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15 Types of Garage Doors (10) and Openers (5) – Buying Guide

Collage photo of garage doors in different styles.

I absolutely love having a garage. We have a double car garage that’s a double bay, each with it’s own single door. This is my favorite type of garage door, although I’d prefer a 3-car garage.

While half of our garage stores a freezer, bicycles, garage canisters and recycling bins, I’m a stickler for keeping one bay clear for storing a car.

These days there are several types of garage doors based on style, materials and the motor (several motor types). We set out your garage door options below in our extensive garage door buying guide.

I. Style

A. Carriage Style

There are 2 carriage options – single bay or double. Here are examples of each.

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Single bay carriage style garage door.

Single bay carriage style garage door.

Double wide carriage style garage door.

Double wide carriage style garage door.

Do carriage garage doors swing out or go up and down?

You can buy either type. When it comes to carriage garage doors, you must choose between the traditional “swing out” type or the faux design that looks like carriage doors, but go up and down.

If you go with the swinging out variety, you must ensure to have sufficient clearance in front so that there’s room for them to swing.

Are there motors for the swinging out style carriage garage doors?

Yes, there is. Check out the types of garage door motors below for this info.

While carriage style garage doors have recently become less popular due to many builders installing classic garage doors on the homes that they have built, they are still an attractive option that many homeowners choose for their homes.

Aesthetically, they are much more pleasing than a classic style door and can even offer some additional benefits depending on the space in your garage and how you want your door to open.

This means that you may be able to install storage above the door space to maximize the space in your garage. It is important to remember that they swing out from the home, and this can be dangerous if you have small children who aren’t paying attention to the movement of the doors.

B. Classic

Traditional style panel garage doorThese doors are becoming more and more standard and although not everyone thinks they are as attractive as carriage doors, they are still a great option for many homes. They work for a wide set of purposes, and since they don’t swing out when they open, they are perfect for homes that don’t have a lot of excess space in their driveway for this function.

This makes them a safer option for a lot of families, as they don’t have to worry about the door accidentally knocking into a child when it is opening. One thing to consider with a classic door is the space requirement for all of the hardware.

If you have a lot of extra space above your door that you want to use for storage, you will generally have to give up this space in order to correctly install the necessary hardware to operate your door. If the door is close to the ceiling then this will not be as much of a concern, as there wasn’t much additional usable space there to begin with.

II. Appearance

A. Contemporary

Contemporary garage door on 2-bay garage

A contemporary garage door will add a lot of visual interest to your home and is perfect when the rest of your home is more modern than traditional.

There are a number of different details that you can find on these doors, and each will add visual interest to your home and further set it apart from that of your neighbors. A new garage door is a great home improvement project that will add value to your property while also improving the curb appeal, and a contemporary garage door is no exception.

If you are interested in this style, look for windows, straight lines, and bold color choices that will make the door stand out from the rest of your home.

B. Craftsman

Source: Home Depot

If your home is more of a bungalow, then you will want to opt for a garage door that looks like it belongs on a Craftsman house. Look for details that will set your door apart and solidly reflect the style that you love, including handles, faux hinges on the side, and even cross beams across the door.

While gorgeous, these doors are just as functional as their modern or traditional counterparts, and are also great for adding visual interest to your home and completing the style and appearance of your house.

C. Traditional

Source: Home Depot

For a timeless look and feel at your home you will want to choose a traditional door. These styles are still popular for a good reason – they continue to look great, are high quality, and improve the appearance of any home.

Instead of worrying about whether or not the door you choose will overpower the appearance of the rest of your home, you can rely on a natural-looking wood grain that won’t be affected by changes in the weather and will last for a very long time.

III. Material

A. Wood

Wood garage door with upper windows in carriage style.

Wooden garage doors are very popular, and for good reason. There is a certain charm that wood doors have that other doors can only mimic, making them a great choice from any style of home.

It’s easy to have them made to the exact size that you need, so if your garage door opening isn’t a typical or normal size, then you will probably want to opt for a wood door.

