Once upon a time, a garage door was just a utilitarian way to seal up the garage. However, over time, they have evolved considerably from what they once were. Today, there are many new styles on the market, and there are plenty of new features that can add value and convenience. Of course, if you haven’t been on the market for a new garage door in some time, or you’ve never really paid much attention to the options available, navigating your way through the marketplace can be a bit confusing. Below, we’ll explore some of the modern garage door styles and features available to you.
Traditional garage doors are just that – traditional. They’re the type that you’re used to seeing, usually three or four panels of metal or wood, put together with hinges, and designed to roll up overhead. In many instances, these doors are flat, but sometimes they might have decorative motifs on them. Some have small windows inset at about head height, but others do not. These are among the plainest (and most affordable) garage doors on the market, but they can be customized to at least some degree to meet your needs in terms of style, color and design.
Raised panel garage doors are very close to traditional in terms of how they look, but they feature raised panels across the front. Depending on where you grew up, these might actually be what you picture when you think of garage doors. The number and size of the panels can vary from six to nine, and more, and there is usually at least a row of small windows at the top of the door to provide light into the interior.
Most of these doors are made of wood, or fiberglass, but some are made from metal. Modern raised panel garage doors do differ from the predecessors in one way. In the past, the panels actually floated within a rail-style frame. Today’s models are solid, though, and the panel is just a decorative touch.
Looking for something that goes beyond the bounds of “traditional”, and offers better aesthetics? If so, then you might appreciate the carriage house style door. Some people refer to this as “barn door style”, although that’s not quite right. They’re designed to be reminiscent of old-style stables where carriages were stored when not in use, and usually feature a double row of windows at the top, as well as defined upright panels on the door themselves.
Handles (usually faux) are inset into the door to make it look as though they can open outward. There’s a lot of variation in the realm of carriage house garage doors. Some are two or three different colors, to help match your home’s overall design and color scheme. Some lack the trademark handles completely, and some are just a single color. Some have defined iron hardware like faux hinges to make them more closely resemble the carriage houses of old.
Contemporary is a very wide category in the world of modern garage door styles. These can range from minimalist designs to very ornate, although they do tend toward modern design in most instances. Contemporary designed garage doors are generally about achieving two goals at the same time – creating a stylish entryway for the garage itself, as well as tying into the overall aesthetic of your home. For instance, these doors are often designed to reflect the style of the home’s front door, all the way down to the hardware used. Some feature tinted or frosted glass windows, and some are designed with aluminum frames, rather than using steel, aluminum, or fiberglass.
Technically part of “contemporary” design, glass garage doors deserve a mention all on their own. While they’re not particularly common, they are becoming more and more widespread. They make excellent additions for homes that also house businesses, but can be used to great effect by those turning their garages into entertaining areas that are tied to the rest of the home. In most cases, these garage doors use aluminum or steel frames, and large panels of tempered glass. The glass can be tinted if you prefer, helping to provide a touch more privacy. They can also be mirrored if you like, becoming more akin to one-way glass.
Think that all garage doors roll up and down? While that’s the most common type, it’s not the only option out there. One increasingly popular door style slides into the wall to the side, rather than rolling up above where the car is parked. Sliding garage doors are usually found in three panels that slide into and nest within one another. Another option is an opening garage door that folds open like a regular door on hinges mounted on the side. Of course, neither of these is quite as convenient as the roll up style, but they are definitely different.
In addition to the styles we’ve discussed above, you’ll find a wide range of different features available with today’s garage doors.
Insulation: Many modern doors feature eco-insulation and are designed to help you reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Windows: Garage door windows can be found in a range of styles and designs, allowing you to match your home’s overall design more closely.
Glass: Glass is playing a larger and larger role in garage door design, and you’ll find partial-glass doors, full glass-doors (as mentioned), and doors with large windows made of tempered glass. Note that tempered glass is heavier than standard glass, and will likely need a heavier duty opener.
Wood: Wood is playing less of a role in door and frame construction, but more of a role in the world of veneers and decorative options and embellishments.
Lightweight Construction: Many garage doors are using advanced materials and insulation types to offer lighter and lighter weights.
Heavy-Duty Weather Stripping: This weather stripping can stand up to even the harshest winter conditions, remaining pliable and holding a good seal.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to garage door styles and designs. Whatever you want to achieve in terms of aesthetics for your home, there’s a garage door to help you do it.