How to choose a garage door

Whether you want to maximise space, improve security or create visual impact, here are the key things to consider when buying a garage door

Your garage door probably isn’t the first thing you consider when transforming your property, but it can make a huge difference to the appearance of your home. Whether you choose a solid wood design to complement your window frames, or a contemporary steel roller style, the choice of materials and styles is now extensive.

When it comes to materials, you can choose whatever best suits the exterior of your home, from solid timber to laminated steel, aluminium, fibreglass and PVC. Modern garage doors, even timber ones, are generally treated to require little maintenance and higher quality electrical mechanisms tend to have components that are galvanised or zinc-plated to maximise their lifespan.

If home security is your key objective, look at the strength of the individual panels – the most resilient are double-skinned, steel or insulated aluminium – 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.

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.

Here are the key mechanisms on offer:

Up-and-over garage doors


If driveway space isn’t an issue, a traditional up-and-over door may be the best option and can be manual or electric. ‘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.

Sectional garage doors


 ‘A sectional garage door is made up of separate sections rather than a single panel,’ says Simon. ‘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 David.

Sectional doors are usually electrically operated. Chris Gibson, Director at Avemoor Garage Door Specialists,  explains why you might want to choose a sectional garage door:

  • A sectional garage door comes outwards when opening before going up, allowing you to park a vehicle up close to the front of the door;
  • 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; 
  • If you live in a spot exposed to harsh weather – on the coast, for instance – sectional doors can help keep your garage well-insulated and energy efficient. 
  • '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.'

Roller garage doors


Like sectional doors, roller doors open vertically 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 David. ‘The ceiling also remains free and can be used for lamps or as an additional storage space.’ Simon adds: ‘Roller garage doors combine a space-saving design with the convenience of an electrically operated door.’

Side-hinged garage doors


‘These manual doors combine robust and reliable performance with simple personal access,’ says Simon. ‘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-sliding garage doors


If you like the simplicity of a roller or section door but don’t want to lose any ceiling space, this 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 David. ‘The doors can also be opened just slightly, in order to get into the garage faster.’

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Emily Shaw
Emily Shaw

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 loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.