The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing a New Garage Door
Before you start shopping for a new garage door, learn what you should be looking for and get a sense of the vast possibilities this popular home improvement offers.
Every time you leave or return home, you can’t help but notice the garage door. But how often do you really look at it? If you’re like most, you rarely pause to consider the impact your garage door has on the appearance of your home. Indeed, ever since the rise of the automobile, the garage door has become the dominant feature of most home exteriors. Paint colors, architectural details, and landscaping all contribute to a home’s character, but make no mistake, curb appeal inevitably suffers if a garage door appears worn, out of date, or simply doesn’t complement the rest of the house.
But this isn’t just about aesthetics. The right garage door can directly benefit a homeowner’s bottom line, both right away and over the long term, so a garage door should never be an afterthought. Instead, view a new garage door as an opportunity to give your home an instant facelift in a highly cost-effective way. If it’s been years since you shopped for a garage door, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much things have changed. Garage door manufacturers like Clopay now offer an astonishingly wide range of durable, low-maintenance materials and styles, with all the options you need to customize a door that will suit your home perfectly.
1. CURB APPEAL
When viewed from the street, the garage door can account for as much as 40 percent of a home’s facade. Because it’s so prominent, the garage door can make or break a visitor’s first impression. If your battered old door has seen better days—or if it never really matched your home in the first place—then it may be sending the wrong message about you, your style, and your priorities as a homeowner. By upgrading to a new garage door that perfectly captures your design vision, you can instantly transform your home’s curb appeal. As simple as that sounds, there are a lot of factors to consider. With its online Door Imagination System, Clopay makes selecting the perfect door not only easy, but actually fun. After you upload a photo of your home, you can experiment with different combinations of garage door designs, finishes, and hardware, so you can see exactly how each would look installed on your house. From timeless carriage house style doors to sleek and streamlined contemporary models, Clopay provides plenty of options. Because when it comes to curb appeal, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.
2. ENERGY SAVINGS
In a busy household, the garage door gets opened and closed so frequently that temperatures inside the garage go up and down like a rollercoaster. That isn’t such a big deal in a stand-alone, rarely used garage. It’s a much different story, though, when the garage is attached to the house, or if your garage doubles as a workshop, laundry, or utility room. Here, the temperature matters, not only for your comfort, but also for your energy bills. After all, temperatures in the garage can affect those of adjacent living areas. Check your next utility bill. If it’s sky-high, your garage door may be at least partially to blame. Fortunately, there’s a simple, cost-effective solution—garage door insulation. An insulated garage door ensures substantially more stable temperature levels. In fact, on a cold winter’s day, an insulated door keeps the garage 10 to 20 degrees warmer than it would be otherwise, according to a study by Clopay engineers. If you’re hoping to raise the energy efficiency of your garage and your home, be sure to double-check the insulating properties of any door you’re considering. Another reason to opt for a door from Clopay: The company gives you the freedom to choose the type of garage door insulation best suited to your needs—polystyrene or foamed-in-place polyurethane (ideal for regions with cold winters and hot summers). No matter which you choose, you can count on greater comfort and savings with an insulated garage door.
3. RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Everyone knows that home improvement adds value, but from a return-on-investment point of view, a handful of projects are known to pay you back when it’s time to sell. It may surprise you to learn that out of all the most commonly completed home remodeling projects, garage door replacement ranks near the very top of the list in terms of cost-effectiveness. In its annual Cost Vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine reports that at resale the average homeowner recoups 91.5% of the amount spent on a garage door upgrade. Of course, maintenance goes a long way to safeguard your return. All garage doors require annual maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Take note, though: Not every garage door on the market is built to last, and some require ongoing finish upkeep to retain their beauty through the years. Look for insulated models constructed in durable, low-maintenance steel or composite, so you can enjoy all the benefits of your new garage door without any hassle.
Gone are the days when homeowners expected garage doors to do nothing more than open and close. Today, we insist on eye-catching designs that complement the colors and architectural style of our homes. At the same time, savvy homeowners know that the garage door can maximize comfort and energy efficiency. Finally, more and more homeowners look to garage door replacement as a reliable means of boosting home resale value. Times have changed, and in the modern home, garage doors play a central role, both aesthetically and practically. Let Clopay, with its history of service and commitment to American-made products and design innovation, help you transform the look of your home by giving you the tools and the confidence you need to take the next step.
This article has been brought to you by Clopay. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
Americans love cars. For evidence, look no further than the design of the average postwar home. The garage often claims front-and-center position on the facade, making it as convenient as possible for drivers to come and go. Though the garage itself is usually a markedly utilitarian space, the garage door, because of its prominent placement, plays a big role in defining the outward appearance of your home. If, after years of hard use, your garage door is looking the worse for wear—or if it was never particularly attractive in the first place—replacing the old door gives you a huge opportunity to transform your home’s exterior and boost curb appeal, even as you enjoy a suite of performance improvements. There’s only one catch: With so many garage doors on the market today, it can be difficult to choose just one, particularly if you’ve never before shopped for a new door. Don’t know where to begin? These guidelines can help you narrow your search to a door design that fits your needs and suits your preferences perfectly.
