A Layman’s Guide for Choosing a New Garage Door

Last updated on February 29, 2024

Picking out a garage door isn’t that straightforward. Curb appeal isn’t the only thing you should consider. What else is there to it? Read on!

Household repairs and replacing home parts can be a very tricky business sometimes –  especially if you don’t have much previous experience doing so and don’t really know where to start. After all, it’s not too often that you find yourself needing to replace a door or an entire floor. These moments are going to come around, though, and it’s best that you prepare yourself before they take you by surprise.

One such instance is replacing your garage door with a new one. You probably shouldn’t try to handle it by yourself, though. Calling a professional to replace your garage door is much cheaper than calling them to repair it, so it might be wiser to leave this job to someone else, especially if you don’t have any previous experience.

There are plenty of options out there to choose from, and picking out the best garage door for your home may cause you quite a headache. You will need to check what types of garage doors will fit into your frame and your home’s capacity for handling this kind of equipment, to make sure that you place your order correctly. Finally, you’ll need to analyze various door styles to pick the one you (and your family) like the most.

If you feel overwhelmed by this decision, don’t worry. We’ve prepared this garage door buying guide to help you make an informed choice.

What's Inside

Consider the Curb Appeal

garage door

Before getting down to the details regarding your new garage door’s usability and specificities, you might want to consider its look first. The garage door is intrinsically tied to how your home looks to passersby. Many homeowners don’t fully realize the impact that it has on their home’s exterior. After all, it’s the largest thing you see when looking at it from the front.

There are many possible styles you can choose from, but it’s absolutely crucial to pair your house’s style with the garage door design. For example, a full-view door won’t suit a Victorian-style home too much. It will just look out of place. On the other hand, implementing a carriage-house garage door on a home designed in the spirit of modern architecture won’t make too much sense in terms of aesthetic value, either.

Carriage-house doors are perfect for old-timey houses, but you need to make sure of the proper insulation. Usually, these types of garage doors are made out of wood, and as such, require a lot of maintenance work to prevent the cold from getting into your garage. Some of the more modern, steel doors won’t have that issue, but they tend to be heavy and difficult to open by hand — if you don’t plan on installing a remote-controlled opener, you might want to reconsider getting a steel garage door.

The traditional, good old raised-panels garage doors might be what you’re looking for if you’re not willing to commit to one architectural style. Whether the design of your home’s exterior is modern or vintage, this style of garage door will look good with both. You might not, however, get the “wow-effect” that comes with installing a carriage-house door at an old-school farmhouse or slapping a full-view, contemporary sliding garage door onto a contemporary home.


insulated garage door

Curb appeal isn’t everything. When weighing out the best options for your new garage door, you shouldn’t forget about proper insulation. A lot of homeowners use the garage doors as their primary means of entering and leaving the house. The constant door opening and closing lead to heat escaping your home, so it is important to make sure that you’ve got a properly insulated garage door so that no cold gets in when it remains closed.

Wood doors have a reputation for being poorly insulated, and even though there is some truth to that, it all depends on the manufacturer in the end. Remember that more often than not, a wooden, insulated door will cost you quite a sum. If you’re adamant about retaining the look of wood, you might want to opt for some doors that imitate it artificially.

To make your life easier, garage door manufacturers have agreed upon a common indicator of a door’s insulation capability — the R-value. The higher it is, the better your door will perform.


garage door with windows

Putting looks and warmth aside, there is one thing that you should never ignore when picking out a new door for your garage — the practicality of a particular door design. The most popular type is a raised panel garage door that slides up above your head. Overhead sectional garage doors that move up and down fixed tracks don’t require you to clear out of a way of a swinging door and allows for easy installation of automated openers.

Even if you want to install a rustic-looking, barn-style garage door on your property, you can try to do so in a way that incorporates the overhead sliding. Surely, you’ll only have the carriage-house door effect when your garage door is closed, but it will be much easier for you to open and close the door.

The Bottom Line

Picking out the right garage door for your home can be quite difficult. After all, it isn’t only a matter of aesthetics, but also practicality and your home design’s intricacies. Even then, you’ll face problems like the question of whether to include windows in the door or not or what materials would be best for it. Regardless of what your final decision ends up being, it would be best if you always prioritized the question of how the garage door will fit into your home over the individual qualities of the door itself.

Finally, remember that installing a quality, insulated garage door is not the end of your journey. Once you get that out of the way, you’ll still have to consider getting a garage door opener and making sure you take care of the maintenance of each part, such as the torsion springs and railing.

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