The range of garage door styles, colors and accessories is continuing to grow in some bold new directions. Still, because of their proven performance advantages, the different materials offered tend to fall into 5 main categories. Knowing which materials are best for your garage may help you choose a door solution that will last longer and ultimately save you money. Here is a quick summary of the primary questions to ask before making your choice.
For many of our customers, the shopping process usually starts with a consideration of door aesthetics. And that’s certainly fine. We do want you to love your door selection, how it will dress up your home and give it interesting new curb appeal. But there are many additional factors to consider that relate directly to durability and practicality.
Your local Raynor Dealer can be a big help in walking you through material choices that make sense for your home’s style and for best performance in your climate.
1. STEEL GARAGE DOORS
Whether you are choosing garage doors for a new home or you are replacing older units, you’ll find that steel leads the way in overall selection. Its popularity is largely due to its design flexibility along with proven performance in all climates.
As a leading manufacturer of steel sectional doors, Raynor also uses steel panels in commercial installations such as loading docks, fire stations and industrial buildings. Steel provides good strength-to-weight capability plus lower maintenance than wood. Best for residential uses are double-layered galvanized steel doors with foam insulation in the cavity, providing up to 18 R-value in 2-inch thick models.
- Stronger, lighter weight than many all-wood doors.
- Wide range of durable finishes, designs, window options and sizes/configurations.
- Low maintenance – just hose and go.
- Can be ordered with foam insulation for added strength and high R-value.
- Generally longest warranties.
- Climates: all
- Moderate resistance to dents. TIP: Ask for heavier gauge steel such as used in Raynor Aspen Series.
- Potential corrosion over time if not galvanized steel that is also properly primed and painted.
Example: Raynor Masterpiece™ steel door.
2. WOOD GARAGE DOORS
Revered for its authenticity and natural beauty, wood is perhaps the most “classic” garage door material. You can order a wood door in several different species and finishes. Customized looks are also commonly available from selected manufacturers.
- Rich, vintage styling. Looks great with stone, stucco, brick and other high quality exteriors.
- Potential tie-in with wood entry doors and other visual elements of your home.
- Strong, rugged feel and performance.
- Can last a long time with proper maintenance.
- Best climates: moderate temperatures, dry air.
- Avoid climates with substantial rain, humidity and prolonged high temperatures.
- Higher cost than most other door materials.
- Requires refinishing periodically.
- Prone to warping, rotting in wet climates.
- Tendency to expand and contract with temperature, cracking finishes.
- Doors tend to be heavy, requiring more expensive, heavy-duty openers.
- Less insulation value than foam insulated doors.
If you like the look of wood but are unsure of its suitability for your application, some alternatives to consider include:
Wood Alternative A: Wood-on-steel overlay doors
Real wood panels are applied to steel for structural integrity along with foam insulation for additional strength as well as energy savings.
Example: Rockwood Series™ red cedar from Richards-Wilcox, our Raynor company in Canada.
Wood Alternate B: Woodgrain vinylboard-on-steel overlay doors
In this combination, the door exterior features an environmentally stable trim material with embossed wood grain effect, all applied to strong steel panels. Providing the character of wood along with long-lasting, low-maintenance design, this type of door is available in Carriage House and other popular styles.
Example: RockCreeke™ design by Raynor.
Wood Alternative C: Woodgrain-textured steel doors
New steel surfacing technology has made it possible to imprint realistic wood textures onto steel panels, providing an installed appearance and textural feel that is hard to distinguish from real wood. Ask your Raynor dealer to show you some example panels. You may be surprised how easily you can configure a door with the look of wood along with the performance of steel.
Example: Raynor Aspen Series™ AP200 steel doors — woodgrain with Auburn finish, recessed Carriage House panels and Colonial Hardware.
3. ALUMINUM & GLASS GARAGE DOORS
For contemporary styling and unique glass options, aluminum garage doors offer exceptional curb appeal. Their streamlined looks can be customized with anodized or powder coat finishes in a wide array of colors. Known for low maintenance, this is the material to consider if you live in coastal areas or anywhere humidity is the norm.
Aluminum doors are also offered with a choice of glass including clear as well as semi-transparent designs plus different textures to complement your home’s architecture. The glass can be configured with mixed size glass inserts as well as in combination with solid panel inserts. Raynor offers a choice of 3 profiles for the door framing: custom, wide and narrow.
- Naturally corrosion resistant.
- Light weight and strong for single as well as double-wide doors.
- Wide choice of full-view glass options and frame widths/colors.
- Climates: all, including coastal areas.
- Generally more expensive than steel doors.
- Lower R-value due to lack of insulation.
Raynor StyleView™ aluminum doors with tinted bronze glass panels.
4. FIBERGLASS GARAGE DOORS
Providing a fair simulation of wood appearance, fiberglass doors may be an option if you prefer that general design genre. The material can be molded in a variety of textures and colors. Similar to steel doors, fiberglass doors can be two-sided and filled with foam insulation for energy efficiency as well as to block steet noise. Applying a clear protective coating every few years is the only maintenance required. (Fiberglass doors are not presently offered by Raynor.)
- Available simulated wood designs.
- Lower maintenance than wood.
- Corrosion resistant.
- Climates: warmer regions, including coastal areas.
- Avoid: extreme cold climates.
- Underlying material can yellow, especially in harsh climates.
- Some fiberglass doors have been known to crack in harsh winters.
Example: Standard fiberglass door panel design.
5. VINYL GARAGE DOORS
While vinyl doors have durability advantages over wood, most in this category are certainly no substitute for a well constructed steel door. While better quality vinyl doors are paired with steel (vinyl clad), most simply consist of vinyl sheeting over a lightweight aluminum grid frame. They do not offer the same strength or aesthetic appeal of other door materials. And like many plastics, vinyl can fade with exposure to UV. That is especially true of darker vinyl colors, though UV protection may vary by manufacturer.
- Lightweight, low maintenance
- Generally on the lower range of cost
- Corrosion resistant
- Crack- and scatch-resistant
- Climates: Moderate temperatures.
- Avoid climates with extreme heat or high elevations.
- Potential color fading if not UV protected
- Generally lighter-duty performance than steel or aluminum doors
Example: Standard vinyl door panel design
Conclusion: If you are considering a garage door purchase, explore all of the material choices with the assistance of a professional dealer that knows what selections will look good longer and save on maintenance over the long term.
Should you repair or replace your garage door? Download this free guide for some quick tips on how to determine if your garage door can be repaired cost effectively or if it should be replaced.