Tips For Purchasing Your First Garage Door

Because most garage doors will last nearly 30 years before they need replacing, homeowners have some significant decisions to make when the opportunity to select a new one arises.

Most of our customers are first-time garage door buyers who are surprised to learn that the garage door you pick IS a big deal. Garage doors account for approximately 30 percent of a home’s facade. That’s almost a third of the entire exterior — making your garage door one of the most prominent features on your home.

A new garage door is a simple way to boost your home’s curb appeal — and value. And, if you’ve been in your house for a long time, it’s a great way to refresh the look of your home and remind you just why you fell in love with it in the first place.

But don’t misunderstand: A new garage door is about more than looks. A new garage door can also play a significant role in a home’s overall energy efficiency.

If you’re purchasing your first garage door, you’re about to invest in a home upgrade that will last for decades. That means it’s crucial to take the time to look at what’s on the market and figure out which door will be best for your family, your lifestyle and your budget. Check out our time-tested tips for buying a new garage door.

Choosing a Door Based on Door Material

When you’re deciding what kind of garage door you are going to purchase, your first consideration should be to select a door made with the best garage door material. So what garage door material options are on the market today?

There are several different options on the market today, and each has distinct pros and cons. However, many of our customers make the mistake of believing some garage door materials are better than others. While certain door manufacturers do use higher-quality materials, you ultimately need to consider what looks best with the architecture of your home, the budget you have to work with and your willingness to maintain that door over time.

So what are your options?

1. Wood

Pros: Wood garage doors are beautiful, strong and available in a wide variety of designs and hues. Depending on your budget, you can even custom design a garage door for your home. Besides being a beautiful statement piece, a one-of-a-kind garage door will earn you bragging rights among your neighbors.

Cons: Because wood doors are typically handmade — and also weighty — they cost more to purchase and install. Wood doors are also susceptible to bowing or warping, especially in areas with a lot of precipitation or humidity. While it’s not impossible to maintain a wood door in these conditions, wood doors in these climates will require a more diligent maintenance schedule. In addition to the higher upfront costs, even the best of wood doors need refinishing every few years to retain their beauty.

2. Steel

Pros: With a wide range of style and pricing options, steel doors combine strength, durability and beauty. Today’s steel doors offer a foam core with a steel exterior that manufacturers can top off with cladding and overlay materials designed to mimic the look of natural wood. Many of our clients love these doors because they offer the beauty of a natural wood door without the ongoing maintenance requirements.

Cons: There is a wide range of steel doors on the market today — some excellent options, as well as some cheaper, lower-quality choices. It’s essential to make sure you don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of your budget, so work with a professional garage door installation companyto help you choose a door that can keep up with your family’s lifestyle.

3. Aluminum

Pros: Aluminum doors have a reputation for their sleek, modern look. Many also come with floor-to-ceiling glass panels, which let a lot of natural light into the garage — an intending to feature if your garage doubles as a workshop. These doors also resist rust and corrosion, so they hold up well in moist climates and require very little maintenance over the years.

Cons: Aluminum doors dent easily, which means they may not survive long in areas prone to hail or places where frequent high winds may slam debris into the door. Aluminum doors may also be a poor choice if you have children who frequently play or ride bikes in the driveway, since these activities could dent the door as well. If you’re interested in an aluminum door, but have questions about its ability to stand up to your family’s active lifestyle, talk with our sales representatives about your options.

Choosing a Door Based on Weather Concerns

There are many considerations when you’re choosing a new garage door, but one of the most crucial is the climate where you live. If your home is in an area prone to a lot of rain or snow, wood doors can be more challenging to maintain because they become warped or bowed when they get exposed to a lot of moisture.

If you live in a coastal region, wood doors can also be a higher-maintenance choice because the salt in the air can corrode the material.

As we mentioned above, wood doors aren’t the only ones that face challenges in areas prone to severe weather. Aluminum doors, which have a reputation for denting easily, are susceptible to hail and flying debris. If you live in an area known for damaging winds or hail, exercise caution if you opt for an aluminum door.

We often get questions about insulated garage doors and how they can benefit homeowners. While our area of California isn’t prone to snow and ice, we do have our fair share of heat. Keeping the hot air from creeping into your home can be the difference between an average energy bill and a costly one. If you have a garage attached to your home, an insulated garage door can act as a barrier, keeping the air-conditioned air inside and making sure the heat stays away from your home.

However, keep in mind an insulated garage door is not the only way to improve a home’s energy efficiency. Because a garage door opens and closes frequently, it lets in a lot of unwanted air that can creep through poorly insulated walls and undetected cracks and crevices. If you’re committed to improving the energy efficiency of your garage and home overall, you’ll want to make sure your garage and home are well-insulated. Pay particular attention to the shared wall between your home and the garage — this wall is the most critical factor in blocking heat that comes in through the garage door.

