Most people never give their garage door much of a thought. It goes up, and it comes down. As long as this happens without problems, the old faithful door is taken for granted. Occasionally, a rock or baseball my shatter a window, but to consider purchasing an entire garage door is often a once in a lifetime occurrence for people who are not home builders. For the rank and file homeowner, the purchase of a new garage door can be a big deal. With a little guidance, this should not be life changing experience.
Determine what size door that is needed.
Garage doors come in only a few sizes that are in common use. So, this part of the effort is not too tough to wade through. Do you need a door for a single car or a double car opening? Dig out the tape measure and find out what size the current or previous door was and match it. You probably ought to measure both the height and the width of the door just in case you go to some store that offers specialty sizes of doors. Most of the time, just knowing the width is enough.
What construction of garage door do you prefer?
The most common materials for garage doors are wood and some type of metal. The metal doors are usually either steel or aluminum. Newer doors are sometimes made with fiberglass or other light weight materials. These doors are not as common as the wood and metal doors. Each type of door has advantages. Wooden doors are more traditional and seem to match the exterior designs on most homes. Metal doors are more durable and some consider them lighter and safer. The synthetic materials tend to be lighter and attractive, but their durability is sometimes an issue.
Do you want a garage door with windows?
Windows are an attractive feature on garage doors. However, they have two draw backs. First, they can be broken. While the small size of the windows usually means that this is not a security issue, it can be a nuisance having to replace them from time to time. Second, you can see through windows. This is great for letting in light or seeing who is pulling up the driveway. It is not so great for others who may want to see if there are items to steal in your garage. For this reason, you need to consider whether windows are a good option or not for your new garage door.
Are you planning to attach the door to a garage door opener?
Garage door openers put stress on the framework of the door. Unless you are skilled at reinforcing the upper portion of the door, it is a good idea to buy a door that is rated to withstand the stress of the garage door opener. Most metal doors can handle this without a problem. Some lower priced wooden doors will need some work to help them hold up for the long run. The building supply store should be able to give you guidance in this area. After that, it is just a matter of finding the right mix of quality and cost.
Make sure that all of the hardware with the door will fit into your garage space.
While this is rarely a problem, you cannot overlook the fact that garage doors have rails that extend several feet along the ceiling of your garage. Make sure that you do not have anything protruding from the ceiling that will be in the way of the garage door. For replacement doors, this is not usually a problem because the old hardware has kept the space open. Replacing the old hardware at this time can be a good plan because unless your old door was damaged by an accident, the hardware is as old as the decaying door.
Make sure that your garage door will seal water off from your garage.
Most garages are built with a little lip that the garage door slides in front of. This makes water have to run uphill to enter the garage. However, if your garage does not have this lip, you will need a door with a good rubber gasket on the bottom to prevent water from entering the garage during a strong rain.