8 types of garage door – the best styles, materials and configurations

There are lots of different types of garage doors to choose from. From popular sectional to classic canopy garage doors – they all come with pros and cons for style and function.

Timber garage door on gravel driveway of barn
(Image credit: Hörmann)

The type of garage door you choose can actually make a huge difference to your home's façade. After all, garage doors can take up anything from one to three thirds of the front of your home, so ensuring yours looks good and suits your needs also, is a no brainer.

Up-and-over doors are still a firm favorite, while sectional and other types of garage doors all have their different benefits. When it comes to materials, you can choose whatever best suits your home's exterior design. From timber to laminated steel, aluminum, fiberglass and PVC, whether you're on a budget or not, you'll find the right fit. 

'There are a number of considerations that can be taken into account when choosing a garage door, it really depends on what the garage is being used for in the first place. With increasing numbers of homeowners using their garages for storage, or for garages converted into leisure or living areas security and insulation values are hot topics.' Say the experts at Hörmann (opens in new tab), a leading provider of garage doors. 

What are the different types of garage doors?

There are different types of garage door designs and opening mechanisms to choose from, the door itself can then be customized to your liking of material, color and finish. Get it right and you can up your curb appeal instantly.

Stefania Filizola from fixr.com (opens in new tab) says 'When it comes to the type of door, sectional doors tend to be the most popular option as it’s reliable and versatile. They can be more energy-efficient than other options and although they can be more expensive, sectional doors add value to the home. This type of doors will also optimize space as it only requires extra space on the ceiling, whilst tilt-up canopy doors open outwards, meaning you might need to consider your space if you have cars parked on the driveway. Tilt-up canopy doors are generally noisier too. If you are looking for a quiet door when in operation, choose tilt-up retractables. This option can be used either manually or automatically and when open it will almost disappear completely.'

'Automation is also increasing in popularity, with all popular door types being suitable. The primary benefit of an automated garage door is ease of operation, typically from the comfort and security of your vehicle especially beneficial in bad weather and when returning home late at night.  Automation provides quick access into the garage using a secure, easy to use hand transmitter or via a mobile phone.' Adds Hörmann.

1. Up-and-over/tilt up canopy garage doors

Steel gray up-and-over garage door with paved driveway

(Image credit: Hörmann)

If driveway space isn’t an issue, a traditional up-and-over tilted canopy types of garage door may be the best option. This can be led by a manual or electric mechanism which runs on a pivoting hinge, letting it extend outwards, before tilting up and into the garage. They are made of one solid slab rather than sectional panels and when fully opened the door with be parallel to the ceiling. 

‘Up-and-over doors combine quality, security, appearance and convenience with advanced technology,’ says David O’Mara, marketing manager at Hörmann. ‘With a wide choice of materials and designs, they can be incorporated into any home as an affordable, stylish solution,’ adds Simon Hipgrave, managing director of Garador (opens in new tab).

Cost of tilt up garage doors: Starting from $600 with more custom designs sitting around the $2000 marker.

2. Sectional garage doors

Glazed sectional garage door on modern home exterior with light colored paved driveway

(Image credit: Hörmann)

The sectional garage door is becoming increasingly popular in style for driveway designs and is one of the most common types you'll find. Melanie Musson is a home design expert with Clearsurance.com (opens in new tab), she says 'There’s a reason that the sectional garage door is the most popular. It’s easy to operate, not prone to problems, and inexpensive. Sectional garage doors are what most people have. They have horizontal sections that bend at the hinges to allow the door to roll up and curve to follow the contour of the front of the garage to the ceiling. Sectional garage doors are available in several materials and styles from aluminum to glass. Aluminum is the most cost-effective, but it’s also prone to becoming dented. Wood requires upkeep but can be painted or stained to exactly match your home. Glass has obvious risks, but it can provide a modern appearance that can’t be paralleled.'

These types of garage doors usually use high-tension springs to ensure the door doesn't drop down when it's not fully open. ‘They rise vertically with no loss of driveway space in front of the garage, and provide full opening drive-through width, giving extra room for wider vehicles such as 4x4s and MPVs. This construction principle means you can make full use of the space inside and in front of the garage,’ adds O’Mara.

Sectional doors are now often electrically operated for ease. And, sectional garage doors can be made-to-measure to fit any door opening. This is especially important if your garage door opening is larger or smaller than average. Additionally, sectional garage doors are very energy efficient and if you live in a spot exposed to harsh weather – on the coast, for instance – they can keep your garage well-insulated. 

'Sectional garage doors can be manufactured in modern and traditional styles, with small, medium or large ribbed panels for a modern look or Georgian styled panels for a more traditional look. Windows can be installed if you require a source of natural light in your garage and you can choose from a manual or automated lock to secure the garage contents.' Says Chris Gibson, Director at Avemoor Garage Door Specialists (opens in new tab).

Cost of section garage doors: Prices range from $750-$2500.

3. Roller garage doors

Steel roller garage door lit up on brick driveway of modern build.

(Image credit: Hörmann)

Like sectional doors, roller doors open vertically, via slats around a drum, and require little room inside the garage. ‘These doors are designed to offer maximum space inside and in front of the garage, meaning you can drive right up’ says O’Mara. ‘The ceiling also remains free and can be used for lamps or as an additional storage space.’ Hipgrave adds: ‘Roller garage doors combine a space-saving design with the convenience of an electrically operated door.’

Roller garage doors are pretty no frills but as they are constructed mainly for commercial use, they are high-performance, will withstand heavy usage and if built without springs they shouldn't rust, corrode or freeze either. Therefore, these types of garage doors are often a little more costly.

