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Best Garage Doors: Choosing the Right One for Your Home

sectional garage door from Hormann
(Image credit: Hormann)

Choosing the best garage door possible is important in maintaining, or improving, your property’s kerb appeal. After all, a garage door is not small and often it’s one of the first things you see when pulling up to your home. 

The range of garage doors that are available to buy may surprise you, with a vast selection of materials and configurations to suit every style of home. 

However, your choice of garage door shouldn’t solely be based on aesthetics – there are plenty of other key characteristics to consider, from buying a door that meets security and safety standards to choosing an opening mechanism that suits your lifestyle.

(MORE: How to Add Value to Your Home)

If you’re a self builder, start your search for a garage door early, as it will give you the advantage of more design scope compared to fitting to an existing opening of configuration. 

Layer garage door from Zakuna

Made bespoke and integrated with the wall cladding system, this Layer door from Zakuna comes in a range of timber finished in a choice of stain colours. POA (Image credit: Zakuna)

Types of Garage Door

Up and Over Garage Doors

This one-piece design is the classic garage door. As the name suggests, it lifts up from the bottom, either sliding out of the way below the garage ceiling when open, or creating a canopy at the front. 

up and over canopy garage door with timber infill, style 2009 vertical in Golden Oak, Hörmann.

This up and over canopy garage door with timber infill, style 2009 vertical in Golden Oak, complements the warmth of this home’s brick exterior. From £2,119 for a single door excluding fitting, Hörmann (Image credit: Hörmann)

It’s a sound choice for a garage that’s actually used to park a car in, as it’s space-efficient. However, enough room is needed to allow it to move forward of the opening as it lifts up and down, so the combination of a short driveway and a car parked waiting to drive into the garage could be an unhappy one. 

These doors can be opened manually or automated. 

(MORE: Electric Garage Doors)  

Sectional Garage Doors

sectional garage door from Hormann

Opt for a sectional door to create a parking space close to the garage that doesn’t impede its opening. This version in Silkgrain RAL 9016 Traffic White costs from £1,499 excluding fitting, Hörmann (Image credit: Hormann)

Rather than moving outwards like the up and over, a sectional door, made up of panels, moves upwards vertically and then backwards under the garage ceiling to open. 

This style of door maximises space both inside the garage and in front of it. Large versions for big garages are available, and there’s a choice of insulated double-skinned doors, or single-skinned for a garage that doesn’t require insulation. 

The design offers a good seal against the weather and can be electrically operated. 

Roller Garage Doors

This insulated aluminium RD77 Double Superior Garage Door

Maximise roof storage by opting for a roller door. This insulated aluminium RD77 Double Superior in White costs from £1,695, Rollerdor (Image credit: Rollerdor)

Like a sectional, a roller garage door opens vertically, but this design makes a roll above the opening rather than having internal tracks. 

They’re suitable for garages without good headroom, when you want to leave the ceiling free – for storage, perhaps – or where something inside the garage might block other mechanisms. 

Both insulated and non-insulated designs are on offer, and they can be teamed with a remote control. 

Side Sliding Garage Doors

side sliding garage door from Rundum Meir

This side sliding door from Rundum Meir is made from solid timber laths, with the curtain suspended from the top track that runs on a channelled groove. The design allows it to run around corners, as shown here. POA (Image credit: Rundum Meir)

If parking the open garage door in the ceiling isn’t possible, a design that moves round the corner and down the side of the garage on a track is an alternative. 

Side sliding doors are useful when you frequently need access to the garage on foot, as you don’t have door all the way to get a bike out, for example. 

They work well on large openings and can be automated. 

Bifold Garage Doors

The Jersey doors from Urban Front are fully automated 2+2 bifold doors

The Jersey doors from Urban Front are fully automated 2+2 bifold doors. They are available in all of Urban Front’s E80 door range designs and provide U values of 1.1W/m2K. POA (Image credit: Urban Front)

Bifold garage doors are another option when the garage height is an issue, as they don’t need wall space for a mechanism. 

