In today’s market, garage doors come in wide variety of materials, from plastic to aluminum and glass. In part one of this blog, we discussed different factors homeowners should consider when choosing a garage door, such as size, insulation, material, and style. The material you choose for your garage door is especially important, as different materials have different maintenance requirements.

Three of the most common garage door materials are steel, fiberglass, and wood. The information listed below provides more information on those materials as well as the different upkeep measures they require.

Steel Garage Doors

Steel is a favorite garage door material among homeowners because of its strength, durability, and relatively low maintenance. You simply need to wash the garage door and any windows every six months. Wash them with a mild detergent diluted in warm water (at a one-part to five-part ratio, respectively), but do not use bleach. Use a soft cloth and rinse thoroughly with a garden hose. Do not use a pressure washer.

Most steel garage doors have been treated to prevent rusting, but if you do see rust, check your warranty and call your garage door installer or a garage door maintenance specialist for personalized advice. With proper maintenance, your steel garage door should last for ten or more years.

Fiberglass Garage Doors

Fiberglass is by far the most popular choice of garage doors. It’s low maintenance and can be molded to look like other materials, such as wood. Every year, wash the garage door with a soft cloth and a solution of white vinegar (white wine vinegar, if possible) and water. This is also a great way to remove any stains or dirt.

Although fiberglass garage doors are very desirable, they have been known to deteriorate faster in cold climates. Try to keep water and snow from collecting on the door, as the moisture can cause the material to warp. Fiberglass doors can last years with proper maintenance.

Wood Garage Doors

Homeowners love wood garage doors for their curb appeal, but they definitely require a little more maintenance. Every year, wash the garage door with a cleaning solution made with one part mild detergent and five parts warm water—and remember to rinse thoroughly. Although these doors look great, the finish doesn’t always last¾ meaning you may also need to check your door for fading on a yearly basis. Besides the occasional stripping and repainting of the garage door, you should also check for any sign of warping from moisture. With the proper maintenance, your wood garage door should last around 15 years.

No matter which material you ultimately choose, following these simple maintenance steps can lengthen the life of your garage door. As you pay close attention to the physical appearance of the door, don’t forget about the mechanics. Regularly run tests on the door to make sure it opens and closes properly, and lubricate the moving parts once every six months. For further maintenance tips, be sure to check the owner’s manual that came with your garage door. 

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

For more information on our sources, please contact us directly.