One thing that can drastically increase the “curb appeal” of your home is replacing an old garage door that is sagging or looks bad from the outside. Another thing that should be considered, however, is the age, and condition, of the hardware that allows your garage door to open and close smoothly. If the hardware is more than 15 years old, it can be beneficial to replace the garage door, as it will be installed with brand-new hardware. Here are some things to consider when purchasing a new garage door…
Plan it in advance! Of course, if you have broken spring or another hardware issue- you may be forced to make the decision more quickly. Either way, the most important thing to do is get multiple bids! I worked for a company, who shall remain nameless, that had the most expensive prices because they made more money fixing the door, as opposed to fixing it. We sold the exact same door as other companies, but for hundreds of dollars more! So I would urge you to contact at least 3 companies that offer the same manufacturer, if possible, so you can decide which company you want to do business with.
When choosing a new garage door, it is important to consider the level of insulation you want. The insulation is a key component in the structural integrity of the door. The side effect is that it will keep your garage warmer or cooler, but is essential for the durability of the garage door. Metal garage doors range from non-insulated (cheapest) to fully insulated, metal backed (most expensive, best warranty).
With a non-insulated garage door, you have no support- only a thin piece of metal. They are also much louder running up and down, but mainly weak- and hopefully you don’t nudge it with your car, or have any rambunctious kids! These doors are great, and look the same from the outside, as long as nothing happens to them over the lifetime of the door. If you plan on moving within 5 years, or do not have the funds to purchase a fully insulated door, they will function just fine.
At the other end of the insulation spectrum is the fully insulated, metal backed door. This door has a second layer of metal on the back of the door, with insulation between the two (or even three) layers of metal. This insulation will act as support for the structure of the door, allowing it to absorb more damage before it becomes unserviceable. I have seen one of these doors completely knocked out of the opening (Junior backed the family truck into the garage without the door being all the way up) and stacked on the garage floor. I put it back up, and there was barely a scratch! A non-insulated door would have disintegrated under the same impact. These doors also have much better warranties because of the extra structure in place. Fully insulated doors will also make less noise going up and down.
Somewhere in the middle are partially insulated doors. They do not have the metal back and therefore, not as much support. They are priced in the middle as well, but will act more like a non-insulated door when impacted by an object. I do not recommend this type of door, unless you are only interested in adding some thermal insulation (and noise suppression) to the door- and are unconcerned with the door withstanding significant damage (from kids or cars).