Choosing Your Overhead Garage Door

“Are you looking for a raised panel door? Windows or not? Carriage
style or traditional? With so many design options, you need to do your homework.”

With so many overhead garage door choices, how do you know what to buy? Learn the four elements of garage door design and your decision gets easier.

In years past, the garage door simply filled a large hole at the front of the garage. Today, the garage door often serves as a powerful design element, leading to improved curb appeal and increased property value. Because your decision involves form (how it looks) AND function (how it works), thoughtful consideration should be given to this very important purchase.

The Four Primary Elements of Choice

garage doorsThere are many factors to consider when choosing your new garage door or considering garage door replacement, although there are four primary elements to consider:

  • Design
  • Durability/Reliability
  • Insulation/Noise Reduction and
  • Budget

Design – How do you want it to look?

Today’s steel garage door can be manufactured to emulate the look feel of wood, while maintaining the strength and durability of steel. Wooden garage doors can be custom designed to perfectly match your home’s architectural features. A fiberglass garage door offers its own set of advantages and disadvantes, including lightweight construction and resistance to corrosion on the “pro” side, with potential yellowing, low insulating value and othe factors on the “con” side. Fiberglass can also be painted to match your home’s design. Finally, an aluminum garage door has its own advantages and disadvantages, although this material is not as popular as steel and wood.

Are you looking for a raised panel door? Windows or not? Carriage style or traditional? With so many design options, you need to do your homework. The garage is the largest opening in your home. Think of the time and consideration given to choosing your home’s front door and windows. Your overhead garage door deserves similar consideration.

Do you want to see what your home will look like with a new garage door, a new front door or different landscaping? Visit Exterior Home Improvement Ideas and ask Evan to take a look at your project. Evan has been an architectural illustrator since the early 1990s and can use watercolor renderings and photoshop images to help you see what is possible with your home. He’s very good at what he does.


How will you use it and how much time do you want to spend maintaining it? Is your garage used to house your cars and your stuff? Do you use your garage as a workshop or laundry area? Do you ever have social gatherings in the garage … or would you if you could? Do you or would you every use your garage for recreational activities? These are all things to consider when choosing your overhead garage door.

A steel garage door is practically indestructible, is virtually maintenance free, and offers a nearly endless supply of design options. Although wooden garage doorsoffer almost limitless design options, they do require a bit more maintenance than their steel or fiberglass counterparts. After all, wooden garage doors are built much like custom cabinetry and must be maintained on a regular basis. Fiberglass garage doors are much like their steel counterpart when it comes to maintenance. Aluminum garage doors are lightweight and offer many of the same advantages as steel with one exception. They are much easier to dent. On the other hand, aluminum is easy to recycle.

Arched Garage Doors
Standard Garage Doors Can Be Used With
Arched Garage Door Openings

Insulation/Noise Reduction

Are noise and climate control important considerations for you? Is your garage attached to the home? Is there living space above the garage? You must answer these questions before making your final overhead garage door purchase decision.Insulated garage doors are not just for those who live in colder climates. If you live in a hotter climate, insulated garage doors also keep the heat out. Unless you live in the middle of a corn field with neighbors living miles rather than feet away, you probably want to consider the noise reduction benefits of an insulated garage door.

For existing garage doors, you should strongly consider installing simple garage door seals. The most common are the bottom seal, threshold seals and weather stripping. This very tiny investment can yield big returns.

Budget – What will a new Overhead Garage Door cost?

Garage door prices are wide ranging and entirely dependent on your wants and needs. What material do you prefer? Do you want or need windows? What about insulation? Design? These are all factors that affect garage door prices.

If you are on a budget, you can pay less than $600 for a new garage door. If money is no object, there are wooden garage doors that cost $10,000 or more.

Are you looking at this purchase as an investment in the value of your home or are you on a limited budget? Do you want your overhead garage door to complement your home’s design? Are you simply looking for the least expensive option that will be reliable and will hold up to regular use? You need to do your homework before making a purchase decision.

Who makes the best garage door?

With so many garage door manufacturers, it is difficult to know. That’s why doing your homework is so important (have I mentioned that before?). The best garage door really depends on your own particular needs. While one company might specialize in wooden garage doors, another might be more focused on steel. Most of the major garage door manufacturers offer a wide range of options. Often times it will come down to your local dealer, what they sell, and how comfortable you are working with them. Always get and check references.


To learn more in-depth information about the four primary elements of garage door selection, visit the appropriate links on this page. Remember: When you buy a new garage door you are likely going to live with it for many years. You will see it and use it almost every day.

Therefore, it’s better to spend a little more time up front to research and consider what suits your home’s design and your personal needs. In terms of cost, just a few dollars more may buy the perfect door rather than something that is just OK. Save your money for a little longer if necessary. In the long run, you will be much happier.

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