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    A Guide to Garage Doors

    Your home's garage doors are usually quite large and often can be seen from the street, which means that your choice in style or materials contributes to your home's curb appeal. Since the average American uses the garage more than any other entryway in the home, both attractive and high-performing garage doors are all the more valuable an investment.
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    Besides contributing to your home's curb appeal, garage doors tend to be a weak spot in your home during extreme storms such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Thus, it's crucial that homeowners install garage doors that are sturdy and won't require frequent repairs. Today, homeowners will find a growing and ever-improving selection of high-performance and energy-saving materials for garage doors.

    Popular Styles for Garage Doors

    Garage doors come in four basic types: doors that swing out, swing up, roll up, or slide to the side.

    Swing-out carriage-house doors or sliding barn doors will keep the ceiling clear and provide a distinctive, classic look. Otherwise, the most popular option for garage doors is the sectional roll-up door.

    Both short and long raised horizontal panels can give garage doors a sense of depth and style and improve your home's overall appearance. Flush panels for garage doors are flat and slightly textured. Flush panels will keep your garage doors elegant and subtle.

    The right garage door can add a lot to your home's curb appeal. | @ fotolia.com / slavun

    Common Materials for Garage Doors

    At their most basic, single-layer garage doors usually include a simple layer of steel, wood, or aluminum. For improved insulation, double and triple-layer designs offer both inner and outer layers of material surrounding polystyrene or polyurethane insulation. These more insulated designs can offer R-values from R-4 all the way up to R-15 for premium garage doors.

    Steel garage doors are among the most popular, because steel is extremely strong and low-maintenance. Steel garage doors feature inner foam cores to improve their strength and insulating values. Outer layers of steel doors can be embossed to mimic the appearance of wood or other materials. Although steel is prone to errant dents and dings, it offers plenty of insulation.

    While garage doors made from wood may not be as strong as steel, they are still beautiful and insulating. Homeowners should keep in mind, however, that wood is prone to warping with temperature fluctuations and will need regular repainting or refinishing, especially if you live in a damp climate. Consider the moisture-resistant woods cedar or cypress, or the more durable redwood, cedar, or mahogany.

    Today, aluminum garage doors are made from heavy-duty extruded frames and dent-resistant laminated panels. While much more expensive, this type of garage door is extremely durable, rust-proof, and reliable. Less-expensive aluminum doors come with aluminum frames and panels made from other materials, such as high-density polyethylene. Because it is lightweight, aluminum is good for extra-wide double garage doors, as it will place less strain on the operating mechanism.

    Garage doors should be both beautiful and sturdy. | @ fotolia.com / bmak

    Costs for Garage Doors

    Standard prices for garage doors made of wood or steel fall between $550 to $1,650 for a single door, and $800 to $2,500 for a double door. Heavy-duty aluminum garage doors or those custom-made in an exotic wood could cost as much as $10,000.

    Bottom Line: Curb Appeal and Durability for Your Garage Doors

    When shopping for new garage doors, consider your home region's climate and how durable you'll need the replacement garage door to be. While steel is most common, for a wonderfully sturdy garage door, try a high-end aluminum option.

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    Written by: Ryan Mchugh, Editor www.HomeAdvancement.com