When you envision taking your home’s curb appeal up a notch, chances are you envision a gorgeous, expensive landscape or an upgrade to the front entrance. You may not give much thought to replacing your garage doors, but a recent study proves that might be the first thing to consider. Among all home remodeling projects that cost less than $5,000, replacing garage doors made the top five for having the highest return on investment. In fact, garage doors can increase the total value of your home by 4 percent.
But curb appeal and an increase in your home value aren’t the only two reasons to replace your garage door. If you have living space above your garage, or use your garage as a work or storage space, protection from extreme temperatures and weather conditions is important. Older garage doors, with years of wear and tear, may not be giving you the optimal amount of protection.
Attached garages impact energy costs, regardless of whether your garage is heated or air-conditioned. Replacing your garage door gives you the opportunity to get a sturdier door with a higher level of insulation, or R-value. You’ll also reap the benefits of energy savings from keeping the cold air out in the winter and the cool air inside in the summer. In addition to having an impact on temperature, a new garage door can also do a better job of keeping moisture out of your garage.
In addition to keeping moisture out, new garage doors can also help you keep unwanted visitors out. Research shows 9 percent of burglaries that occur at residential properties in the United States gained access through the garage. Assuming you choose to upgrade your garage door opener along with your doors, you have the opportunity to purchase the latest in garage door security technology, too — choose from keypads, motion sensors and other features that help keep you and your loved ones safe. As a result, your home insurance company may offer a benefit for installing new garage doors with these features.
Garage doors can last 30 years or more if you take care of them properly, so choosing a garage door for your home isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Once you’ve decided this is a project to take on, where do you start? Do you know what to look for in a garage door for your home? We’ve gathered all your tips for choosing the best garage door in this blog post.
Determine What Size Garage Doors You Need
To determine the size of your door, you must first measure the opening width then the height. If there is a high spot in your floor, you want to measure it at that point as most garage doors are made of steel and need to sit level in the opening. You add different sizes of bottom astragal to help seal the bottom.
If you’re installing new tracks and a new opener, you’re going to need to consider a few additional measurements. On each side of each opening, you need a minimum of 3¾ inches for the vertical tracks. Don’t forget — that means doubling it to a minimum of 7½ inches for any side space between two doors. Then, you need to consider the headspace, or the measurement of the space between the top of the door opening and the ceiling. For a standard track, you need 12” and if you need less, you’ll need a Low Headroom Track (you can get away with as little as 3’). If you have a tall ceiling you may also consider a High-Lift track, where your door goes straight up the ceiling before it turns and goes along the top of the ceiling. This saves space for things like a car lift or even room to make extra shelves for storage.
Lastly, you need to measure the backspace, or the distance between the door opening and the back wall of the garage. This measurement needs to be the height of your garage door, plus 18 inches. Or height of door plus 3’ for a garage door opener.
Do I Need an Insulated Garage Door?
The No. 1 reason you use your garage is likely to be “to park my car.” Depending on the additional uses, you may want to invest in a door with more insulation or made of a particular material that will be tough for any intruders to break into.
Consider the following questions: Does your garage double as your workshop? Do you use it for storage? If so, what kind of things do you store? Is it an attached garage? If so, does it double as an entryway? Is it a standalone garage? If so, will it be doubling as a shed to store garden and lawn care accessories? These are just a few things to consider as you’re thinking about the use of your garage space.
In addition, you may live in a very cold or very warm climate where insulation may be important. Insulation in your garage door can help protect your cars and other valuable belongings protected from extreme temperatures. Insulation is especially important to consider if you have an attached garage, as these garages have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the home. Furthermore, if you have living space above the garage, additional insulation in garage doors can help regulate the temperature in that room without breaking the bank.
Do You Need a Wind-Rated Door?
Two of the features you’ll want to consider are insulation and stability — specifically, if you could benefit from having a reinforced garage door. If you live in an area where hurricanes are common, your building codes may require you to have garage doors with a WindCode rating. This rating assures you your door can withstand heavy winds and storms, and is less likely to buckle under the pressure of a bad storm. The door and its tracks are made with some additional features that won’t interfere with aesthetics, but will make the garage door more durable in a storm.
