Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ever Evolving Door Styles

Some things do come back in style if you wait long enough.

Think hip-hugger pants, shag carpeting and, yes, even wood garage doors. The wood garage doors of the 1970s are back in a big way. It’s one of many design trends that have come and gone.

The first revolution in garage door materials happened in the 1980s, when raised panel steel doors replaced wood ones. They continue to dominate the market today, mainly because they’re economical and low-maintenance. But for certain homes — especially custom homes or those with an Old World look — a big expanse of cold steel just won’t do. Frequently the garage door is a major part of the front of a home and people are finding that they can do something more interesting.

For this reason, wood has become the most popular option. But these aren’t the humble wood doors of two decades ago. First United Door Technologies offers wood doors in a carriage-house style that has an old-fashioned craftsman look. Made of the finest wood, they offer a much richer appearance and you can expect to pay four times or more what you would for steel doors.

Just as wood is beginning to catch on, the next wave of garage doors is already approaching. If you have a steel garage door, there are ways to ramp up its curb appeal. You can select different patterns or textures and install windows; and there’s always the do-it-yourselfer’s best tool: paint. But if you want your garage door to be a focal point rather than something to disguise, wood may just be worth its price tag.

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Don’t Overlook The Garage When Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

There’s a lot of talk about curb appeal being the driving force drawing buyers into your home. It makes sense. If the house looks a mess from the outside, what buyer would want to set foot inside?

Well, maybe your house isn’t quite a mess. You have taken the time to fix-up the landscape, power-washed the house, and even painted the mailbox. But did you overlook what can be the biggest eyesore — the garage? It’s the largest architectural element on the house. So it really, in this day and age, is impossible to dismiss the garage door as an important architectural element.

But the garage door is more than an architectural element. It can be a trigger point for buyers. They’re driving down the street in a tract-home neighborhood and suddenly they spot a custom wooden garage door. It’s striking and different and often gives them reason to stop and take a closer look, maybe even come inside.

If you have a house that has a nice garage door, it sets the stage for the fact that everything else in the house is going to have attention to detail and it really does differentiate homes that are on the same street. With some exterior paint and a unique garage door, the house really becomes a semi-custom house. Swapping out an old steel-style, raised-panel garage door that once was so very traditional is a huge improvement to a home.

It is interesting that you would go past these $5 or $6 million houses where the architects and designers pay such critical attention to detail to the stucco color, the stonework, and the rooftop. Then for the biggest element, they would just put this wide raised-panel steel door because the consumer wasn’t educated on how important the garage door can be in really just buttoning up and completing the design of a house.

However, these days, custom wooden doors aren’t just for multi-million dollar homes. People in tract homes are making the switch either for their own benefit, a faster sale, or a potential gain in the value of the property. There is definitely an increase in the property value commensurate with the investment that you make in the garage door. And then there is the perceived value. For every $5,000 of door that you put in, you get four times that dollar in perceived value.

What makes wooden garage doors so special is not only the escape from conformity but also the fact that they function like traditional automated steel doors. They work exactly like a standard upward-acting sectional garage door. They segment on a track and they use a conventional residential garage door opener. Only from the front elevation do we try to design the doors to look like they’re the old fashion carriage garage doors that swing open.

The added decorative hardware, including handles and hinges, helps create the effect of an old-fashioned-garage door.

But not every garage door works with every style of home. You should really take a close look at your architectural style before you decide on the right garage door. Homeowners should match their home architecture to a garage door that is architecturally congruent. That way you’re making the whole house just look that much more custom and fitted.

Then next vital thing to look for in custom doors is to choose the appropriate material. It’s very, very critical that the lumber you select is designed and can last and can be durable for an exterior application. Typically that lumber would be mahogany, cedar, or redwood. Teak also works well outside but is very expensive.

You should also note that with wooden garage doors there may be a little more maintenance depending on how much sun exposure the door gets. It’s recommended that you use a resin-based product to finish the garage door rather than a varnish. A varnish is a really difficult product to maintain because when it fails, you have to strip the wood back down to the bare wood and you have to re-start the process from scratch and that becomes cost-prohibitive for these doors. Resin-based products are easier to clean. New product can also be applied directly over the old.

Whether or not you decide to replace your garage door, it’s important to make sure it at least is working properly.

Besides the garage door looking good, it’s really an appliance on the house that has to operate efficiently, reliably, and without [failure] every single day. The key concept to remember is that a garage door shouldn’t just house your car and all your stuff that won’t fit in your home. Instead it should help to entice buyers to want to see more of the house.

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Garages likely left open to ventilate, keep openers functioning

As it gets warmer, we tend to see people leaving their garage doors open about 12 inches. Does this really keep the house cooler? It seems like it would just let in more heat

There could be a couple of different reasons some people leave their garage doors slightly ajar.

Letting in some air to drain off some of the heat in the garage wouldn’t necessarily make the house itself hotter, but it could keep the garage cooler, especially if there were a breeze blowing from the right direction. And it’s possible some people might have some heat-sensitive junk stored in the garage or maybe something that doesn’t smell so great.

But probably the main reason: garage-door openers.

Hot air rises, right? It’s probably hot enough in your garage as it is, assuming it’s not air-conditioned. But up near the ceiling it’s a lot hotter. Many garage-door openers come equipped with a heat sensor that sort of pulls the plug on the opener when the mechanism gets too hot. That’s to prevent fires. So leaving your door up a few inches helps keep the garage a bit ventilated. Of course, you don’t want to leave it up high enough for a burglar to wiggle under it.

If you don’t like the idea of leaving the door up a few inches and you’re having an over-heating problem with your opener, you could install a couple of roof vents to funnel off that hot air.

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