In addition, they are sturdy and can stand up to bumps from kids playing. The major problem with wood doors is that if you want to make sure that they continue to look their best, you will need to refinish or repaint them on a regular basis, or else they will begin to chip and peel and will lower the curb appeal of your home.

They also vary widely in price, as you can choose a frame and panel door that are completely made of wood or a less expensive option that is made of foam insulation contained in a lightweight frame and then covered with a thin skin of wood to make it look like it is made completely of wood.

If you do want a wood door, you will most likely need to have it custom made, as most locations will not carry this as a standard option.

B. Steel

Source: Home Depot

If you are worried about the amount of maintenance that a wood garage door requires then you will want to opt for a steel door instead, as they can last for a very long time without requiring the extensive and sometimes expensive maintenance that a wood door does.

These tough doors are still relatively inexpensive, but you don’t have to worry about them needing major repairs or being damaged to the point that you have to replace them – unless there is major trauma to the door.

downside of steel doors is that they can dent if hit, so you have to be careful when playing basketball in the driveway, and any scratches will need to be covered immediately or your door will begin to rust. You can lower the risk of this happening to your door by choosing a steel panel that has a lower gauge or even by buying a steel door that comes with an overlay.

This overlay is usually made of fiberglass, which is tougher than steel and won’t rust, but will have to be repainted due to the fading that will occur in the sun. Make sure you find out about any warranties that are offered on the door, as some places will provide lifetime warranties on certain components, depending on the quality of the door that you buy.

C. Aluminum Transluscent Garage Doors

Modern home with modern aluminum transparent garage door

These are the latest in garage door design with a translucent window-like panels in an aluminum frame. These along with carriage style garage doors are my favorite. The above look great on more modern / contemporary style homes while the carriage look fits more with a more classically designed home (i.e. Victorian).

These translucent doors are light-weight and look terrific at night as they emit light which increases the overall luminosity of a home from the curb.


IV. Types of Garage Door Opener

A. Belt Drive

Source: Home Depot

The belt drive garage door opener is incredibly quiet when in operation, making it the ideal choice if your garage is located near a bedroom or common living space. It does require regular maintenance to make sure that it is working properly, but as long as the rubber belt is steel reinforced and high quality, then you should not have any issues.

B. Chain Drive

Source: Home Depot

Chain drive best garage door openers are much noisier than their belt drive counterparts, but are great if you have a limited budget. They are reliable and don’t require much maintenance as long as their chain is kept clean and lubricated. They are perfect for lifting light aluminum doors but may have some problems with heavier doors.

C. Screw Drive

Source: Home Depot

Using a threaded rod to lift the door, this garage door opener operates very quickly and is the ideal choice for heavy doors. You will want to use a screw drive garage door opener if your garage door is heavy, double, or incredibly wide, as it will have the strength to lift and lower it safely. Due to its construction, it requires very little maintenance in order to work well.

D. Direct Drive

Source: Home Depot

The quietest model available, this opener has a stationary chain that operates in a steel rail to raise and lower your door. It has a very clean appearance and because it has fewer moving parts than some of the other options, it is less likely to break or need expensive maintenance.

With an adjustable soft stop and start, you can ensure that this door opener meets your needs and is safe for your family.

E. Smart Openers

Source: Home Depot

If you want to make sure that you can operate your garage door from anywhere, then you will want to opt for a smart model that can sync to an app on your smartphone. This will allow you to ensure that the door is closed when you are not home or to open it when you are getting close to your house.

In addition, you can set the app to notify you when your door opens and closes.

F. Swing-Out Carriage Garage Door Opener

Photo of motor for swing-out carriage garage door opener

Source: Real Sliding Hardware

You don’t have to get faux carriage garage doors that go up and down in order for it to be motorized. You can get the real deal with an opener that swings the carriage garage doors outward. Very cool.

V. Door Configuration

A. Double Door

Full double wide garage door.

