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How to Choose Your Garage Door Material

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

As with every other exterior product used to complete your home, the garage door gives you plenty of options. Style is an important consideration, of course, but it’s best to start narrowing your selection by material to ensure your choice is a good one now and in the future. Look beyond basic garage doors and you’ll find all sorts of materials that actually add to your home’s curb appeal—here’s how natural wood, steel, composite, and aluminum and glass garage doors compare!

Clopay Reserve Wood Collection Limited Edition Series

The Reserve® Wood Collection Limited Edition Series offers stunning real wood garage doors with the authentic handcrafted attention to detail that owners of Craftsman, cottage, and European homes often demand.

Natural Wood Garage Doors

If you’ve never come across a real wood garage door, we’d understand. This natural material evokes a sturdy and rustic feel, but it has become less popular over time due to its higher cost and need for ongoing care. The average homeowner looks for low-maintenance products, and wood requires regular attention to keep looking and performing its best. The investment up-front and down the line might turn off some potential buyers, but for those looking for an organic highlight for their homes, there’s little comparison.

That said, garage doors made of wood tend to utilize durable species that withstand the elements better than most. Redwood, cedar, hemlock, fir, and meranti are available in a variety of collections, and if you’re interested in building a truly custom garage door, you can branch out into specialty species like ipe. Depending on your location, you should take the moisture and insect resistance of different woods into account before choosing which will adorn your home—it could save a lot of time and money later!

Clopay Coachman Collection

The simple white color of this Coachman® Collection garage door is understated, but it is perfect for a traditional home and adds interest with its overlay design and top panel window details—you’d never guess that it’s a steel door!

Steel Garage Doors

The homeowner looking for a very specific garage door will find a huge variety of looks available in steel. Everything from simple, classic panel doors, to dressy carriage house doors, to super sleek modern doors can be found, and they have tons of design options within those styles. Steel doors are constructed using one to three layers—they can be uninsulated, include a layer of insulation behind the steel face, or sandwich insulation between two steel skins—offering solutions for different budgets and R-value needs.

Steel skins are manufactured for durability and rust resistance. The steel core is galvanized by hot-dipping, coated in a metal oxide pretreatment for extra protection, and has baked-on primer and finishing coats on both sides for full-thickness defense against rust. A number of factory-applied paint colors are available, as well as convincing faux wood composites.

Clopay Canyon Ridge Collection Limited Edition Series

These composite Canyon Ridge® Collection Limited Edition Series doors have tons of real wood character with Pecky Cypress cladding, Clear Cypress overlays, and a rich medium finish. Wrought iron hardware details complete a beautiful Mediterranean design in this example.

Composite Garage Doors

Composite refers to the garage door surface that faces outward; it is built on a steel base and offers those benefits along with the beauty afforded by its composite cladding and overlays. Homeowners and passersby alike might be fooled by these doors because they faithfully recreate the look and even the feel of genuine wood. The natural texture is achieved by taking mouldings from pieces of real mahogany and clear and pecky cypress, and you can choose from different finishes to make sure the color matches your home.

Of course, the appeal of composite garage doors lies in their ease of care—they’re basically wood without the work. They’re suitable for all kinds of architecture, too, with collections geared toward traditional and modern styles. If natural wood draws your eye but you need to stay realistic, faux wood composite delivers the luxury with long-lasting peace of mind and some of the highest insulation values around.

Clopay Avante Collection

Frosted glass keeps this modern garage private while allowing light through for a gentle glow, courtesy of the Avante® Collection. Despite the relative simplicity of the door build, there are plenty of opportunities to personalize the effect for your home.

Aluminum and Glass Garage Doors

If a totally contemporary aesthetic is the goal, look no further than garage doors that deliver chic and bright style with windows in an aluminum frame. These doors let in natural light during the day and create an attractive glow to welcome you home at night. Plenty of glass options allow you to personalize the look as well as the level of privacy—everything from clear, to tinted, to frosted, to mirrored glass in different colors. The aluminum frame is anodized for corrosion resistance and also comes in different colors, including faux wood composite for an organic touch.

When it comes time to choose the garage doors for your home, check out the diverse collection Clopay® offers. They have all kinds of doors using these materials and you’ll love exploring the possibilities. Don't forget to try the Door Imagination System to virtually see how different collections and designs look on a photo of your actual house to make sure you love your choice before you buy!