The average American opens and shuts their garage door 1500 times a year. If you’ve owned your home for several years and haven’t replaced your garage doors yet, you’re likely in the market for a new system.
Today’s garage doors are easier to use, lighter, and longer-lasting than models developed only a decade ago. There is a wide variety of styles and materials to select from to meet your needs.
It’s critical to understand how to choose a garage door and what the installation process involves. If you’re considering a garage door renovation, keep reading for our guide to garage door renovation.
Types of Garage Doors
At the very beginning of your project, you must choose the right garage door for your home. Fortunately, there are hundreds of types to choose from.
You’ll weigh your options through an evaluation of size, type, materials, color, and style.
When considering the garage door you’ll choose, you’ll need to factor in how often you’ll use it and the look you like.
The way your door opens, for example, will determine the space it takes up. For example, a sectional door requires more room above and a few inches added to the track’s sides.
The most popular and modern garage door style is sectional. It consists of several horizontal sections attached by a metal track installed on each side.
You can set sectional doors to a motor, which allows you to push a button to open and close the doors if you don’t want a handle for manual operation.
This type of door needs nearly a foot of extra room on top. However, a sectional door may need less space than others.
Sliding garage doors take up the most space inside your garage but typically perform better than a swing-out style.
With a sliding door, you push the door to the side to open it and then slide it closed. Sliding doors are hung from the top—similar to a barn door. You can also install a motor with these. However, because there’s a gap at the bottom, it’s not the most energy-efficient option.
Swing out garage doors are also called carriage-house doors, which refers to the double doors found in stables and carriage houses years ago.
Swing-out doors open by hinges on the side to swing fully open. If you opt for this style, pick doors that are taller than they are wide to lessen the hinges’ weight. Carriage-house-style doors are not ideal if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice—as it can prevent the door from opening.
You can heavily insulate these doors, so they operate similarly to a larger exterior door.
Bifold doors operate like many closet doors: each has a vertical panel that folds like an accordion. These doors don’t take up as much horizontal space when opened, unlike a traditional, swing-out door. T
Bifold garage doors aren’t a fit for areas that get a lot of heavy weather because they open out. You must operate a bifold door manually because they’re not compatible with tracks and motors.
Style and Size
The right style and size of garage doors for you will depend on factors. If you have an older home or a custom garage, you may need a different size.
Measuring for Size
Save time by measuring your existing doors to get the proper dimensions—but only if you’re buying the same type of door that you already have.
The average garage door is between seven and eight feet high and eight to nine feet wide. For a double garage, the door measures 16 feet by seven to eight feet tall.
If you have a recreational vehicle you want your garage to house, you’ll probably need a door that is at least ten feet high.
Measuring your door more than once is essential because you want to create ideal energy efficiency and insulation. Plus, a tight fit keeps out unwanted pests.
Choosing a Color
You’ll want to pick a color that complements your home’s exterior color. As you compare colors, keep in mind what the color will look like as it ages.
Some garage doors are created with plastic resins mixed in during the manufacturing process and won’t fade over time. In contrast, a stained or painted door will need touching up each year. Very dark and very light shades will show more stains or dirt.
If you’re looking for ways to add to your home’s style, consider adding more natural light with windows. Added light will make your garage feel more open and less like a cave.
Garage door windows must be durable, as they’re on the exterior of the house. You can add windows to almost any type of door.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to invest more time in maintenance—it’s not as simple as spraying the doors clean with a hose. However, the reward of looking out of the garage into the outdoors while working on a project may be worth it.
Finally, decide whether you want any other features added to your garage door. Do you want elegant or rustic hardware? What matches the other exterior doors of the home?
You can add recessed panels to increase your home’s curb appeal. These additions cost more, but the pay off is a garage that flawlessly complements your home.
Up the wow-factor even more with a garage door opener that can be used from the car and operated by remote control.
The material you choose will determine the amount of upkeep and overall costs consumed by your garage door. Wood, for example, has unique needs compared to steel or vinyl.
Consider each available material that suits your home and location before you decide for your house.
While wood is the oldest and most traditional choice, it comes at a cost.
