A Complete Guide to Custom Garage Doors
Custom garage doors are the best choice to replace your old and dingy-looking garage door. They not only boost the visual appeal of your home but also enhance its resale value. Custom garage doors come in a wide range of choices that can match any house color, exterior style, and insulation needs. There’s nothing as discouraging as having a poorly insulated garage door that rattles anytime you drive your car inside or outside it. In addition to insulation concerns, custom garage doors come with solid wood cores or foam cores as opposed to metal panels found on standard residential roll-up doors. This article will walk you through everything from materials used in custom garage door construction, available colors and styles for customized garage doors, and tips & tricks so you can make an educated decision when you hire a contractor to install your custom garage door.
Standard residential roll-up doors are made of thin sheets of metal, mostly steel. While it’s sturdy, metal is not the most ideal material for insulation purposes. In fact, poorly insulated garages have been known to decrease a home’s energy efficiency by 10% or even more because an average 3,000-square-foot detached house has three garage doors on average. Custom garage doors come in different materials to suit your particular needs and budget requirements.
The following are some common types of materials used in constructing a custom garage door:
Steel is a popular choice for custom garage doors because it’s affordable and easy to maintain. Several different types of steel are used to create custom garage doors, from regular steel to low carbon steel, all the way up to high strength steel that is 25-30% stronger than regular 1020 or 1018 alloy.
Most manufacturers offer a range of finishes for their custom steel garage doors, including:
- Painted Steel – Most affordable and easily available; comes in standard colors like white and tan; paint tends to fade over time and can be hazardous if it chips and exposes bare metal, which may rust if exposed to rain and snow; has a matte appearance.
- Brite (Mill) Finished Steel – Has an attractive shiny finish that makes the door look polished; fading is not much of an issue with this type of steel; however, its glossy surface can show fingerprints and smudges; available in a wide range of colors.
- Stainless Steel – Has a modern look that is popular with homeowners looking for trendy garage doors; does not rust or corrode even when exposed to harsh weather conditions; however, it is more expensive than other types of steel.
Wood is a popular choice for custom garage doors because of its natural beauty and ability to be customized in a variety of ways. There are three types of wood used in custom garage door construction:
- Softwood – Comes from conifers like pine, cedar, and fir trees; relatively inexpensive but not as strong as hardwoods; available in a wide range of finishes including paint, stain, and varnish.
- Hardwood – Comes from deciduous and broadleaf trees and shrubs like oak, maple, ash, and birch; most expensive of the three types of wood used in custom garage door construction; is very strong with a thicker top panel than softwoods; available in paint or varnish only.
- Engineered Wood Core – This type of core is made by bonding together thin layers of hardwood with resin to form extremely sturdy panels that are not as heavy as solid hardwood panels found on standard garage doors. It also resists dents better than steel because it absorbs shock instead of transmitting it to other parts of the door. The downside to this material, however, is that its unfinished look may need painting or staining to match the rest of your home.
Aluminum is a popular choice for custom garage doors because it is lightweight, durable, and available in a wide range of colors. It is also less expensive than stainless steel. However, aluminum is not as strong as steel and is not a good insulator, so it is not recommended for cold climates.
There are three main styles of custom garage doors:
Consists of a series of small panels that overlap one another as the door opens and closes; each panel is attached to two vertical tracks that run the length of the door.
Consists of a single large panel that rolls up into a coil above the opening when the door is opened.
Looks like a standard raised panel wood door but has horizontal sections that roll back to reveal a section of glass in the center; it often has decorative hardware like hinges and handles.
Before you can order a custom garage door, you will need to take some measurements. You will need the height, width, and thickness of the door opening as well as the length and height of the ceiling if you want the door to be raised above it.
There are a variety of options that can be added to custom garage doors, including:
Allows light into the garage and can add an attractive decorative element; it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Keeps the garage warm in winter and cool in summer; reduces noise from outside.
Allows hot air to escape from the garage in summer, prevents moisture build-up, and helps keep the garage door opener from overheating.
Prevents cold air and moisture from entering the garage; it helps keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Adds an attractive decorative element to the door, especially when paired with upgraded panels or insulation.
If you are looking for a way to repair your own garage doors, here are some simple things you can do yourself:
You can buy weather stripping kits at any hardware store for around ten dollars. They come with metal pieces that fit inside and outside of the door tracks and foam or rubber strips that attach to them. When replacing worn-out weather stripping, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cutting and installing it.
Lubricate the tracks
Use a silicone-based lubricant to keep the tracks of your garage door moving smoothly; this will also help to prevent them from rusting.
Replace a broken spring
If your garage door is not opening or closing properly, it may be because one of the springs has broken. Garage door springs can be replaced by a professional, but if you are handy with tools, you can do it yourself (just be very careful not to get injured).