Here are the materials, insulation, installation, and maintenance considerations to help you select the best garage door for your home.
It’s not every day that you’re in the market for a new garage door. So if you think you know what to expect when shopping for a new one or feel that current models are the same as your 15-year-old door, you’re in for a surprise.
Today’s doors are more robust, more secure and better insulated, and they require much less maintenance than their predecessors. And you’ve never before had such a range of choice in materials, styles, colours and window treatments. A storage solution from Garage Storage Solutions can transform your garage into a social focal point for visitors with a modern look.
Types Of Garage Doors
Roll-up Garage Doors
You’ll probably find these more in commercial applications than residential, but roll-up doors are a no-frills design option built for areas with limited ceiling space.
This style is made with 2″-3″ steel slat sections that roll around a drum above the door opening.
Roll-up or coiling doors are built to withstand heavy usage, and high-performance units can be made without springs or enclosed to prevent rust, corrosion, and freezing.
Due to the heavy-duty nature of the roll-up model, the upfront costs are higher than a sectional design.
Slide To The Side Garage Doors
The slide to the side garage door operates just like the name implies—bending to one side of the garage and sitting parallel to the wall.
These were among the first operating styles and were used initially for garages with little headroom.
They run along with lower trolleys that are flexible enough to work with slight slopes in the floor or ceiling.
Slide to the side doors do not require balancing springs and have a built-in retractable motor for automated operation without the need for a ceiling-mounted operator.
Side-hinged Garage Doors
In the retro design, side-hinged garage doors swing open and closed from a hinged frame on either side of the opening.
They resemble large barn doors and are typically made of wood, although more commercial-type galvanised steel doors are also available.
Recently, there has been more demand for these classic doors, especially for garages with obstructions or limited headroom.
Side-hinged garage doors can be purchased in pre-hung steel frames or fit into existing openings. They can also be automated with unique conversion arms.
Tilt-up/Up And Over Canopy Garage Doors
Like side-hinged styles, the tilt-up canopy garage doors don’t have sections; they’re made of one solid piece.
They have a pivoting hinge mechanism so that they can tilt up into the garage. The canopy-style door sits parallel to the garage ceiling and extends past the front of the house when the door is open.
Tilt-up/Up And Over Retractable Garage Doors
Similar to the tilt-up canopy design, the tilt-up retractable garage doors lift up and into the garage.
They are suspended independently from the frame so they do not protrude past the front of the house.
This configuration requires more space than canopy garage doors. While some homeowners opt for this type, they are more challenging to operate than other styles and are typically more expensive.
Getting The Best Result.
When trying to find the best garage door, it is worth understanding that there is no ‘best door’ that will suit everybody and every situation.
What is best will depend on your expectations and what will best suit the particular specifications of your garage.
This is why it’s essential to have an installation designer come to your house to measure up and see what door will work best.
It is also essential for you to be home at the appointment to make decisions that will impact the result.
Buying a door is a long term commitment. If you make the wrong choice on type, style or colour, you will have to live with it for 30+ years.
In most cases where customers are unhappy with their new door install, the problem can be traced back to the customer not being on-site when the garage was measured up.
Things That Matter
When seeking out the best door, you are looking for the door that will look good and perform well for its expected life. Having a door that will meet these expectations will depend on things.
- The build quality of the door.
- The installation of the door
- The maintenance of the door.
- Door selection.
All door brands have been evolving over the years. Especially over the last ten years, we have seen all brands making updates to their doors and fittings.
Manufacturing is being done with more precision than any other time, and minor improvements are ongoing.
Competition between manufacturers drives the innovative spirit that seeks to improve the more minor details of the whole process.
There are refinements on some doors that you won’t see on others, but in most cases, the classes won’t change how your door runs or how long it lasts.
You can buy a new door knowing that the brands listed at the top of the page are of excellent build quality when purchasing a new entry.
The door manufacturer has built a good product. The installer has fitted your door with great care. The next step is to make sure that your door is properly maintained.
A garage door is a large mechanical product with many moving parts. It does require servicing to make sure that it will last. Torsion springs need to be adjusted, and bearings need to be lubricated. In some cases, tracks and fittings need to be moved as both your house and the door settle over time.
When buying a garage door, you need to make a clear decision about the type, style and colour of the door. The installation designer can help you navigate your options, but the final choice is entirely up to you.
Take the time to explore your options so you will get a positive result. Several articles have been written on this site to help inform you of your options.
Use the style guides on this site to see what options each brand offers. You will notice that all the brands provide very similar styles in the standard range of doors.
Some, however, have a little more variety. For example, in the shiplap style, some brands have narrow and wide planks, while others only offer one plank width.
Garage Door Materials
Most new garage doors are made of steel backed by rigid foam insulation—panels made of 24-ga. Steel is the strongest (26- and 28-ga. steel is also used); most are produced with an embossed wood-grain pattern or a smooth finish.
