How to Choose a Garage Door

White residential garage doors

How to Choose a Garage Door


The first step in choosing your garage door is to determine the material that best suits your needs and budget.

Steel Garage Doors

The most popular material is steel.  Steel garage doors are durable, maintenance-free, and affordable.  They come in many colors in styles, and can even have a ‘wood look’ finish so that they have the appeal of real wood.

Wood Garage Doors

Real wood doors are a popular choice for luxury homes, and offer a rich look. The cost is considerably more than steel, and they require regular maintenance. Wood doors will need to be stained or painted to keep the elements from penetrating them.

Aluminum Garage Doors

Aluminum doors are another option.  These doors offer more of a sleek, modern look, and are maintenance-free. Aluminum doors have aluminum frames, and large glass panels in between which let in plenty of natural light.

Steel and real wood doors can also have a panel of windows built into the door.  Windows can be regular glass, obscured glass (limiting direct line of vision into the garage), and/or insulated glass.  Adding windows to your new door is a great way to let natural light into your garage, and also can really add to the look of the door.


The second step is to determine the style of the door that best coordinates with your home’s look. There are three main styles of garage doors for examples from Clopay Garage Doors.

Traditional Garage Doors

Traditional garage doors offer a timeless style and match the architecture of most homes. They are typically the most affordable garage door on the market, and are constructed of steel. An example of this type of door is the Clopay Classic Collection.

Carriage House Doors

Carriage house garage doors are a stylish option which replicate a look from years ago, when the doors swung open to the sides.  Modern carriage house doors open over the head. These doors are extremely popular, because they can really add a boost to curb appeal!  Carriage doors are typically constructed of steel, and some have composite overlays which add more detail to the door. Some examples of these types of doors are the Clopay Gallery, Coachman, Grand Harbor Series, or the Reserve Wood Collections.

Modern Garage Doors

Last, modern style garage doors are usually constructed of steel or aluminum and glass. They give a sleek, clean look that complements the look of modern or mid-century modern style homes. These doors are maintenance-free. Examples of these doors are Clopay’s Modern Steel or Avante Garage Doors.

Construction and Performance

The third step is to choose the construction and performance features that best suit your needs.

The least expensive garage door is constructed of a single layer of steel, and offers little to no insulation value, and very limited durability.  These doors are often referred to as ‘pan doors’ in the industry. The next best option is a steel front with one layer of insulation and a vinyl back.  These doors offer a little more durability, but again, are very limited in terms of insulation value.

For a garage door that will stand the test of time, be quieter and more durable, we highly recommend three or four layer construction (sometimes referred to as a ‘sandwich door’).  The construction of these doors is steel front and steel back, and insulation in the center. There are two main thicknesses of doors, 1 3/8” and 2”.

Insulation value (or R-value) can vary from 6.5 to 18.2-R on a new garage door, depending upon the thickness of the door and the type of insulation (polystyrene vs. polyurethane).

Considerations for choosing insulation value are: the location of your garage, whether it is heated, and whether there are nearby living spaces (such as a bedroom above the garage).  A well insulated door is a good idea if there are nearby living spaces.  If you heat your garage, or use it for work/hobby area, insulated doors are very useful and efficient. An insulated door will also be more quiet, which can be an important factor as well.

Free Estimates

Call our office anytime at 815-788-1100 for questions related to choosing a new garage door, and obtaining free estimates.

Superior Overhead Door is an authorized Clopay dealer.  Clopay is a leader in the residential & commercial garage door sales industry and offers an excellent paint and hardware warranty on their garage doors.

Superior Overhead Door will almost always beat the price of  ‘big box’ stores.  Additionally, we will provide the highest level of installation service, communication, and support after the sale. Our own installation teams install your new garage door, and we do not utilize subcontractors who may be ‘fly by night.’  We feel this is a very important factor in choosing a professional installer. We want to be your trusted garage door ‘partner’ for many years after the sale is complete.


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