What Kind of Garage Door Should I Choose?

Ideally, choosing the right garage door shouldn’t be very hard. However, the variety of options and factors to consider has made it much more complex and time-consuming. 

To make the process of choosing the right garage door a walk in the park for you, we have written a complete garage door buying guide and the different things you need to consider. 

So, let’s dive right in!

The Use of Your Garage

Before deciding, consider what you mostly use your garage for. 

Do you use your garage just to park your car? Or to store your things like bikes and toys? Or perhaps use it as a workshop? 

The option you go for should ideally depend on the use of your garage. For example, if you use your garage as a workshop, you will want a garage door that allows more sunlight and keeps the temperature comfortable for working. An insulated side-hinged door would be a good option in this particular case. (Don’t worry, you will learn all about it in a few minutes!)

Taking the intended use of your garage into account makes choosing the right garage door super easy. 


1. Sectional

How it works: The door is made up of sections (between three to eight) that are connected by hinges. The door opens upwards along the tracks installed on the roof inside the garage. Once fully opened, you can look up and see the panel sitting horizontally on the roof.


  • Easy to use 
  • Takes up less space 
  • Can be controlled with a remote


  • Can be costly 

If you want an insulated door that doesn’t take up much space and provides security, this door is the one for you! 

All you need to do is get in touch with a reputable company, tell them about your requirements, and sit back to watch the magic unfold. 

2. Roller

How it works: A roller garage door contains horizontal sheets of steel. When you open the door, these sheets roll up to the top of the inside of the garage. 


  • Takes up little space 
  • You can control it with a remote
  • Lightweight, so easy to lift manually
  • Have good insulation
  • Provides a high level of security 


Roller doors are ideal for people who want a relatively cheaper, easy-to-use door that doesn’t take up much space in their garage. It’s also a popular option among people who use their garage doors as storage spaces. 

3. Up & Over

How it works: As the name suggests, the door’s curtains rise up and over the space in front of the garage. They then descend into the area below the garage roof by sliding along the tracks.


  • Available in several styles 
  • Require little maintenance
  • Easy to install
  • Installation doesn’t take too much time 


  • Heavy, so difficult to open manually. 

If you want a low-maintenance door and have space in your driveway, up & over doors can be a good option. 


Deciding which material to choose is another key decision when shopping for garage doors! Let’s talk about some of the different material options available. 

1. Wood

Wood remains one of the most preferred materials for garage doors despite being the most expensive. Its intricate design and texture can significantly enhance the beauty of your garage. 

You can customize it to any shape or size to create a unique look that complements your house. Also, it doesn’t dent under pressure so easily. Wood is naturally an insulating material that can be beneficial for keeping the temperature in check! (we’ll talk about this in more detail in later sections).

However, wood does require proper and regular maintenance, or you will see it rot, fade, or chip away. It can also be heavy and, therefore, slightly difficult to use. It’s unsuitable for harsh climates as frequent exposure to moisture can cause the wood to expand.

A wood garage door is a suitable option if you live in a mild climate. Go for wood only if you’re willing to devote significant time and money to maintain it.

If you’re still confused, get in touch with Elite Garage Doors for an expert opinion. 

2. Steel

Garage Door Installation at Andover, MN

Steel is another popular material option among garage door buyers, thanks to the all-around value it offers.

This material is ideal for those who desire a beautiful door without the hassle of maintenance. From basic to fully customized, steels have various options in window designs, paint, and panel styles to match the aesthetic of your house. Unlike many other materials, steel is resilient and robust enough to withstand rain, snow, and high winds. 

However, steel doesn’t have a natural insulator. It’s also susceptible to corrosion and rust, especially if you use excessive salt for de-icing in the winter. You also need to ensure that any scratches are fixed as soon as possible, or they will break through the finishing and expose it to the harmful effects of moisture.

3. Aluminum 

Perhaps the best thing about aluminum is that it’s lightweight, which makes it easier to install. If you experience frequent power blackouts, aluminum can be the best option, as you can manually lift the doors without any trouble. 

Aluminum contains a layer that makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. Except for extreme heat, this material can resist any climate. It can be a good choice for coastal environments as it doesn’t weaken in wet conditions. Aluminum can be molded easily, allowing for more options when it comes to designs. 

However, that comes with its fair share of downsides. Aluminum doors are unsuitable for harsh summers as they can soften, which reduces their durability. Moreover, it’s less resistant to hits and is readily dented by strong winds. In most cases, only a professional can repair this damage


Understanding R-Values

The purpose of insulation is to keep your garage warm in cold weather and cold in warm weather. An R-value (Resistance) measures how effectively the door reduces the heat flow. The higher the R-value, the lower the heat passing through. 

The value depends on the insulation type and its thickness. Many people have the misconception that a higher R-value can insulate significantly more than a lower one. 

While, to some extent, that’s true, the difference isn’t huge. Here’s how it works:

  • R-8 reduces heat flow by 90%
  • R-12 reduces heat flow by 93%
  • R-16 reduces heat flow by 95%
  • R-20 reduces heat flow by 96%
  • R-32 reduces heat flow by 97%

Don’t be mistaken by the increasing values! Instead, focus on the insulation material. 

Types of Insulations

There are two usual types of insulation:

1. Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam is an expensive choice but lives up to its promise. It is inserted into the panel space and left to expand and fill any gaps. It has a low heat-transfer coefficient, which makes it the ideal insulation material. While it may be expensive, it definitely lives up to its promise.

2. Rigid Polystyrene or Styrofoam

Rigid Polystyrene is a cheaper alternative to polyurethane. It also has a relatively lower R-value. It is cut to size from the sheets and glued to the surface. 

Insulated vs. Non-insulated Garage Doors 

Insulated Garage DoorsNon-insulated Garage Doors
PROSLower energy costsQuieter to operateKeeps the temperature in your garage moderate and comfortableMore durableProtect cars and other belongings from damages caused by extreme temperaturesIncreases your home valueCheaper optionSuitable in regional areas with mild climatesGood for detached garages
CONSMore expensiveConstant use of the door can decrease its effectiveness Not energy-efficientNoisy to operateLess durableCan harm the items stored in the garage

Should You Get an Insulated Door for Your Garage? 

According to the EPA, homeowners can save an average of 11% on their total energy costs by properly insulating and sealing their home’s energy envelope. So it’s safe to say insulated doors are worth investing in.

According to experts, if at least two of the following conditions are true for you, you should definitely look to invest in insulation. 

  1. Your garage is attached to your house
  2. You use your garage as a workshop
  3. You have animals/pets in your garage
  4. The temperature changes drastically in your area throughout the year
  5. The weather is extremely hot or cold all year round
  6. You plan on selling your house within the next ten years. 


Buying a garage door does require a good amount of research. But with the guide above, you should be able to make an informed decision.

And if you need any more help – whether to install or repair your garage doors – Elite Garage Doors is always here to help!