern home.

Modern smooth fiberglass garage doors on an Ultra Modern home.

Steel garage doors painted green with a matching green metal roof.

Steel garage doors painted green with a matching green metal roof.

Raised panel steel doors painted black.

Raised panel steel garage doors painted black.

beautiful medium grey doors on a light grey house with vertical board and batten siding.

Beautiful medium grey garage doors on a grey house.

Black doors with windows on a white and black Modern Farmhouse.

Black garage doors with windows on a white and black Modern Farmhouse.

Summary: Things To Know Before Buying Garage Doors

Are you thinking about buying new garage doors? If so, there are a lot of things you should consider other than how they look. Although looks are a very important factor too. Garage doors are a large investment and an important part of your home’s curb appeal. In this article we’ll be discussing the most important things the know before buying garage doors.

What color should your garage doors be? Which style is right for the house? How wide should they be and how tall? And what about more functional questions like should they have windows or be insulated. And then there are material questions. Do you want wood, metal or fiberglass. There’s a lot of thing to consider when shopping for new garage doors. They’re an important part of your homes look and color scheme. Everyone pays so much attention to the front door design and color but your garage doors are much bigger. They need careful consideration too. And the best ones will even improve energy efficiency and offer added security which helps protect your home. When you shop for new garage doors there are a lot of factors to consider.

You should always do your research before buying anything for your home.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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