Garage Doors – Types, Considerations, And Ideas

Garage doors are one of the most functional yet visually imposing things that a home can have.  Garage doors generally face the street and can have a massive impact on the overall curb appeal and look of your house.  Choosing a new garage door can be a challenge as there are many designs, styles, and materials to choose from.  You will also have to decide if you want to install and automatic door opener along with your garage door as this will influence the types of doors you can get.

Another thing to consider before investing in a door is what you generally use your garage for (car storage, sports equipment storage, a workshop, weight room, etc.  This will impact your considerations of how much clearance you need inside and outside the garage when opening the door.

Let’s take a quick look at the different garage doors you can choose for your home:


Sectional garage doors are one of the most plentiful doors that you see on homes in North America.  These doors are broken up into sections that hinge and roll up along a track.  Sectional doors usually have an automatic opener to open them, although they can be opened by hand with a pulley system.  They come in most material types, and you can put windows on some of the sections to break up the door and add some style.

The benefit to sectional doors is that they don’t swing in or out and take up space when opening, however they do take up space on the ceiling of the garage and cut down on overall clearance inside the garage itself.

Side Hinged Or Carriage

Side hinge or carriage doors are more rare, but add a sense of luxury and richness to a home.  This makes them popular with larger homes and estates, and it’s rare to see them on smaller, more inexpensive homes.  These types of doors are generally made of wood, although they can come in other materials as well.  They preserve space on the ceiling of your garage, however they need space either inside or outside the garage to open and close.  Automatic opening systems for side hinged doors are much more expensive and complex, but they do exist.


Canopy doors are often found on older homes or smaller homes where cheaper door systems are sought.  Canopy doors are generally made of a single door that swings up and hangs out from the garage like a canopy.  These take up space both inside and outside the garage and need space to open.  They are generally the easiest doors to open manually however, utilizing a counterbalanced spring system.  These types of doors can be very secure.

Roller Doors

Roller garage doors are the most space saving of all the garage doors, however they sacrifice looks for security and space saving elements.  These garage doors are made up of small sections that roll up into a metal spool over the garage door.  They don’t need space to open or close and preserve space over the ceiling.  However due to their construction you can’t have any windows or other ornamental features such as beveled panels on these doors.  They are generally made from steel or aluminum.

Garage Door Materials

There are several different types of materials that garage doors can be made of:

Wood – Fairly expensive but very good looking and luxurious.  Needs maintenance to look its best.

Vinyl – Easy to maintain, light, inexpensive, many styles to choose from.

Aluminum – Lightweight and won’t rust, offers good insulation and security.

Fiberglass – Weatherproof and cheap, however they can crack or break if hit.

Steel – Steel offers the best security but may dent, and weather in salty climates.

Take a spin around your neighborhood to get some ideas for garage door styles.  Sometimes it is best to see particular styles in person to get a better sense of how they would look on your home.

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