Learn About the Different Types of Garage Doors

There are many different types of garage doors available. From material to size to how it opens, you have many different options to choose from when getting a replacement garage door. It’s probably making your head spin just thinking about it.

types of garage doors

Take a deep breathe, we’ve come up with a helpful guide showcasing all the types of garage doors and other options. After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what you need to know to start your garage door replacement project.

Garage Door Materials: What Is Your Garage Made From?

What your garage door is made from makes a huge difference in how it performs. Certain materials are better suited for the harsh weather of the Midwest while other materials are more about looks than practicality. We’ll go over all of the different garage door materials below.

Wood Garage Doors

There aren’t many garage door materials that can match the beauty of a wood garage door. It has a traditional, inviting look that’s sure to catch the eye of friends, family and neighbors. While a wood garage door may look good, is it the right choice for Midwest homes?

Short answer: not really. We’ll explain why.

wood garage door

While wood garage doors are energy efficient, they struggle when facing rain, snow and hail. This is because they warp, rot and expand when exposed to moisture. This will drastically take away from the look of your garage door, which is what wood garage doors are known for in the first place.

Not to mention they’re high maintenance. They’ll need to be painted and stained every few years to maintain their beauty. The upkeep of your wooden garage door requires a lot of time and money.

Speaking of money, the price to purchase wooden garage doors is much higher than other garage door materials. This stems from their reputation for being a traditional, beautiful garage door but there are much better options for Midwest homeowners.

Wood Composite Garage Doors

If you want a cheaper option than wood, you can get a wood composite garage door. It’s made from fiberboard and has a wood frame. Some higher end wood composite garage doors are made with high-density fiberboard skins for a more detailed look.

Obviously, these garage doors don’t have the same level of detail and beauty as other garage door styles –  especially wood. Think of them like a discount wood garage door.

One thing wood composite garage doors do decently well is they’re energy efficient. They have cores that are filled with polystyrene insulation which prevents heated or cooled air from escaping through your garage door.

Aluminum Garage Doors

Aluminum garage doors do everything wood garage doors don’t. They’re durable enough to handle the nasty Midwest weather – they won’t warp, rot or expand when exposed to moisture. Plus, they’re far less expensive.

That doesn’t mean aluminum doesn’t have its fair share of problems.

During the summer, you’ll learn very quickly that aluminum absorbs heat. This makes it hot to the touch and will make your make your garage unbearably warm.  If you have an attached garage, you’ll see your electric bills rise as your air conditioner is in a constant battle to regulate the temperature in your home.

If your garage is detached, you still need to worry about your car and other items stored in your garage as they’ll be exposed to that unnatural heat.

Aluminum garage doors also dent much easier than other garage door materials. So hail, heavy winds and sport loving children could damage your aluminum garage door.

Steel Garage Doors

If you combine the beauty of wood, the low maintenance of aluminum and improve the energy efficiency of all three, you have a steel garage door. It’s the perfect option for Midwest homeowners.

Steel garage doors have many customization options such as panels, window inserts and colors – including wood grain finishes. That means you can have the beautiful look of wood without having to worry about all of the problems associated with it.

Much like aluminum doors, steel garage doors are extremely low maintenance. They won’t warp, rot or expand when exposed to moisture and they’ll never need to be painted or stained. No garage door material makes it easier than steel.

steel garage door

Plus, steel garage doors are energy efficient all year round. They have a foam core which makes your garage air tight, keeping your heated or cooled air inside. This will lower the cost of your energy bills and protect any items stored in your garage.

Also, steel doors are more durable than the other options. Steel won’t dent and ding from a little hail or drive way basketball. Your steel garage door will withstand the test of time and look beautiful while doing it.

Glass Garage Doors

Glass garage doors are a little more contemporary than the other types of garage doors – they aren’t something you see very often. One reason is because they’re not exactly safe. Everyone can see into your home at all hours of the day. They’ll know when you’re home and when you’re away.

While the glass is thick and strong, it still doesn’t match the durability of wood, steel or aluminum. In a climate like the Midwest, this is a problem. You’ll see chips and cracks overtime from exposure to hail and strong winds.

One reason people like glass garage doors is because they make the room feel larger. If you’re using your garage as an extra living space, this might be a fantastic option if it wasn’t for the weather.

It also depends on where your garage is located. If it’s in the back of the house, the privacy issue might not scare you as much. Still, we wouldn’t recommend glass garage doors to Midwest homeowners.

glass garage door

Fiberglass Garage Doors

One of the more lightweight options is a fiberglass garage door. It’s quieter when it opens and closes due to its light weight. Plus, much like some of the other garage door materials on this list, they won’t warp, rot or expand when exposed to moisture.

