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Understanding Garage Door Materials: A Brief Guide

Garage Doors   Adam Butterworth  | 28 July 2017

Your garage doors are much more important than you probably think. Aside from being a barrier between your belongings and the outside world, they often influence the way your house is perceived by others.

If you ever find yourself in need to sell your old home, for instance, its garage will inevitably influence the number of offers you are going to get. Clean-looking and functional doors make the whole structure seem much more solid. As a result, potential buyers may feel more confident and decide to sign on the dotted line.

Should You Really Care About Garage Doors Materials?

Maintaining a house is no easy feat. Ordinary wear and tear, violent weather, temperatures, and accidents always leave signs of their passage. As the years go by, parts of your home may need repairs and replacements. Your garage doors are no exception to this rule.

Picking the right material allows you to satisfy your aesthetic needs as well as your practical ones. A thought out selection can also help you manage your savings.

There is no commandment to follow when it comes to choosing what your doors will be made of. Nevertheless, you should keep one thing in mind: going with a specific material means benefiting from its pros, but also having to deal with the cons.

types of garage door materials

What Does The Market Offer?

In recent years, garage door manufacturers experimented with a variety of new elements and chemicals. To keep this article brief and pleasant to read, though, we’ll try to stick to the most common solutions. These are the materials you’ll usually find at a specialised store:

  • Steel: the most widely used and popular of solutions. Appreciated for its sturdiness, steel quickly became a standard for garage doors. Relatively cheap to install and maintain, steel doors are perfect to keep uninvited guests out. Unfortunately, iron-based alloys such as this one tend to rust and flake after some time.
  • Aluminium: lighter, but also easier to damage. If lifting a heavy steel door doesn’t sound too exciting and installing a motor isn’t part of the plan, aluminium could be a suitable in-between. The naturally-occurring element is lighter than most other metals, but more prone to denting and bending;
  • Wood: traditional and classy. For centuries, our ancestors used timber to build their homes and shelters. Wooden garage doors perfectly fit with a brick and mortar house but are also extremely expensive to maintain. Wood can stand the weather well, but needs constant care over the years.
  • Vinyl and Fiberglass: affordable, but riddled with shortcomings. Artificial materials such as these two are easy to produce and rather cheap to acquire. Their plastic nature makes them easy to clean. The same can’t be said for maintenance: these materials suffer the effects of the sun, eventually turning yellow and losing their vibrancy as the days go by.


Quick Pros and Cons for Garage Door Materials

STEEL • Durable, stronger than wood or aluminium

• Sensibly priced

• Low maintenance (not affected by weather, cracking or warping)

• Comes in various looks and convincing textures (e.g. wood)

• Can be powder-coated

• Full Colorbond colour range available

• Won’t fare well to impact (dents from footballs, basketballs)

• Can corrode or rust in coastal areas (best to powder-coat brackets and hinges)


WOOD LOOK • Has the strength of steel

• Can be hand-painted

• Better at avoiding splitting and rotting than wood

More expensive than standard Colorbond colours


FIBERGLASS • Can be translucent to allow lighting from outside

• Can mimic various materials

• Can turn yellow over time

• Not commonly used these days

• Material can break easily

• Poor insulation

• Usually restricted to one piece tilt style

VINYL • Various vinyl wraps available


• More expensive & limited colour availability

• Concerns of fading, peeling and flaking in Australia’s harsh weather conditions

ALUMINIUM • Lighter than steel

• Has improved over the years to be sturdier than before

• Comes in textures and finishes like: Wood Look, Honeycomb, Perspex, Aluminium Composite

• Can be cladded with virtually any material

• More expensive
WOOD • Traditional, natural styles and materials for curb appeal

• Better insulation than steel • Can use virtually any wood


• Need regular maintenance (every 1-2 years)

• Can be expensive

• Can rot or warp over time in extreme temperatures

• When wet can add weight and stress to the motor and springs



The final choice is, as usual, up to your own personal preference!

Are you considering buying a garage door but aren’t sure of how to go about it? Read our extensive Ultimate Guide created just for buyers, get all the insights before you make your big decision.

Understanding Garage Door Materials: A Brief Guide

Adam Butterworth

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