Many homeowners don’t realize some of their door’s energy efficiency also depends on regularly maintaining — and replacing, if needed — the weatherstripping around their garage door. These rubber pieces seal off gaps between the garage door and the frame, potential places where unwanted air can sneak through.

So why do we mention the value of improving your garage’s overall energy efficiency? We strongly believe insulated garage doors can be a valuable asset to improving your home’s energy efficiency. But for these doors to operate at their maximum efficiency, you must take other steps as well. If you are in the market for an insulated garage door, it’s also time to take a look around your garage — and your home as a whole — to make sure there aren’t other significant sources of air leaks that will negate the impact of an insulated door.

Choosing a Door Based on Curb Appeal

One of the most significant factors in selecting a new garage door is how it looks. In most cases, passersby will be able to see your garage door from the street, and its appearance has a direct impact on how the rest of the house looks. When you’re selecting a new garage door, it’s crucial to account for how your home will look with the new door installed. For some of our clients, it can be easy to picture the new door. For others, it’s a little bit harder to visualize.

If you’re a person who can’t picture the new door, or you aren’t sure how to pick out a nice one, you’ll want to follow these tips for preserving — or improving — your home’s curb appeal.

1. Stick to Your Home’s Architecture

When you’re selecting a beautiful new garage door, it’s important to pick one that’s in keeping with the design of your home. For example, if you live in a 1940s Cape Cod, you likely won’t want to add a modern aluminum door with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

2. Coordinate With Existing Hues

As you’re selecting what color or stain you want for your new garage door, pay careful attention to the colors that already exist on your home’s siding and exterior doors. As a general rule of thumb, your garage door should either match the color of your home or be a lighter hue, such as white. It does not need to match your other exterior doors, especially if your doors are a darker shade.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

Manufacturers such as Clopay offer a Garage Door Imagination System to help you visualize how that door you’re eyeing will look on your home. Upload a photo of your home into their system, and then you can see how the doors you like would look on your home.

4. Know Your Limits

Before you select that custom-designed wood door, make sure you mentally prepare for the work it will take to keep it looking beautiful. If you aren’t able or willing to keep up with the maintenance it will need, your beautiful door will eventually turn into a neighborhood eyesore. If you aren’t going to be able to handle a more rigid maintenance routine, it’s better to opt for a door that doesn’t require much work to keep it looking good.

5. Keep Your Goals in Mind

On average, a new garage door will yield an 85 percent return on investment. When you sell your house, you are likely to recoup upwards of 85 percent of what you put into your door. Even with those figures in mind, if you’re replacing your garage door intending to sell your home, it may not be worth the time or expense to select a custom wood door. Because wood doors are also often handmade, they do take longer to order, so if you’re purchasing a new door because you are planning to put your house on the market soon, you may want to opt for an in-stock option that has a quicker installation time. An equally beautiful, but less expensive, option can still appeal to a wide range of buyers.

6. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Yes, a new garage door is going to do wonders for the exterior of your home, but curb appeal is about the total package. Once you’ve had your new door installed, spend some time mowing grass, trimming bushes and cleaning up your home’s landscape. Besides improving your home’s curb appeal, a tidy yard will show off the addition of a beautiful new garage door.

Call Door Pros Today

When buying a garage door for the first time, there are a lot of factors to consider — climate, curb appeal and cost among them. While some first-time buyers can quickly become overwhelmed with all of the garage door material options, it’s essential to calmly consider your options. There isn’t one type of door that stands out above the rest. The door you choose depends on your needs and preferences.

While we didn’t mention it much in this garage door buying guide, there are many similar considerations to make if you’re purchasing a commercial garage door. Finding a sturdy door that complements the aesthetic of your business, as well as meets your daily needs, is critical and requires careful thought.

If you need assistance choosing a residential or commercial garage door, it’s time to call Door Pros. Serving the communities of San Mateo, Sacramento, San Francisco, East Bay and Marin County, our experienced staff is ready to help you select and install a new garage door for your home or office. We exclusively sell Clopay garage doors because we firmly believe they offer a wide range of the best garage door products on the market today. Besides providing an extensive inventory of door designs, colors and materials, Clopay thoroughly tests all its doors, and they will stand up to weather, heat and nature — or your basketball-loving teenager — can throw at them.

Our sales representatives are highly knowledgeable and experienced in helping you narrow down your options, and our installation technicians are second to none in their skill and experience. To request a free estimate, contact us online or call 415-717-7015.

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