Types of Garage Doors : Garage Doors

Types of Garage Door


You might be surprised to find there are a large variety of garage doors available on the market, everything from up and overs and sectional designs to those that fold sideways into the corner. For most people looking for a new garage door, the main considerations are cost, security, ease of use and whether there is long term maintenance required.

A Short History of the Garage Door

Ever since we started using cars and their popularity grew at the beginning of the last century, people have been looking at where to store their vehicles, keeping them safe from both the outside elements and those who would want to steal them. Cars back in the early part of the twentieth century were quite fragile beasts, often open topped, and the initial solution was to build parking lots that housed a hundred or so vehicles at a time.

As cars became more popular so the need for something closer to home was required which led to the development of the garage, a small outhouse with a door, connected to, or not too far from, the home. These were simple hinged door affairs but there was a need for constructions that took up less space and so the first overhead sliding door was made around 1920.

The first remote controlled garage door was actually invented way back in 1926 by one C G Johnson. While the first doors were made of wood, by the 1970s we had ones that were constructed from galvanised steel and new technology was being incorporated all the time. Since then, materials have expanded considerably to include fibreglass or GRP and uPVC.  

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Up and Over Garage Doors

By far the most popular type is the up and over, where you lift the garage door upwards and it slides towards the roof. This is ideal because it helps to combat limited space. There are two types of up and over garage doors called canopy and retractable:

  • Canopy up and over garage doors: The door lifts straight up and about a third of it protrudes from the garage opening. Because of weight restrictions, it is not normally used in conjunction with an automatic door mechanism.
  • Retractable up and over garage doors: Rather than lift straight up, this also slides to the back of the garage so that it is fully inside when properly raised. This model is better suited to automatic opening as it can take much heavier loads.

Sectional Garage Doors

This is also a popular choice for garages. The door is split into sections that roll up and then slide to the roof rather than in one solid entity. The advantage of sectional garage doors is that they don’t take up as much space inside the garage and are ideal for installations that have a small amount of room either in the pathway or inside. Because these doors can be better insulated they are also ideal if you want to use your garage as an office or a playroom rather than for your car.

Roller Shutter Garage Doors

Similar to the sectional door, rollers don’t slide to the back of the garage but roll up around a spindle near the entrance. The slats are much thinner than in sectional garage doors to give the flexibility needed. Again the doors can be bought with added insulation if you require and can operate manually or with remote control.

Round the Corner and Folding Garage Doors

Whilst most garage doors open upwards nowadays, there are still some traditional models that open sideways. These simply slide to the left or right and follow the line of the garage wall. You can also have ones that open both ways and doors that concertina to one side with the installation split into several vertical hinged segments.

Side Hinged Garage Doors

Of course, if you want doors that open normally then you can install side hinged ones. These need to have enough space to open onto the driveway and are more suited to larger garages with enough space out front.

Automatic Garage Doors

If you don’t want to get out of your car and simply wish to press a button to open your garage door, there is plenty of technology to help you do just that. Automation can be applied to most garage doors but there is the added disadvantage of making sure that the installation is properly maintained of time which may add to the overall cost. Automatic doors not only make your garage door easier to open but also provide an added layer of security.

Garage Door Materials

Garage doors can be made from a wide range of materials including:

  • uPVC
  • Aluminium
  • Wood
  • Glass reinforced polyester
  • Steel
  • Fibreglass or GRP

Some materials are more suited to certain designs than others but the range of garage doors available means that you will easily be able to find the one that suits your needs.

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