Not only are wooden garage doors more expensive, but they also require much more upkeep. You’ll need to re-stain and re-paint wooden doors once every other year or so.
If you’re considering wood, ask your contractor whether it’s made out of engineered or solid wood. Those living in areas of heavy rain should reconsider, as wood that stays wet will rot.
Steel or Aluminum
Because it’s so durable, metal is the most popular material option. It’s less likely to crack or dent and is fairly easy to clean than other garage door materials.
If you live near the ocean, metal doors may not be a wise choice, as they can corrode or rust over time when exposed to heavy water and salt.
While aluminum is a great choice because of how light it is, it’s also more expensive.
Fiberglass, glass fibers combined with plastics, is an alternative to steel and isn’t as expensive or tough to maintain.
Many manufacturers now coat steel garage doors with a fiberglass layer, which adds protection, more insulation, and an easier-to-clean surface.
Similar to fiberglass, composite offers the rich look of premium materials without the cost or maintenance.
Composite doors are made of wood fibers mixed with plastic resins. This makes the doors easy to clean, highly durable, and less likely to break down over time than wood or metal. They’re also an environmentally-conscious option, as they’re made from sustainable, recycled materials.
Even better, composite doors will accept stains and paints as well as real wood.
High-Density Polyethylene or Vinyl
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and vinyl (PVC) are often confused, but they have distinct qualities. Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) is reasonably durable and lightweight.
You can find PVC in many areas of your home, including your plumbing and siding. HDPE, by contrast, is more durable and stronger. Both are excellent options that can mimic steel or wood at a fraction of the cost.
Glass garage doors are a modern, albeit unusual, choice. Glass adds natural light, making the garage easier to light. If the glass is tempered, it protects against hail damage and wind.
Typically, glass garage doors have an aluminum frame to provide adequate support for the panels. The most popular choice is a wood or metal door with large windows.
Installation and Operation
If you’re installing a new garage system, you’ll choose from various types and operations. If you have a double garage door system, the doors can weigh hundreds of pounds.
To open and close a heavy door seamlessly and quietly takes several components.
Most garage door systems will consist of the following:
- an operator with a functioning motor using direct current (DC) power
- a torsion spring installed to provide energy for open and closure
- a trolley connected to the door that allows the motor to shift its position
- a track in the center to move the trolley back and forth
- tracks on each side that move the door
- emergency release to disconnect the door from the system
- mounting hardware and brackets
The system’s motor and gears put the doors into action with a drive guide that rotates a belt, screw, or chain. Using an inverter, an operator converts your household alternating current power to DC power.
You can adjust the operator’s settings to adjust the system to work for your particular garage. Typically, garage doors will travel seven to eight feet before fully opened or closed. If your garage is taller or shorter than average, you can adjust the height yourself.
Some garage door systems and openers feature a soft start or stop to prevent the doors from abruptly hitting the ground.
You can use your new garage door system by pushing a button located on a remote control, in the garage, or both. Most modern systems are built to prevent thieves from copying a signal and gaining entry into the garage, so don’t worry about this.
To be safe, keep your garage door remote out of sight if you leave it in your car. If a burglar can’t see it, you’ll reduce the chance of theft.
Installation of garage doors can be costly, so often, homeowners will consider installing new doors on their own. Your ability to do this depends on your amount of free time, strength, and know-how. You may wish to leave some elements for the professionals, regardless of what you know about installation.
For example, you may choose to have a contractor put in the garage door but install your opener yourself. However, installing a garage door on your own and without experience isn’t very practical.
Garage doors are heavy, and if they’re not installed properly, they will not function properly. Even the tiniest mistakes can cause certain components to wear down prematurely, which will lessen the lifespan of your investment. The average garage door repair or installation is between $728 and $1,500, which is well worth the cost if it extends the life of your installation.
For these reasons, it’s best to hire a professional for installation.
Level Up Your Garage’s Security
Every garage door repair or renovation is a little different. It’s an excellent idea to do your research and look into all options before making any decisions.
And when you’re ready to get started, embrace the exciting experience of updating one of your home’s most valuable assets.
Any time you’re renovating your home’s exterior components, it’s essential to calibrate your security cameras and install remote entry locks on your new garage door installation.