How to Select a Garage Door

  1. Looks (design, pattern, and color)
  2. Insulation (polyurethane or polystyrene?)
  3. Safety (pinch and tamper resistancy and fire safety)
  4. Window Designs (both for natural light and aesthetic value)
  5. Spring Design (the spring that lifts the garage door up and down)
  6. Warranty
  7. Material Make-Up (steel, wood, or fiberglass)
  8. Cost

1. Looks

Wayne-Dalton doors come in many different patterns. The Series 9800 doors are made of fiberglass and offer a deep, rich woodgrain pattern that looks remarkably like real wood. It comes in six colors, including oak, mahogany, walnut, clay, green, and gray.

Model 9700 doors offer the look of old-fashioned carriage house doors. The Lexington has a cross buck design that reminds you of a quaint barn door look. The Charleston has a triangular pattern. There are many others to choose from also. The point is, there are many different looks to consider other than the traditional raised panel garage door. Look at the rest of your home's architecture, and then find the design that fits it well.

Colors are also important. Most Wayne-Dalton models have several colors to choose, and all are ready for additional painting should you decide to get really creative and paint the door a different color to match, let's say, your shutters, or to paint it two or even three different colors to make your garage door into a fashionable statement.

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2. Insulation

The second feature of a door which is very important is insulation, which is stated in terms of an R-Value. The higher the R-value rating of a door, the better its ability to block heat flow. Insulation is important to your family's comfort if you have living areas above or adjoining your garage. That means less heat lost in winter (or gained in summer) and lower energy consumption. Our doors also have a flexible bottom seal to prevent infiltration of air or elements into your garage. Wayne-Dalton Series 9000 doors have polyurethane insulation foamed-in-place using a patented process. It delivers twice the thermal performance of polystyrene insulation in the same thickness! Foamed-in-place insulation also adds strength and rigidity to panels and helps dampen sound transmission.

The number of uninsulated garage doors sold continues to decline as consumers demand energy efficiency. When considering the insulation type, most insulated doors are constructed using polystyrene or polyurethane foam. Polystyrene can be thicker, but has a significantly lower R-Value than polyurethane. If you are looking for energy efficiency and a high R-Value, do not be fooled by the thickness of the door!

A polyurethane insulated door might look thinner but actually offers a much higher insulation value. That is because of the way the insulation expands during the manufacturing process to tightly fill the cavity between the two steel panels as it chemically bonds to the skins of the door.

Not only does this make the door better insulated, it also makes the door incredibly strong and helps lessen noise while the door operates, as is common with single sheet metal doors that have no insulation or even polystyrene insulation.

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3. Safety

Safety is a concern with any product, and garage doors are no different. Since it is a large moving object that many family members interact with, it should have as many safety features as possible.

Pinch-resistant doors feature a design that pushes fingers out of harm's way should they accidentally be placed too close to a closing door. Tamper resistant bottom brackets reduce the risk of injury from garage door components under tension. The polyurethane insulation even provides better fire safety in that this type of insulation reduces the amount of smoke and flames in the event of a fire.

Also, for additional safety, see what is new with counterbalance springs described in item #5.

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4. Window Designs

Many people underestimate the value the windows can add to a garage door. To best illustrate the difference, select a sample home from Wayne-Dalton's Door Selection Center and look at it with and without windows. The difference can be stunning and turn an ordinary or even a good looking door into an even better one. They also allow natural light into the garage that can make a gloomy garage interior much more appealing during the day. If you want to be able to look out your garage door, have the windows put in the third section from the bottom. If you don't want to look out the door, but want the beauty and natural light of windows, then have them put in the top section of the door.

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5. Spring Design

Counterbalance springs are how your door is actually lifted and closed. It is not the opener that actually lifts and closes your door. That just provides the push to get the door moving. It's actually the springs, which are wound tightly when your door is closed. As the door moves up, the springs unwind, which provide the force necessary to lift the door. As the door closes, the weight of the door actually winds the springs back up until it closes completely. At this point the springs have their full tension again.

These springs are normally exposed and when they are under full tension, can be extremely dangerous. Especially if they break and parts of it come flying loose, or if an inexperienced person tries to adjust them, which should never, ever be tried.

The TorqueMasterâ„¢ counterbalance system is a Wayne-Dalton exclusive that encases potentially dangerous garage door springs inside a steel tube. If the spring should happen to break after years of usage, it will do so safely inside the tube. Tension for the spring, which still should be done by a professional, is adjusted by using the winding mechanism on the side of the tube, and not by having to adjust any part attached to the exposed spring.

The TorqueMasterâ„¢ Plus system adds a patented anti-drop device to the safest springing system on the market. This device protects you and your family by holding the door in a safe position in the event of a spring failure.

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6. Warranty

Many manufacturers offer a warranty, but few go so far as to offer anything more than one year. Wayne-Dalton offers some of the best warranties in the industry, including many of its models with Lifetime Limited warranties. Other models have 10 years, which is still a significant time frame. Good warranties offer you the peace of mind that the manufacturer is confident about the design and construction of its doors, and will back that up should the door happen to fail for reasons noted in the warranty.

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7. Material Make-Up

How long your door will last, what kind of punishment it can take, or even how much annual maintenance it will require is strongly determined by the material used to make the door.

Steel doors offer long durability with only occasional need for cleaning or touch-up. Fiberglass doors can last even longer, especially in environments with harsh weather conditions. And with the advent of Wayne-Dalton's Model 9800 fiberglass doors, the woodgrain finish is as close as you can get to the real thing.

Which brings us to real wood, which requires the most maintenance, as it will need painted or stained every few years. But if the look and feel of real wood is what you want, then it's a choice that can't be beat.

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8. Cost

Generally, premium wood doors are the most expensive, then fiberglass doors, steel doors with and without vinyl or PVC overlays, and then uninsulated, single sheet steel doors and lower grade wood doors.

When considering what to spend though, consider that this purchase won't be made again for many, many years, if ever. And what you put on your garage now will have a big impact on the garage itself and maybe even more significantly, to the rest of your home. A few extra dollars now could give a benefit of a lifetime, and raise the value of your home to a new level.

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