Choosing the Right Garage Door

When it comes to choosing and installing garage doors, it is important to ask a few simple initial questions;

  • What types of garage doors are available?
  • What is my budget?
  • What will I be using the garage for, storage or parking?
  • If it is being used to store a vehicle, how much headroom or width is required?
  • Is automation important?
  • What kind of design do I want?

With that in mind here is some information on some of the most common garage door types available and their pros and cons.

Up and Over Garage Doors

Up and over garage doors are the most widely used type of garage door in the UK today, more popular than all of the other types.

As the name implies they open upwards and then tilt over so they are perpendicular to the roof of the garage.

There are various configurations available from standard canopy up and over garage doors to retractable garage doors.

With canopy doors, the door itself once fully opened then protrudes from the garage somewhat whereas a retractable door will slide back into the roof of the garage.

Typically retractable doors have an easier time when being converted to an automated mechanism but they tend to suffer when it comes to the drive through width. Canopy doors are much easier to install when not automated in comparison to retractable doors and the drive through width is more impressive.

These differences may seem minor but they are always important to consider when it comes to choosing the right garage door for your needs.

Up and over garage doors are usually available in timber, steel, fibreglass and ABS plastic with various styles and designs such as panelling or ribbing.

Side Hinged Garage Doors

The side hinged garage doors design has been in use for a long time. Its popularity has increased over the past few years with a large raise in demand for them.

The benefits of side hinged garage doors are they are fairly inexpensive when compared to other garage door types; this is helped by them typically being made of wood, though modern side hinged garage doors are available in timber, steel, ABS Plastic and Glass Enforced Polyester (GRP).

Another big plus for side hinged garage doors is that they do not restrict headroom in the garage as they open outwards like a standard door.

In garages used for storage they are even more popular, as each door can be opened independently which improves pedestrian access. Some manufacturers will improve this more so by offering one and two third opening variations to make access even easier.

Roller Shutter Doors

Working on the same principle as a roller blind, roller shutters are made from many individual horizontal slats usually made out of steel or aluminium that are fastened together and then they roll up and down on a barrel mechanism.

Roller shutters are fairly standard in design but the slats can be varied to best suit your needs including different colours and finishes including wood grain effects.

The good thing about roller garage doors is that they offer maximum headroom and width in regards to drive through space for a vehicle, and they are typically motorised making them easy to open.

Unfortunately they are usually made to measure and as mentioned above motorisation is typical making manual roller doors less common. They have been used more commonly in the commercial and industrial sector, but are seeing a surge in domestic usage.

Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional garage doors could be considered a merging of up and over garage doors and roller shutters offering both versatility and drive through space. They are available in manual and automated configurations with the manual sectional garage doors able to be simply converted to automatic.

The garage door is typically split into four or five large horizontal sections, making them akin to roller shutters, however these sections do not roll around a barrel as they are too large, and  instead slide up and into the garage via tracks; this makes them similar to up and over garage doors.

Because they follow tracks, which are fitted inside the door frame, they allow maximum headroom and width for drive through purposes. As the track is not in line with the door frame but behind it, it means the shape of the door frame doesn’t matter when it comes to sectional garage doors.

Sectional garage doors are available in a wide range of finishes and materials such as steel, fiberglass and wood panelling.

Hopefully this will help give some direction when it comes to choosing the right garage door for you.