Garage doors, while they provide a barrier between your vehicles and the outdoors, they also add curb appeal and value to your home. Garage doors are often the first thing people notice about your house from the street, and updating it can really give your house a fresh first impression. A boast in curb appeal.
Finding the perfect garage door is all about selecting the best material and style to suit your needs and the aesthetic of your home. There is a variety of garage door materials, and each has its own merits and shortcomings. This article will summarize the pros and cons of each material.
Wood is undoubtedly the most beautiful garage door material. It is preferred more for its appearance and affordability than for its durability. The natural grains and beautiful carvings can make wooden garage doors extremely attractive. This material is stainable, and it is fairly easy to sand and refinish.
Wood is also a decent insulator. However, as appealing as wood doors can be, they also have a few downsides. Solid wood doors are extremely heavy, and if they are not properly balanced, the mechanics can wear out rather quickly. Another disadvantage to a wood door is that wood expands and contracts in the weather and can warp or crack as it ages. This may require you to repaint or refinish the door every few years to keep it looking good.
Wood composite doors, made from recycled wood fibers, are more durable and more resistant to rot and splitting. Wood is also susceptible to termites and carpenter bees. Garage doors made of wood are available in panel or flush construction. The least expensive option is painted wood with flat panels. Stained wood doors cost more, but offer a look that can make a big difference in the curb appeal of a house.
Steel is a very popular material for garage doors and is a great choice for durability. This type of garage door is light and quiet, and its strength makes it an effective deterrent for thieves. They can be painted, and are available in textures that mimic the look of wood.
While steel is not the best insulator, steel doors can be backed with foam insulation for extra warmth and improved home energy efficiency. When shopping for a steel garage door it is important to consider the thickness. Thinner doors made of 28-gauge steel, while they may be less expensive, can dent and can be challenging to repair. A premium door is often 2 inches thick and made of 24-gauge steel. If not treated on the outside, steel doors also tend to rust fairly quickly. To solve that problem, steel can be covered with fiberglass or have a baked-on polyester topcoat applied.
Aluminum doors offer many of the characteristics of steel, such as optional wood-like texturing and long-lasting finishes. Quality aluminum is dent resistant and can be insulated. This material is far more rust proof than steel, however higher quality aluminum doors can be quite expensive.
Most closely resembling wood, fiberglass doors withstand moisture and insects. Fiberglass is also far more flexible than wood, which prevents warping, and is more dent-resistant than steel. It is particularly resistant to saltwater corrosion making this type of garage door a great choice for homes on the coast. While fiberglass has a long list of pros, one con is that fiberglass breaks down quickly in freezing temperatures.
Each garage door material has its own good qualities: Steel doors are strong and give great value for your money. Wood garage doors are better insulated and offer a naturally beautiful appearance. Fiberglass doors are extremely low maintenance providing a wood-like look without the maintenance of real wood.
Whichever material you choose you can be certain that it will improve the curb appeal and value of your home, and reinforce your feeling of security.
– Sara Thompson writes about home improvement for Ponderosa Garage Doors and Repair in Vancouver, Washington. For more from us on How to Choose a New Garage Door, this article there. On how to install, from The Family Handyman – How to Install a Garage Door and/or Installing a Garage Door Opener from us. ~jb
All images courtesy of Ponderosa Garage Doors.