Garage Door Buying Guide
Table of Contents:
- What Size Garage Door Do You Need?
- Should You Choose an Insulated Door?
- How Much Maintenance Will Your Door Need?
- What Is Your Garage Door Budget?
- What Style Garage Door Should You Choose?
- What Material Should You Choose for Your Garage Door?
Garage door shopping can seem daunting.
After all, it's one of the first things your guests see when they pull into your driveway. It brightens your yard. It gives your home character. And, according to Remodeling magazine's 2018 "Cost vs. Value" report, a garage door replacement is the number one home renovation project for return on investment.
A new garage door adds a resale value of over $3,400 — a 98.3 percent payback rate. And even if you're not looking to sell your home any time soon, a new door can improve your home's energy efficiency and safety too.
Despite its importance, buying a garage door doesn't have to be overwhelming. We answer some of the most pressing questions that you should consider so that you can take the guesswork out of your purchase.
What Size Garage Door Do You Need?
First, determine whether you need a single or double garage door.
Single garage doors come standard on single-car garages as well as multiple-car garages with smaller sections separated by a vertical beam. Double doors are typically double the size of a single door and provide an entrance to two-car garages.
Single doors are either 7, 8 or 9 feet wide. Double doors are usually 14, 16 or 18 feet wide, although they can sometimes range up to 20 feet. Both single and double doors are generally 7 or 8 feet tall.
Measure your garage for the most accuracy in determining your door size. Measure the door's width and height, but also don't forget to measure the inner space from the top of your door to the ceiling, as well as the side space from the opening to the wall. Finally, measure the depth of the inside of your garage to ensure that the door won't hit the back wall upon opening.
Should You Choose an Insulated Door?
The garage is one of the largest entrances to your home. As such, it can be one of the biggest setbacks in your home's energy efficiency. You can minimize heat loss and protect your cars from cold weather by buying a door with insulation.
Think about how much time you spend in your garage. Do you use it as a workout space or office? Do you have children who often use it as a play area? If you do, insulation with a high R-value is a great way to keep you and your family comfortable all year long.
But insulation isn't always necessary. If you have a detached garage or don't use your garage often enough to warrant spending the extra money, then feel free to consider an uninsulated or low R-value option.
How Much Maintenance Will Your Door Need?
Garage doors have many moving parts that you'll need to get fine-tuned at some point in your door's lifespan. But buying a sturdy material for your door and adding features such as insulation will lower its overall maintenance needs and repair costs.
While purchasing a sturdier material or extra insulation may seem more expensive now, these features might save you money as you avoid frequent and unwelcome repairs.
What Is Your Garage Door Budget?
Garage doors can cost anywhere from $200 for a simple single door to $4,000 for two or more intricate doors.
Additional features will drive up the price, but they can also save you money over time and add to your home's worth. Consider how much you're willing to spend and how much of the cost will be paid back through added resale value.
What Style Garage Door Should You Choose?
Most garages of the past featured simple paneled designs that blended into the home with a limited selection of white, brown or beige paneled steel. However, experts increasingly agree that the garage door should stand out and make your garage feel like a warm, inviting space.
Determining which eye-catching design you'd like for your garage door depends on your personal preferences and your home's current aesthetic. One of these three popular styles is sure to make your door a beautiful focal piece of your home.
1. Classic Raised Panel Design
While it's the most traditional garage door design, classic raised-panel doors are not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon.
This conventional style is still the most commonly used garage door design today. Raised rectangular panels across the width of the door add a layer of depth and elegance to the home and can compliment nearly any home style.
Whether you're looking to seamlessly blend your garage door into your home or want a classic statement to make your door stand out, you can find a color and style choice that will work for you. An array of options will make your garage door anything but ordinary. Designs in Clopay's Classic collection — including the Value, Value Plus, Premium and Wood series — come with long or short panel options, unique window inserts and both traditional and bold color choices.
Classic paneled doors match almost any kind of home, but these conventional doors are particularly great for older homes that would benefit from an added traditional feel.
2. Carriage House
In the 1800s, carriage houses were used to shelter horses and buggies. These shed-like buildings needed doors big enough to fit both horses and horse-drawn vehicles, so doors were created that opened outward to provide enough space for large objects to pass between them. Iron hinges on the outer sides of the doors provided the outward swinging motion, while handles were attached to the inner sides of the doors for easy access.
While the traditional garage door replaced carriage doors in the 1920s, their timeless style is still loved by millions of homeowners today. In fact, one out of every five residential garage doors recently sold is a carriage style door, according to a 2013 study.
Even the term "carriage house" comes with an air of sophistication. Carriage houses of the past were primarily found on wealthy estates, and carriage house doors continue to give homes a high-class rustic charm, greatly increasing a home's curb appeal.
Many people love the faux iron hinges and handles that are reminiscent of a bygone era, but modern carriage house doors no longer swing open. These doors combine the charming feel of traditional carriage house doors with the full functionality of an overhead-opening style. Clopay's extensive selection — including the Canyon Ridge collection Limited Edition and Ultra-Grain series, Coachman collection and more — offers both steel and wooden doors that will give your home the perfect rustic appeal.
