The garage door is probably one of the last things you think about when it comes to home updating projects. It’s thought of as being the purely utilitarian element of our house. But trust us on this. Spend some time on your garage door and you will see it can do wonders for your home.
If our home looks like most others, there are big chances that our garage is front and center and its door is one of the primary points of entry. But we usually do not think about our garage doors much until they need repairing. Not only can a right garage door provide easy and safe access to our garage, but it also can refresh our property’s overall appearance, particularly if it can be seen from curbside. Here are some useful suggestions and tips on how to make a plain garage door the focal point of our home’s facade.
1. Decide on the material
When choosing the proper material, there’s a lot to think about durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and cost. The chosen material also needs to work well with our climate.
There are four main types of materials used to make garage doors:
- Wood. Wood is preferred for its natural look. Wood doors can be made in whatever size we need and they range from midprice to very expensive ones, depending on what kind of timber is used. The downside is that they require regular maintenance – frequent repainting or refinishing every couple of years, especially if we live in a damp climate.
- Steel. Steel garage doors are much stronger and more secure than doors made of other types of materials. Steel doors won’t crack, warp, delaminate or fall apart due to the weather conditions. However, bare steel can rust, so we need to touch up scratches promptly, and steel also dents.
- Aluminum. Aluminum doors are quite popular because they will not rust, they are extremely lightweight, and are relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, aluminum is less durable than steel and dents easily.
- Fiberglass. Like aluminum, fiberglass is very lightweight. Fiberglass garage doors are translucent and this makes them a perfect choice where light transmission is important. However, fiberglass yellows with age, it is a poor insulator, and it breaks very easily, especially in low temperatures.
2. Choose the style that best suits your home
After we have selected a material it’s time to consider what aesthetics we’d like our garage to have. The garage door has long been mainly a functional concern but the style is now playing a major role. Just as there are many different house styles, there are also a variety of garage door styles. And it’s suggested to choose the garage doors that mimic the architectural details of our home.
In order to decide what will be the best for our home, we have to be familiar with all the options. Let’s take a look now at four most popular garage door styles:
- Traditional raised panel. The traditional raised panel garage doors remain the most popular and best-selling kinds of doors. They offer a classy, elegant look and they are very durable. The raised panels start with a recessed edge, but the interior surface of each panel is brought slightly forward. There are two types of raised panel doors including short panel and long panel styles.
- Transitional recessed panel. Recessed panel garage doors are quite similar to raised panel doors but instead of the panels being elevated, they’re sunken. This style connects tradition but with a contemporary style.
- Modern flush panel. Flush garage doors are level, even, and have smooth surfaces with clean and simple lines that will make our home look elegant. They are perfect for an urban setting.
- Carriage house doors. A century ago we kept horses in the carriage house. Now the carriage house door is back – garage door manufacturers have designed garage doors that look like old carriage house doors. These doors appear to swing outward, however, they open overhead so that we get the distinctive look of a carriage style door with complete opening functionality.
3. Choose the garage door operating mechanism
Garage doors have a wide variety of opening and closing mechanisms. Some can be similar to those used by other entrance doors, but some are typical only for garage doors. The average garage door opens and shuts 1500 times a year, so it’s very important to choose the right mechanism.
Here are some of the most popular and efficient garage door mechanisms we would like to recommend:
- Canopy up and over. This type of garage door mechanism is the most famous and the most operative one. It’s is usually used on doors up to 8 feet wide. Canopy tilt-up doors have a pivoting hinge mechanism that allows the door to be lifted upward and slid back at ceiling level into the garage. About a third of the door protrudes out from the framework when open forming a “canopy”.
- Retractable up and over. A retractable tilt-up door operates in a similar way as a canopy door, except that the door panel retracts fully into the garage.
- Sectional roll-up. Sectional doors are made of multiple panels that slide up when opened and they do not require any space outside the garage to open. What’s more, this kind of mechanism can also go far higher than most other door types and can be easily automated.
- Roller shutter. Roller garage doors resemble the sectional ones but have their own specifics. As the name suggest, individual horizontal panels (constructed from either steel or aluminum) roll up and down on a barrel. Roller doors are the ideal solution for small spaces – they do not swing out and allow us to use the available space inside and out.
- Side hinged. The doors hinge outwards on a steel or timber subframe with no part ever going into the garage. They are manufactured in timber, steel, and polyester.
4. Pick the right color
In general, there are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing the garage door color – we either hide it or flaunt it, with the former being a more prevailing advice. We should remember that our front door is the focus of our home, not the garage door. In fact, the vast majority of houses have standard, usually not very attractive garage doors and it is best to have them blend rather than contrast with the main color of the house.
Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts for painting garage doors:
- DO paint the garage doors in the same color as the house itself. Firstly, it makes our home appear larger. Secondly, it doesn’t draw attention to the garage door, because after all, it is just a garage door. If our home is brick, we should find a color that blends in with the color of the brick.
- DO paint the trim around the doors either to match the door or to match the trim on the rest of your home.
- DON’T paint the garage doors in the same color as the front door. As it was already mentioned, the main focus should be on our home and the front entrance.
- DON’T paint your garage door two colors – clashing colors are unlikely to work in most cases and it’s a very dated look.
There are however exceptions to every rule, and the color of our garage door is, in fact, a highly personal decision. Although our neighbors may have homes with basic brown or white garage doors, we can incorporate a bit of flair into our home’s appearance with a bit more colorful garage doors.
5. Install windows to your garage door
Is our garage dark and dreary because of the lack of sunlight? We can fix it by adding some windows to our garage door! Choosing the right windows can also add that decorative touch that so many garage doors lack. Our home will stand out and it will look more open and inviting.
Before installing windows it is crucial to consider the following factors:
- Understand your purpose. If you are converting a garage into a play area or work space, windows can add some natural light.
- Understand your garage door. It’s very important to take note of the brand of the door, the year it was manufactured, dimensions and thickness. These specifications will determine whether we can find the right size of windows for our door.
- Consider security. It’s good to apply a translucent or opaque film to the glass. It will decrease what strangers can see in our garage.
- Determine windows placement. The location of windows will vary depending on the effect we want them to have on our garage. If our garage is dark and dreary, placing windows in the top section will give us a lot of daylight without detracting from our privacy and security.
- Choose the style of windows. It is suggested to match the style of our garage door windows to the other windows around our home, such as the front door. Window insert options include cathedral, cascade, mission, Waterton, unburst, Sherwood, Stockton, arched Stockton, madison, and arched madison. Glass options include frosted, plain, tinted, obscure and glue chip.
6. Secure your garage
When we think about home security, the garage is usually forgotten, which is problematic because this is one of the biggest security vulnerability areas in our home. Items inside our garage – cars, lawnmowers, and some expensive tools – are quite appealing to thieves.
Fortunately, there are some steps we can take to protect ourselves:
- Installing a security system. If somebody tries to enter our garage, the alarm will sound and can alert emergency services.
- Keeping our windows (if we have some) covered. We can apply for example a translucent or opaque film to the glass. This lets light in but prevents others from seeing what’s inside.
- Installing motion detector lights. When some motion is detected, a light turns on and stays on for a preset time.
- Securing the garage doors. We can use a deadbolt, which has more than one lock, or a padlock with a programmed entry code.
- Remembering not to leave our garage remote in the car. If a thief breaks into our car and steals the remote, he has an easy access to our garage and home.
We have to remember that our garage is much more than a place to park our car. It is an extension of our home and the right garage doors can add curb appeal to our property.