Whether or not you need a double garage door will be determined by the size of the opening in your garage, but if you are building your home or completing major renovations, then it’s nice to know the pros and cons of this type of garage door.

Double doors have the benefit of being raised and lowered all at once, making them ideal if you have a large vehicle that has trouble fitting through a single garage door. You will only need one garage door opener, as opposed to if you had two single garage doors in the same space, and you won’t have to worry about any repairs that these openers need.

You can buy a double garage door in almost any style that you want, so you won’t be limited by the size choice that you have made. If you have a large garage that warrants either a double door or two single doors, then there is one time when you may choose the single over the double, and that’s when you use half of your garage for storage and the other half for a car.

Not having to worry about the whole garage being open to the outside and the elements every time you want to enter or exit your garage makes it worth having two doors for some homeowners, but with two doors comes extra expenses, repairs, and maintenance.

B. Single Bay Door

Single bad garage doorIf you have a large opening in your garage and are debating whether to install a double garage door or two single doors, then you likely have concerns and questions about which is the better choice.

The practical reason to install single doors in this space instead of a double door is because if the opener fails, you will still be able to get out of one side of your garage. If your double garage door opener fails, it is very unlikely that you will have the necessary strength to lift the door to be able to enter or exit.

Additionally, you can open and close a single door and not let in nearly as much cold air as you would with a double door, making two single doors a great choice for people living in very cold climates.

Finally, a double garage door can become a design element in itself, especially if your garage faces the road, so if you do not want your garage to be such a large focal point, then two doors may be your best choice.

This allows you to enjoy a nice balance between the doors and your home and you won’t feel like your double garage door is all that people see when they drive by.

VI. Features

A. Insulated

Source: Home Depot

Depending on where you live, an insulated garage door may be essential so you can keep everything in your garage at a constant temperature even during extreme weather fluctuations.

This is vital for people who live in harsh climates, as they don’t want the inside of their garage to drop below freezing, but it’s also something you should consider if you are storing a valuable car or other vehicle inside the garage.

Even if the rest of your garage is fully insulated, a lot of cold air can seep in through the door itself and quickly lower the overall temperature of the garage. If you want to keep items in your garage from freezing or being damaged in the cold, you will want to opt for an insulated door.

This is also something to consider if you have pets who sleep in the garage, as you will want to keep them as warm as possible, or if you ever store liquids, plants, or antiques in this space.

In addition, if your garage is attached to your home, especially near a bedroom, you will want to opt for an insulated door, as they will do a much better job at keeping some of the cold air out of your home. This will reduce your electric bill every month as well as keep the door noise from bothering you when it is in operation.

B. Paintable

Source: Home Depot

If you want your garage door to perfectly match the exterior of your home, then you will want to make sure that you buy one that is paintable, as this will allow the most customization.

Many homeowners love the look of a painted garage door, as it can match the trim, windows, or even other doors to the house, thus creating a cohesive and professional appearance. One thing to consider when you opt for a paintable door is that you will have to commit to repainting it on a regular basis to ensure that it always looks its best.

The hot sun, cold weather, and even rain can damage the paint on your door and cause it to chip and peel. There are a few things that you can do to mitigate this, including buying high quality paint that is designed for this purpose, and making sure that you carefully and correctly apply it when you do repaint your garage door.

C. Windows

There are a variety of garage door window configurations. Here are a few popular garage door window configurations.

i. Rectangle across the top

Source: Home Depot

ii. Arched windows

Garage door with upper arched windows

iii. Small cluster windows along top

Garage door with small cluster windows in panel frames along top of garage door

iv. Continuous window band across top of garage door

Garage door with continuous window band along top of garage door

v. All windows (aluminum frame)

Unless you are only going to be using your garage to store your car, you will likely want to have some windows so that you can see in and out of your garage. Many homeowners like to work inside their garage, whether on a car, a special project, or simply potting plants out of the rain, and getting natural sunlight in the garage is a bonus.

