Whether you’re building or remodeling your home, more than likely you’re faced with numerous decisions based on practicality, cost, function, and aesthetics. You also may be contemplating which areas require the most attention. If a new garage door is on that list, it’s important to take the time to consider which material will work best.
While appearance and budget are the driving factors behind many garage door selections, it’s important to review the materials currently used in the manufacturing of doors. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on environmental factors, frequency of use and potential for damage or distress.
A look at the top 4 types of garage doors:
The popularity of an aluminum garage door is due primarily to its inexpensive cost. However, corrosion resistance and its light weight are other distinct advantages worth considering.
Aluminum doors require little maintenance and, if manufactured with a layer of insulation, they can be almost as energy efficient as steel. The major downside is that aluminum can easily dent and repairs are costly. If you know there is a risk of damage due to high winds, hail storms or even active kids, you probably should consider other options or plan for a replacement much sooner than you would with other options.
Like aluminum, fiberglass doors are less expensive and lighter than steel or wood. They resist corrosion and tend to perform better in the sea-air of coastal environments. They also will experience very little shrinkage and expansion with changes in temperature. Because fiberglass is translucent, these doors typically allow more light into the garage space. Fiberglass is not a good insulator, however, and doesn’t do much for energy efficiency in a climate-controlled garage. Over time, fiberglass doors tend to yellow with age and, in extremely cold climates, often become brittle.
There’s a reason steel doors are among the most popular garage doors with homeowners. Without question, they offer nearly endless design options to suit most budgets; high levels of energy efficiency with optional insulation; and low maintenance. While steel doors cost more than aluminum or fiberglass, they tend to be more cost efficient in the long run due to a longer life span and improved insulation. The downside of steel doors is that they can be dented and are subject to corrosion, especially in coastal areas.
Wooden doors are highly rated because of their aesthetic value; they’re more like pieces of furniture meant to complement your home’s exterior design. Despite their beauty, one of the biggest drawbacks to wood garage doors is the ongoing maintenance. Unlike other materials, wood doors need repainting every year or two, and weather proofing against sun and moisture. Warranty periods are typically shorter for wood doors than they are for steel. From a budget perspective, standard wood doors are available and affordable. Costs rise with the amount of customization, but the options are usually far more varied than most materials.