Modern-day garage doors are not limited to the wood of centuries past or steel of decades past. You can also get garage doors made of other materials like aluminum and wood composites. But which of these many materials is most cost-effective and durable? Which looks best? We’ll examine the pros and cons of each material.
Steel is by far the most often picked material for garage doors. They aren’t terribly expensive, they’re quite durable and require very little maintenance, and they can come in pretty much any style you might demand. Steel’s appearance is flexible, as it can be painted or formed into panels, and can be treated with a gel stain that makes it look similar to wood.
When you’re actually doing your shopping there is a few things to keep in mind about steel: it’s a pretty ineffective insulator, and probably requires an outside source of insulation to keep your garage habitable and save you energy. Also, steel panels tend to vary in their thickness, usually varying with the price, and if you want a steel door that will withstand basketball games, you’ll have to pay for it. Aluminum doors are similar to steel in many ways, especially in that they have faux wood texture options, and various finishes and paints to change their appearance. They are on the whole much less heavy than steel, and usually cheaper, but they’re even more likely to dent. Again- if you’re not hosting basketball games in front of your garage door, or have kids that like to play handball, you’ll probably be fine going for the cheaper, thin aluminum garage doors.
Wood garage doors are the original. They’re traditional, very classy-looking, and highly variable in style, model, colors, and finish. They can include windows, and can be raised panel or flat. No matter how good the wood-grain mimicry is, nothing can beat the warmth and character of real wood on the curb appeal of your home.
Wood is a slightly better insulator than steel or aluminum, but requires more maintenance. They can warp or rot under weather pressure, and are flammable. You have to be more careful with wood doors. They also tend to be more expensive than steel or aluminum, but of course that depends on the style you want to get.
Wood composite garage doors, on the other hand, are made from recycled wood, so they’re better for the environment, and also still hold that traditional-looking appeal. They can come in almost as many styles as the classic wood doors, and are almost as strong as steel, but less likely to dent. They can also easily be painted or stained, and so are very flexible in that way. Plus, they don’t rot, split, or warp.
All the types have their pluses and minuses, and depending on the weather where you live, how much you’re willing to spend, what activities you do near your garage door, and how you want your house to look, any of the five options may be your best. Consult with a garage door installation specialist to decide.