By Steve Graham, Networx
When you pick a new garage door for your home, consider garage door materials and looks that match your lifestyle and location. Security, children, garage usage, style and climate are all factors to take into account.
Not all garages are used as parking spots. Those used as workshops or recreation rooms need different doors than a parking spot. Consider insulating a garage used as a living space. It will cut heating and cooling costs and increase comfort. The best insulation option is polystyrene or polyurethane sandwiched between layers of steel, with weather stripping. Click here to read about garage door insulation tax credits.
Consider translucent glass or polycarbon for a workshop in a mild climate. These doors provide minimal insulation, but can create a good, well-lit workspace, allowing in light while maintaining privacy.
Sectional doors may be unnecessary and inconvenient for a workshop. Use swinging doors or buy a sectional door with an additional regular door. Dutch doors can create a distinctive look and let in fresh air without letting kids and pets escape easily. Finally, sliding doors keep the space in front of the garage clear for parking a car while allowing for easy opening.
Some cheap fiberglass or plastic garage doors in cold climates may crack or break in freezing temperatures. Steel and wood stand up to the cold. On the other hand, wet weather and salt air take their toll on metal and wood. Fiberglass and plastics might be a cheaper and better option in wet, warm areas.
Safety and durability are important for homes with children. A driveway basketball hoop should probably be mounted above a dent-resistant 24-gauge steel door. Ironically, a lower number steel gauge means the metal is stronger. 25-gauge steel is thinner than 24-gauge steel.
Also, look for a garage door with pinch-resistant sectional design so little fingers won't be caught between slats as the door rolls shut. Replace any garage door opener that predates 1992. It may not have modern sensors that stop the door when an object gets in the way.
If security is a major concern, steel is once again the best choice for a door material. In terms of openers, new garage door openers have a combination of one million random codes. The code is reset each time the door opens, making it difficult for would-be thieves to drive by the garage and open the door with another remote.
Of course, design is another important consideration: Choose among modern looks and classic styles, such as carriage-house replicas. Also, a roll-up may not be practical if you need extra clearance for your vehicle or have a low ceiling.
Finally, keep the garage door opening at a standard width so future homeowners can easily convert the space back into a traditional garage.
Climate, children, lifestyle, safety and design are important in choosing a new garage door.