White sectional garage doors with automatic garage door opener and red emergency release cord

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A New Garage Door

When it's time to buy a new garage door, there can be a lot of things to think about. Not a fan of researching all the details? Read through these 10 considerations before purchasing any garage doors.

Choosing the Right Material

There are several options when it comes to deciding what type of door to buy. Each option has pros and cons that homeowners take into account when considering what type to buy. Consider each garage door style and the home’s curb appeal when deciding which material to go with.

Steel garage doors are created using two layers of galvanized steel. The outside part is either primed and painted with a nice topcoat finish or added to with composite material. They can be installed with or without insulation. The major downside of steel garage doors is the threat of corrosion, especially in areas that have a lot of water or humidity.

Another option to consider is wood garage doors. These doors are built in layers to avoid warping. Some common types of wood that are used are cedar, redwood, and fir. These doors can be stained, painted, or finished on-site.

Like wood, wood composite doors make themselves look like real wood for a fraction of the price. They are filled with polystyrene insulation and overlaid with fiberboard. Although they are much cheaper than wooden doors, the function is the same. Better models have high-density fiberboard skins and realistic details.

Aluminum frame garage doors are framed with aluminum and are available in brushed finishes or different colors. They are easy to dent, but rarely rust, making them good for wet climates. They are also moderately priced, making them affordable to own and fix.

Fiberglass garage doors are much less likely to dent or crack. They don’t rust but can break if harmed. By bonding two layers of fiberglass to a steel frame and filling it with polyurethane insulation, the fiberglass garage door is born. Putting on steel endcaps improves the rigidity when the garage door moves. The price is about the same as real wood.

Lastly, vinyl garage doors are another option to consider. They boast being the most “kid-proof” out of them all because they are hard to bend and break. Built on a steel frame and filled with the same insulation as others, they look very similar to fiberglass, but with fewer color options.

What Size is a Standard Garage Door

Although they vary from state to state, the measurements for residential garage doors are about 8 by 7 feet tall or 9 by 7 feet tall for a single car garage. A double garage door typically measures 16 feet by 7 feet tall. With custom builds, the options are limitless. Homes can have two double garage doors or even have a 10-foot tall garage door.

Garage Doors Come in a Variety of Widths

The difference between a single or double garage door is the width. Width is very important when considering how and where to place the garage doors. Having one single or one double garage is the standard, but there are more creative options. A popular option for large homes is to include a single and a double garage. This limits the cold airflow when the garage is open, breaks up the large front space on the home, and is visually appealing. To feature two single doors, around 22 feet is necessary versus the 18 needed for a double door garage. This means that for a smaller home, the double door is smaller to fit the home. 

This begs the question: is bigger better? There are more considerations to take into account when the door is bigger. A larger door is bigger and requires heavier hardware. Another thing to take into account is the change in appearance when the size is customized. It won’t exactly match what’s in the magazines, so consider what it will look like after being treated.

There is a Thickness Standard on Garage Door Panels

The doors insulated with styrofoam insulation come in thickness options of 35 mm, 44.5 mm, and 51 mm (1⅜”, 1¾”, 2”). The garage doors insulated with polyurethane insulation have a thickness between 35 and 51 mm (between 1⅜“ and 2”). The standard thicknesses are 41 and 45 mm (1⅝” and 1¾”).

Check the Minimum Ceiling Clearance Limitation

Headroom is the open space between the top of the garage door opening and the nearest obstruction. As far as the obstruction goes, the ceiling is used as a reference; however, beams, lights, pipes, and ducts are also taken into consideration. The minimum required headspace is 18 inches, leaving more than enough room for a standard track, spring, and opener system.  To measure the amount of headroom, you just need a tape measure. Simply measure from the nearest obstruction to the top frame of the door opening. For taller doors, you may have to use a ladder or laser tape measure.

Multiple Track Styles are Available

There are a few options to choose from regarding track style. The tracks are the part that the garage door rolls up and down on. The most popular is a slightly curved track called a standard radius track. This track type requires 15” or more of headroom.

Another option is a low headroom track. For places with headroom space less than 12”, this is the best option. Also known as the dual-track, it utilizes two tracks to make the garage door functional. One track is just for moving the top section of the door, and the lower part follows.

The hi-lift track is like the standard radius track but is used when the ceiling in a garage is taller than a typical home. This track type utilizes a curve, but with a more vertical and less horizontal track.

Vertical lift tracks are found in commercial or industrial garages. Within this method, only a vertical track is necessary. The door moves up and bumps out from the wall only enough for the opener.

 Last, but not least, is the roof pitch track style. It follows the curve of your roof at the designated angle. The radius curve track section is cut to allow the horizontal track to follow the roof angle and structure.

What Type of Roller Should I Purchase

There are two types of rollers that are used on garage doors. Nylon rollers are much quieter than steel rollers when the garage opens and closes. Nylon rollers are also more resistant to rust damage since it is made of water-resistant material. Both types are very durable and made to withstand the weight of the garage door materials.

What Does it Cost to Buy a New Garage Door

For a standard, single door, the cost would be about $600 to $1,500 installed. For a double car door, it averages $800 to $1,500 installed. The price variation depends on location and the chosen company. If just the door itself is damaged, look into garage door repair to save money. The replacement for the overhead door can end up being cheaper than replacing the entire system.

Installation is a Separate Cost

Labor costs about $300 per door while the actual door is priced at $300 to $1,100. If choosing to go with a professional, they tend to price per project. The national average price for a new single car garage door is $1,118, including labor. Some good advice is to ask if the cost of the door includes the installation. Usually, it will, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Everything Else You Need to Know About Buying a New Garage Door

Buying the garage door openers are a separate purchase from the garage door installation. The same companies sell them, but you likely will have to buy them separately. A misconception some people have is that the carriage-style garage doors swing open. They move up and down on a standard track, opening and closing like a regular garage door. If you live in a location that gets harsh weather, make sure the door you choose can withstand it.

Consider the reasons you are buying the door in the first place and make sure it achieves every goal. One of the main reasons people replace their garage door is due to security. Some companies offer a rolling-code technology. This means the code changes each time someone uses the remote but keeps you updated on the new code. With this feature, it’s almost impossible to seal the garage door opener code.

Another reason is safety. It wasn’t until 1993 that it became necessary to have a safety sensor on the garage door. If you have children or pets, this is a must. The safety sensor triggers if anything is blocking the way, causing the door to either stop or reverse.

Some people also choose to have theirs equipped with a device to hook up to their phone, making it convenient and easy to open. This is an option, but not everyone chooses it. A piece of good advice would be to always research brands before making a large decision, even if it’s hopping on their website. Regardless of the path you choose, getting a new garage door has never been easier.

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