Differences in Types of Garage Doors


There are several options available for how to protect your car and other possessions from the elements. Garage doors come in several different styles and sizes, but the one that’s best for your home can depend not only on the size of your garage and what you plan on storing inside of it.

Double Garage Door

These are common for garages intended to store two vehicles and are typically about 16 feet wide and 7 feet tall. The benefits of choosing one double door instead of two single ones, are that you won’t have to deal with a post in the middle of your garage (which may just turn into another thing to accidentally bump into), and you will only need one garage door opener instead of a separate unit per door. Not to mention maintenance costs for sectional garage doors — double the doors means double the maintenance to maintain them.

Single Garage Door

These average out to 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall and are usually intended for single car garages. However, depending on your situation it may be beneficial to have two of these instead of one double door. These can include having a vehicle that needs protection from the elements, such as a classic car, project car, or a sports car. Using two single doors can also help if you plan on using the other half of the garage for storage. Single-size garage doors are great for one car or controlling the exposure to the elements of one side of your garage,

Tall Garage Door

A tall garage door is anything above the average of 7 feet high. These often require some sort of planning before installation so that there is room for the height of the door to fully extend when it closes, and that the track is long enough to completely open the door as well. This size is typically necessary for those that have SUVs or trucks that have lifted suspensions or some form of a rack on the top.

READ MORE: How to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal With Your Garage Door

Short Garage Door

This size is typically below 6 feet high, and are often used to store smaller vehicles. These can include golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. These may also require some adjustments similar to a tall door to make sure it can reach the ground properly.

Chain and Belt Openers

A belt drive opening system is often quieter and takes less time to open and close the garage door. However, this type of system does not have a long lifespan, and will struggle to lift doors made of heavier materials, such as wood. A chain drive can lift a bigger door, costs less, and is more durable. However, they are louder and do require maintenance. A chain drive would be recommended for double and tall garage doors.

READ MORE: What’s The Difference Between a Belt and a Chain Garage Opener

Garage Door Springs

Every garage door has springs which allow the door to go up and down on automatically with a garage door opener. This can be a big differentiator when comparing garage doors during the shopping process.

A garage door extension spring is installed along the top of the track that guides the garage door up and down. These will fully extend as the garage door is lowered, and then contract again as it goes back up. The main purpose of these garage door springs is to make the garage door easier to lift by taking some strain away from the person or machine doing the work. Extension springs are usually used for older garage doors, which have experienced the most garage door cycles over its lifetime.

Torsion spring systems are newer, require less moving parts, and have a longer life expectancy. These springs are installed on a bar that extends over the top of the garage door, along the wall above the door. Torsion springs are also better at balancing the garage door so that it takes the same amount of energy to raise it as to lower it. This is accomplished through the actual lifting being done by a set of cables while the garage door spring simply provides the force, as a result the spring does not extend as much as an extension spring would.

READ MORE: What Are Garage Door Springs?

Garage Door Materials

A common metal used to make garage doors is steel. Steel garage doors are durable and are not typically expensive, but it is a poor insulator. This means that the items and vehicles in your garage are at a higher risk of being exposed to cold temperatures with a steel door, which can be damaging. This also holds true for fiberglass, however, it is lighter weight and less likely to corrode.

READ MORE: What is the Point to Garage Door Insulation?

A wood door offers a traditional feel for your home. This material is a good insulator but will require frequent refinishing. Wood is also heavier to lift which may put more strain on the garage-door opener. When it comes to tall garage doors, a lighter material like fiberglass or steel may be best, but this depends on what is being kept inside.