The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Garage Doors: What You’ll Want to Know

garage door guideThere’s more to your garage door than just being a large entry way to your house. It can improve your home’s curb appeal, safety and insulation. With all of the panel styles, materials, window options and different uses for a garage, there’s a lot to understand before choosing a replacement garage door though. Have no fear – our ultimate buyer’s guide to garage doors will help simplify the process of picking a replacement.

How Are You Using Your Garage?

The first thing to consider before deciding on a garage door is how you are using your garage. Is it where you park your cars or are you using it for something else? Whether your garage is a storage unit, living space, make shift workshop or even an extra bedroom, it will determine what are the most important features for your garage door. For instance, if you’re using it as an extra living space, workshop or an area you’ll spend an extended period of time, including a window to increase natural lighting is crucial.

When is it Time for a Replacement Garage Door?

damaged garage doorIs your garage door warped, severally dented or feel heavy? Is there a draft or are outdoor noises easily heard? Is your garage door out of style? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to replace your garage door. Your family’s safety and your home’s value will both be improved with a new garage door. Warped, dented and heavy garage doors there could be significant damage. When you are feeling drafts and hearing outdoor noises, that means your garage door isn’t well insulated. When you garage door is out of style hurts your home’s curb appeal.

The Features of Your Garage Door You Should Consider Before Making a Decision

Once you’ve determined that it’s time to replace your garage door, you’ll need to pick the right one for your home. From size to color to panel styles, there are many features to consider before making a decision. Don’t stress though because our guide will go over your options and help you choose the best garage door.

The Size of Your Garage Door is Important for Improving Curb Appeal

large garage doorAccording to bestpickreports.com, a standard single car garage door is typically eight feet wide by seven to eight feet tall. A two-car garage is typically 20 feet wide. If those are usually the sizes for garage doors, then why is size something you should consider before purchasing a replacement?  While those are traditional, the size can vary. We are starting to see larger garage doors trend which will improve your home’s curb appeal. Keeping up with trends is important for raising the value of your home. This is something to keep in mind with when building a new home as you can customize the size of your garage door.

Keeping Your Home Warm with Extra Insulation

No matter how you use your garage door, you’ll want to improve the insulation. If you have an attached garage, the extra insulation will affect the energy efficiency of your entire home. Even if you have a detached garage, you’ll want to increase the insulation to protect what your garage is housing. During the cold months of a Midwest winter, this will become increasingly important. With the insulation found inside of them, With varying levels of insulation inside of them, steel garage door are a great option for improving your home’s energy efficiency.

Adding Color to Your Garage Door

unique colored garage doorTraditionally, garage doors don’t vary in color –  they’re either white or off white. While those are still the two most popular options, we’re beginning to see a surge of different colors. You’re able to use your garage door to accent the rest your home and add more character. Playing with different colors can enhance your home’s curb appeal. Don’t get too wild with your color choice though because you can detract from your home’s value.

Changing Your Panel Style for a Unique Look

The panel of your garage door is incredibly important when trying to boost the curb appeal of your home. There are many different panel style options, each with their own design.

Flush Panel

flush garage door panelFlush panels are straight forward and simple. Rather than having designs and patterns, they feature a solid color with slight textures. Flush panels are used to complement surround walls.

Raised Panel

raised garage door panelRaised panels have a raised rectangular pattern along the surface of the garage door. This adds depth and style to your home’s overall appearance.

Recessed Panel

recessed garage door panelRecessed panels are the opposite of raised panels: they have recessed rectangular patterns along the surface of the garage door.

Bead Board Panel

bead board garage door panelBead board panels are short rectangles broken up with line patterns. These beautiful panels are often found on carriage style garage doors and add character to your home.

Ribbed Panel

ribbed garage door panelRibbed panels have groove patterns that extend the length of the garage door.

Long Panel

long garage door panelLong panels can either be raised, recessed or bead board style. The rectangular patterns on these panels are long. Single car garage doors typically have two rectangles across while two car garage door would feature four.

Short Panel

short garage door panelShort panels, much like the long panels, can be raised, recessed or bean board styles. The rectangular patterns are shorter though. Garage doors with short panels have double the amount of rectangles as a long panel.

Different Garage Door Materials

Garage doors can be made from several different materials, each with their own pros and cons. When you’re looking at different materials you’ll need to determine what features mean the most to you: cost, insulation, curb appeal, or maintenance.

Add Elegance with Wood

wood garage doorWood garage door offer unparalleled aesthetic appeal. With the many different wood patterns and design options, they can also be easily customized. They are truly stunning.

While they are gorgeous, wood garage doors have their fair share of flaws.  They require frequent painting and have increased maintenance costs. If you don’t keep up with your wood garage door, it will split and warp. When it rains, you can expect swelling as well.

