Garage doors can boost your curb appeal and bring out your personal style. Learn more about the different garage door construction options available.
The most common and durable of the construction options, steel is a versatile choice used in new homes that became popular during the 1970’s and 1980’s. These doors have the ability to last between 15 – 30 years if properly maintained and exceed the durability of both wood and fiberglass when exposed to the elements.
This is incredibly important in climates like Ohio’s where we experience high volumes of moisture in the winter and humidity in the summer, which can be damaging to wood and fiberglass materials.
Steel is the most economical of doors, making up a majority of the market due to its low-maintenance features and its versatility among the different panel styles, colors and window options. While steel can be more prone to denting than other options, the textured surface most manufacturers use help hide these small, superficial damages. However this look isn’t always well received, but the grain created is only visible up close and can rarely be seen from the street.
Another detail that isn’t very popular is the glossy finish of the door. When first manufactured, steel door painted finishes will be very glossy and will stay this way for the first few years after installation. This is beneficial for the longevity of the finish though, because the glossy coat will add protection from chipping, scratches and general wear and tear on the paint.
A comparable alternative to wood, fiberglass offers the look and feel of real wood with less maintenance and more durability. However, contrary to popular belief, fiberglass is not maintenance free and will still require clear coats every 2 – 3 years to protect the finish.
The finish of the door can be compared to a candy coating; if you place a candy in water the color bleeds and fades out, this can happen to the finish on a fiberglass door that has been exposed to direct sunlight and does not have a clear coat applied to protect it. Fiberglass does have durability and will hold up well to the elements, but is still more susceptible than steel.
Fiberglass can be stained which lends to its authentic feel when compared to real wood. The fiberglass itself can also be manipulated and etched to mimic wood grains found in nature. Some manufacturers offer multiple wood grain patterns to complement the style of panel chosen. A downside to fiberglass doors are the limited insulation options available.
The original garage door, wood construction has changed drastically over the years within the garage door industry. Before materials like steel and fiberglass became commonplace, garage doors were composed of solid wood sections. Rather than using hard woods like oak, doors are now mostly made of cedar and plywood panels, with hollow interiors that have little to no insulation.
These doors are very susceptible to water damage from rain, snow, sleet, ice and high humidity. Due to this, wood doors have gone down in popularity for their high prices and maintenance upkeep, favored by low maintenance and cost effective options like steel.
However, there is a higher initial interest in wood as many people who have wood doors would like to keep the wood look.
It’s important to discuss how differently new wood doors are constructed and what maintenance requirements they will entail. Yearly painting or staining is a minimum necessity, and snow removal is imperative in a climate like Ohio’s where it can melt or freeze in the blink of an eye.
There are some communities, such as German Village, that require wood doors – for these situations we often recommend wood overlays that are secured on steel backs that offer more strength and protection against warping and other damages.
Aluminum doors are almost exclusively full-vision style – meaning the majority of the door’s surface is occupied by glass panes. This creates a modern look that compliments both residential and commercial applications.
In the Columbus area, there is a lack of modern and contemporary architecture. This leads to this style of door being used in industrial commercial spaces, such as in the downtown area, more often than residentially. The most popular commercial space of choice is restaurants and bars, however recently there has been an increase of these doors being uses in gyms, apartments and even parking garages.
The aluminum frame will always come standard anodized, however it can be powder-coated almost any color. The glass itself can also come in a variety of styles, from clear to frosted to tinted there are a multitude of options available to fit each application.
While standard glass on garage door is 1/8”, the full vision glass panels range from ¼” to ½” and have the capability to be tempered, offering more durability and strength. The downside to these doors is the aluminum framing is uninsulated, meaning that they are not a very efficient option.