14 Types of Garage Doors – The Definitive Guide

Types of Garage Doors – When a house is renovated or remodeled, very often, the garage and the garage door do not feature in the plan. However, we must remember that this part also needs to be considered when the house is being redesigned.

It is also important to remember that our house should be a place that we live in very comfortably and at the same time, should also be fashionable. Achieving both can pose a problem sometimes and this is all the more true with garage doors.

Here, you have the option of choosing from two different types of doors. Doors that are very practical in nature and serve only the practical purpose of allowing a huge car inside and doors that look great and add value to your house.

In modern houses these days, garages are incorporated into the main building of the house instead of being built as an annex. Sometimes, this is not the case if there is enough space to build a garage that is away from the house. In either case, the garage should be designed to suit the redesigned house and should never be left out in the remodeling plans.

There are various features that are important when we decide on a garage door. You may also not be sure of the different types of such doors that are available. This article will guide you along these lines and make sure you choose the correct door for your garage.

Why Garage doors are Needed

Though garages are basically designed to park your cars, they inevitably turn out to be useful in storing other things too. Whatever be the use of the garage in your house, it still remains a fact that the door to this area is definitely much bigger than most other doors in your house.

By virtue of being so big, they become really conspicuous and make a big difference in the appearance of the house in general. The primary function of the garage door is to allow the car in and out of the garage and this is a very important aspect. To do this with absolute ease, the garage door should be as wide as necessary. Otherwise, there is the possibility of unfortunate mishaps.

Driving the car in and out of the garage is also done on a daily basis and hence, the garage door should be right enough for you to begin your day with ease. Especially in houses that are located in corners and houses where there is something obstructing the driveway.

You need to really ensure that the garage door is placed very conveniently so that driving in and out is easy. If the door is not placed properly, this everyday task can get to be really strenuous.

Apart from the door and its appearance, the way in which you open the door also matters. Wondering how? Well, with the right kind of mechanism for this, you could gain an additional place inside the garage. This could also contribute towards the safety of the driveway and also in giving a grand and impressive look to the whole of the compound.

As far as practicality is concerned, the material which is used to make the door is significant. It is instrumental in the final appearance of the door. The type of material that you choose for the door could decide how hot or cold your garage is.

If you choose the right kind of material, your garage could be a much warmer and cozier place and will also be weather-protected. If you tend to use your garage as an extension of the pantry, then think of the benefits of this kind of material. This will ultimately have a desirable effect on your energy bills as well.

The artistic value of the garage door should never be underestimated. It could come as a surprise that a fashionable or recently renovated garage door could be the reason for a house to get cold much quicker. 

The reason for this is a garage door that is chosen after a lot of deliberation contributes immensely to the beauty of the house and will render it attractive. It will impress buyers as a well-planned and well-maintained house.

As you read on about the different types of doors available, keep all the above-mentioned points also in mind to help you select the best door for your garage.

Different Types of Garage Doors

The two factors that determine how different garage doors are categorized are the method in which they are opened and their appearance. Buyers have a lot of choices as these doors come in a large number of materials. However, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Opening styles for garage doors

The physical measurements of the door and how it moves or opens and closes determine the opening style of the door.

Single-bay carriage style doors

These doors are created out of one strong piece of metal, wood, or any other substance. Since they are designed like this, these doors actually need room to open and close. They also require some mechanism that enables you to raise or open the whole door.

The very name of these doors itself is suggestive of the kind and the size of the door. It is a single door that is huge and it will need to be opened and closed for it to be operational. The most popular method used to operate these doors is a counterweight mechanism. Using this mechanism must make it possible for the door to be raised and also tilted backward simultaneously.

This leads us to the next point to consider. If a single huge door has to swing open and shut, then it is extremely important to provide a lot of space for these movements around the doors. This area should be free of any kind of objects, shelves, or bicycle racks that are normally kept in this area.

To ensure that nobody is hurt because of the door that you are using, it is absolutely necessary to fit in an alarm system. This alarm should go off just before the movement of the door, warning anyone near the door to move away in time.

Using the door without an alarm system like this could endanger people near the door as they could accidentally be lifted along with the door or pushed to the ground by the door. Be sure to find out about the rules in the building you live in. It may be mandatory for you to have a silent “flashing light” alarm or any other particular type of alarm.

Double Carriage Style Doors

The material that is used to make these doors is very solid. These are called double doors because there is a division right in the center. Because of this, the door opens outside and does not go up.

These doors are preferred in houses where two cars are used. Since there are two doors, there is enough place for two cars to come out from the garage. The additional advantage is that if you need to take only one of the two cars out, all you need to do is open one door. Both the doors need not be opened. It is also very important to ensure that the doors are not very heavy. Lighter doors are easier to handle in case of emergency situations such as floods or power cuts. In such circumstances, these doors can be opened easily without depending on machines.