Also, wood garage doors aren’t cheap. They have a wide price range that can be anywhere from $1,235 to $2,756. For prices like that, you better be positive this is the perfect garage door for your home.

Nothing is More Durable Than Steel

A much cheaper, low maintenance option is a steel garage door. They’re the most commonly used material for garage doors. With a contemporary look, you can’t go wrong with steel.

Steel is also known for being very durable. Being resistant to fire, weather, warping and cracking means they difficult to damage and much easier to clean than other garage door materials. Maintenance will never be an issue again.

A Lighter, Less Expensive Option: Fiberglass

Fiberglass garage doors have many customization options like wood at a fraction of the cost. They’re also much lighter than steel, aluminum and wood garage doors.

That being said, they aren’t weather resistant. Exposure to the elements could cause your fiberglass garage door to fade. Unlike the steel and wood garage doors, fiberglass isn’t very durable either.

Aluminum: A Cheaper Alternative to Steel

aluminum garage doorAluminum shares many characteristics with steel garage doors. While they’re cheaper than steel, they aren’t as durable. Aluminum garage doors are more prone to dent and damage over time and aren’t as reliable.

Vinyl is the Cheapest Option

If you’re looking for the most affordable solution, then vinyl is the route to go. While vinyl isn’t often used, more homeowners are considering it an option for their home due to their cheaper price. While they are more affordable, vinyl garage doors offer poor insulation and lack of options. Warping and combustion are common issues with vinyl garage doors which can pose major safety risk. Even though steel, wood and fiberglass are more expensive options, they may give you a greater value.

Additional Hardware to Consider to Improve the Look and Functionality of Your Garage Door

Your garage door would be woefully incomplete without great hardware. Garage door openers, sensors and window options will improve both the look and functionality of your garage and raise the value of your home.

How Are You Opening Your Garage Door? Different Options for Garage Door Openers

Choosing the right garage door opener can drastically affect the cost and functionality of your garage door. There are several different styles you can choose:

  • Belt drive openers – quietest but cost more money
  • Chain drive openers – most economical and dependable but are rather noisy
  • Screw drive openers – the lowest maintenance and fairly quiet but are less efficient

Another thing to consider are key pads found on the outside of your garage door. You can set a numerical code so you can open your garage door without a remote from the outside. It’s also a great way to prevent unwanted intruders.

smart phone userAs technology changes, so does the way you open your garage door. Now you can have a smart garage door opener. When you install the app to your smart device, you’re able to open and close your garage door from anywhere. No longer will you have to question whether or not you left your garage door open.

Sensors Increase Safety Around Your Garage Door

Sensors can prevent unwanted injuries with your garage doors. There are two types of sensors. The first is a beam that is shot across the floor from one end of the garage door to the other. When the beam is broken while the garage door is closing, it begins the rise. The only issue is if someone tries to jump or step over the beam, the garage door will have no way of knowing whether or not it should stop closing.

The other option is a sensor attached to the garage door itself. If anything touches the bottom of the garage door before it finishes closing, it will immediately stop and begin to rise.

Either sensor is a great option to have to improve your home’s garage door safety.

Choose Between Many Window Options

Don’t let your garage door leave your garage dark and dingy. Add a little natural light with garage door windows. Whether you’re using your garage as an extra living space or a workshop, it’s a great idea to have windows added to your garage door. They’re also great for improving your home’s curb appeal. Whether you like them big or small and no matter what shape, you have many options when choosing a garage door window.

You’re Now a Garage Door Expert

No matter how you use your garage, you now have the knowledge to pick the perfect garage door for your home. Regardless of what you find most important in a garage door, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will improve the look and functionality of your entire home. Keep this information in mind the next time you’re looking for a replacement garage door and you’ll make the best decision for your home.

Share this article:


Get started with

*View our privacy policy

Or call us at 1-866-4FELDCO®
or visit one of our locations.


fiberglass front entry door security

How are front doors made? A Detailed Look into Exterior Doors

How are front doors made? The front door is not ...
New Homeowner Checklist

Move-in Checklist for New Homeowners

The Ultimate Guide: Move-in Checklist for New Homeowners Moving into ...

How Roof Shingles are Made

Unveiling the Process: How Roof Shingles are Made Roof shingles ...

Gutters: Are They Really Necessary?

The Importance of Gutters Gutters play a crucial role in ...
brown double hung windows

What Are Window Jambs & Why Are They Important?

Window Jambs & Their Importance Window jambs are indispensable as ...

Book Today and Save!

Over 500,000 homeowners have trusted Feldco with their windows, siding and doors. Click the button below and we’ll get started on your quote!