Although a garage door may look like a simple object at first glance, it is in fact a complex piece of engineering that is designed to perform a number of tasks including reliable operation, security, and protection against the elements.
In addition to these factors, the overall design of the door must suit the style and period of the property, while the type of operating mechanism must meet the needs of the individual homeowner.
There are a huge number of options available to select from when looking to purchase a new garage door. Without the proper knowledge of the pros and cons of each design it is easy to end up with a model that is not ideal for the required application, so to make it easier for you to find the right garage door for your property, we have put together a list of features for each of them, so you can easily compare and chose with confidence.
The following information looks at some of the most popular styles available on the market, and determines the benefits and drawbacks associated with each one.
Up & Over Garage Doors
Up and over doors are currently the most popular design on the market. This type of door is the bread-and-butter of the industry. Popular with both developers and property owners working to a budget, the huge array of designs, combined with a cheap price tag, make them an extremely appealing option.
• Available in many designs to suit a variety of architectural styles of property
• Easy to install for the average DIY enthusiast or builder
• Suitable for automation using any standard boom-operated garage door motor (with the exception of canopy doors)
• Provides adequate levels of security to meet the demands of most residential environments
• The bottom of the door kicks out as it opens which can cause parking and access issues
• Manual doors can be quite heavy to lift, even when the spring tension has been properly set
• Cheaper “canopy lifting gear” is not suitable for automation (without the addition of a bow arm convertor)
• Requires a frame fixed inside the opening to support the lifting mechanism, therefore the drive-through width is compromised. (Losing a few inches may not sound a lot but it can make a real difference when trying to park a vehicle inside the garage)
Side-Hinged Garage Doors
Probably the least common of all the designs, this style of door is available in steel, GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) and timber.
• Suitable for traditional styles of property
• Simple to install and even easier to operate
• Pedestrian access is possible without having to open both doors
• Requires minimal amounts of maintenance
• Only really suitable for single garages unless you have a large drive (this is because the swinging arc on larger doors would take up excessive space on the driveway)
• Not suitable for automation (without making some modifications to the door)
• Can pose access issues where the property only has a short driveway area
• Offer a limited level of security (it is quite easy to force the doors open in the middle using a bar)
Roller Shutter Garage Doors
This style of door has seen a massive increase in popularity over the last decade because it offers the user many benefits that are not possible with other designs. Manufactured in bespoke sizes, there are two main variations of roller shutter garage door to select from.
Single Skin– These are manufactured from a single sheet of roll-formed steel that coils around a spindle and drum wheel. They are the most affordable of the two styles, however they are not suited to all garage spaces due the amount of internal headroom they require to house the roller mechanism.
Insulated– This style of door is constructed using a combination of aluminium and expanded foam insulation, and is designed to help retain heat inside the garage for longer periods of time. This makes them the perfect design for properties that feature an attached garage or where the building is to be used as a workshop or hobby room. You can find out more information about these doors from Roller Garage Door.com including costs and specifications by clicking on the image below. Thanks to them for the use of their images.
• Designed to be fitted inside the garage, the door does not require a frame therefore the maximum opening width and height is maintained
• Manual doors are lightweight and easy to operate (even large double door can be operated using one hand)
• The space-saving design will allow more storage area to be created inside the garage (this is because the curtain rolls up rather than retracting back inside the building along the ceiling)
• Manufactured in bespoke sizes to ensure the perfect fit to any size opening
• Automatic doors are extremely safe to operate. They feature a bottom rail safety edge to stop the downward if an object is detected. In addition to this they also feature a safety brake to prevent the curtain dropping like a guillotine if any of the major mechanical parts ever fail
• Numerous colour finishes are available (usually for no addition cost over the price of a white door)
• Suitable for DIY installation
• Due to the space required to house the roller mechanism they may not be suitable for all garages.
• Quite expensive compared to traditional designs.
Sectional Garage Doors
Built up of a number of individual panels stacked on top of each other, a sectional door curves back inside the garage as it opens to sit horizontally within the roof space (supported by metal tracks hung off the ceiling).
• Vertical lift operation allows cars to be parked right up to the door without restricting access
• The double-skinned insulated panel is thermally efficient and extremely rigid
• Features minimal weak points to enable high levels of security
• Available in a range of designs to suit various styles of property
• Numerous accessories are available including various window designs to create a customised look
• Capable of spanning large openings without the need for a central post
• Requires horizontal tracks to be fitted to the garage ceiling which cuts down on valuable storage space inside the garage
• Consisting of numerous components the doors take a considerable amount of time to install and are therefore not ideally suited to DIY installation
• A quality insulated sectional door from a UK manufacturer is likely to cost double that of a conventional up and over design
Hopefully this information will prove useful to you when choosing a new garage door.
You can find out more about how to fit garage doors in our DIY Projects section.