Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Choose a Garage Door

Garage doors are one of the biggest focal points on the exterior of your home, especially if it street facing. You’ll want your garage door to match the style of your home, but more importantly, you’ll need the door to be functional, able to survive the elements, and provide your home with security. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your garage door.

Garage Door Materials
Garage doors come in a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, wood, wood composites, fiberglass, vinyl or glass. Of these, the wood look is most popular. Vinyl doors are the most durable and are difficult to dent or break, while close behind are vinyl and fiberglass in durability. All of the doors can be made with or without insulation.

Garage Door Styles

Sectional Doors
The most common type of garage door is a sectional door, which is made of up several horizontal panels that have been hinged together and fitted with rollers. It rides inside of two parallel tracks and along with heavy-duty springs and bars the whole assembly can be opened and closed either manually or with a motorized garage door opener.

In terms of architecture, sectional doors are now being produced to include more designs. You can purchase doors that have windows along the top of the doors in a variety of shapes, like square or arched. Surfaces have also improved with a bevy of colors and texture options from wood grain to the popular carriage-house style; these look like swing-style doors but work the same as sectional doors.

Swing-Style Doors
Swing-style also known as carriage-house style doors work just like a very large pair of French doors. These doors are usually made of wood and hang from jambs on hinges. They are very attractive with strong vertical and clean lines. As far as energy efficiency, they are the most best since they seal very well at the header and side jambs and they only have one joint, compared to the sectional door. However, if you are planning this style, you’ll need to account for more clearance in your driveway since they swing open toward oncoming vehicles. Another consideration is that they are expensive to automate, if that is not in the budget, understand there will need to be extra time built into your arrival and departures to manually open and lock the doors.

Garage Door Openers
In the past, if you wanted to automate a garage door, there were 3 options: chain, belt, or screw-driven openers. Now, newer technology called jackshaft, direct-drive, and DC-powered openers are the quietest and most space saving of the group, but are also the most expensive.

Here is how older garage door openers work:

Chain-driven: These openers operate similar to a bicycle chain, it pushes or pulls a trolley that connect to a metal, called a J-arm, that is attached to the door. Older models were very noisy but in recent years, they are now being manufactured with DC motors and have start-and-stop technology are much quieter.

Belt-driven: Similar to chain-driving models, a reinforced belt is used instead of a chain. These are the most quiet of three types.

Screw-driven: Manufacturers claim that these need less maintenance because there are fewer moving parts. The trolley moves on a threaded-steel rod as a motor rotates the rod. The trouble with screw-driven openers, is when the temperature changes in any drastic way, the metal can become distorted.

What style of garage door do you prefer?

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