3. Modern Styles
If you want to showcase your modern home with a unique style, you might consider purchasing a modern-style garage door.
Contemporary doors look far different than the raised-panel design of the past. Most feature clean-lined frames and use windows to make the garage feel open and inviting. Bold colors such as off-black or clear aluminum draw attention to the door, while numerous window options tastefully brighten your home. For a particularly bold look, an all-window garage door adds a light, contemporary touch to your door's style.
Clopay's Avante and Modern Steel collections, as well as the Reserve Wood and Canyon Ridge collections' Modern series, provide a pleasing and long-lasting modern aesthetic. For an especially unique look, the Reserve Wood collection Custom series lets you build a custom door that perfectly matches your home.
What Material Should You Choose for Your Garage Door?
You may have never considered the material involved in the creation of your garage door. Many people don't even know the difference between types of material. But each has pros and cons that you'll need to consider before your purchase.
Weigh your options with these three top garage door materials before choosing the one most suited to you and your family's needs.
1. Aluminum and Glass
A combination of an aluminum frame and glass panes offers the ultimate contemporary design. An aluminum garage door isn't susceptible to rust or erosion, making it reasonably easy to maintain and providing a beautiful modern look.
An aluminum frame's glass choices are highly customizable. If you prefer a design without the open glass panels, tinted or frosted window options give you both privacy and the airiness of natural light. Or, for a simplistic contemporary style, consider solid aluminum panels without windows.
When considering aluminum, keep in mind that any glass panels will be especially fragile. Aluminum is also a delicate metal and might bend or break with extensive use. Also, neither aluminum nor glass has much insulation value. If you need a door that will keep the inside of your garage warm in the winter and cool in the summer, consider a steel or wooden door.
Overall, aluminum doors are a particularly great match for modern homes with large windows and clean lines due to their sleekness and natural light. The light aluminum frame and large glass panels work together to turn your garage into an elegant part of your home.
Insulation Value of Aluminum and Glass
The insulation value of aluminum is minimal.
Cost of Aluminum and Glass
The price of a 16-by-7 foot aluminum double door averages between $1,500 and $2,000.
If you're looking for a material that will fit all of your design, budget and insulation needs, consider a steel garage door for either a traditional or modern touch.
Steel is the most commonly used garage door material and is usually the least expensive, although customized styling options and heavy insulation can drive up prices. It features the broadest range of colors and designs, making it customizable to match nearly any home.
These doors are built to last season after season. Steel can handle rough weather or heavy use better than most other materials. But keep in mind that steel can dent quickly. It's also much heavier than wood or aluminum, so a steel door will require a more powerful door opener.
Steel is an excellent choice for general garage door use, especially if you use your garage often. Because it provides the heaviest insulation, a steel door is perfect for families that want to use their garage even during cold winters.
Insulation Value of Steel
Depending on the style, steel doors can be customized with insulation options ranging from R-4 to R-20.
Cost of Steel
The price of a 16-by-7 steel double door can range from $750 to $3,500.
Nothing drives up your home's market value like a beautiful wood garage door.
Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing choice for a garage door material, wood doors add charm and character to your property. Once the most popular garage door material, wood lost favor in the 1970s with the rise of steel, aluminum and fiberglass. But wood doors have recently made a huge comeback, and they can now increase your curb appeal more than nearly any other type of material.
Wood doors are a popular choice for carriage house styles, but wood can also add charm to a modern design. Just keep in mind that wood will require periodic maintenance to keep the finishing from wearing away in harsh weather.
Overall, wood is a favored choice for its market value, and it can provide a unique sophistication to your home. Choose from a variety of woods such as cedar, redwood or tropical luan wood to find a beautiful match that will complement your home.
Insulation Value of Wood
Insulation options for wood doors range from R-3 to R-6.
Cost of Wood
The price of a 16-by-7 foot wood double door can range from $1,200 to $4,000.
Should You Install Your Garage Door or Hire a Professional?
A garage door doesn't just make your home look beautiful. It also offers critical safety features that protect children and animals from a closing door, prevent break-ins and hold your open door in place. With one wrong screw or missing wire, these features could stop functioning properly and might endanger yourself and your family.
While "DIY" is a common phrase in home improvement, this is one job where "doing it yourself" can actually be quite dangerous. In fact, DIY garage door projects injure over 1,500 people every year. For your safety, it's highly recommended to have a professional install and repair your garage door.
A garage door repair professional has the experience and training necessary to correctly install your door and diagnose any problems with your system. They're trained to do their job quickly, saving you hours of frustration, and they also have the tools and parts available to handle any garage door size and type. Trust a top-rated professional to do the job and relax knowing that your garage is in good hands.
Contact Hunter Door for Your Garage Door Replacement
When you want the perfect style to match your home at a price you can afford, count on Hunter Door to provide you with your new garage door.
We offer a wide selection of Clopay products with a variety of material, size and design options. No matter your style or budget needs, we have what you need to turn your house into your dream home.
Hunter Door offers full garage door installation and repair services to the South Jersey area. Browse our beautiful garage door selection online, and contact us for a free estimate. We can't wait to help you find a door you'll love.