Whether you plan to build a new garage or renovate your current garage, you know your door choice represents one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You have plenty of options, from the direction the door opens to its color.
Before you delve into these options, you have to choose the right material for your needs. We’ve outlined three of the most common materials below.
Modern aluminum doors come with heavy duty frames. Because of their strength, high-quality aluminum doors can have the highest costs of any material. But these doors also have a long life expectancy and may stay in good condition for your house’s lifetime.
Manufacturers build most aluminum doors as sectionals-a series of panels that fold to raise the door.
Aluminum garage doors have the following characteristics:
- Compatibility with contemporary brushed finishes
- Compatibility with glass panels
- Light weight
- Resistance to rust and corrosion
- Vulnerability to denting
Steel represents one of the most versatile construction materials available in any industry. Manufacturers may also combine steel with other materials, like fiberglass, to optimize the construction. For example, a contractor may place a layer of fiberglass on the exterior surface of a steel door to prevent rust and abrasion damage.
Manufacturers use steel to make garage doors of all styles, including swinging and sliding doors.
Characteristics of steel garage doors include:
- Compatibility with most finish colors
- Durability, including lifetime warranties on most parts
- Low maintenance requirements
- Vulnerability to scratches and dents
- Vulnerability to rust if left unfinished or untreated
One of the most traditional options, wood has an Old World charm. Most wood garage doors consist of layers called plies rather than solid wood panels. Common wood options include cedar, fir, redwood, mahogany, and meranti.
Homeowners who want the look of wood may also choose wood composite instead. Wood composite requires less maintenance than natural wood and comes with a longer warranty period.
Manufacturers can make wood garage doors in any size or style, making this material ideal for oddly-shaped openings.
Modern wood garage doors exhibit the following characteristics:
- Heavy weight, which necessitates a strong frame and lifting mechanism
- Natural, organic appearance
- Requirement for regular refinishing and painting
- Resistance to impact damage
- Vulnerability to moisture
Doors made out of the materials above may incorporate panes of reinforced glass. This glass lets in light and creates an attractive exterior. However, glass panes may increase heat transfer. If you choose a door with glass sections, also check that the door and your garage have adequate insulation.
Talk to a garage door expert about the materials on this list that appeal most to you. He or she can help you narrow down your options based on your house’s style and architecture, the climate you live in, and your budget.