Picking the Right Garage Door for Your Home
Many homeowners replace their garage doors when the old door or opener fails. Others upgrade their doors because they want to have the newest garage door safety and security features. Still others replace their doors to give their home a facelift.
The garage door is one of the biggest features on most homes, so choosing the right garage door can have a considerable impact on your home’s curb appeal and resale value. Choosing the right garage door can also make your home safer. New technology means that today’s doors protect pets and people, alert homeowners when their door is left open and use additional security to prevent theft.
That’s why a replacement garage door is one of the best investments in home improvement you can make. Residential garage door replacements have consistently topped the list of most valuable home improvement projects. One study showed owners recouped more than 80 percent of their investment in a new garage door.
Garage Door Replacement Replacement Cost Resale Value ROI
High end garage door $2,800 $2,315 82.9%
Mid-range garage door $1,534 $1,283 83.7%
If you’ve never replaced a garage door before, the range of choices can be overwhelming. Do you need an insulated garage door? Is a single layer garage door strong enough? Garage doors today are available in a wide variety of styles, colors and materials.
Many factors influence your choice of garage door. Whether you’re looking for a custom door for a unique space, an energy efficient door or a reliable replacement for your existing door, we can help you.
We’ve put together this list of things to consider while you choose the best garage door for your home.
Size of the Garage Door
Not all garage doors are the same size. When choosing a garage door, it’s important to know how big the opening is. Measure both the height and width of the door. Most garages will have standard sized openings.
Standard door height: 7 feet high
One car garages: 8-9 feet wide
Two car garages: 16 feet wide
Garage Door Materials
Today, most manufacturers make garage doors from four different types of materials. Wood, steel, and composite are the most common options in this area. Each one has different pros and cons, as well as different maintenance needs.
- Classic, traditional appearance/Natural beauty
- Heavy and durable
- Upscale option that adds value and curb appeal
- Requires regular maintenance
- Higher price point than steel or aluminum doors
- Will need to be sealed/retained every couple of years due to weather extremes
- Wide variety of styles, colors and finishes
- Often includes insulation
- More durable than aluminum
- Low maintenance
- Mid-range price point
- Wood grain colors to give the look of wood
- Steel door with a composite overlay giving the look of a wood door
- Can have a Carriage Style look
Garage Door Openers and Track Systems
Do you want an opener to be monitored by your computer or smartphone? With new technology and advancements for openers, you can open your door from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. For security, you can look at your phone and know that your door is open and you can close it if need be. If nobody should be at your home, you will get an alert that your door has opened and you can call the neighbors or police to check out your home.
Many garage doors use an overhead motor and track system to open the door. If you’re installing a new garage door, it’s important to ensure that your opening system will work with the door in question.
- The weight of the garage door
- Whether the door needs to open quietly
- If your garage has enough space for a traditional overhead opener
- Whether your garage has one port or multiple ports
Solid wood garage doors, in particular, are known for their weight. Extra wide doors also tend to be heavier. If you’re considering one of these types, you may need a garage door opener with a higher horsepower motor.
Be aware that heavy doors may need a different drive type. The drive type can also play a role in how loud the door is when you open it. Look for chain or belt drives instead of screw drives for heavy doors. You’ll want screw or belt drives if you have a quiet living space right above the garage.
If there are low ceiling issues, a jack-shaft opener may be used which sits on the front wall of the door. The opener spins the shaft instead of having a trolley running down the middle of your garage.
Garage Door Insulation
It’s increasingly common to see garage doors with insulation. These insulated doors are particularly useful if you use your garage as a workspace, studio, play or hobby room. They’ll make spending time in your garage a lot more comfortable, as they’ll hold heat during colder months.
Insulated garage doors also make a big difference when there’s a finished space above the garage. Garages themselves are rarely insulated. However, if there are bedrooms or another living space above the garage, an insulated garage door can help to keep temperatures in these rooms steady.
The most common types of insulated doors have layers of insulation sandwiched between the steel or aluminum outer skin. The effectiveness of the insulation is measured using an R-rating system. Look for R-ratings of at least 3 in temperate climates, and higher R-ratings in colder climates. All of our doors can be non insulated for a lower cost or insulated with R values from 6 to 22.
To ensure that the insulation will be effective, look for:
- A garage door with a high R-rating
- Weather stripping along the bottom of the door
- Gaskets or other seals between each panel
If you’re comparing the insulating ability of garage doors, it’s important to be aware that not all manufacturers measure the R-rating in the same way. Many manufacturers provide an R-rating for the entire door. Others measure only the center of the panel, which produces a higher rating. Make sure you know how the manufacturer is measuring the insulating ability, so that you can better compare doors.
