“From a maintenance perspective, buying a steel door for your garage makes good sense.
Warping, cracking, and de-lamination are all but eliminated with this option.”
Today’s steel garage door offers the benefits of design, economy, energy efficiency and low maintenance. Clopay’s Gallery Collection (pictured below) offers beautiful raised panel door options.
With all the benefits of steel, why would you buy anything else? Especially with recent advancements in manufacturing and the fact that steel doors no longer have to “look” like steel. There are reasons, but I’m getting to that!
Current manufacturing technology offers an almost endless number of style, color and window options. From traditional to contemporary, smooth to woodgrain, raised panel to carriage house style, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination (that’s bordering on melodramatic!). Seriously, there really isn’t much that can’t be done.
Typically, a steel door tends to be the most economical option. I say “typically,” because there are so many combinations available when choosing your door, from size to material to windows, insulation and decorative treatment.
With steel doors still being the most popular choice for today’s homeowner, prices tend to be lower based on the volume of doors produced. Learn more about garage door prices.
If energy efficiency and noise control are not important to you, buy a single layer garage door. For everyone else, buy an insulated garage door. Here are basics on both options:
Single Layer: This basic, uninsulated door generally consists of a stamped or “embossed” single layer of galvanized steel, usually emulating the look of real woodgrain. This is typically the least expensive garage door option, but often uses heavier 24 or 25 gauge steel for better strength. Most garage doors are constructed of 24 to 28 gauge steel, with the lower number being thicker. Single layer doors require heavier steel to account for the lack of a second or third layer of construction material. Only the cheapest single layer steel garage doors would be constructed of light gauge steel.
Double Layer: Most double layer garage doors consist of a galvanized steel outer skin with polystyrene or polyurethane insulation adhered to the inside. Although this is called a “double layer” design, it actually has a third layer of vinyl or plastic on the inside for aesthetics and ease of cleaning. This insulated garage door offers not only better climate control in the garage itself, but also contributes to better energy efficiency for homes with attached garages. Another benefit is noise reduction, both in the garage and inside the home if your garage is attached.
Triple Layer: This type of construction sandwiches insulation between two layers of steel. The outer layer can be designed to complement your home’s character, and the inside is typically smooth. With potentially higher R-Value (depending on the thickness of insulation), and the highest soundproofing qualities, this is the strongest steel garage door option, and the ultimate insulated garage door.
From a maintenance perspective, buying a steel garage door makes good sense. Warping, cracking, and de-lamination are all but eliminated with this option. Hot dipped, galvanized steel construction ensures a long, nearly maintenance free life, especially if you can live with the standard colors offered by your particular door manufacturer.
Many steel garage doors come with baked-on rather than sprayed on primer, and a polyester topcoat; if you want low maintenance, don’t settle for anything less. If you have a lot of extra time (like we all do!), simply ignore this suggestion.
Further low maintenance evidence comes in the form of the warranty. Although most new garage doors come with some kind of a warranty, most steel doors come with very good warrantees, from 10 years to a limited lifetime warranty.
If you buy a steel garage door, insist on “pinch free” door joints, especially if you have younger children at home. Simply stated, a “pinch free” joint is designed to push fingers out of the gap between door panels as the door closes. If you have ever had your finger slammed in a door, or worse, you have slammed someone else’s finger in a door, you won’t think twice about this “option.”
On the up side, a steel garage door offers nearly endless design options to fit almost any budget, unsurpassed energy efficiency with optional insulation, and extremely low maintenance. On the down side (I told you they weren’t perfect), steel doors are susceptible to denting, which can be expensive to repair.
Less than six months after a good friend of mine moved from the Pacific Northwest to Minnesota, he (and his house) experienced a hailstorm that dented his steel door to the point of needing replacement. That said, a steel garage is still hard to beat.