Updated: November 2017

Garage Door Reviews:

How to Choose the Best Garage Doors - A garage gives us the incredible luxury of space. Whether we choose to use it for our cars so we can begin our morning commutes without facing the elements or we use it for storage, a garage is tremendously helpful. But it most definitely starts to feel unhelpful and decidedly un-luxurious when your garage doors are creaking, groaning, refusing to open, or just as infuriatingly, refusing to close. Garage doors should be something we take for granted; we shouldn't have to spend much thought on them. So, spend a little time now choosing the right garage door, and you won't have to think about it again anytime soon. Here are some tips for buying garage doors.

Choosing Garage Doors:

You should be able to drive right up to your garage, and with a click of a button, have access to the inside. Whether it is attached to your home or not, being able to securely park your car - or your belongings - in a garage is a definite benefit. The best roll-up and overhead garage doors provide security and safety from the elements and from theft, as well as add to your home's aesthetic appearance and value. In addition, if you have an older model door, you can upgrade to one of today's efficient, smooth, and easy-to-operate models. You can choose from wood, aluminum, composite, fiberglass, or steel to suit your needs and preferences. Which is right for you, and which has the features you want? First, just measure your garage door opening. You'll need this information! The next step is to decide on aesthetics: do you want flush panels, which are flat, raised panels, painted panels, windows, coach or barn style doors? Your garage door accounts for a significant part of your home's exterior, so style is not just an afterthought. Today's top manufacturers create an incredible array of designs that will fit your home, whether it is an old Victorian or a modern ranch. Next, think about the material of the door. Wood and steel are the most popular and the most affordable. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Wood has the advantage of being the most budget-friendly material. A 16 x 7 foot flush wood door, for example, costs from $400 to $700. Wood is easy to install, and there is no denying its beauty. On the other hand, wood expands and contracts with the weather, warps, needs to be painted, and is typically the least durable. Steel garage doors don't crack, warp, or succumb to weather changes, and today's models can be painted to look like real wood. Steel garage doors are usually treated to resist rust, and they have polystyrene or polyurethane foam insulation to help you keep your home cool in the summer or warm in the wanter. The doors are light and easy to use. They can dent, however, and are difficult to repair if this happens. They also cost more than wood: an average steel garage door costs between $750 and $1200. Fiberglass is generally used by those who live in caustic, oceanside climates, but both it and aluminum are not durable. Fiberglass breaks, and aluminum can dent very easily. Insulation is important. For temperate climates, your R factor should be 3. For colder climates, choose an R factor of up to 10. Good insulation is also vital if you use your garage as a workspace, laundry room, or rec room.

Best Garage Doors:

The first step is to know where to look, and luckily, you have a lot of options. As far as brands, Clopay, Martin, Raynor, Garador, Amar, and Wayne Dalton are the top manufacturers. Their doors are typically of very high quality, and you can find many models that will fit your budget. To start, go to Home Depot (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=SV_HS_Garage_Doors_Openers_Installation&langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=) and Lowe's (http://www.lowes.com/cd_Garage+Door+Buying+Guide_468943105_) physical location or websites. They each have garage door buying guides to help you decide on the right model. Clopay is the brand sold by Home Depot, and when you use their garage door guide, you will enter in your height and width requirements. A list of possible matches is generated for you to puruse. For instance, if you need a 16 x 7 foot door, you will have options, which include the Value Plus Series. This is a steel door with insulation (R value of 6.3), and if you choose a short panel design with no extras, it will cost about $670 to install yourself or $1100 to have installed. As you add options, such as windows or locks, the price will increase. If you opt for Clopay, try their online tool to help pick the right door (http://www.clopaydoor.com/Guide-Me-Quiz.aspx). As a top brand, Clopay can be a bit pricy, especially if you're not a DIY-er. Wayne Dalton is a good budget-friendly choice. You will still get the quality you want, but at a lower price. A basic short panel steel door, for instance, costs just over $300 at stores like Lowes. You can also find models by manufacturers like Amarr that run the spectrum from affordable to luxurious. You can find the door that will fit your needs and your budget, and you can do so even when you choose the top brands.

Garage Doors Installation: DIY or Not:

As you can see with the Clopay garage door, installation can tack on several hundreds of dollars to the cost of a garage door. This can be well worth it if you do not have the time or the technical inclination to do it yourself. If you do opt to do it yourself, there are two things you should be aware of: garage doors can weigh 150 or more pounds, making them unwieldy for a lot of people, and there are a lot of steps to follow! You can see step-by-step instructions at the DIY Network (http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-replace-a-garage-door/index.html) or view videos on YouTube. If you opt to purchase through stores like Home Depot, a professional will come out to inspect your garage door and prepare for installation. You will get your installation quote then, and if it is too much and you want to tackle DIY, you can make that decision. Home stores like these also tend to have lower installation fees. Great garage doors can make a tremendous difference in the appearance of your home, its temperature, and the security of the belongings your garage stores. Choose from top brands like Clopay, Amarr, and Martin, and then forget about it.