Styles of Garage Door Panels
The style of the garage door panel has one of the biggest impacts on its appearance. There are generally three styles to choose from.
Carriage House Panels
- Vintage, classic style
- Made of wood or steel with a wood texture
- Decorative door hardware, handles and windows
The Carriage House door is a sectional door that appears to be doors that swing out. The door is meant to give the feel of an old barn style door, as the metal stamping on the outside portrays as such.
- Modern or contemporary style
- Can be made of wood or steel
- Sometimes include decorative hardware
Flush paneled garage doors are made of multiple long, thin panels. They roll into your garage via an overhead track. Their long, flat design means that they’re generally unobtrusive, and are a good choice when you don’t want the door to overshadow other architectural features. When made with steel, they’re often a good complement to modern or contemporary homes.
- All-purpose style
- Can be made from any material
- Often includes decorative windows in one of the top panels
Colors and Textures
Regardless of the material used, garage doors can be finished in a wide variety of textures and colors.
For traditional style garage doors made of steel, consider panels with a wood grain texture. This is a low cost way to get a door that looks high-end. These doors also have lower maintenance requirements than actual wood.
For more contemporary doors, consider using anodized aluminum. This process hardens the aluminum to create a decorative, rust-resistant surface. Anodized aluminum doors don’t need to be painted.
Remember to take the color of your home and your goals for the garage door into account when picking a door color. In general, white or light colored doors are the most common. However, different colored doors can serve different purposes.
Brighten up a neutral or beige home: White
Create a cleaner appearance: White or light colored
Create a sophisticated statement piece: Black or dark green
Add warmth to your home’s exterior: dark red or brown
Contrast with brick or wood siding: White or light colored
Create a vintage appearance: Natural wood or wood stain
Garage doors don’t need to blend in with your home, either. One new trend is to paint the door a vibrant color that contrasts with the rest of the home. This turns the garage door into a vibrant statement piece.
Garage Door Windows
If you use your garage as a work, hobby or play space, windows can also add lighting to the area. Garage door windows are usually placed in the top or second to top panel in a garage door, depending on their function. Windows usually run the length of the garage door.
Windows used to add lighting or decorative appeal will look best placed higher on the door. This will maintain your privacy. If you use your garage as a work or hobby space and would like a view, place them lower.
Common window styles include:
- A row of small square windows, either clear or frosted
- Two or three long clear windows
- A row of arched or cathedral windows
All the doors can come with glass or windows with designer glass and wrought iron or leaded glass.
Garage Door Openers and Automation
It’s increasingly important to consider automation when buying a garage door. The remotes, keypads or monitoring system that your garage door has will dramatically influence its ease of use.
Garage door automation is primarily influenced by the opening system, not by the door itself. However, it’s common for people to replace their garage door and opening system simultaneously, so it’s important to consider opening mechanisms when making a decision.
These can include:
- Standard car remotes
- Keypads in the home
- Miniature remotes
- Smartphone or tablet apps
One new trend in garage doors is the “smart” door, a system with Wi-Fi enabled openers. These doors can alert you if they’re left open, or integrate with an existing smart home system. Apps allow you to open or close the door from your phone.
Safety Features for Garage Doors
Safety is another important consideration when choosing a garage door. Today, almost all doors include safety features like automatic reversal or photoelectric sensors. These features help to prevent trapping people and pets in the door. But it’s worth looking beyond the basics when you choose a garage door.
To improve security, choose a garage door opener with rolling codes. Openers with rolling codes change to a new code after every use. This prevents thieves from recording the code and using it later to open your door.
To get the most of your new door’s security features, find an experienced technician to install your garage door. Residential garage door installations are dangerous, and result in a number of injuries every year.
An experienced garage door installer will ensure that springs and cables in the door have proper tension. They’ll also minimize noise when your door opens, make sure that the garage door runs smoothly and check the door’s balance. All of these will make your new door much easier to use.
American Overhead Doors is an experienced installer in the Colorado Springs area. Along with installation, we can help help you find the right garage door or garage door parts for your home. We offer the best garage doors from a variety of top manufacturers, as well as custom garage doors.
Want to see what your new garage door will look like? Our design consultants will design and visualize it so you can see what it will look like on your home. Contact us today to get started on your garage door replacement!