Garages are no longer just an add on to the house, little more than a lean-to with exposed frames and roofing. Now they are fully lined, including insulated doors, with garage carpeting to expand the functionality of the space for recreation, and inclusion of workbenches and laundry facilites, all of which make the modern garage an essential part of any new home or renovation.
Garages are an integral part of the home design, and doors can be sourced that enhance the street appeal of your house. Alternatively, prebuilt units can be bought and installed rapidly and cheaply.
There was a time when the stand-alone garage had a simple up-and-over door, or maybe a pair of side-hinged panels, protecting the family motor. Today, more and more of us have an integral garage that leads into the home, and it may be large enough to contain two or three cars, plus maybe a boat or jet-ski, representing both a key security point and a big investment needing protection.
If you’re choosing a garage door for your new build, or replacing an old door, note that nowadays doors are available in countless styles to enhance the character and street value of your home.
Choosing a material
- Garage doors are usually steel, timber, aluminium or fibreglass. Timber is usually the costliest option, steel the cheapest.
- Your choice will be governed partly by budget and aesthetics but also by location.
- Metal doors are available in a broad colour range with a high-quality, powder-coated ﬁnish or a timber effect. If you live near the sea, steel is an unwise choice as it will corrode.
- Timber is versatile and classic, but expensive.
- Fibreglass can be robust, but watch out for cheap and flimsy makes.
- Modern products are also insulated, meaning you can use maintain heating throughout your house and you can use the garage for other uses, too.
Choosing a door type
Four main door types are used
- Side-hinged: These are usually paired, and open like barn doors.
- Roller: A vertical roller lifts and either rolls onto a horizontal ceiling axle or slides to be flush with the ceiling inside. A side roller is self-explanatory.
- Up-and-over: This is a single panel that lifts and slides to be flush with the ceiling inside. Structural strength and space considerations can be a problem with large panels.
- Sectional: This is a halfway solution between roller and up-and-over, comprising a series of hinged horizontal panels that lifts out of the way. It’s probably the best option for the widest range of homes, offering good security and weatherproofing, and quiet operation.
There are many more considerations. For instance:
- Both up-and-over and sectional can be made in many custom designs with plywood, metal and cedar claddings.
- Windows may be added to sectional and side-hinged doors to let in light or to match the style of your house.
- Often automatic operators are offered with the facility to activate/deactivate a burglar alarm or lighting from a single remote control and these can all be controlled from Smart Home controls now.
If in doubt, consult an expert, who can assist with scenarios such as conﬁned parking space, or even what size, material and finish best suit your given budget.
In new builds, local councils now require full lock-up before interior lining can occur, and this includes window/doors and garage doors. It’s therefore best to order your garage door in good time so as not to delay the progress of your build.
When ordering doors, allow two to three weeks for coloured steel doors and three to four weeks for powder-coated or custom-made doors.
The latest time to consult a door supplier is at the framing stage, once the roof is on. It is still relatively easy to make changes to the opening at this point. Once the door arrives, windows are usually installed and the door is the last item to close in the exterior envelope.
Keep in mind that the garage door installer requires the front wall lining and insulation (if applicable) to be in place ﬁrst. This saves the builder having to remove the track, etc., to do the lining. Normally the inspectors are happy for this to proceed but check with your local council.