Replacing your garage door is one of the quickest ways to increase the value of your home and can return more than 88% of your investment while also adding major curb-appeal to your house. There are four basic types of doors:
1. Swing out (carriage house style)
2. Swing up
3. Roll up
4. Slide to side (sliding barn doors)
Your decision will mainly result from the amount of clearance in your garage, both around the ceiling for tracks and in the entryway for a swing out or up. However, choosing the design of your door can be more difficult. You might want to coordinate with the style of your house, but the material you use can get confusing.
Below are five different garage door materials to help you choose the right one to fit your budget and lifestyle.
1. Wood and Wood Composite
By far the most beautiful and authentic material for garage doors, wood doors unfortunately carry a high cost with them. They stand up well to wear, but need frequent refinishing and don’t last as long as other doors. Wood and wood composite doors are very easy to customize and range from mid-price to expensive. Wood composite will achieve the same feeling as wood while weighing less and has a smaller price tag. They’re best for large double doors.
The best steel doors are made from two layers of galvanized steel. They’re also lower maintenance than wood, but they do rust and are prone to dents. To minimize risk to your door, choose at least a 24 or 25 gauge steel one, or one with a fiberglass overlay which will resist rust and dents.
Because aluminum is extremely lightweight, this material is best for extra wide double doors. The newer models are sturdier and heavier than previous versions of aluminum doors, and the laminated panels are dent-resistant. Aluminum also comes with a steeper price tag if you choose the doors with heavy-duty frames, but you can find cheaper options that have panels made of other materials. These, however, will easily dent.
Fiberglass is easily malleable and therefore can mimic any sort of material. Select one with the warmth and beauty of wood, or keep its transparent nature to let in a soft light. You can affordably customize them and they’re great for coastal areas. However, fiberglass can yellow and eventually break over time, especially in cold environments.
Vinyl doors are known as the “kid proof” garage doors because they’re extremely hard to dent or break. They’re similar to fiberglass in their construction, but are more durable and only require an occasional hose-down. The only downside is that vinyl doors come in considerably fewer colors and designs.
One final tip: Many doors are advertised as energy-saving or heavily insulated, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. In most cases where homeowners are using their garage for storage or parking, insulation isn’t needed and can actually trap harmful fumes and chemicals inside. Only insulate your garage door if you use your garage as an extra room in your house. Otherwise, only insulate the wall between your home and garage and save a few dollars on your garage door.
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