Is it time to replace your old garage door? If it’s been 15 or more years since you did, it just might be. But here’s the good news: Today’s door models are stronger, more secure and better insulated; and they require much less maintenance than their predecessors. Before you get started shopping (and the Clopay Design It tool on our website is a great place to start!), there are six things you will need to consider: Budget, Material, Insulation, Decorative Details, Tracks & Springs and Installation. Following are some details on all of these issues.
1. Budget. A new garage door can range in price from $750.00 to more than $4,000.00. Factors affecting the cost include material, insulation, hardware, windows and of course size. Because there are almost limitless ways doors can differ, it’s difficult to make accurate price comparisons between types. Generally, steel doors are the most budget-friendly, while wood and composite models are more expensive.
2. Material. Garage doors can be made of steel, aluminum, wood or plastic.
- Steel: Most new garage doors are made of steel since they offer the broadest range of color, insulation, and price options. The average cost for a 16-by-7 double door: $900 to $3,500.
- Aluminum: Rust-resistant aluminum is ideal for humid, caustic environments. Replace solid panels with frosted glass for a modern look. The average cost for a 16-by-7 double door: $2,000 to $5,000.
- Wood: Once the mainstay garage door material, wood has taken a backseat to other materials in the middle of the market largely due to the added maintenance and regular painting wood doors require. The average cost for a 16-by-7 double door made of quality wood: $1,200 to more than $4,000.
- Composite Wood: A durable, low-maintenance material that looks like real wood, faux wood composite eliminates many of the drawbacks of natural material. It’s moisture-resistant, so it won’t rot, split, shrink, separate or crack. It’s insulated, and can be painted or stained. The average cost for a 16-by-7 double door: $2,000 to $5,000.
3. Insulation. If you live in a three- or four-season climate and your garage is attached to your home, or if there’s finished space over your garage, an insulated door makes sense. Most garages aren’t heated, but your garage door still impacts your home’s energy efficiency. Not only does it cut down on cold, but it also dampens noise and makes the door surface less vulnerable to denting. Also take note of which direction the door faces. If it’s baking in the sun all day or getting blasted by the wind, an insulated door will better regulate the temperature inside. Construction materials and insulation technologies for garage doors have improved significantly over the last five to 10 years. Today’s doors provide a tighter seal against the façade to keep out the elements, and rubber bulb or flange weather sealing at the bottom of the door help limit the dirt, debris and water that get inside.
4. Decorative Details. A garage door can be a big part—up to 30 percent—of the front exterior of your home, so looks matter. There are numerous options to customize a standard door, from the size and number of panels, to the shape and style of windows. A good rule of thumb is to keep the color neutral and replicate the shape of windows on the home itself.
5. Tracks & Springs. When you buy a door, you’ll need to select spring and track systems as well. There are two kinds of spring systems. Extension springs function in pairs, stretching along either side of the door, parallel to the ceiling. They need about 10 in. of headroom. Torsion springs go over the opening of the door. They work by winding and unwinding in place when the door is raised or lowered and are better suited for extra-heavy or wide doors. They require 12 in. of headroom, although special hardware is available for doors with low clearances. Carl’s recommends using torsion springs for safety reasons and also because they help the door to operate better.
6. Installation. A garage door installation is as important as the product, so it is best to entrust door installation to an installer/dealer who will get the job done in about three hours and haul away the old door, too. (Be sure to ask if the cost of the garage door includes installation. Most likely, it will.) Installing a garage door without the proper training, experience or equipment can lead to a serious injury or costly repairs.
Special tools and equipment are required, such as a counterbalance spring system, which is needed to lift the door. Since the garage door itself is extremely heavy, using improper tools and techniques make accidents far more likely. Garage door parts are also highly specific to the manufacturer and model. A novice could use a wrong part which could impair function, or fail to install the door correctly on its track level. They could also have improper spring tensions, and a snapped spring can cause major damage to any body part it comes in contact with. A professional installation will end these problems, plus most installations come with some sort of warranty on parts, labor and door operation.
Carl’s Door Service is here to help with all of your garage door and opener needs. Call us at 410.557.8700 to make an appointment or visit CarlsDoorService.com for more info.