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Expert Answers for Your Garage Door Questions

So many parts go into a home—you can’t possibly know everything about all of them! And whether building or refreshing the look of an existing house, homeowners have an especially difficult time choosing exterior products. They have to be durable, add to curb appeal, and offer a great investment. We understand if you get hung up!

Garage doors can be one of the trickiest products to select because they’re a natural focal point on the façade and operate like no other part of the house. If you need some guidance, here are some frequently asked questions answered by Mischel Schonberg, an expert from Clopay® Garage Doors. Mischel has 22 years of experience in the building products industry, 18 with garage doors in particular, and if you watch HGTV or DIY, perhaps you’ve seen her help with product selection before!

Clopay Canyon Ridge Limited Edition Series

These gorgeous doors look like wood, but they're actually Canyon Ridge® Limited Edition Series faux wood garage doors. They offer the perfect style for this home and promise minimal maintenance for the homeowners.

Q: How does a quality garage door improve my home’s value?

A quality garage door is going to look better, last longer, and improve your home’s curb appeal, energy efficiency, and security.

Don’t underestimate the visual impact your garage door has on your home. In many home plans, it represents nearly 40 percent of the front exterior. Homeowners have the opportunity to make a statement with their garage door and increase the resale value of their home at the same time.

In a nationwide survey conducted by Clopay in partnership with an independent research firm in 2018, real estate agents said that the right garage door style can increase the perceived listing price of a home by up to four percent. With the average U.S. home price estimated at $206,300 in 2017, this can mean an incremental increase of $8,000 to $14,000, just because of the garage door.

And, garage door replacement once again tops the Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, continuing a two-year streak of returning on average nearly 100% of the project cost at resale. The reason for the high ROI? Curb appeal and first impressions.

Q: What does maintenance look like for different door materials?

Steel is popular because it’s attractive, easy to maintain, and offers the broadest range of color and insulation options.

Wood has the most flexibility in terms of design, species, and finish colors, so if you want a truly custom door, that’s the way to go. Just know that you’re signing up for the ongoing maintenance associated with maintaining the beauty of any wood that’s exposed to weather.

Garage doors made from moisture-resistant faux wood composites are a popular alternative to real wood, because they look like the real deal, require less upkeep, and have better insulation. And they can be painted or stained to match other exterior doors, windows, and trim.

Aluminum doors are rust-resistant and can be combined with broad expanses of glass for a chic, modern look. Different glazing options are available to control the amount of natural light and privacy you want in your garage.

If you invest in a quality garage door and maintain it properly, it will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

Clopay Insuation Cross Section

Insulation adds a thermal buffer to keep the garage more comfortable, and the extra padding also helps keep the door quieter during operation. Learn about insulation options for a variety of doors here.

Q: Should I invest in a garage door with a higher R-value?

R-value is a rating that measures the thermal efficiency of a garage door. The higher the R-value, the better. A door with an 18.4 R-value is more energy efficient than a door with an R-value of 6.5.

If your garage is attached to your house, an insulated garage door with a high R-value is the best choice, even if you live in a mild climate. An insulated garage door creates a buffer zone and keeps the outside air out of your garage. In the South, your garage is going to be 10 – 20 degrees cooler in the summer. If temperatures barely get above freezing where you are during the winter, your garage will be that much warmer, and so will the rooms above it.

The benefits of garage door insulation go beyond energy efficiency. An insulated garage door is also stronger and quieter. A high R-value garage door is multi-layered. The insulation is sandwiched between two steel skins to create a solid core, strengthening the door so it won’t dent or ding easily.

A garage door without insulation can be really noisy when it opens and closes because there isn’t any “padding” to absorb the sound. It is literally a sheet of steel that vibrates and shakes as the panels roll up and down the track.

Insulated glass is also available if you are purchasing an insulated garage door with windows.

Q: I live in a hurricane region with strict building codes—what does that mean for the garage?

Building codes mandate that garage doors installed on homes in hurricane prone regions have additional bracing, heavier gauge track, and other necessary hardware to keep them in place under extreme winds.

This hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released its report on Hurricane Andrew that builders, homeowners, and insurance companies realized the amount of damage and property loss was due in large part to garage door failure. That is when building codes for garage doors changed.

Because of their size, garage doors are more vulnerable to wind damage than other exterior openings. Unless you have a tested, reinforced door installed, high winds can destabilize it, causing it to come off its tracks or collapse. Once this happens, winds from the garage can enter your house and destroy it.

Reinforced garage doors protect homes by preventing wind infiltration. Some are wind-load rated, meaning they can withstand various degrees of wind pressure. Others go a step further and prevent wind-borne debris from penetrating the door and making it inoperable. These are called impact-rated garage doors.

From the outside, reinforced garage doors look like typical garage doors. They come in traditional, carriage house, and modern designs. Reinforcement is either built into the door and engaged by locking it, or the door comes with floor-to-ceiling posts that a homeowner has to install to brace it before the storm hits.

If you live along the coast, faux wood composite garage doors are a popular option, as they mimic the look of natural wood but are moisture resistant and won’t warp, rot or crack. With impact resistant windows, you can add both a decorative touch to the door and natural light in the garage.

The style of garage door you’re able to get will depend on where you live and your local building code requirements. A reputable garage door dealer will know the garage door wind-load requirements in your area and will take that into consideration when you are shopping. Your insurance company may offer a premium reduction if you upgrade beyond the required hurricane protection in your market.

Clopay Coachman Collection

A white Coachman® Collection door provides a fittingly crisp vibe for this farmhouse. Prefer a two-tone scheme? There are factory-applied options, or you can personalize the look with a manufacturer recommended paint.

Q: Can I paint the door if I want to update my home’s look in the future?

Paint is an easy way to give an exterior a brand new look, even if it’s simply changing the color of the doors and shutters. Before you head to the paint aisle, refer to the care and maintenance manual that comes with your garage door and only use the type of paint the manufacturer recommends for your specific door model.

Here’s why. Repainting a lighter color steel garage door black can cause issues with heat absorption and thermal bowing and will void your warranty if you use the wrong type of paint. This is true with many exterior products exposed to the sun, not just garage doors. There is such a thing as a “cool paint,” which is what Clopay uses on its factory-painted doors.

Q: How much should I plan to spend on a garage door?

Garage doors can range in price from $700 up to $10,000, depending on the door size, design, construction material, insulation type, decorative options like windows and hardware, and the paint or stain color you choose.

Q: Where can I go for personalized support and recommendations?

Garage door manufacturer websites are a great place to start your research. You can see all of the latest styles, read customer reviews, and even get recommendations for garage doors that fit the architectural style of the home you are building.

Once you have an idea of the options available, contact your local garage door dealer to answer your questions and get a quote based on your project specifications.

Check out our garage plan pictures to see lots of door ideas.