Some homeowners put off updating their garage door in favor of doing other home renovation projects, mistakenly thinking that a new garage door will make little difference to the improvement of their home. On the contrary, a new garage door has many benefits, and in today’s market, there is a large variety of garage doors to choose from.

The Benefits of a New Garage Door

A garage face-lift is an investment in both your house and your daily life. According to Remodeling Magazine’s recent Cost vs. Value report, garage door replacement is one of the top five cost-effective renovations in the nation, with homeowners receiving an 83.7 percent return. Some garage doors are also insulated, which keeps the garage and adjacent rooms warm, making for an energy-efficient home. Safety and security features are an added bonus to having a newer garage door.

Updating your garage door might seem straightforward, but you may be surprised by the many garage door options. To choose the right door, consider some important factors listed below.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Garage Door

  1. Size. Garage door sizes vary from eight feet wide (for single compact cars) to twenty feet wide (for double-car garages) and, on average, seven to eight feet tall, though they can be higher. The standard garage door size for a single-car garage is eight feet by seven feet; for a double-car garage, it’s sixteen feet by seven feet. When selecting a garage door, you may need to know the below measurements:

    • The height and width of the garage door opening
    • The width of the side room on both sides of the door
    • The length of the headroom from the ceiling to the top of the door
    • The depth of the garage
  2. Insulation. An insulated garage door keeps the garage warm, which is useful if the garage is part of the living space (like a workshop or laundry room). It’s also great for noise reduction and helps cut down on heating costs. A single-layer garage door has no insulation; a double-layer garage door has some energy-efficient benefits; and a triple-layer door has insulation within the garage door, usually made of polystyrene or polyurethane. The thickness of the insulation ranges from two to ten inches. The thermal efficiency of an insulated garage door is rated with the R-value system.

  3. Material. There are many garage door materials available that can match the style of your home, including steel, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, plastic, and glass. Each of these materials has pros and cons. Steel is a strong material that provides extra security from thieves, though it can rust. Fiberglass is low maintenance—unfortunately, though, these doors deteriorate faster in cold climates. Wood is great for curb appeal, but it can warp. Aluminum is dent resistant, but the higher-end products can be costly. Plastic doors are lightweight and quite popular with homeowners, but the colors can fade over time. Glass is very modern but is not great for retaining heat.

  4. Style. Like the material, the style of the doors should be based on the style of the home. Garage door styles can be traditional, contemporary, or carriage, among others. There are different panel designs as well, including flush, short, long, and ribbed. Then, there are the colors to consider. White, beige, and brown are common colors, although some companies now offer a bigger range including blue, grey, green, and red. Lastly, there is a wide range of window patterns and styles to choose from.

  5. Operating System. There are two types of operating systems available to homeowners: extension springs and torsion springs. Extension springs run parallel to the ceiling, on either side of the door; and torsion springs operate above the door. A professional garage door installer will be able to discuss both systems with you and help you choose the one that best fits your home.

There are certainly many things a homeowner should keep in mind when it’s time to replace a garage door on an existing home or choose one for a new home. Check back later this week to find out more about the different garage door materials available and how much maintenance these options require.

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Sources: EPA; HGTV; Overhead Door; Raynor Garage Doors; Remodeling Magazine; SFGate; This Old House.

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