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Léa Plourde-Archer
Léa
Plourde-Archer

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RenoQuotes.com Guide to Buying a Garage Door

Last modified: 2019/01/03 | Approximate reading time 9 mins

Choosing a new garage door implies taking into account both technical and esthetical aspects, all whilst picking a door that suits your budget. What are the most important factors to take into account when making a choice?

Not to be neglected: the thermal insulation of a garage door

In order to keep a pleasant room temperature in your garage, it is important that you do not neglect the insulation of your garage door. Since slight heat transfers can occur between the interior door of the garage and that of the house (if your garage is attached to the house), it is recommended to make sure that this section is weatherproofed. Moreover, if you wish to spend time in your garage, it will be more comfortable to do so if the temperature is well-controlled.   

Furthermore, if the air is too cold inside the garage, it could be more difficult to start the car. In order to do so, use spray polyurethane foam to fill in any openings between the wall and the door and install weather-stripping on the sides and upper part of the door. Although it is possible to use polystyrene insulation as it is less expensive, note that its performance level is lower than that of polyurethane foam (rating of R-6.6 à R-10 versus R-12 à R-16).

Don’t forget that insulation materials have a significant impact on sound conductivity. In fact, it will be much more pleasant for people inside the house if they don’t have to hear the noise generated by the activities that happen inside the garage. 

Warning about the energy-efficiency level

Choosing an energy-efficient door is undeniably important, although a cautionary statement must be shared: a garage door that has an elevated tightness level (and whose price is also more expensive) may cause overheating during periods of warm weather in the summer, which will be very uncomfortable when you need to spend time in your garage. 

Also, if the garage is not heated, a door with a high level of tightness will represent useless spending. As such, a door which has a medium degree of effectiveness will do a good job and will help maintain a suitable temperature even in the winter. On an indicative basis, it is advisable to shop for a door which has a thickness of around 2 inches.

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Which material should you choose for a garage door?

Choose a garage door that harmonizes with the exterior facade

First of all, keep in mind that any addition made to a home should fit with the architectural style of the building. Therefore, it is important to maintain consistency with the elements that are already present on the façade of the house and this will help guide your choice when buying a new garage door. You should focus on creating a harmonious match between different materials as well as colours and textures.

Although this aspect is entirely up to you, it can be interesting to use the same colour as your window frames for the garage door.

A wooden garage door: for a traditional look

If you want to keep a more traditional style, installing a wooden garage door is the ideal choice. Note that this type of door is very resistant and durable. For this reason, you can be assured that it will not be subject to denting from a minor impact and that it will never be degraded by rust. 

However, it is necessary to apply a coat of water-repellent film every three years to avoid damage caused by rain. The fact that this door has a lower insulation level than a steel door makes it so that a coat of polyurethane foam will have to be applied in order to limit heat loss. Note that if buying a wooden door seems too expensive, several models with a wood veneer layer are available and that these products recreate the look of wooden doors.

Brown wood garage door

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Steel garage door: for incomparable sturdiness

When choosing a steel garage door, special attention must be paid to the thickness of said door, which must be at least 0.6 millimetres. In addition, choosing a textured surface that is modelled with embossed panels will maximize its rigidity.

The main weak point of this type of door is that it is prone to corrosion. It will be very important to repaint the door as soon as corrosion appears to avoid further deterioration. To counter this problem, you can choose a galvanized steel door. However, if you pick this option, you will have to plan a bigger budget to buy your new garage door. A steel door is stronger than an aluminum door. Well suited for a modern look, a steel garage door should include a double wall and be insulated with polyurethane foam.

Aluminum garage door: for easy maintenance

The main reason to choose an aluminum door is to go for a material that will not rust and that will be of easy upkeep. For regular maintenance, a simple sponge will do the trick. However, since this material is quite fragile, shocks may cause considerable damage to the door. It is possible to reduce this risk by selecting a textured surface which will make the door more solid. For those that prefer a motorized door, aluminum is the best option as it will not warp due to wear from the mechanism.

To be certain that the door will offer an adequate level of insulation in your garage, be sure to choose a door that is insulated with polyurethane foam. Lastly, note that aluminum doors are available in a wide array of finishes and that you will be able to let your imagination run free when picking a colour.

Gray garage door

Photo: Pixabay

A PVC or fibreglass door: for a modern look

The last options are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) doors or the fibreglass doors. Doors made out of these materials offer longer lifespans than wooden or metal doors. However, they are more expensive. Despite the fact that they are quite solid, they are not as resistant to shocks as steel doors. Their main draw is that they look very good and will add style and prestige to the design of the exterior façade.

