A Guide to Choosing your Garage Door Design


Replacing your garage door can be extremely exciting because it has the power to completely change the curb appeal of your home. On the other hand, there’s a massive amount of choices and variations to each garage door and it can be a lot to soak in. But we’re here to help! Here are the 3 big steps to choosing your garage door.

Step One: The Right Material for Your Lifestyle

The material you choose for your garage door should match your needs, expectations, and your life’s requirements. Each material has a different strength, weight, cost, and corrodes differently so read over the pros and cons and decide what’s right for you!


PROs: Aluminum’s light weight means it goes easy on the mechanics of your opener meaning less maintenance. This also means you can get an opener that is less powerful and therefore less expensive. It’s also one of the cheapest common materials for garage doors, nearly tied with vinyl.

CONs: Aluminum is extremely easy to dent and though it does not rust, it can corrode due to exposure to oxygen and water. Aluminum’s corrosion is especially susceptible to salt water so it may not be the best choice for sea front properties. It’s also not the best choice if you think your garage door will face harsh weather or bumps by kids or cars.


PROs: Wood is one of the most beautiful materials for garage doors. It is strong and completely customizable, usually being made per order. Wood garage doors also do very well in San Diego as we have less rain that would cause warping. Wood can be restained, painted, or even reshaped to change with the tide of your style.

CONs: Wood is the highest priced material for garage doors both in upfront cost and maintenance. It can splinter, rot, and warp if not properly cared for. It’s also very heavy so it needs a higher power opener.  While warping due to rain is less of a problem in San Diego, we do get quite a bit of sun which can cause the wood to dry out or become bleached. You can read about treatments and wood maintenance here.


PROs: One of the most popular and longest lasting materials for garage doors does not show that in its price. While the upfront cost is not the lowest, steel is the most economical choices of material as it lasts longer than any other material. In addition, steel garage doors usually come with about 4-5 layers of protection over the steel to protect from rust. The material can be customized to have different textures and can be repainted. 

CONs: Steel is one of the heavier garage door materials, therefore it needs a higher power opener and may need more maintenance to springs and other mechanics than lighter options. While the steel is under protection, the steel may be exposed over time and will need some maintenance to protect against rust. This material will also need to be repainted every few years.


PROs: Vinyl is lighter than many other materials meaning it puts less strain on the mechanics of the opener. It’s also very durable to dents, weather, and salty air making it a great choice for San Diego’s ocean front property. Its color is also extremely durable, in fact, it never needs to be painted as the color is right there in the material. Vinyl is also one of the least expensive options and often the cheapest depending on the style you’re looking for. 

CONs: Vinyl is not as long term of an investment as many of the other options. It can warp and crack in the sun over time and there’s not much you can do to avoid this as far as maintenance is concerned. It also doesn’t take new paint very well (at all) so the manufacturer’s color is usually its final color. 

Step Two: The Right Style for Your Home

Different strokes for different folks (or homes, as the case may be). Each style of garage door takes on a different personality, as does each home. Take a look at the styles below to find the one that matches your home best. 


Traditional garage doors are perhaps the most flexible style of garage doors as they have a nearly infinite number of possibilities. Plus, many designs can be transformed into carriage house style garage doors with a few false hinges. 

Carriage House

Carriage house style doors bring the home a far more classical, swing open look while retaining the advantages of a modern day, overhead garage door.  


The modern garage door is just that: modern. This style has a wide range of option while retaining the simplistic base of a modern design.

Step Three: The Right Style Options

Earlier I spoke about a style matching your home. That was pretty general, but now it’s time to get into the specifics and really bring your home’s personality into your garage door. 


There are hundreds of variations of panels. Here are a few options and features to get you thinking:

  • • Long or Short Panels
  • Ribbed Panels
  • Flush Panels
  • Square
  • Raised Panels


Generally speaking, there are 2 types of sectioned garage doors: 2 section and 4 section. This option is most popular with carriage house style garage doors but can be applied to any style of door. 

The 2 section option is an excellent choice if you have 2 door openings for a 2 car garage. 


Window possibilities are endless. Any shape frame, any finish of glass, and any number of windows is possible.  To the right and above you’ll see just a few of these potentialities. 


When choosing the color stain of your garage door, take a look at these parts of your home:

  • Trim
  • Shutters
  • Roof
  • Walls

And any other material on your home. While you don’t necessarily need to match those colors, it’s important the colors compliment each other. Clopay,  Amarr, and many other manufacturers offer design tools to help you see your new garage door from the comfort of your home. 

Thanks for reading! I look forward to reading your comments and hearing your thoughts on this guide!

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SD Garage Doors focuses on the customer. We go above and beyond with each client to ensure all their needs are met and often times one of their biggest concerns are about curb appeal. Enter blog!

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