Select a Material
Climate also plays a role in the type of materials that would work best for your garage doors. What are garage doors made of, anyway? You have a few choices — natural wood, fiberglass, steel and composite, aluminum and glass and vinyl. Here is some background information on each of these materials.
- Steel doors are the most popular and come with a variety of styles, insulation, window designs and paint options. Different window placements can make for a great modern look. With the flexibility, you can find a door for every budget. The toughness makes them a great fit for people in areas where high winds or where security are a concern.
- Aluminum and glass garage doors can add a modern flair to your home. Choose from solid aluminum or glass panel doors, depending on the amount of privacy you desire. Resistant to rust and corrosion, these doors are built to last
- Natural wood is a favorite among many. It offers a beautiful, rustic and unmatched appearance. You can even customize a door to fit the look of your home. However, they do require a little more maintenance, as wood is prone to splitting and cracking. Depending on the finish you choose, you may also need to re-stain or repaint after a certain amount of time.
- Fiberglass, on the other hand, is resistant to rust, denting, splitting and cracking and offers durability and a standard level of insulation that’s tough to beat. Unfortunately, with fiberglass, the cost can be quite a bit higher.
- Vinyl garage doors are durable and low-maintenance. They do have some customized styles to choose from. They are every resistant to rust and are a great option for the homes on the coast.
Set Your Budget
Unless you have access to unlimited funds, you’re going to need to set a budget. Try to set a budget range, so you have some flexibility, as your decisions regarding features, materials, insulation, etc., will influence the cost. It’s important to know what you can afford to spend so you can prioritize if you can’t afford to get absolutely everything you want.
Choose From Styles of Garage Doors to Match Your Home
When you’ve reviewed the options of what materials garage doors are made of and have made a choice, it’s time to choose from the many styles of garage doors. While you can choose whatever style garage door you prefer, we recommend choosing one that matches the style of your home.
- Modern home styles look best with modern and contemporary garage doors. These doors usually bring together elements of metal, glass and maybe even wood, to create a fresh, clean, up-to-date look that complements your home. An AVANTE™ or a MODERN STEEL™ door looks great on this style of home.
- Craftsman or mission-style homes, among others, are a perfect match for “barn-style” garage doors, also known as carriage-house garage doors. These doors usually feature windows, and sometimes two-tone paint, as well as unique hardware. The RESERVE® WOOD, CANYON RIDGE®, COACHMAN® or GRAND HARBOR® collections are perfect for this style of home.
- Traditional homes are a perfect match for traditional, raised-panel garage doors. This simple, traditional type of garage door complements a variety of home styles and provides flexibility when it comes to color and insulation options. Try the CLASSIC™ WOOD or CLASSIC™ collection doors for these homes.
- Historical homes and homes with unique flair may be the best fit for custom garage doors. Depending on your home’s style and your personal preferences, custom garage doors may provide the uniqueness that flatters your home. The level of customization available varies from brand to brand and will come with a higher price tag.
Pick the Right Color
Now that you’ve selected your material and the style of garage door, it’s time to give some thought to the color. Some people prefer to match the color of their home as closely as they can, while others choose another color altogether. Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure the color you choose complements the color of your home. We mentioned new garage doors can have a positive impact on your property value and curb appeal — don’t ruin that by choosing an offbeat color combination.
Local dealers are a great resource when it comes to choosing a color that will match or complement the color of your home. Clopay also has a Color Blast® program that gives you the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of Sherwin-Williams® paint color options that are specially formulated to adhere to steel, aluminum, vinyl and plastic. Solar reflective paint maximizes energy efficiency, and the color finish is backed by a five-year warranty — no paint for five years? That’s a win.
Consider Additional Garage Door Features
While the style of garage doors you choose will dictate some of the look and feel, there are additional features available with most styles that can add some unique flair and function to your garage doors.