One thing severely lacking with fiberglass garage doors is energy efficiency – they’re not good insulators. That means the outside temperatures will be able to get into your house and you’ll feel less comfortable year round. Not to mention the increased prices on your heating and cooling bills.

Also, fiberglass garage doors are known to get brittle when exposed to cold temperatures. The Midwest is notorious for having cold winters so you may want to steer clear of fiberglass garage doors!

Types of Garage Doors: How They Open

That’s a lot of information to take in, but we’re just getting started. You can also classify garage doors by the way they open. Some tilt inwards and others are broken into sections. Learn about the different types of garage doors based on how they open below.

Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional garage doors are the most common types of garage doors in the United States – you probably have one of these on your home as well.

sectional garage door opening

The panel of a sectional garage door is broken into sections (hence the name) which are held together by hinges. The hinges allow the garage door panel to bend which effects how it opens.

A sectional garage door will move up a vertical track until it reaches the top of your garage door opening. Then it’ll begin to bend and run parallel to the ceiling of your garage along the horizontal track.

Roll-up Garage Doors

Have you ever had a large poster board you need to travel with but it was too big to carry? What did you do? You probably rolled it up into a cylinder. Same thing happens with roll-up garage doors.

As a roll-up garage door is opened, it starts rolling around a barrel found above the garage door opening inside the garage. It’s able to do this because the door is made of horizontal slats that allow the door to curve and bend.

roll up garage door

You won’t see too many homes, if any, that have a roll-up garage door. These types of garage doors are often found on commercial garages and storage units.

Slide to the Side Garage Doors

Slide to the side, or round the corner, garage doors are one of the earliest methods of operating a garage door. Today you won’t see garage doors that open like this too often.

So how do these doors open? Rather than bending upwards and running parallel to your ceiling, slide to the side garage doors bend to one side and run parallel to the wall. You may see a slide to the side garage door in a garage that doesn’t have a lot of headroom, but even then it’s pretty rare.

Side Hinged Garage Doors

Another classic garage door style is the side hinged garage door, also known as the swing out garage door. They look like large barn doors when they open and close.

Rather than having hinges between the sections, side hinged garage doors have hinges that are on its sides (as the name suggests).  This allows the doors to swing open rather than move up or to the side. You can customize the hinges to swing inwards or outwards from your home.

Tilt-Up Garage Doors

Tilt-up garage doors don’t have sections like slide to the side and sectional garage doors. When they open, they tilt up and into your garage. There are a couple of different types of tilt-up garage doors:

  • Tilt-up canopy garage door: the more popular tilt-up garage door style. It has a pivoting hinge mechanism that lifts the door upward so it can slide back parallel to your garage’s ceiling. A small part of the door extends past the facade of your home when the door is open
  • Tilt-up retractable garage door: works similarly to a canopy garage door but there’s no part of the garage door that protrudes from your home when it’s open. Since the door is suspended independently from the frame, a tilt-up retractable garage door takes up more space than a tilt-up canopy garage door

While sectional garage doors are the most popular types of garage doors for residential homes in the United States, some homeowners have tilt-up garage doors. Before deciding which style is better for your home, you should note that tilt-up garage doors are traditionally more expensive and more difficult to operate than a sectional garage door.

Single Vs Double Garage Doors

When it comes to size, there are two types of garage doors: single and double garage doors. Single doors are large enough for only one car to pass through while double doors are large enough for two cars. Single garage doors are usually 8 feet wide and double doors are 16 feet, but those numbers aren’t always 100% accurate. Make sure you measure your garage door opening before purchasing a garage door.

single and double garage doors

Cookie-Cutter vs Custom-Built Garage Door

You also need to decide whether you’re going to get a cookie-cutter garage door or a custom-built garage door. Cookie-cutter garage doors can be found at home improvement stores and what you see is what you get. You can’t change the design or the size of the door what-so-ever.

Custom-built garage doors can have every aspect altered from size, color, window inserts and hardware – it’s built specifically for you. This is how you’re able to create the garage door of your dreams.

You already know that single doors are 8 feet while double doors are 16 feet, but we mentioned that you can’t always trust those numbers. If you have a uniquely sized garage door opening, you’ll struggle to find a cookie-cutter garage door that fits your home.

There are Many Types of Garage Doors to Choose From

There are many types of garage doors available to you. From materials and size to how the door opens can all make a huge difference in what you want for your home. Finding out what style you like best can be the difference in loving your garage door or feeling like you made a costly mistake.

Before making any decisions, make sure you measure your garage door opening, side room, head room and clearance. You can learn what those measurements are in our garage door parts and terminology article. All of these measurements could help rule out some of your options. These numbers need to be precise so it’s recommended to hire a professional like Feldco.

Our friendly, knowledgeable product specialists will make sure you get the perfect garage door for your home. From first contact to installation, replacing your garage door has never been so easy. Get a free quote to start your garage door replacement project now.

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