DO select the right style.
If a worn-out garage door can leave a first-time visitor with a bad impression of your home, the opposite must hold true as well. Upgrading your garage door will enhance the visual appeal not only of the garage, but of the entire exterior. Here’s the key: Select a door style that complements your house. For instance, if you live in a Craftsman bungalow—distinguished by deeply overhanging eaves, extensive woodwork, and divided-light windows, look for a garage door that features the same hallmark characteristics. Meanwhile, if you live in a clean-lined modern home, concentrate on simple garage door designs with limited detailing, which will reinforce the streamlined appeal of the architecture. Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb and calling attention to itself, a successful selection looks right at home on the exterior. Garage door manufacturers offer no shortage of options, or if you have a specific vision, you can even design a custom door to your exact specifications.
DON’T forget insulation.
Many homeowners use the garage as their primary entrance. If you’re one of them, consider an insulated garage door. For one thing, insulation ensures greater comfort in the garage. In fact, on a cold day, a well-insulated door can keep the garage 10 to 20 degrees warmer, according to a study by conducted by residential garage door manufacturer Clopay. It’s not all about comfort, though. There are savings at stake, too, because as the largest opening in the home, the garage door can affect your home’s overall energy efficiency. In a home with conditioned living spaces next to and above the garage, a poorly sealed, uninsulated garage door can make the home’s climate-control system work harder (and consume more energy) to maintain the target temperature. By minimizing drafts and thermal energy transfer, an insulated garage door can help lower monthly utility bills. That said, much depends on the quality of the insulation. To understand the insulating capacity of a garage door, consult its listed R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the door’s performance.
DO choose a practical door type.
Different types of garage doors operate in different ways. Traditional swinging doors open outward from a central split, while others slide right to left like the entrance to an old barn. Far and away, one type surpasses the others in terms of popularity— overhead sectional doors. There are a couple of reasons why homeowners favor the convenience of an overhead sectional design. For one, in contrast to swing-style doors, which require ample clearance, sectional doors roll up and down on mounted tracks. And, overhead sectional doors are easy to pair with an automatic garage door opener. That’s not to say you can’t automate other types of garage doors, but doing so typically entails greater cost. You can get the best of worlds. Many garage door companies offer models that look like old-fashioned carriage house doors but operate with modern overhead convenience.
DON’T ignore care requirements.
As a hardworking component of today’s home, the garage door must be maintained properly in order to look and perform its best. Certain construction materials require more care than others. For instance, while there’s no denying the beauty of natural wood, some homeowners avoid it because it requires periodic refinishing. Other materials offer the look of wood with considerably less upkeep. Composite—a combination of wood fibers and synthetic resins—emulates the look of wood but provides superior durability, and won’t rot, warp or crack. Steel is a great option no matter where you live. But if you’re near the coast, you’ll need to wax your door like you would a car to prevent surface rust. The best advice: Understand the upkeep requirements of any door on your radar, and don’t commit to purchase one that you’re unable or unwilling to take care of.
DON’T underestimate severe storms.
Due to their large size, garage doors are especially vulnerable to high winds. In fact, if a tornado or hurricane manages to break through the garage door, the resulting surge in air pressure can produce destructive, if not devastating, consequences. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a windproof garage door. But in many areas prone to severe storms, the municipal government requires code-compliant doors that can withstand a minimum level of wind resistance. To determine whether any such regulations apply in your neck of the woods, consult with county officials or a local garage door dealer. Wind-rated garage doors cost more than non-reinforced models, but there’s no discernible difference in exterior appearance. The heavy-duty parts that lend extra strength—reinforced struts, for example, or upgraded springing—are all inside the garage, behind the door itself. In other words, there’s no need to sacrifice curb appeal for storm preparedness, or vice versa.
DO experiment with visualization tools.
At the start of your search, it’s a good idea to visit a dealer showroom to get a sense of how different door styles and construction materials actually look and feel. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few options, it can be helpful to experiment with an online visualization tool, like the Door Imagination System from Clopay. Here’s how it works: After uploading a photo of your home to the site, you can see how different garage door designs (and different combinations of windows, finishes, and hardware) would look on your home. Tools like this often make it easier to arrive at a final decision and add a bit of fun to the process.
From style to construction material, from the R-value of the insulation to the presence or absence of windows—a number of variables can affect the final cost of a garage door. Prices run the gamut from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (not including installation). It’s important to point out, that garage door replacement is one project that can increase the value of your home. In fact, among the most commonly completed home improvements, upgrading the garage door ranks near the very top of the list in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment. In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine estimates that at resale, people recoup nearly the total sum invested in the project—91.5 percent, to be specific. It’s no wonder that for budget-savvy homeowners in pursuit of improved curb appeal, few projects are more exciting, more popular, or more rewarding. What are you waiting for?
This article has been brought to you by Clopay. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.