Garage doors aren’t just a form of easy access to your home and garage anymore. They’re also a big part of the curb appeal and design of your home. In fact, many suburban homes built within the last few decades have garages that take up around 30 percent of the front of the house. With so much space given to this one feature, it’s important to select the right type of garage door. This garage door buying guide will help you figure out which one is best for your home.
Choosing the Best Material
When you’re wondering how to choose a garage door, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is deciding what type of material you would like. While there are multiple options for material, there are three basic types of garage doors. A single-layer garage door is made with a simple outer layer of material. These doors are straightforward and lightweight, meaning they’re a good value for the budget-conscious shoppers and they’re easy on the garage door springs. However, because they’re so thin, they have hardly any insulating value.
The next step up is a double-layer garage door. These doors are made with an outer and inner covering of material pressed together around a layer of polystyrene. Not only does this polystyrene add extra rigidity to the garage door, it also provides some extra insulation, giving these types of garage doors an R-value between R-4 and R-7. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance or heat flow; the higher the R-value, the better the insulating properties of the door.
Finally, the top-tier of garage doors are the premium doors. These garage doors are made with a material pressed around a thick layer of either polyurethane or polystyrene. This insulation provides the best stiffness and gives the garage doors an insulating value that exceeds R-15.
Wood Garage Doors
Many people enjoy the timeless look of a wood garage door. Most wood garage doors are made from moisture-resistant species such as cypress, redwood, or cedar. However, you’ll still have to periodically refinish any style of wood door to give it the best protection from the elements.
Also, keep in mind that wood will come in a variety of quality levels, which also means these garage doors will come in a variety of price levels. A low-quality 16-by-7-foot double door will usually run between $400 and $700, while a superior-quality door can cost anywhere from $1,200 to upwards of $4,000.
Steel Garage Doors
Steel garage doors are the most economical and common garage doors on the market today. Steel garage doors offer a broad range of styles and colors from which to choose. You can order steel doors that are painted to match the color of your house, or you can choose overlays such as moldings, stucco, or cross-buck designs for a custom look. While these doors are practically maintenance-free, they can dent if you accidentally back into them. A 16-by-7-foot steel double door will cost you between $750 and $3,500.
Aluminum Garage Doors
If you live in a humid environment, rust-resistant aluminum garage doors are an ideal choice. These garage doors are also good for blending in with the façade of a modern home. On the other hand, aluminum is lightweight, so it offers almost no insulation. You can expect to spend between $1,500 and $2,000 for a 16-by-7-foot aluminum double garage door.
Fiberglass Garage Doors
Fiberglass is gaining popularity because it’s resistant to insects, warping, and moisture. Fiberglass is also very good at mimicking the grains and colors of real wood. While fiberglass is durable, the material can crack in extremely cold temperatures, so it’s not the best choice for those who typically face harsh weather conditions in the winter. Usually, a 16-by-7-foot fiberglass double door will cost between $1,100 and $1,800.
Vinyl Garage Doors
Vinyl garage doors are usually made by layering weatherproof and durable vinyl over an inner core of foam insulation. However, some of the cheaper modes of vinyl garage doors don’t have the foam core. These garage doors are resistant to rot and insects. Since the color extends through the vinyl, scratches won’t show through, and vinyl is also unaffected by dents and dings. Some models even come with lifetime warranties. A 16-by-7-foot vinyl double door will usually run between $900 and $1,500.
Garage Door Hardware
Once you’ve picked out the type of material you would like for your garage door, you can add some personal style to it with garage door hardware. While most garage doors are fine on their own, adding some extra hardware can create a custom look that will have a big visual impact on the front of your house. Hinge and handle sets can add some old-fashioned charm to your garage door.
While windows add a classic touch to garage doors, they’re also rather expensive. If you want the same look without spending as much money, consider adding faux decorative windows instead. These pieces are easy to install and can transform the look of your garage door instantly. They’re also easy to paint, so they can effortlessly match your garage door for a customized look.
Pick an Opener
Another aspect you’ll need to consider when buying a garage door is how you would like it to open. Garage doors come in sectional, roll-up, and tilt-up styles. Sectional garage doors have three or four panels that are all connected with hinges. They take up the most ceiling space of all the options, and you have to perform regular maintenance on the working parts to make sure the mechanism doesn’t break down.
Roll-up units are made of several small sections that come together to create one large garage door. They typically roll up overhead when they’re opened. They’re usually the most expensive type, and they also need more maintenance than the other types. Finally, tilt-up garage doors are one large panel that slides open on a ceiling-mounted track.
A garage door is an important purchase for your home. You’ll want a door that’s durable, as well as functional, and fits in well with the overall design of your house. Keep in mind: a new garage door is an excellent way to improve the curb appeal and increase the value of your home. Hopefully this guide was able to give you a basic understanding of what to consider when you select the perfect garage door for your house.
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