A quality garage door can last for decades. If you are lucky, the door could last longer than the time you live in your home. That means spending more on a good door pays off in the long run. A cheap door will only provide temporary financial relief while the replacement and repair costs will eventually make it the costlier option.
Getting a good garage door requires a bit of a strategy that calls for a careful, calculated approach.
1. Avoid Buying Doors Online
Ordering your garage door online or over the phone is taking a huge gamble. Considering a door may cost you thousands of dollars, it’s probably not a risk worth taking. Each garage is different, so you are better off getting an in-person assessment and quote from an expert.
For example, a Welborn Garage Doors representative can look at your current door and consider the opening shape, size, side clearance and headroom. They will also be on hand to provide tips and information on different door designs. With a customized recommendation, you are less likely to be dissatisfied with your purchase.
2. Tread Carefully With Wood Doors
Real wood garage doors have a classy, sophisticated feel when they are new. However, you must be prepared to devote money and time to the door’s maintenance if you want it to retain its original elegance.
Natural wood finishes need recoating every few years. If you delay this too long, you may have to sand off the finish in its entirety and start over. Fortunately, you can have the appearance of wood without actual wood at a fraction of the purchase and maintenance cost of real wood.
The least costly alternative is embossed steel with a faux wood finish. It will cost you under $1,000 but from a distance looks strikingly similar to actual wood. If you are working with a budget exceeding $2,500, go for a door with a fiberglass skin or wood composite overlay. You get the feel of wood with the stability and longevity of plastic.
3. Upgrade the Insulation
If you intend to purchase an insulated door in order to keep the garage warm or save energy, it may be worth spending the 20% extra for polyurethane instead of extruded polystyrene.
The insulation power of a garage door is defined by its R-value. A higher R-value means better insulation. Polyurethane has an insulating value of R-18 compared to polystyrene’s R-9. That’s an admirable rate of return for the extra cost.
4. Pay Extra for Heavier Springs
Good springs are behind the smooth and steady opening and closing of your garage door. Many garage doors rely on torsion springs. Usually, you can spot these springs above the door.
Standard springs are rated for approximately 10,000 cycles. That may sound like an impressive number that will take a long time to get to. However, if you open the garage door six times a day (which is consistent with average use), you will get to 10,000 cycles in just under five years. By spending just $50 on better springs, you will get 20,000 cycles and extend the springs’ life by an extra five years.
5. Get a New Opener
The garage door service that installs your new door can also fit a new door opener. Your door opener has a finite lifespan as well, and even with regular maintenance, it will eventually fail.
If it’s been a while since you replaced your opener and it’s already showing signs of age and wear, it’s prudent you replace it at the same time as the door. You are also probably thinking about getting a quieter opener or one with the latest features.
Irrespective of the reason, doing both the door and opener at the same time could save you on labor costs while providing an opportunity for negotiating a package during purchase.
6. Choose the Right Windows
A garage door looks better with windows, but only if you choose the right ones. Other than adding to the door’s style, windows can relay much needed natural lighting to the garage interior.
Here are some important pointers when choosing and installing garage windows. First, if your garage is heated, get insulated glass. Second, install the window at the topmost panel for extra security and privacy.
Third, match the window style to the overarching style of your house’s other windows. Fourth, if you choose a garage door with angled corners, don’t install glass behind them as this creates an awkward appearance.
7. Prioritize Quiet
Do you have an attached garage and do not want a door that makes noise when it’s going up and down? Look for a door with nylon rollers and polyurethane insulation. The insulation blunts vibrations that would otherwise be amplified by the uninsulated steel. Nylon rollers are less noisy than metal ones.
If you intend to replace the door opener when installing a new door, get an opener fitted with a belt drive, which is a quieter option.
8. Test the Design on the Manufacturer’s Website
You do not have to imagine how a particular garage door style and color will look. Many manufacturers have software allowing you to upload a photo of your house or garage, to which you can apply their various garage door styles. This lets you see how the design will look on your home.
Test different designs until you eventually find one you like. Print these specs and share them with your garage door technician so they can know what kind of door you prefer and subsequently provide a more accurate price quote.
Get It Right the First Time
A garage door is not just an investment but also determines your home’s curb appeal when you do decide to sell it or rent it out. Pay attention to these factors to ensure your purchase is not one you will regret.