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Your Guide To Residential Garage Doors - Garage Prices.com

Home » Your Guide To Residential Garage Doors

Your Guide To Residential Garage Doors

residential garage doors

If this is your first time purchasing garage doors or it’s been a few decades since the last time you replaced the doors, then you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Modern-day garage doors have enjoyed a nice evolution in design. As a result, today’s garage doors require less maintenance and are stronger, offer more security, contain insulation, and come in a wider range of styles, materials, and colors.

Residential Garage Door Materials

The most common material used in the construction of garage doors today is steel, and many of them come with rigid foam insulation. The strongest panels used are 24-gauge steel, but some manufacturers also use 26- and 28-gauge steel in the construction of their doors. When shopping for steel garage doors, look for one that has been primed and coated with a polyester topcoat to prevent rusting. To add a little bit of style to your home, you can get steel doors embossed with wood grain or keep it simple with a smooth finish. The majority of manufacturers offer 10- or 20-year warranties for steel doors, but lifetime warranties are not unheard of.

At one time, wood was the primary material used to make garage doors. However, the advent of other materials like vinyl, fiberglass, and various metal garage doors such as aluminum and steel have overtaken wood’s importance in the industry. This may be because wood requires a higher level of maintenance to keep it looking good. The majority of wood garage doors are made with hemlock frames and the panels are made from hardwood. The choice of wood for custom garage doors is Douglas fir. Generally, manufacturers give a one-year warranty on factory-made wood doors, while custom doors enjoy a 15-year warranty.

A rather new material being used to make garage doors is plastic. This material provides homeowners with the same benefits as metal and wood – such as being lightweight and maintenance free – but resists rotting, corrosion, and fading. They are also a lot quieter than wood and steel doors. Currently, manufacturers are offering 20-year warranties on plastic garage doors.

Garage Door Insulation

Getting an insulated garage door is a good idea for a number of reasons. It helps control the temperature in the garage during the hot and cold months and reduces the amount of noise coming in and going out of the area. In addition to that, insulated doors resist denting a lot better than non-insulated garage doors. So if you live in a three- or four-season area, have a bedroom or apartment over your garage, or use the garage for other purposes besides storing your vehicle, then you will want to consider getting an insulated door.

Insulated steel garage doors have a sheet of insulation sandwiched between two layers of steel. The outer skin is typically made from thick-gauge steel that can withstand the elements while the inner skin is made from light-gauge steel or plastic. The insulation used inside varies between a thin polystyrene sheet and a 2-inch thick slab of polyurethane. Thicker insulation means higher R-values and, of course, higher cost.

When shopping around for insulated garage doors, it is important to compare models with R-values that are calculated the same way. The standard is to measure the R-value of the entire door. However, some manufacturers base the R-value only on the insulation itself, which leads to higher numbers. Use the Internet to research how a manufacturer calculates the R-values of their doors. Plastic and wood doors can also come with insulation. Adding additional weatherproofing like a flange or rubber bulb at the bottom of the door can further protect the garage against the elements and keep dirt and other debris out of the area.

Garage Door Aesthetics

The garage door can account for up to 30% of your home’s exterior design and can improve or detract from its beauty. This is why you want to take time to evaluate all of your options and choose a door that reflects your preferences and looks great on your home. Garage doors come in a number of styles and colors. You can get doors with basic frames and panels or ones with sculpted decorative elements. While the white, brown, and beige are basic garage door colors that you’ll find most often, some manufacturers offer other colors like blue, green, red, and grey. Many garage doors can also be painted – though they will need regular touch ups.

There is also a wide variety of garage window styles. The basic types are snap-in or screw-in units. However, you can get plain rectangular ones or fancy multi-panel patterns. Etched or colored window panes add an element of privacy. Each type of window material has benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll need to carefully consider what you want and need when choosing windows for your garage. For example acrylic panes are highly impact resistant but have little to no thermal benefits.

While factory-made doors offer a lot of variety, custom-made doors allow you to get what you really want. Although more expensive than off-the-rack doors, this is a great way to get garage doors that fit your style.

Garage Doors Cost

There are so many different styles and options that it is difficult to accurately predict how much garage doors will cost. In general, steel doors are the cheapest while plastic and wood doors cost the most. Custom garage doors are the most expensive.

Safety Features

Garage door accidents are a fact of life, which is why many manufacturers are going the extra mile and installing a number of safety features in their doors. For example, Wayne-Dalton doors have a finger guard that pushes objects out of the cracks of the doors as they close to prevent terrible accidents. This feature was recognized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1998.

Another safety feature is a system that forces the door to automatically reverse if it makes contact with an object. Some doors have electronic eyes that stop the door from closing if anything passes through the light beam.

Garage Door Hardware

There are a lot of decisions that go into choosing a garage door including the type of hardware the door will use. Besides the door design and color, you will need to choose spring and track systems. Spring systems come in two flavors: extension and torsion. Extension springs work as a pair. They sit parallel to the garage ceiling and stretch out on each side of the door. They require a minimum of 10 inches of space.

Torsion springs are better for wide or heavy doors since they are installed over the door’s opening and evenly distribute the weight between the springs. They wind and unwind to open and close the door and require at least 12 inches of space.

Garage door tracks are made with either powder-coated steel or hot-dipped galvanized steel. Of the two, powder-coated steel is quieter and looks more finished. High-quality steel rollers used on the tracks are typically encased in sealed races. The best rollers are nylon ones, which are quieter and more durable than steel.

Garage Door Installation

There are two ways to have a garage door installed: hire professionals or do it yourself. Most homeowners would rather avoid the aggravation and have other people install their garage doors. When an installer does the job, it typically takes about three hours and they will discard the old door.

If you are mechanically inclined and handy with tools, then you can install your garage door yourself. You will need a few tools (drill with ¼- and 3/8-inch bits, screwdriver, hammer, measuring tape, vice grips, socket wrench, ladder, pliers, level, and saw horses), someone to help you, and about 8 to 12 hours. For assistance, you can get an instruction kit from Clopay that includes a videotape showing you exactly what to do.

Whether you do it yourself or have a professional install your garage doors, it is important to avoid mixing and matching parts. Not only will it be more difficult to replace those parts in the future, the parts could actually be incompatible with the door and cause them to fail. Additionally, using parts that are not made for the garage door typically voids the manufacturer’s warranty.

Maintaining Your Garage Door

Here are a few tips for keeping your garage door in tip-top shape:

  • Torsion springs should be oiled at least twice per year. You can use a lightweight motor oil to do this. Apply a thin layer of oil on the top of the spring, stopping about 2 inches from either side.
  • Every six months, the curving segments of the tracks should be oiled. Avoid using grease as it will only attract dirt and debris.
  • To prevent corrosive substances from eating the door (such as salt), wash the exterior regularly.
Painting Your Garage Door
  • The first step is to clean the door using a soft-bristle brush or sponge. You can use a power sprayer also, but make sure to set it on low. Use a solution consisting of 1 cup of low-phosphate detergent with 5 gallons of water (warm). Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • Small imperfections that don’t pass through the metal can be lightly sanded smooth. However, marks that expose bare metal should be sanded and then painted with a primer designed for the type of steel your garage door is made from. This will protect it from corrosion and rust.
  • Within 24 hours of prepping the door, paint it. Use a high-quality latex paint and spread evenly in thin coats. Minimize uneven drying caused by the sun by painting in the early mornings.

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