Sectional doors

Sectional doors and standard carriage style doors are identical in many aspects. In fact, if these two doors are tightly shut, it is very difficult to say one from the other. The difference between these two kinds of doors is the material that these doors are made out of. Unlike standard carriage style doors, sturdy wood or metal is not used. Instead, the material that constitutes this kind of door is a series of horizontal bars. At first sight, they look dense, heavy, and seem to be one solid piece. However, these doors can actually be opened and closed by rolling up and down. This is made possible by a machine run by a motor. Any lighting fixtures have to be moved away from the door so that they can roll up and down easily.

Roller doors

Very frequently, these doors comprise hinged lines of metal. These bulky doors are not light enough to be moved manually. There is a mechanism that is fixed to the top of the door and this automatically moves this door and it disappears tidily behind the opening meant for the door.

These doors do not look very stylish when compared to carriage style or sectional kinds. This can be compensated for by using a few different kinds of decorations. Since these doors move up and into the ceiling, they do not take up much space when they open and close. This allows for extra space for you to use inside the garage. Moreover, these doors are very strong since they are made of steel.

This makes them very reliable as far as security is concerned. They are so tough that it is impossible to penetrate these doors easily. The hinges that are in place in the door give us the opportunity to fix motion sensors. These can also be coordinated with your current security system.

The biggest disadvantage with these kinds of doors is that they remind people of bunkers. This is not liked by a majority of people


These doors are very identical to the sectional doors. The way they are made is very similar. Both of them are made out of planks. The main difference, however, is that these doors have vertical planks instead of horizontal planks like the sectional doors.

There is a sliding rail that is fixed in order to help the door move to one side. So, they do not roll up to the ceiling but their movement is along the wall. This movement happens with the help of a machine that is motor-operated.

This model has its own advantages. The biggest advantage is that it does not roll up to the ceiling. So, these doors are ideal for garages where the ceiling is not very high. If the ceiling is not very high, then there are a lot of chances that adequate space for the rolled door is not available in the ceiling.

So, these doors help in places with low ceilings. It also solves the problems that sometimes crop up with the sectional doors. If there is any huge fixture in the way of the door, it becomes a problem to open the door. The slide-to-the-side model solves this problem as it only moves sideways and not up to the ceiling.

Canopy garage doors

These doors are made up of only a couple of sections that are hinged together. Since there are only a few sections that make up a whole door, these sections have to be large, and such large sections cannot be rolled up into the ceiling.

However, there is a major advantage to these doors. Since they are made up of sectional parts, they do not take up too much space when they have to be opened.

A characteristic aspect of this kind of construction is that these doors create a tiny canopy that is not very high. This proves to be an advantage especially if your roof and the garage door are extremely near each other.

Whenever there is rain, this arrangement will be beneficial in changing the course of the rainwater safely. The other benefit we get out of this structure is that these doors need not be opened fully always.

They give us the option of opening them only halfway too. This is useful in many ways. One such way could be that if your kids are playing around, with the door only half open, you can always watch over them without looking too conspicuous.

Decor style

When you design your house, it is always very important to take the appearance of the garage door also into consideration. It is, after all, something that is very obvious and plays an important role in how your house looks.

So, there are some important things to consider when we decide on a garage door. The color, shape, and trim are of utmost importance. The good news is that we have innumerable options to choose from as far as these aspects are concerned. Here are 3 broad subdivisions that encompass everything that we have to bear in mind with getting a garage door.

Contemporary style

Modern houses are very likely to style their houses with straight lights and comparatively uncomplicated color combinations. For instance, two of the colors that they choose may be related or comparable shades and another could be a color of contrast.

Many such houses sport wooden carriage style or sectional doors in their garages. Transparent aluminum is also a very good idea. The only thing to remember about this is that it should not clash with the other colors used in the house.

There are many fashion houses that prefer fake wood for their garage doors. The popular concept is to make sure that the color used for the garage doors goes well with the color of the picket fence. However, it may not be a very good idea to make both of them white.

Vintage style

Antique and classic styles include many different styles. However, all these different styles go back to a phase when cars were not in use. Hence, you will have to change the rules slightly when you design your garage door.

Wood is the best material to be used for these antique doors. Carriage-style doors suit this style very often.

Futuristic or modern styles

Futuristic houses are dreamy houses that are built once in a while much to the disappointment of designers. If you are proudly designing such a house, you will also have to design your garage door to suit the house.

The characteristic feature of these kinds of houses is that they maintain the same color throughout. If you think this is a monotonous idea, you have the liberty to change it by choosing a lively color for your garage door which stands out starkly against the color used for the rest of the house.

The other exciting option will be to choose a door with an industrial look. This will also provide your house with the advantage of additional safety brought in by the steel roller doors.

Types of Garage Door Materials

Though it is custom to make garage doors out of wood steel or aluminum, there are options for people who do not want these materials also. Varieties of vinyl are now alternate options for people who prefer fake wood.