Look for a model with a baked-on primer and polyester topcoat for maximum rust protection. Warranties for steel doors start at ten years; limited lifetime coverage is not uncommon.
Once the mainstay garage door material, wood, has taken a backseat to other materials in the middle of the market.
To a great extent, this is due to the added maintenance and regular painting of wood doors required. In addition, most wood doors are constructed with a hemlock frame and hardboard panels.
The typical warranty for a factory-made wood door is one year; many custom doors are backed for 15 years.
Plastic doors are relatively new to the scene, and they might eventually be the door of choice. Like steel, plastic doors offer lightweight durability without routine upkeep.
Unlike their metal and wood counterparts, they’re corrosion- and rot-free, and they operate almost silently.
Because they contain UV-resistant additives, light-coloured versions can take in the sun without fading.
Insulated Garage Doors And R Values
An insulated garage door is better if you live in a three or four-season climate and your garage is attached to your home, or if there’s finished space like a guest room over your garage.
Not only does it cut down on cold, but it also dampens noise and makes the door skin less vulnerable to denting.
A steel-door “sandwich” made of thick-gauge steel outer skin, a core of insulation adhered to this skin and a light-gauge backing material of steel or plastic make a solid but lightweight door.
The thickness of this insulation can range from a thin sheet of polystyrene to as much as 2 in. of polyurethane or polystyrene, with resulting R-values ranging from 5 to 10. However, it would help if you were sure you’re comparing apples to apples when shopping.
What Is A Good R Value For A Garage Door?
Most manufacturers measure the R-value based on the overall door, but some base their numbers on the centre of a panel, which produces a higher R-value.
Some plastic doors, as well as some top of the line wooden ones, come insulated. Rubber bulb or flange weather sealing at the bottom of the door completes the storm-proofing while keeping dirt, debris and water out.
Garage Door Costs
Because there are almost limitless ways doors can differ—size, decorative treatments, and insulating qualities are just a few of the variables—it’s challenging to make accurate price comparisons between types.
Generally, steel doors are the most budget-friendly, with wood and plastic models more expensive. Custom work can cost twice as much.
Paramount Garage Door Safety Tips
Check The Sensors
Most garage doors rely on sensors to open and close. For most garage doors, the sensors are black boxes located at the bottom, sometimes with a small red light.
You’ll know if the sensors aren’t correctly aligned because your door will refuse to operate, but even if they are working, it’s always a good idea to check them now and then.
Free And Clear
An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 children are permanently injured each year, sending 1 million to seek medical care.
Prevalent factors contributing to such injuries are the increasing number of electronic devices in homes and the automatic garage door being a mounting concern.
To this point, always check to make sure that the door is free and clear of any obstructions, including rambunctious kids nearby or animals skittering beneath it.
Look over your door and its working parts each month. You might not be a professional garage door installer, but a quick once over let you know when you need to call one in.
Increase your familiarity with the springs, cables, pulleys, belts, and rollers with a monthly visual inspection. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to read up on the owner’s manual to see if everything is functioning correctly.
Signs of wear and tear should be addressed as soon as possible, but don’t try to fix anything yourself; that’s when a professional steps in.
Attempting to involve yourself with the tension springs and various cables can result in serious injury, which is why accidents central to garage doors have steadily remained on the high.
The springs could snap, and you don’t want to be anywhere near the release of force with flying metal parts and potentially sharp edges!
Test The Reverse Function
The reverse function is often viewed as the saving grace for safety features in the automatic garage door.
These days, manufacturers install the reverse function on every door they create because of the accidents this feature can prevent.
However, as research has shown us, accidents still happen even with the reverse function on nearly all garage doors.
This could be because the reverse function is malfunctioning, or it could have nothing to do with this feature at all. When it comes to garage doors, though, it’s better safe than sorry.
Periodically checking the reverse function of your automatic door could save you from having an accident with it later.
Take the two seconds it takes to do so and make this inspection a part of your monthly garage door checklist.
You can test this function by sticking an object in the door’s pathway, then pressing the button to close it.
The object can be a roll of paper towels or a board you may have lying around. If the garage door does not recognise an obstruction in its way, then the reverse function needs to be repaired.
Watch Your Fingers
Getting your fingers caught on any part of the garage door isn’t going to tickle, which leads to this fundamental rule: watch the fingers!
Refrain from fiddling with the garage door’s mechanisms because it’s better left to the professionals if something requires fixing.
While there isn’t a definitive report of how many homeowners experience pinched fingers from a garage door every year, it’s a safe bet to assume that the number is pretty high.
Keep The Garage Code Secret
Even if you have a detached garage, it’s best to keep the code a secret. By neglecting to do so, you could be compromising your home’s safety, which is especially true if you have a door that leads from the garage to inside the house.
Criminals go to great lengths, and you don’t want to allow a bad guy to hide out in the garage because of your not-so-secret code.