Panels and windows

You will be able to personalize your garage door by choosing rectangular or square panels, as well as different styles of windows. A porthole window will give a unique look, as will half-circle windows which create a beautiful visual draw.

Other than the previously mentioned elements, adding decorative elements can be a way to add style and charm to your door. Why not replicate the look of a barn door by installing wrought iron pieces? Mouldings with a strong relief are particularly interesting visually speaking and will allow the door to stand out from the rest of the façade.

Note that it is possible to integrate a front door for people to use, which will be both unique and practical when entering your garage.

Extension spring system or torsion spring system?

This question deserves proper consideration as each option comes with its own set of pros and cons. For its part, the torsion spring system requires more space between the garage’s ceiling and the upper part of the door (being that the springs are installed directly over the door). However, it is the best choice for a double garage door. It is worth mentioning that this system is more expensive to repair than its counterpart, which is the extension spring system.

An extension spring system is installed under the garage door’s railings and it requires less space than the torsion system. In order to limit the risks that a broken spring will damage the goods stored inside your garage, ask that a steel cable be installed inside the springs.

It is worth mentioning that a spring has a lifespan of approximately 5 to 7 years if said spring is made to withstand 10 000 cycles (a cycle being the equivalent of opening and closing a door). Using the door frequently will, therefore, cause premature wear.

Different opening methods for garage doors

The first option is a sectional ceiling door. This door is made of 3 to 5 panels and works using a vertical retractable method, which helps avoid tilting inside or outside. Amongst the main positive aspects, it must be noted that a sectional door is only slightly permeable to air. Also, the railings are installed inside and are not cumbersome. Another interesting fact is that replacing the panels is done easily and that it is possible to change them oneself with basic manual skills. Since the door is equipped with an anti-finger pinching device, accidents are quite rare.

Secondly, you can choose a lateral sectional door (or sliding door). As this door opens in a lateral manner, it offers the possibility to open up enough space to let someone into the garage. This type of door is particularly useful for garages with low ceilings. The structure is made even lighter by the fact that the railing is set on the lateral surface and not on the floor.

The tilt door looks a lot like the retractable door, with the exception that this door is made with only one panel that opens vertically. Since the door is not sectioned into several parts, it can include a standard door to make it easier to go inside. However, when it is not completely open, it reduces the amount of space available under the ceiling’s surface. It must be mentioned that this the most affordable model.

As indicated by the name, the roll-up door with aluminum blades retracts itself by rolling up inside a container that is installed on the ceiling. This type of door easily adapts to all types of openings, in addition to opening progressively and to having an excellent energy performance.  The main drawback is that it can be hard to open without a motorization system.

Garage door motorization

Installing a motorization system on a garage door is not necessary but does come with several advantages. First of all, it limits the chances that the opening or closing process will be too abrupt, which prevents damaging the mechanism.

Also, the motorization of the door will cause it to lock as soon as it closes, thus reducing the possibility that undesired creatures and dirt will enter your home. Lastly, opting for a motorized garage door gives you the luxury of not having to get out of the car to enter or exit your garage.

Take note that motorization is not available for all types of doors. Therefore, if this characteristic is important to you, be sure to find out if it is available before you pick a door.

 Garage door motor

Photo: Flickr

Maintaining a garage door

In order to preserve your door for the upcoming years, use a special type of soap that is made for automobiles. Start by rinsing the door (with low pressure) in order to remove the dust on the surface. A thin layer of wax should also be applied to the door’s surface once a year in order to help it keep it looking good.

Wheels, hinges, railings and springs will have to be lubricated as needed. Lastly, do not forget to clean the weather-stripping with an all-purpose cleaner. These elements will also need to be lubricated approximately every three months.  At all times, avoid the use of abrasive products on all parts of the door to prevent damaging the finish.

How much does it cost to buy and install a garage door?

On average, buying a garage door will cost between $600 and $1500. However, as several factors can cause the price to fluctuate, it is preferable to seek several quotes to get a better idea of the differences. As an indicator, the price will depend on:

  • the size of the door (single and double door);
  • the presence (or absence) of insulating properties;
  • the quality of the opening mechanism (a high-quality system costs around 150$);
  • the type of material (doors that are made of PVC, fibreglass or galvanized steel are more expensive);
  • adding PVC mouldings (quite expensive, they can cause the price to double);
  • adding windows (extra cost of 25% to 50% depending on the number of windows and the quality of the glass);
  • the thickness of the door;
  • choosing a colour that is not sold by the retailer.

For the installation, the fee will vary between $250 for a single door and $425 for a double door. If you need a motorized door opener, add around $150 to this amount. Extra fees may be applicable if it is necessary to increase the clear space over the door, as goes with removing the current garage door.

Author: Karine Dutemple

Translated by: Léa Plourde-Archer

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