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Within the last ten to fifteen years, garage door manufacturers and designers have begun to greatly improve on the curb appeal of the way garage doors look today. It would seem that sometimes, wooden carriage-style doors have become to home exteriors what granite counter-tops are in kitchens of the world today (and they both seem to carry a similar sticker price as well). Fortunately for everyone out there shopping on a budget, there are also some reasonably priced and extremely attractive options to consider.

There are a wide variety of residential garage door types are on the open market today—sliding, folding, up-and-over and roll-up, to mention a few. In the USA, the One you will find the most of is a traditional sectional door, which generally has several horizontal panels hooked together and fitted with rollers. The entire assembly usually rides on two parallel tracks. A heavy-duty torsion spring, which is usually wrapped around a torsion bar, serves to counterbalance the full weight of the garage door. Homeowners are able to bring the door up either manually opening the door or by pushing the button on a motorized garage door opener. The actual lifting may be chain-, belt-, screw- or direct-driven.

Traditional Sectional doors are available both with or without windows as an option. Options for the first style generally include up to 16 lites in many different shapes, including square or arched. There are many designer styles as well, from contemporary to traditional. Sectional garage doors are even available in the most popular carriage-house styles; these will have the look of swing-style doors but work the same as sectional garage doors.

True carriage or the popular swing-style garage doors operate like a single pair of very large French  style doors. These doors are generally made of wood and hang from many jambs on hinges. Where traditional Swing-style garage doors look good, with their tough looking vertical lines often helping to integrate your garage with the rest of the house. In addition, swinging style of doors will tend to be more energy-efficient, because they seal much better at the header and side jambs and consisting of only one joint. They will, in most cases, however, require more clearance when you open them. So if you happen to park too close to swinging doors, you will be unable to open them. You should also remember that swinging garage doors are heavier and more time-consuming when manually opening them and locking than traditional sectional garage doors, and they can be much more expensive to automate.

Like all entry doors, garage doors can be made of many types of materials such as steel, aluminum, wood, wood composites, fiberglass, vinyl or glass. No matter what the actual material is, the wood look is generally the most popular of them all.

Steel Doors. When purchasing a steel garage door generally the best steel garage doors are made with two layers of galvanized steel, the surface of which is either primed and painted with a tough topcoat finish or clad with a composite material. Steel garage doors can be painted to either match your house or the trim of your house and are available with or without insulation. The downside of steel doors is that they can be damaged or dented and are susceptible to the elements of weather and can corrode, especially in coastal areas.

Wood Doors. Wood garage doors are built in layers, or different plies, to help prevent bending or warping. Wood garage doors include but are not limited to cedar, redwood, fir, and meranti (luan). Wood garage doors may be factory-stained, painted or finished at the installation site.

Wood Composite Doors. Wood Composite garage doors generally have a wood frame covered by multiple sheets of fiberboard. The better models of wood composite doors offer higher-density fiberboard skins and will include realistic details, such as overlays and grooves to simulate a more real wood door look. Cores are filled with polystyrene insulation.

Aluminum Frame Doors. Aluminum Garage doors covered by aluminum panels will eliminate the problem of rust but are much easier to damage or dent. They are available in contemporary brushed finishes, as well as in many colors. (Translucent glass panels may be used in place of aluminum panels; these admit daylight without compromising privacy or security.)

Fiberglass Doors. Garage doors made from fiberglass are less subject to denting or cracking. They do not rust but can break upon impact. Two layers of fiberglass are typically bonded to a steel frame and filled with polyurethane insulation. Steel end caps help improve rigidity.

Vinyl Doors. Vinyl garage doors are promoted as being ‘kid-proof’, because they are difficult to dent or break. Typically built upon steel frames, these too are filled with polyurethane insulation. Vinyl doors look similar to fiberglass doors but are available in fewer colors. They are very durable and require little maintenance aside from an occasional hosing.

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