Cost of roll-up garage doors: Starting from $850-$3000.

4. Side-hinged garage doors

‘These manual doors combine robust and reliable performance with simple personal access,’ says Hipgrave. ‘They open outwards and are usually manufactured with equal sized leaves. They provide extra space inside the garage and are a great solution for garages where access to wall space or utility boxes is required near the door entrance.’

Side-hinged doors are often made from wood to resemble barn-style doors, but steel is a robust choice also for these classic types of garage door. When fully open, they leave more headroom making these ideal if space is limited. Installation can also be simpler with this type of garage door as you can buy them pre-hung in a frame or as they are to fit an existing opening.

Musson adds 'Side-hinged garage doors offer a completely different look than the average overhead sectional garage door. Typically, the doors come in sets that open from the middle of the bay opening. They may fit your home’s style better, which is the main reason to choose this type of garage door.'

5. Side-sliding garage doors

If you like the simplicity of a roller or section door but don’t want to lose any ceiling space, a slide to the side garage door is the perfect option. ‘Because the door opens to the side, you can use the entire ceiling of the garage, for example, to store surfboards or canoes,’ says O’Mara. ‘The doors can also be opened just slightly, in order to get into the garage faster.’

Main garage door styles

6. Paneled

White garage door on a shingled home

(Image credit: Getty)

'This is the most common style' according to Filizola. A classic panel design will add beauty to all homes – be yours a single or double garage door. Usually up-and-over in design, nowadays you'll find these operate quietly with minimum maintenance and better thermal efficiency also.

7. Carriage House double garage doors

Taupe colored carriage house style double garage doors at front of home

(Image credit: Photo by Dillon Kydd on Unsplash)

Carriage garage doors are designed with paneling to replicate carriage style doors for quite a classic, fail-safe look. These types of garage door usually swings open giving you more space inside. They aren't as high in demand right now but we love this look especially with a double line of fitted windows and they are gaining popularity over all.

'Usually made of custom wood or wood-like materials, it’s a set of two doors that open outward (instead of upward).' Says Filizola.

Shop carriage doors at Home Depot (opens in new tab).

8. French style garage doors

Glazed sectional garage door on modern home exterior with light colored paved driveway

Going glazed will give a seamless finish in all types of homes. The Hörmann ALR F42 Vitraplan glazed sectional door, delivers an elegant aesthetic with offset, flushing fitted glazing and a concealed frame for a polish look.

(Image credit: Hörmann)

Ideal to add a modern finish to a home, French style garage doors are best known for good looks. 'A great option to enhance curb appeal, however it can lack insulation.' Notes Filizola.

Different garage door materials

Whether you choose a solid wood design to complement your window frames, or a contemporary steel roller door, the choice of garage door materials is now extensive. Modern garage doors, even wood ones, are generally treated to require little maintenance and less general garage repairs in the long run. Additionally, higher quality electrical mechanisms tend to have components that are galvanized or zinc-plated to maximize their lifespan.

For optimum home security also, look at the strength of the individual panels – the most resilient are double-skinned, steel or insulated aluminum – as well as the quality of the locks. A common mistake is removing the existing locks and replacing them with a cheap electric opening system; it’s worth paying more for a remote-controlled system that is extra secure. These are the main garage material types to choose from according to Filizola:

  • Steel: The most common material is steel as it’s the most cost-effective. This is a sturdy door. However if not insulated it can cause higher energy bills.
  • Aluminium: If you are choosing a manual garage door, the most used option for this system are aluminium doors as it’s lightweight. However it can be damaged easier than other materials.

Red metal sectional garage door on white painted house

Ruby red is sure to add vibrancy to your front of house, and a pop of color on a driveway is a great way to add interest. The LPU 42 style 461 sectional garage door from Hörmann (opens in new tab) boasts sleek design and a cohesive finish with the side element to match a ThermoSafe aluminum entrance door.

(Image credit: Hörmann)
  • Vinyl: Vinyl doors are more aesthetic and easy to maintain. It has wood appearance, is lightweight, low-maintenance and it’s a fairly inexpensive option. On the downside, it’s sensitive to extreme temperatures making it best for moderate climate use.
  • Wood composite: Another low-maintenance option is wood composite. This material has a natural wood look grain and it won’t require as much paint as a wood door would. However there aren't many options to choose from as it’s not customizable.
  • Fiberglass: The lightweight fiberglass door won't rust or dent but it can crack in extreme weather conditions. 
  • Glass: Glass doors can enhance the curb appeal and also benefit your garage’s interior by allowing more light to go in. Although it requires low maintenance, it can be fairly expensive to buy.
  • Wood: The most versatile and popular material for garage doors is wood even with it’s high cost and ongoing maintenance. It can be used in many different styles and there are many wood options to choose from.

Up and over contemporary wooden doors

Wood stained timber in a paneled or tongue and groove design also adds the perfect amount of modernity to a barn house or more historic home, blending well with the surroundings. With wood you can usually request a painted finish also, like bright white or something more vibrant. Note how the garage door design by Urban Front (opens in new tab) matches the finish on the front door. This is an automated up-and-over opening, with stainless steel strips.

(Image credit: Urban Front)

What type of garage door is cheapest?

It depends on the material and design. Ready-to-ship garage doors in the U.S. will start at around $319.00 and go above and beyond $5285.00 for more specialist options with steel and insulation.

In the UK, Prices start at around £300 for a basic up-and-over garage door and frame, but can go up to £3,000 or more for supply and installation of a remote-controlled sectional door.

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to join the police force but continues to love a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.