Garage doors are an often overlooked — but essential — aspect of a home’s exterior design. Not only do they offer car protection and storage space, they also have a major impact on your home’s curb appeal. If you’re considering a new garage door but aren’t sure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. We tapped Chas Allison of Door Lift Xperts to share his expert advice and help you make your garage door ideas a reality. Chas and his team install and repair garage doors in the greater Atlanta area. Keep reading for his top tips, mistakes to avoid, and other things to consider when shopping for a garage door.
Your garage door should fit with the overall design of your home to maximize curb appeal and return on investment. Our expert designers can help you visualize your garage door ideas before you commit. Learn more about our virtual exterior design services.
#1 // Select a Style
When it comes to style, garage doors are no different than other home design elements: There are plenty of options to choose from. According to Chas, sleek, modern garage doors are on-trend at the moment. This style often features unique window placements that go down the side of the door, as seen above.
If you have a more traditional home, a modern garage door likely won’t be a good fit. Another popular option, Chas noted, is a carriage house-style garage door. This style typically features windows along the top of the door and decorative hardware.
#2 // Materials Matter
Just like there are a variety of garage door styles, there are several different materials to choose from. Steel and aluminum are the most popular, with steel being the most cost-efficient, readily available option.
Wood garage doors are also popular, but Chas warns they are very high maintenance.
“Most folks don’t realize that they have to be stripped and stained and sealed and maintained about every two to three years. It has to go through a rigorous process to maintain that look of real wood,” he told us.
Want the wood look without all the hassle? Chas suggests opting for a door made from wood composite instead.
#3 // Select the Right Backing Type
While it’s not as exciting as choosing the style or material of your garage door, selecting the right backing is crucial. In fact, Chas said it’s the most important thing to consider when purchasing a garage door. Steel and vinyl are the most common types of backing material, and Chas almost always recommends steel. While they’re more expensive — about 30 percent more — garage doors with a steel backing last longer and stand up to wear and tear better. If you’re flipping a home or building one you plan to sell quickly, though, Chas said a more cost-effective vinyl option is fine.
Note: A steel-backed garage door should last between 15 to 20 years, while a vinyl-backed door will usually need to be replaced within five to eight years.
#4 // Polystyrene vs. Polyurethane Insulation
Proper insulation is another important aspect of any garage door. Of the two main types — polystyrene and polyurethane — Chas recommends the latter. What’s the difference? Polyurethane is a spray foam insulation that bonds directly to the door and gets into all its crevices. It provides excellent energy efficiency, dent resistance, and sound-dampening.
Polystyrene comes in sheets that are precut into panels designed to fit the sections of your garage door. This option is cheaper and easy to install but doesn’t boast as many benefits as polyurethane.
#5 // Have Fun with Features
Back to the fun stuff — your garage door’s features. Two of the main garage door features are windows and hardware. Chas said he’s partial to designs where the windows run down the side of the garage door instead of across the top, as seen above. We recommend both styles, depending on the home’s architecture, though we do love the style above, as well! As far as hardware goes, hinges and handles are the most common features to explore.
#6 // Focus on Function
While garage doors are designed to protect your car and offer a convenient entrance into your home, that’s not all they’re used for.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen since COVID is people have turned their garages into gyms. So the glass garage door is really popular because it allows [the garage] to still have good insulation and a cooling and heat factor, as well as it lets natural light in, which is good for yoga, pilates, or just your typical weight training and cardio,” Chas told us.
Chas has also noticed people converting all or part of their garage into a home office since COVID-19 began.
If you plan to use your garage for more than just parking your car, Chas suggests powder coating the tracks, hardware, and other intricate pieces of the inside of the garage. This process offers an extra layer of protection from heat and cold, and it’s more aesthetically pleasing.
#7 // Upgrade Your Current Garage Door
If a new garage door isn’t within budget, you can still make updates that will drastically improve your current door’s look. Chas recommends purchasing a new top section and either updating the windows or adding some if your current door doesn’t have any.
#8 // Hire a Professional
Whether you’re updating your current garage door or buying a new one, Chas strongly recommends hiring a professional.
“We really pride ourselves on actually going out to the job site and making sure that we get accurate measurements. [We make] sure that we can give the customer the vision that they’re looking for,” he told us.
“Make sure that you get a professional to do a site check. Make sure that you can actually get the size that you’re looking for and the headroom clearance that you need. So that way when you’re selecting the design and style, you’re not selecting something that wouldn’t fit properly on your home.”
The Bottom Line on Bringing Your Garage Door Ideas to Life
Turning your garage door ideas into a reality is possible — especially with help from the right people. We can help you visualize your garage door ideas before you hire a professional like the Door Lift Xperts team to bring them to life.
“When you’re working with a company like brick&batten, you’re getting renditions of an actual garage door that you can purchase. A lot of the other companies that are out there, they have this amazing garage door, but the problem is, you can’t find it or it can’t be made. Although it looks great, it’s very hard to replicate, and you don’t always get the finished product that you want,” Chas said.
Ready to act on your garage door ideas and improve your home’s curb appeal? Get started here.
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