Things to Know Before Buying a Garage Door
A good garage door will last decades, maybe even a lifetime. So it makes sense to spend a little extra time and effort making the best choice possible, and avoid cheap garage doors.
Get an ‘In-Person’ Quote
Ordering a garage door over the phone or online is asking for trouble. Every garage is a little different, and a knowledgeable salesperson will check details like opening size and shape, headroom and side clearance, and even help you make design decisions. And if something does go wrong, there won’t be any question about whose fault it is. So make sure you get a salesperson to come to your house and check out the situation before ordering a door. A new 16-ft. door will cost anywhere from $800 to $8,000 and a good salesperson could help you find cheap garage doors.
Beware of Wooden Doors
Real wood doors look fantastic when they’re new. But unless you’re willing to devote time and money to maintenance, they won’t look good for long. Natural finishes last a few years before they need recoating. And if you wait too long, you’ll have to sand off all the finish and start over to get your door looking new again.The good news is, you can get the look of wood for a fraction of the cost, and avoid the maintenance nightmare as well. The least expensive option is embossed steel with a faux wood-grain finish (less than$1,000). From a distance, these doors look remarkably similar to real wood. If you’re willing to spend more ($2,500 and up), consider a garage door with a wood composite overlay or a fiberglass skin. Composites offer the look of real wood with the longevity and stability of plastic when you shop garage doors.
Upgrade Your Insulation
If you’re planning to buy an insulated door because you want to save energy or keep your garage warm, it’s worth spending about 15 to 20 percent extra to upgrade from extruded polystyrene to polyurethane insulation. The insulating effectiveness of a garage door is its R-value. The larger the number, the better it insulates. According to Clopay, upgrading from 2-in. polystyrene to its Intellicore (polyurethane) raises the insulating value from R-9 toR-18. That’s a lot of bang for the buck.
Pay a Little More for Beefier Springs
Springs are what help your garage door go up easily and come down slowly. Most garage doors use torsion springs. You can usually see these coiled torsion springs above the door. Standard torsion springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles. That may sound like a lot, but if you open and close your door six times a day, which is pretty average, you’ll reach 10,000 cycles in less than five years. Spending an extra $50 when you shop garage doors will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles, twice the life for a few bucks more.
Buy a New Opener at the Same Time
The same person who installs your new door can also install a new garage door opener. Your opener will fail eventually, so if it’s showing its age or you just want a quieter opener or one with more features, this is the time to replace it. Replacing it along with the door will probably save you money on labor, and you may even be able to negotiate a package deal on the new door and opener.
Think Twice About Installing Your Own Door
You could save a few hundred dollars by installing the door yourself, but it’s one DIY project that doesn’t have a big payoff. Here’s why. For starters, there’s a ton of parts and it’ll take you at least a full day to put them together. Plus, winding the spring calls for special tools and lots of arm strength and is fairly dangerous. If you hire a pro to install the door, the new door will be delivered and the old one hauled away, and the job will be done in about four hours. And you’ll have someone to a call if there’s a problem.
Use Manufacturers’ Websites to Choose a Door Design
When you shop garage doors, you don’t have to guess how a particular style and color of door will look on your house when you check garage doors for sale online. Most manufacturers have software on their website that allows you to upload a photo of your garage and add any of their garage door styles to it. This lets you choose a door style, include the design features you like, pick windows and a color, and even add hardware. You can play around with different styles until you find one you like. Then print out the specs for an accurate price quote from your dealer to help you find cheap garage doors.
Choose Windows Wisely
You might be surprised how much better a garage door looks with the right windows. And beyond adding style, windows can supply much needed light to the garage interior. Here are a few tips for choosing glass:
If your garage is heated, upgrade to insulated glass.
For extra privacy and security, install the glass in the top panel.
Match the glass style to your house windows if possible.
If your garage door opening has angled rather than square corners, don’t install glass that goes behind them. It might look awkward.
Need a Quiet Door? Look for These Features
If you have an attached garage and want to minimize the racket caused by the garage door going up and down, choose a door with polyurethane insulation and nylon rollers. The insulation dampens any vibrations that would normally be amplified by an uninsulated steel door. And nylon rollers are simply quieter than metal ones. If you’re also planning to replace the garage door opener, look for an opener with a belt drive. They’re quieter than other types.
Choose High Quality 24-Gauge Steel
If you’re going to buy an non-insulated steel door, make sure it’s made from steel that’s at least 24-gauge. Many economy garage doors are made from 25-gauge or thinner steel (the bigger the number, the thinner the steel). Insulation helps reduce denting by providing a backer for the steel. Without this reinforcement, you need thicker steel to prevent dents.