What to Consider Before Buying a New Garage Door
A good garage door will last a very long time. So it makes sense to spend a little extra time and effort making the best choice possible.
Get a Quote in-person
Ordering a garage door over the phone or online is asking for trouble. Every garage is a little different, and a knowledgeable salesperson or installer will check details like opening size and shape, headroom and side clearance, and even help you make design decisions. And if something does go wrong, there won’t be any question about whose fault it is. A new 16-ft. door will cost anywhere from $800 to $8,000.
Real wood doors look fantastic when they’re new. However they take a lot of time and money maintaining them. Natural finishes last a few years before they need re-finish. If you wait too long, you’ll have to sand off all the finish and start over to get your door looking new again.The good news is, you can get the look of wood for a fraction of the cost, and avoid the maintenance nightmare as well. The least expensive option is embossed steel with a faux wood-grain finish (less than$1,000). If you’re willing to spend more ($2,500 and up), consider a garage door with a wood composite overlay or a fiberglass skin. Composites offer the look of real wood with the longevity and stability of plastic.
Beef Up the Insulation
If you’re planning to buy an insulated door because you want to save energy or keep your garage warm, it’s worth spending about 15 to 20 percent extra to upgrade to polyurethane insulation. The insulating effectiveness of a garage door is its R-value. The larger the number, the better it insulates. By choosing a polyurethane insulated door you could raise the R-value from R-9 to R-18.
Beef Up the Spring
Springs are what help your garage door go up easily and come down slowly. Most garage doors use torsion springs. You can usually see these coiled torsion springs above the door. Standard torsion springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles. That may sound like a lot, but if you open and close your door six times a day, which is pretty average, you’ll reach 10,000 cycles in less than five years. Spending an extra $50 will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles, twice the life for a few bucks more.
Install a New Garage Door Opener Too
Your opener will fail eventually, so if it’s showing its age or you just want a quieter opener or one with more features, this is the time to replace it. Replacing it along with the door will probably save you money on labor, and you may even be able to negotiate a package deal on the new door and opener.
DIY or Not
You could save a few hundred dollars by installing the door yourself, but it’s one DIY project that doesn’t have a big payoff. Here’s why. There is a ton of parts and it’ll take you at least a full day to put them together. Plus, winding the spring calls for special tools and lots of arm strength and is fairly dangerous. If you hire a pro to install the door, the new door will be delivered and the old one hauled away, and the job will be done in about four hours. And you’ll have someone to a call if there’s a problem.
Choosing Garage Door Windows
You might be surprised how much better a garage door looks with the right windows. Windows can supply much needed light to the garage interior and style. Here are a few tips for choosing glass:
If your garage is heated, upgrade to insulated glass.
For extra privacy and security, install the glass in the top panel.
Match the glass style to your house windows if possible.
If your garage door opening has angled rather than square corners, don’t install glass that goes behind them. It might look awkward
Features That Quiet Your Door
If you have an attached garage and want to minimize the racket caused by the garage door going up and down, choose a door with polyurethane insulation and nylon rollers. These rollers will dampen any vibrations that would normally be amplified by an un-insulated steel door. And nylon rollers are simply quieter than metal ones. If you’re also planning to replace the garage door opener, look for an opener with a belt drive.
Thicker Gauge Metal
If you’re going to buy an un-insulated steel door, make sure it’s made from steel that’s at least 24-gauge. Many economy garage doors are made from 25-gauge or thinner steel (the bigger the number, the thinner the steel). Insulation helps reduce denting by providing a backer for the steel. Without this reinforcement, you need thicker steel to prevent dents.