Whether outward or inward opening, they require sufficient room to fold back. The panels allow the garage to be accessed without opening the door fully. 

A bifold door can also be automated. 

Side Hinged Garage Door

Double doors opening to either side are often traditional in design, so could work for an older home, although contemporary versions can be sleek and modern. They could have a one-third, two-thirds split or half-and-half across the opening if you prefer. 

Although generally opening outwards, there are models that open to the inside, and the slope of your drive could influence the choice. These doors might be selected where the garage isn’t a home to the car, with one door opening sufficiently wide for on-foot access. These combine well with a ceiling used for storage as there are no tracks there, but enough driveway space to swing them open is essential. 

It’s possible to automate them. 

Choosing the Best Material for Your Garage Door

Garage doors can be made from various materials, although not all styles are available in all materials.

Timber Garage Doors

Doors made from timber can be sympathetic to older homes, but contemporary-style timber designs are also on offer.  

Treatment before installation can reduce maintenance requirements, but do check with the manufacturer/ supplier to be sure of how much work will be needed to keep the particular model sound. 

Steel Garage Doors

Good quality steel doors are strong and come with a wide choice of surface finishes and colour options. Maintenance requirements depend on the finishing or coating, but aren’t too onerous. 

Aluminium Garage Doors 

Aluminium is mostly used in insulated double-skin roller doors. Both coloured and timber lookalike effects are available. 

The surface will need to be kept clean of grit and debris. Strong and stable but light, requiring only a regular wash down with running water. They can have a timber effect, or white or coloured finishes. 

round the corner garage door is from Rundum Meir

This round the corner door is from Rundum Meir, which manufactures both one-off round the corner and overhead door systems. Automated solid oak around the corner doors start from around £8,000 (Image credit: Rundum Meir)

Other material options include:

  • Glass reinforced plastic (GRP)
  • PVCu

What’s the Best Insulated Garage Door?

How you intend to use your garage should influence your decision here. 

“Single-skinned doors are ideal for freestanding garages that do not need any thermal insulation, for example when used to store a car,” says David O’Mara, marketing manager at Hörmann UK. This is perhaps not the case for integral garages, or those garages used for any other purpose, however.

The style of the door will also make a difference. “Traditional up-and-over garage doors don’t have the best insulation, letting in draughts and making the space unsuitable for anything other than storing a car, so if you plan to use your garage as a home gym rather than just somewhere to park car then it is worthwhile doing research into the types of garage doors available,” says David.

Double-skinned sectional doors are one of the best options. “The double-skinned insulated LPU 67 sectional garage door from Hörmann offers higher levels of thermal insulation, which is ideal if the garage is used as an extra room,” adds David.

What’s the Best Garage Door for Security?

A well-fitted garage door with adequate locking is vital because the contents are frequently valuable – whether a car or tools – and also because an integrated garage could provide an access point into the house for would-be burglars. 

Manufacturers supplying doors with the official police security initiative Secured by Design accreditation are listed on the website. The initiative is designed to improve the security of our homes and buildings, so choosing an accredited product can bring peace of mind.

The advice from industry experts is to opt for a ‘responsible’, experienced installer to ensure correct installation and to prevent the door from failing over time. This is especially important when it comes to automated doors to ensure they comply with necessary regulations.

The Milano (from Urban Front) up and over garage door

The Milano (from Urban Front) up and over garage door on this house has been chosen to match the front door and features a zig-zag pattern. POA (Image credit: Urban Front)

How Much Should a New Garage Door Cost?

There are automated garage doors available that are upwards of £20,000, but they are of course top-end examples. Expect to pay from around £850 for an up-and-over single garage door in steel (installation will usually be an additional cost); GRP, aluminium roller and timber are generally more costly. 

You can find sectional doors starting from around £1,400 for insulated versions, and roller doors from around £1,300.