Windows also make your garage look more like home and will improve the overall appearance of your door and your garage. This is especially true if your garage faces the street, as the windows in the door will make your garage appear more welcoming than if the door were of a solid construction.

D. Extension Springs Included

Source: Home Depot

You are going to have to have the right springs for your garage door or it simply won’t work, which will only leave you frustrated and spending more time and money at the hardware store than you wanted to.

Instead of leaving it open to chance that you will pick up the incorrect extension spring, when you buy a garage door that comes with the right spring included, you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong one.

While you can always consider upgrading the spring, it’s imperative that the one you buy is strong enough to stand up to the job, and buying the whole garage door with the perfect spring ensures a smooth installation and correct movement.

E. Hardware Included

Source: Home Depot

You’re going to need a lot of different hardware for your garage door before you can install it and have it operate correctly and safely, and missing a piece or buying a component that is not of the highest quality can actually put you and your family in danger, making this one of the most important things to consider when buying a new garage door.

If that’s too much pressure for you, then you can skip the stress and buy a door that comes with all of the hardware already included.

This will give you amazing peace of mind, as you won’t have to worry about whether or not the hardware will work with the door you have or if there was a better option at the store that you missed.

A garage door and the corresponding hardware working together means that you can have your new door installed quickly and not have to worry about buying the right hardware for it.

F. Instructions Included

Source: Home Depot

Unless you are going to hire someone to install your new garage door for you or you have experience with this type of work in the past, you will want to make sure that the door you buy has step-by-step instructions included to make the installation as easy as possible.

Without instructions, it can be almost impossible to make sure that you have all the right pieces, hardware, and tools to complete the job. Of course, if you are having your door professionally installed then the instructions will not be as important, but you can save yourself a lot of trouble and frustration by opting for a door that has the instructions included.

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of answers to common questions about garage doors.

Can garage doors be painted?

Garage doors can indeed be painted, regardless of whether or not they are made of aluminum, metal or wooden material. Primer and paint are the necessary materials to get started.

It is highly recommended to begin painting when the temperature is moderate, the air is dry and when the weather is clear outside.

Avoid painting when the outdoors are damp from rainfall or when the temperature is either too hot or too cold. These factors can impact the potential of the paint to properly dry, which would be detrimental to the overall finish.

Can used garage doors be sold?

There is an existing market for selling and purchasing used garage doors. The door doesn’t necessarily have to work to be sold. Some people are willing to buy a broken unit on the market for the sole purpose of repairing it.

One of the biggest factors that drive demand for used garage doors is that they are often cheaper than buying a new unit outright.

Are garage doors standard size? If so, what are the standard sizes?

Manufacturers often sell garage doors in widths ranging anywhere from 8 feet to 20 feet.

The doors that are 8 feet in width are more common with older garage setups than with newer setups, though they still exist. In most cases, a garage will be 9 feet, which is the modern standard for a single door garage.

For a double door garage, 16 feet is the most common width.

As far as height is concerned, 7 or 8 feet high is the normal range. This height applies to both single and double door garages.

Are garage doors insulated?

When it comes to garage doors, there are both non-insulated and insulated options, with the insulated options being the more expensive choice.

Insulated options are most commonly purchased for garages attached to the house.

Can garage doors be repaired?

Yes, repairs can be performed on both the opener and the door itself. A person can either personally conduct the repair job or contract it out to a professional.

Can garage doors be frozen shut?

Dropping temperatures and rain can allow for the door to be frozen shut. Fortunately, there are methods to help prevent this situation from occurring.

If it is wintertime, make sure to have any snow or buildup ice shoveled away from the door. This action will protect both the gears and underside of the door from freezing.

Another chief cause of a frozen garage door is an old seal weathered from age. If left unchecked, this condition would allow for air and water to buildup and cause problems. Replace the seal with a new one promptly.

The door will also need to be properly waterproofed. This result can be achieved by investing in lubricant for the door’s tracks and hinges.

Finally, opening and closing the garage door once a day will help prevent the door from sticking in place.

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