Garage Door Buying Guide: How to Choose a New Door

No longer used for vehicle storage alone, today’s garages are a hardworking extension of the American home. Garages hold beloved holiday decorations, withstand creative art projects, corral sports equipment — and yes, keep cars safe and secure. With families reevaluating how to maximize their usable square footage during the pandemic, garages need to be energy-efficient, multifunctional spaces for work and hobbies.

Compared to other home improvement projects, a new garage door yields an astonishing 93% return on investment, or ROI, so you can rest assured it’s one of the wisest investments you can make. Before you shop for a new door, use this handy garage door buying guide to choose one that’s the perfect fit for your home.

6 Tips for Selecting a New Garage Door

With so many styles to consider, the process of choosing the best garage door isn’t always easy. Fortunately, through careful planning, you can rest assured your decision is the right one. Work with an experienced garage door supplier to discuss measurements, selections, installation and warranties and use these tips to find the best residential garage doors 2021 has to offer.

1. Pick a Garage Door Style to Complement Your Home

Knowing how to choose the best garage door style for your home starts with understanding the architectural style of your house. Your door should look cohesive with the time period, design and finishes of your home exterior. Many of these door styles can be modified with window styles that complement your living space. Stop by one of our showrooms to explore these popular garage door designs: 

  • Contemporary garage doors: Contemporary garage doors are the perfect choice for mid-century modern and minimalistic homes. Clean lines and elements of glass, metal and wood seamlessly complement the mixed-material trend found in modern-style homes.
  • Traditional garage doors: A popular choice, classic style doors suit a wide range of home exteriors. Characterized by rows of raised rectangular panels, traditional garage doors are a cost-effective, versatile choice for neoclassical, colonial, Victorian and French country home styles.
  • Carriage house garage doors: Aptly named, carriage doors’ “barn style” look originated from barn doors that could swing wide enough to accommodate horses and carriages. Carriage house garage doors are ideal for farmhouse, craftsman, mission and transitional homes.

2. Determine the Best Garage Door Material for Your Security and Maintenance Preferences

With numerous advances in garage door manufacturing, which materials are found in the best garage doors in 2024? When evaluating your customization options for your new garage door, consider the different door maintenance requirements that come with the different garage door styles. 

To determine how to choose a garage door material, consider your maintenance preferences and the following qualities:

  • Wood: If the material or historical accuracy is your top priority, wood doors may be ideal for you. While there’s no denying its beauty, some homeowners avoid natural wood because it requires periodic painting and sealing. For a maintenance-free option, consider a steel or composite door that resembles a wood texture.
  • Steel: By far the most popular garage door material, steel is cost-effective, durable, dent-resistant and long-lasting. Steel offers superior security and can withstand extreme climates. Backed by rigid foam insulation, steel garage doors provide strength while remaining lightweight.
  • Composite: Steel doors with composite overlays provide the durability of steel with the realistic feel of wood. For the look of wood without the upkeep, steel composite doors are a great choice.
  • Aluminum and glass: Aluminum is ideal for coastal climates. While salt spray can prematurely rust steel, aluminum won’t rust in oceanic air. Aluminum and glass doors let in sunlight, perfect for modern homes and garage spaces used as work studios. Without insulation material, aluminum doors are also prone to heat loss which can increase your energy cost; for this reason, we don’t recommend them for withstanding Michigan’s cold weather. 

3. Consider Insulation Value and Energy Efficiency for Your Garage 

You’d benefit significantly from an insulated garage door if:

  • The garage is attached to your home.
  • You live in a three- or four-season climate.
  • Winters are frigid, or summers are scorching.
  • You use the garage as a workshop, laundry area or other functional space.
  • A level of finished space, like a guest room, exists above the garage.

A well-insulated door can keep a garage warm on a cold winter day and prevent cool air from escaping in the summer heat. As a resident of Western Michigan, we highly recommend considering garage door insulation when choosing your next door. Insulation minimizes drafts and thermal energy transfer. As a result, homeowners who install insulated doors save on their heating and cooling bills.

Keep in mind that not all insulation is created equal. Review the certified R-value of the door. The higher the R-value, the greater the garage door’s performance — and the more significant the energy efficiency.

4. Select the Finish and Color of Your Garage Door to Improve Curb Appeal

A fresh garage door enhances the beauty of your garage and entire house exterior. The right finish increases home value for years to come, while a poor color choice can have an adverse effect.

Keep these tips in mind to select the perfect finish:

  • Avoid front-door competition: Think of your garage doors as backup dancers to the main star of the show — your entry door. Match your garage door color to the house exterior or window trim to complement — and not outshine — your entry door. Coordinate, don’t compete.
  • Bypass bold color: A vivid hue on a front door can perk up a tired entry, but it’s best to avoid bold color on a garage door. Because garage doors take up as much as one-third of a front facade, intense colors can overwhelm.
  • Choose a timeless color: Yearly color trends come and go, but classic tones pass the test of time. Clean and timeless, white is the most popular color. Consider neutrals like beige, gray or black, which offer a change from standard white. For exteriors with natural materials like stone, warm browns and wood stain are inviting door finishes.

5. Add Finishing Touches to Your Garage Door for a Custom Look

As the “jewelry” of garage doors, hardware and windows add that custom look.

Hardware visually connects your garage doors to other metallic finishes on your home — seen on exterior lanterns, fencing and roofs — to create a cohesive aesthetic. Garage door manufacturers offer numerous decorative door hardware styles, including:

  • Handles
  • Door knockers
  • Brackets

In many cases, hardware selection and installation are optional. If you fall in love with a carriage house door that traditionally includes iron-look hinges, but you prefer a cleaner look without the hardware, ask your door provider about customization.

Garage door windows add character and let in an abundance of natural light. For homeowners in high-wind areas, impact-resistant glass options are available. If privacy is a concern, rest assured that glass can be tinted, mirrored or frosted to give you the benefit of light with protection in mind.

6. Remember the Garage Door Opener

Doors don’t automatically come with openers, so remember to talk to your door provider about garage door openers. Automatic openers offer several benefits:

  • Safety and accessibility: Unlike manual doors, automatic openers help people safely open doors regardless of their range of motion, preventing potential injury.
  • Convenience: You can open your garage door without leaving your vehicle during inclement weather conditions.
  • Lighting: Most openers include automatic lights when the door is in use, preventing stumbles in an otherwise dark garage.

Benefits of a New Garage Door

A new garage door can breathe life into your home and inspire you to tackle those other value-adding projects like landscaping or a paint refresh. No matter which door you select, you’ll enjoy these benefits when you decide to purchase a new garage door:

  • Improved curb appeal: When you invest in your garage doors, you instantly update approximately 30% of your house’s exterior — that’s a significant improvement!
  • Increased home value: According to the most recent Remodeling Impact Report by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), updated garage doors increase home value and offer a high ROI of more than 95%.
  • Energy savings: Replacing an older, uninsulated garage door with a new, energy-rated model can reduce garage energy loss.
  • Security: New garage doors connected to quality openers offer superior protection to older, manual entries. Some door openers offer self-closing systems, so if you forget to close your door, it’ll shut it for you.

Contact Quality Door Company for Garage Doors Done Right

Are you looking for help with how to choose the best garage door? We can help. 

With more than 30 years of experience, you can trust our expert technicians to provide the professional advice, attention and care you deserve. As a Clopay Master Authorized Dealer™, Quality Door Company is dedicated to providing the highest quality of garage doors and service to communities in Southwest Michigan. 

To get started on a garage door upgrade that’s as resilient as it is beautiful, shop our residential garage door collections or contact our friendly staff today!