Garage Door Buying Guide

Garage Door Buying Guide

Garage doors come in many different sizes, materials, and designs. Although being able to customize your door to the way that you like it is great, it can also get very overwhelming. Here is your guide to designing the perfect door for your garage.


A standard garage door is 7’ tall by 8’ wide, but they also come in other sizes. A tall garage door is over 7’ tall, and is meant for storing larger vehicles, such as trucks or SUVs. The extra height allows these bigger cars to enter and exit the garage without causing damage. On the other hand, a short door is below 7’, often about 6’ tall, and is meant for smaller vehicles like motorcycles, golf carts, and ATVs. Keep in mind that switching the height of the door may require some renovations of your garage to accommodate the new door, so that the new door actually touches the ground and is able to be stored in the garage when it is open.

Garage doors also come in doubles, meaning they are 18’ wide instead of 8’. These are idea for garages that store two cars, because having two single doors would requires two separate garage door opener systems, and mean double the maintenance or upkeep costs. However, if the other half of your garage is used for storage, or even a vehicle that needs more protection from the elements like a classic car, a project car, or a sports car, then a separate door may be ideal for you.

READ MORE: Differences in Types of Garage Doors


Garage doors also come in a variety of materials. 3 common ones are steel, fiberglass, and wood. Steel is very common for this purpose because it is highly durable and not overly heavy. Unfortunately, a steel door is not an effective insulator on its own which can mean more money in the future from the costs of winter-proofing your garage. Fiberglass is also a poor insulator, but is lighter than other materials and less likely to corrode as a result of time or even termites. Wood is a very effective insulator, but it is heavy which can wear out garage openers more quickly, and will require frequent refinishing. A wooden garage door can also provide a different aesthetic for your home than the other materials to make it appear more modern or traditional. This may increase your home’s curb appeal.

READ MORE: What’s the Point to Garage Door Insulation?

Garage Door Designs

The two main designs for a garage door are traditional or carriage house. Traditional garage doors are what typically comes to mind when thinking of a garage: often plain and simple with a pattern of squares or rectangles and perhaps some windows near the top. Carriage house doors are able to offer a more elegant, or even a traditional, appearance. This style often features handle in the middle of the door, and fake bronze hinges near the corners in order to mimic doors that opened out instead of up.

READ MORE: Different Types of Overhead Garage Doors

Garage Door Drives

Garages can utilize a belt drive or a chain drive to carry out what the garage opener signals to them, making the garage door move up or down. A belt drive will be quieter, and will move the door up and down faster, but they do wear out more quickly. A chain drive, on the other hand, will cost less and last longer even though they are louder than belt drives and will still require some maintenance.

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

Garage Door Springs

Garage doors usually have either a torsion spring, or extension spring system. Torsion springs are more modern, and do not wear out as much because they rely more on the garage cables to lift the door. Extension springs are more prone to wearing because they extend and contract as the door moves, and places more weight on the springs. Extension springs are typically placed near the top of the track that the door follows, while torsion springs are often mounted above the door itself.

Rollers, either steel or nylon, should be inspected twice a year. They generally require replacement every seven years.

READ MORE: What Are Garage Door Springs?


Once you’ve settled on a size, material, and style for your door it is time to add the small touches that really make it your own. Your garage door is a great way to accent your home design. Aspects such as door panel design are selected at this phase: do you want the door to appear as one large panel, or as a series of smaller ones? You may also want to consider a sectional garage if your home design allows it. You can also select the design of the windows, often giving you options for shape and size of the windows.

Finally, although maybe not as exciting as choosing the appearance, you can choose how much insulation to add. Remember that some materials are poor insulators and will not keep your garage warm on their own, especially if you live in place where weather can drop well below freezing. Customizing your door’s appearance is a great way to add to your home exterior.