If you haven’t purchased a garage door in the last 15 or 20 years, what you find might be surprising. No longer cookie cutter, garage doors are sold in all sorts of styles, designs and materials. They can be decorative features.
Replacing old garage doors has become one of the post popular home improvement projects. Why? It is one of the most affordable ways to boost curb appeal. In a 2014 survey by Remodeling magazine, new garage doors ranked No. 4 among home improvement projects that generate the biggest return on investment.
Most modern garage doors are made of steel backed by rigid-foam insulation, according to This Old House. Steel has largely replaced wood because it requires far less maintenance. Steel garage doors are available in various strengths, including 24-gauge (strongest) 26-gauge and 28-gauge. They can have one, two or three layers, and each additional layer provides extra insulating value and soundproofing. Some steel doors are embossed to look like wood, while others have a smoother finish. All have a topcoat for rust protection.
Vinyl garage doors are relatively new to the market, and they’re growing in popularity. They are lightweight, low maintenance, rust free and rot free. They come in a variety of designs, and most come with 20-year warranties - double that of steel doors.
Fiberglass doors are less common, but they have gained some popularity, too. They are essentially steel doors with fiberglass coatings for extra durability. Fiberglass doors are the some of the strongest on the market. They’re more attractive than vinyl doors because they can more convincingly mimic other materials, particularly wood grain. Unlike vinyl, fiberglass can be painted.
Of course, some people still prefer the classic look of natural wood. Wood garage doors require significant maintenance and upkeep, and they’re expensive, but they create a classic and distinct look. For those who appreciate this look but don’t want to deal with upkeep, faux wood or composite overlay doors are a good option.
The most popular new style - by far - is the carriage door. Rather than one door that slides up and down, there are two doors meet in the middle and swing or slide open to the sides. These are usually custom or semi-custom built, but some stock models have the appearance of carriage doors while functioning like traditional garage doors. According to the Door and Access Manufacturers Association, one in every five garage doors sold today in a carriage door. Sales have tripled since 2005.
Barn doors are similar, except they have one large door that slides or swings open to the side, rather than two. Picture a real barn door and you’ve got the idea.
In recent years, we’ve also seen a trend toward modern and industrial styles. These can have metal finishes, frosted glass panels, unusual window configurations, geometric designs, colored glass - you name it. These styles are most popular on modern-style homes, but they can be used to add a modern twist to an older home.
The price of a garage door is largely influenced by whether it is stock, semi-custom or custom. The material also makes a big impact.
- Stock steel doors with no insulation and few decorative features start at about $300 to $400, not including installation. High-end steel doors with insulation and windows usually cost $600 to $1,500. Budget on the high end of that range for heavily insulated doors that offer a choice of styles and designs.
- Fiberglass doors usually cost $1,000 to $3,000, not including installation.
- Stock wood doors start at about $500 to $600. Semi-custom wood doors cost in the range of $1,500 to $3,000. Custom wooden doors start at about $3,000, but the price can quickly escalate if you choose an expensive wood, an intricate design or an unusual shape.
- Installation, on average, costs $200 to $500.
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