This is also a meaningful discussion with your kids, who may not realise the importance of keeping the garage pad code to themselves. Can I find garage storage cabinets to match my style? Absolutely! Even the cabinets in the garage should reflect your unique tastes and style. Garage Storage Solutions offers stylish storage in a variety of materials and finishes.
Ensure Openers Are Hidden
In the same vein of keeping the code a secret, you’ll also want to remember not to leave garage door openers on display, either.
It’s convenient to place them on the dashboard of a car or tucked beneath the visor, but taking an extra step to throw them in the glove box could help further protect your home.
Better yet, opt for a smart garage door opener instead, which is more convenient than the old-fashioned opener anyway.
As a bonus, many of these intelligent door apps let you see if you’ve left the door open accidentally, an oversight that all of us are frequently guilty of.
Learn How To Operate It Manually
Power outages, storms or malfunctions are all capable of dismantling your garage door, rendering it useless.
By taking the time to learn how to operate the door without power, you can save yourself time in the event of it not working and ensure your home’s security.
Your owner’s manual is an excellent source of information, not only on how to operate the door without power but all of the other parts that make up the door and allow it to function.
Don’t Take Garage Door Safety Lightly.
Please don’t underestimate your garage door and be a part of the statistics of yearly accidents caused by them.
Garage doors are working machines with tension fueled parts, metal pieces, and the heavy door itself, and they should be treated with caution and utmost respect for safety.
Garage doors also give access to your house, so it’s crucial to make sure they are both secure and functional.
Call a professional when your garage door isn’t working the way it should be. By keeping tabs on its operations each month, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve and get your door fixed before an accident happens.
Preventive Maintenance Tips For Garage Door
Look And Listen
The most important preventive step you can take is to observe your garage door in action every time you use it.
Is it moving smoothly, or is it jerky in places? Does it operate silently, or does it make grinding or scraping noises? Do both sides of the system (springs, pulleys and cables) look symmetrical?
Tighten Up The Hardware
The average garage door moves up and down more than a thousand times a year. That’s a lot of movement and vibration, which can loosen the hardware. Examine and tighten all roller brackets and bolts with a socket wrench.
Test The Garage Door Balance
If your garage door is not balanced correctly, the garage door opener will have to work harder and won’t last as long.
After disconnecting the opener by pulling the release handle (usually a red cord), manually move the door about halfway up.
If it doesn’t stay put, the counterweight system (springs) are improperly balanced. Therefore, garage door spring adjustment is best left to the professionals.
Inspect And Replace The Rollers
Whether steel or nylon, the rollers need to be inspected twice a year and replaced every seven years or so, and even more if you use your garage door many times a day.
Worn chipped or cracked rollers should be replaced as soon as possible. You do this by removing and reinstalling any roller brackets not directly attached to the cable system.
Replace The Weatherstripping
If the rubber weather seal strip on the bottom of your door is brittle or cracked, replace it right away to keep the elements out of your house.
Weatherstripping is sold by the foot at hardware and home improvement stores. Just cut to size and insert into the grooves with the wide-angle of the flange inside the door.
Lubricate The Moving Parts
Keeping your garage door parts greased up will add years of seamless operation to your system, and it takes just 10 minutes a year!
Use white lithium grease on the opener’s chain or screw, and a spray lubricant, available from your garage door specialist, to coat the overhead springs.
Check The Cables
It would help if you never tinkered with the high-tension cables that lift your door because they have enough force to maim and kill.
But you can check their condition, so you know when to hire a pro. Check for broken strands and damage near the bottom roller bracket.
Test The Auto-reverse Safety Features
There are two mechanisms: mechanical and photocell. To test the automatic feature, place a piece of wood or a brick on the ground in the path of the door.
When the door coming down touches that object, it should reverse direction and go back up again.
To test the second, the photoelectric system with beams at each side, close your door and pass your leg in the door’s path. Your entry should reverse.
If your opener is more than 20 years old, it may lack these essential safety features – and so it’s time to buy a new garage door opener.
Clear The Tracks
Make sure the tracks on either side of the door are free from debris and, if you are so inclined, you can use a level to check the plumb. A professional garage door technician must make any significant adjustments to tracks.
Groom Your Garage Door
Don’t forget to examine the door itself. Wood doors will need to be checked for water damage and warp, as well as chipped and peeling paint. Steel doors may have rust spots that need to be sanded, primed and painted.
Wash your garage door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner at the same time you do your car.
If you want a well-functioning, stable garage door that will keep your family safe and secure, we’ve got the tips to get it done.
Our blog post has everything you need to know about properly taking care of your garage doors, from determining what kind of door is best for your home to get the suitable materials and preventative maintenance routine in place. Garage storage wall hooks should form part of any garage makeover as they provide a clean and really easy way to lift anything from your garage floor and have it accessible via your garage wall.