Natural wood garage doors

Wood is a natural material that is regularly used for garage doors. Since it is not expensive and is very long-lasting, many people prefer using this material for their doors. Since wood is a natural material, it is best to let it show its natural colors. Varnish or paint will only hide the natural beauty and this is not a very good idea.

Since wood is a natural material, different trees give us different colors of wood. This gives us a number of options to choose from to make out garage doors look amazing. One way to choose the color will be that if your window frames are also made of wood, then match the color and wood of the door with the color of the window frames.  

Wood is a natural material and so it is bound to get affected by weather conditions. So, it is not the best material to use in a place that is very hot and humid. This kind of weather will affect the wood and this will ultimately lead to a lot of maintenance.

Steel garage doors

At face value, steel garage doors look much more expensive than wooden doors. However, this extra expense is offset by the fact that steel doors are comparatively much stronger and need less maintenance than wooden doors. Apart from this, we also get the additional advantage of safety and they also offer us the opportunity to make our garages soundproof.

Though steel is a very sturdy material, when something strikes it directly, it can get dented.  However, we do not have to worry about it breaking completely. One major disadvantage with steel is that it is not a very great option when it comes to insulating the garage.

So, in order to ensure that your electricity bill is affordable, your steel garage door will need extra protection made from fiberglass. Fiberglass, in turn, is not so strong and may crack if your car accidentally reverses straight into it.

Aluminum garage doors

Aluminum as material for garage doors is a wonderful option as it has many advantages. Since it is smoother and not as heavy as steel, is it a great alternative if you want a door that rolls up and also has advantages if you live in a place that is hot.

This material also goes very well with semi-transparent glass or polished sections. If your house is fashionable and stylish, then aluminum may be a good choice for you as it is much better than wood in terms of textures, finishes, and colors.

Composite garage doors

Do we have doors that combine the advantages of both wooden and metal doors? Yes, we do and the answer is composite garage doors that give us the combined pleasure of using wooden and metal doors simultaneously.

The word composite could have a different connotation when it comes to garage doors because, here, it could just relate to combining small glass windows and steel beams to regular doors.

Vinyl faux wood garage doors

Vinyl has its own advantages in being used as material for garage doors. Vinyl is basically made of plastic and is really tough and strong. This toughness makes it highly resistant to any kind of strain or force against it.

However, it is surprisingly lighter than most other materials used for these doors. This quality of the material makes it very ideal to be operated manually very effortlessly. There is absolutely no support from any automatic machinery that is required.

Vinyl has the added advantage of being inexpensive. It can be disguised to imitate wood. Though it will still retain the flat look, it can by no means look absolutely genuine. It is also not a good choice if you are looking for a material that will also add safety to the garage door.

Garage Door Openers 101

Before garage doors were mechanized, opening and closing them had to be done manually. This was, however, not always possible due to many factors such as weather, time, and safety. These factors may prevent you from getting down from the car. You can always get an automated version to solve this problem. You have a variety of choices to pick from for this also.

Belt drive openers

These openers get their name from the fact that they use a belt along the top of the garage door. This opens the garage door with ease and is very suitable for roller and sectional doors. The process of opening the door is not disturbingly loud and these belts work silently.

Many of them can be operated with remote control. Though these remote controls do not work from very far off, they definitely work within a few feet between the door and the driveway.

Chain drive openers

Just like the belt drive openers use either leather or synthetic belts to operate the door, the chain drive openers use a metal chain to operate the doors.  The method of operation makes them strong and they can easily open heavy doors such as solid steel garage doors also. The disadvantage with this kind of opener is that it is not at all silent and so may be very disturbing if it is in operation close to your bedroom.

Direct drive openers

This is an improvement over the chain drive models as they are not as loud. The chain in this mechanism is positioned within a steel rail. Apart from concealing the chain, this arrangement helps avoid interference from any objects that are close by. Over a long period of time, this arrangement will save you money on maintenance and repair expenses.

Smart home add-ons

Technology today has revolutionized garage door openers also like it has revolutionized everything else. It is pretty common now for belt drive and direct drive openers to have Wi-Fi receivers.

This means that they can be controlled just by using your internet network. So, the good news is that you do not have to spend time looking for the ever-elusive remote and can use either your smartphone or voice commands also to operate the garage door.

Technology has made more than just this possible. It can help to enhance the safety measures used for your garage also. The technology-driven opener can be programmed to alert you every time the garage door is opened or when anyone tries to meddle with the sensor. You can go as far as creating automated diaries that record every action of opening the door and even tell you the smartphone from which the order originated.


The various kinds of garage doors and the material which is used to make them may make your choice a little complicated. You may even have to give up some precious place overhead in order to fix extra alarms. However, it is important to remember that the garage door must fulfill its basic function that is to safeguard your car in the best possible way.

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