Garage door materials largely come down to personal preference, although there are some practical considerations. You must look at such factors as maintenance, long-term costs and flexibility. Below is a comparison of three of the most common garage door materials.
- Look. Steel garage doors are a modern, sleek-looking option, and they are comparatively easy to keep clean and looking nice.
- Options. You have countless options for a steel garage door, including appearance, size and so on.
- Low maintenance. Steel garage doors are easy to maintain. They aren’t damaged by hot or cold temperatures, and they won’t split, splinter or peel with time.
- Dents. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, but steel doors can be dinged up fairly easily.
- Insulation. While steel itself is not the best insulator, steel garage doors are easily fitted to have insulation features.
- Attractiveness. One of the primary reasons to go with a wooden garage door is aesthetics. The grain of a wooden garage door is a classy touch for some homes, and wood often matches the style of older homes looking to recreate a retro feel.
- Flexibility. Wood is very customizable. It can be made into virtually any garage shape or size.
- Toughness. Unlike steel doors, wood can take a hit or two without much damage. It won’t dent like steel.
- Damage. While it won’t dent like steel, wood will split and crack if not properly maintained.
- Maintenance. Wooden garage doors require fairly frequent repainting, and bolts must be tightened often. In a humid or rainy environment, or one where water might pool at the base of the door, swelling can be a major issue.
- Insulation. Wood is not an excellent insulator by any means, and unlike a steel door, it’s not so simple to modify a wooden door for insulation.
- Cost. Wooden garage doors tend to cost more. Additionally, they may require a stronger opener.
- Cost. Vinyl is one of the most long-term affordable materials for a garage door.
- Maintenance. They require less frequent paint touch-ups because the entire door is a composite made of one color material. Similarly, vinyl resists rust.
- Durability. This material is generally strong and can resist dents. And unlike wood, it won’t split. From a weather standpoint, vinyl doors are highly resistant to humidity-related warping or swelling, and coatings can make them resistant to color fading that comes from sun exposure.
- Insulation. Like steel doors, vinyl doors can be purchased with built-in insulation. However, a vinyl garage door on its own will do little to insulate your garage.
- Color permanence. A drawback of a vinyl garage door is the inability to change the color once everything is in place. Rather than attempt a shoddy paint job, many homeowners are forced to change out the door entirely if they want a new look.