All Garage Doors aren't Created Equal

For most homeowners garage doors aren't an ongoing topic of conversation. However, over time garage doors age and wear and eventually need to be replaced. When it comes time to replace your garage doors you might be surprised at the number of choices and options you have when choosing one. Here's an overview of some of the different types of garage doors available.

Tilt up or Roll up?

  • A tilt up (or swing up) door is a single piece and opens by rotating out from the bottom. While their single unit construction makes them less expensive than roll up doors , they can't be opened if something (a car?) is too close to the door.
  • Roll up or sectional doors are usually built using four horizontally hinged panels that go straight up in vertical tracks and after opening lie horizontal to the ceiling. Roll up doors are generally more expensive than tilt ups and because of the number of nuts, bolts and springs needed for operation, most people opt for professional installation, however, they don't have limitations on how they can be opened.

What's the best material – wood, steel, aluminum or fiberglass.

  • Wooden doors provide a rich traditional appearance and are relatively inexpensive although some complex designs can be expensive. Among the advantages ODF wooden doors is they can be painted or stained to match your home and they will resist denting or scuffing. The major disadvantage of wooden doors are they require regular surface maintenance (repainting or staining) every three or four years.
  • Steel doors are available in two basic types – single layer and insulated. Insulated doors even though they are more expensive than single layer doors may be worth considering since it will end up saving your money on your home heating and cooling (particularly in attached garages). Steel doors are virtually maintenance free but they will dent and since they're made from steel, are heavy.
  • Fiberglass doors have the advantages of being maintenance free and available in very wide range of designs and colors. Insulated fiberglass doors are a very viable alternative to steel doors for energy conservation and have the added advantage of being less expensive to purchase initially.
  • Aluminum doors won't rust and are both light weight and inexpensive, however they will dent easily.

Design options

  • Whichever material you choose for your garage door, there are virtually unlimited design options to choose from including
  • Panel style – your door can be anything from a 'flush' style (which is basically a flat door with no panels or divisions) to a more expanded design such as a 'ranch' style that has sixteen panels or a 'colonial' design with twenty eight panels.
  • Windows – here again, they're available in a wide range of shapes and designs to complement the appearance of your home and garage. Since garage door windows allow light into the garage they could actually help minimize your power bill.
  • Color – either blend with your home's color or provide a contrast.

Murray Anderson is a veteran freelancer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.