Today’s garage doors are made from a wide variety of materials, each offering its own unique set of advantages. Whether you’re looking for a lightweight yet durable garage door or one that precisely matches your home’s appearance, you can find the right door that suits your needs. Read on for an in-depth look at garage door materials and how they fit your home.
Steel is the go-to material for many garage door buyers and for good reason. Steel garage doors offer excellent value thanks to their highly durable construction and relatively affordable price tag. These doors also offer the widest choice of styles and design options. Steel doors can even mimic a broad range of wood textures.
Steel garage doors are a great choice if you’re on a strict budget, but choosing this material still comes with its downsides. For starters, steel doors are vulnerable to rust, especially when dents or scratches expose the bare metal.
Although these doors are relatively low-maintenance in nature, they still need the occasional cosmetic touch-up to keep rust at bay. Steel doors also lack the dent resistance of similar fiberglass doors.
Keep in mind that less-expensive garage doors are often made from thinner-gauge steel — the higher the gauge number, the thinner the steel. The difference between a 24-gauge steel panel and a 25-gauge panel can be substantial in both cost and durability.
Some manufacturers use thinner 27-gauge panels to save costs, but in a layered construction that helps the door maintain some of its strength in spite of the design compromise.
Aluminum garage doors are another popular option to consider for your home. Aluminum’s main advantages lie with its light weight and imperviousness to rust. If you’re worried about road salt and other corrosion-causing materials damaging your steel garage door, aluminum offers an effective rust-free alternative.
Garage doors built from lightweight aluminum frames and panels also weigh significantly less than their steel counterparts. As a result, you can easily open an aluminum garage door manually in the event of a garage door opener failure. The reduced weight also helps garage door components last longer.
Aluminum garage doors aren’t without their downsides, however. Despite being rust-proof, aluminum panels are still vulnerable to corrosion, which may appear as a whitish residue on exposed or damaged sections. Aluminum doors also lack the dent resistance of more resilient materials such as fiberglass.
Fiberglass garage doors offer the same lightweight benefits as comparable aluminum doors, but with better durability under warm climate conditions. Unlike aluminum, fiberglass door panels are completely impervious to corrosion while offering substantially better dent resistance. Like steel, fiberglass garage doors can also mimic the appearance and texture of real wood doors.
Unfortunately, fiberglass lacks the cold weather durability offered by other garage door materials. Fiberglass door panels are especially vulnerable to breakage below freezing temperatures. Fiberglass panels also offer relatively poor insulating properties, making them poor choices for colder climates. Fiberglass panels also fade unless they’re properly protected with an anti-UV coating or film.
A vinyl garage door is an excellent choice if you want a material that requires little to no maintenance. Like fiberglass garage doors, vinyl doors offer an impressive level of durability. These doors are practically dent-proof, making them ideal if you have kids or live an active lifestyle around your garage.
Like vinyl siding, vinyl garage door panels have their color impregnated throughout the material. This makes vinyl effectively impervious to scratches and scuffs since there’s no bare surface underneath to expose. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to change your garage door’s color.
Cost is another factor to consider when choosing a vinyl garage door. Vinyl doors are typically more expensive than traditional steel garage doors. However, a vinyl door’s relatively low upkeep costs can help offset your purchase and installation costs.
Wood garage doors can’t be beat for their charm and authenticity. These doors offer the best match for certain types of traditional and contemporary homes. Modern homes aren’t left out of the mix either, as there are plenty of wood garage door styles that complement modern home designs. With the proper care and upkeep, wood garage doors also offer an impressive level of durability.
Most wood garage doors are made from genuine wood or a composite of engineered wood fiber and other materials. Composite wood doors are usually lighter and offer better insect resistance than their genuine counterparts. Composite doors offer a less costly alternative for those who want the look and feel of a real wood door, but without the maintenance hassles.
With so many sizes, types, and styles to choose from, it can be tough to finally settle on a garage door that best reflects your home’s personality. You can always turn to the experts at R & S Garage Door Service. for your home’s next garage door. Contact us today to get started.