Once a separate, small building at the side or back of a lot, a garage today has become an important component in a home’s appearance as well as its usability. Garages make up well over a third of the average home’s square footage today, and many are built to hold up to three cars easily. It’s a interesting fact that nearly three-quarters of families who have garages use them as the point of entry into their homes rather than a front or back door. For these and many other reasons, the material used in a garage door is very important.

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A Wide Variety Of Garage Door Types

Choosing the right garage door may seem daunting when you consider the many different types of materials available. Steel, aluminum, wood, fiberglass and vinyl garage doors each have their own benefits and drawbacks. So how can you determine which material is best for your needs? Looking at a garage door’s durability, maintenance requirements and cost may help you come to the best decision.

Steel garage doors

A steel garage door is designed to stand up well to years of use without requiring extensive maintenance. While untreated steel does rust and dent, steel with a lower rather than a higher gauge number holds up best because the material is thicker. Many companies also offer fiberglass overlays that won’t rust or dent under bad weather conditions or hard use. A number of the components in steel doors carry a lifetime warranty. Steel garage doors can be a moderately-priced option for the homeowner who wants garage doors that look good.

Aluminum garage doors

Once a very popular choice due to its lower price, an aluminum garage door today is more likely to be constructed of more expensive frames and panels that don’t show the signs of wear that the lower-priced garage doors exhibited. If you’re looking for a sturdy garage door that doesn’t cost many thousands of dollars, a polyethylene door made with a higher-density version of the material works just as well as one made of aluminum. Aluminum is frequently the material of choice for wider double garage doors because the lightweight material doesn’t strain the operating mechanism.

Wood garage doors

A wood garage door takes homeowners back to the days of carriage houses and adds an air of sophistication to a home. If you’re interested in choosing a wooden garage door for your home, you need to be prepared to pay a higher price for it, whether your choice of wood is cedar, redwood, fir or even mahogany. The door will need to be painted or refinished frequently, and the warranty covering its components usually is good for just a year or two. However, wood withstands dents well and the door can be easily made to order to fit garages that aren’t standard sizes.

Other kinds of materials

Two other types of garage door materials, fiberglass and vinyl, are low-cost alternatives to the more common garage door materials. Both fiberglass and vinyl stand up well to the dents a family can create from playing basketball in the driveway or riding a bike into the garage door, for example. These types of materials, in addition to being very durable, require almost no maintenance rather than a periodic cleaning with a hose. Fiberglass and vinyl garage doors come in a wide range of colors, although vinyl color selections are more limited.

Finding the right garage door material for your home might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The type and size of garage, the way your family will use the door, its appearance and cost can help you choose the material that will best enhance your home.

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