- Insulation is important. While there are some materials that naturally insulate better than others, you always can add insulation to your garage doors. Clopay’s Intellicore® insulation technology is one step ahead of the rest, offering an injectable insulation foam that expands to fill the entire space. This insulation not only protects your garage from extreme temperatures, but also from noise — boasting R-values up to 20.4 and a noise reduction of up to 16 decibels. Choose from single, double or triple layers of insulation — the higher the number of layers, the higher the R-values.
- Windows are a decorative feature that are appealing to many. Even one strip of windows along the top of a garage door can add character — and light to filter into a garage that may be an otherwise dark space. The downside of adding windows is that they take away from the insulation. However, if you live in an area where extreme temperatures aren’t a concern, the aesthetics of windows just might be a feature worth considering.
- WindCode-rated doors are important to consider because they not only protect your garage from extreme climates, they also give you additional protection against intruders. The additional security features in place on these doors make them a sturdier option — without sacrificing the look. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, your local codes may require a certain type of feature to ensure your garage doors can stand the weather. If that’s the case, WindCode-rated doors are an easy way to comply, while still getting the style you want.
- Hardware and handles may be small, but they are a big deal when it comes to garage doors. Whether you’re a minimalist and believe less is more, or you like the look of having hardware to add extra visual interest, you have options. Give some thought to what you prefer, and know that if you like hardware and handles, it’s available without getting those carriage-house garage doors.
- Garage door openers have come a long way. Maybe you already have a traditional garage opener you’re planning on keeping, or perhaps you were just thinking about buying a standard opener for your new door. Battery backup is one basic feature that isn’t available on many older models. This feature is great, because you never have to worry about being stuck in your garage during a power outage. On the other hand, if you crave the latest technology, you may want to spend some time looking into Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled garage door openers — that’s right, no more waiting until you’re in that magical range. Now, you can control your garage door from an app on your smartphone.
Don’t Forget About Maintenance and Care
Choosing and installing your new garage doors is only the beginning. Once the new doors are part of your home, maintenance and care kick in. When you’re considering maintenance and care, it’s important to fully understand the details of your garage doors’ warranty. How long is the warranty? What does it cover? Are there any restrictions to the warranty? Do you need to do anything to activate the warranty once you’ve purchased the garage doors? The last thing you want to do is accidentally void the warranty by doing — or not doing — something simple.
In addition to the warranty, don’t forget to ask what level of routine maintenance is recommended to keep your garage doors in their best working condition. It’s important to make sure your garage doors are working properly, so research what needs to be checked, and how frequently. Also, learn what you can about your new doors and opener and how everything works — that way, in between maintenance, you can conduct a visual inspection to make sure everything looks good and is working the way it should.
Finally, if you’ve chosen a painted or stained door, eventually you’ll need to repaint or re-stain. Before you purchase, ask about the process of painting — is it something you can do yourself? If so, are there guidelines? Is there a timeline for how long the paint or stain will last? You want to make sure you fully understand what you need to do so you don’t end up using the wrong type of paint or missing an important guideline that puts you back in the market for a new garage door.
Best Overhead Door — Your Partner for Selecting the Perfect Garage Door
At Best Overhead Door, we know you wish you could see the new doors on your home before they’re installed, just to be sure they’re exactly what you want. That’s why we developed an online design tool that does just that. Our online lookbook gives you the opportunity to see all the styles of garage doors in one place. Then, once you’ve narrowed it down to a few favorites, use our door imagination system to upload a photo of your garage and try them on. You can change everything, from the style to the color, and even the hardware. This tool is sure to give you a true vision of how your new doors will make your home look.
At Best Overhead Door, we provide customers throughout the entire Portland metro area and Vancouver, Wash., with quality garage door services. Whether you are building, remodeling, retrofitting or repainting your home or business facilities, we would love to help you. If you use one of our online tools and would like to get a quote — or just want to talk to one of our garage door experts as you’re deciding what garage doors are best for you — call us at 503-620-1205 or fill out our online contact form. You can also request an estimate through our online form, or reach us on weekends and evenings by calling 503-707-0848 and we will be happy to assist you. We would love to have the opportunity to help you find the perfect garage doors for your home.