Garage Doors - A Beginners Guide

By: Silvie Carpenter

Garage doors are a surprisingly important yet often overlooked feature of most homes. In straightforward terms of visual impact, garage doors can easily consume 20% or more of the total frontage to a house - which means that garage doors can affect your homes value quite significantly.
When considering replacing (or installing) garage doors there are a few points to bear in mind. Firstly the type of material which will likely be one of three main groups.
Metal garage doors are easily the most commonly found these days taking some 80% of the market in the USA and Canada. They are usually either steel or aluminium - steel doors being heavier but cheaper. Both types should be painted with outdoor metal paint but are otherwise relatively low-maintenance apart from the inherent problem that metal doors are prone to dent and buckle easily, which can affect both their appearance and operation.
Doors made from synthetic materials such as fibre-glass and vinyl have the benefit of being both lightweight and touch. They too can be painted (though are sometimes already pre-treated to a certain colour) and are on the whole better able to withstand general dents and scuffs than their metal counterparts. They can last ten or more years but the material will eventually degrade due to ultra-violet light.
Garage doors made from wood trace their lineage back to the very first garages and exude an enduring classic quality. Wood is naturally versatile, attractive and simple to maintain; it can also be either stained or painted so as to coordinate with other wooden architectural features like windows and main doors.
As with all wood products, the quality depends on the specific type of wood and whether it is a composite construction (compressed fibres and laminates) or solid wood. Hence the price can also vary quite widely, but as ever, you get what you pay for and most people consider wood garage doors to be the best.
The second point to consider is where to buy your preferred type of garage door. There is little doubt that having your doors installed by professionals should bring you many years of faultless operation, and you would therefore be wise to request references, evidence of existing installations and generally check potential suppliers have been in business a while, have a good reputation and can provide decent warranties and ongoing support should any problems arise.
Garage doors can be purchased from large DIY stores, door and window companies and garage door specialists. Bear in mind though that the long term durability and reliable performance of your garage doors will depend crucially on the quality of the installation process as much as the doors themselves. Specialist installers of garage doors can be relied on to ensure your doors look great and function perfectly, right from the start and for the years ahead.

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Silvie Carpenter suggests that anyone interested in adding to the value of their property reads this interesting article on residential garage doors.

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