Your garage door is an important part of your home's building envelope. As part of that envelope, the garage door helps seal off the interior from the elements. The garage door also comprises a large portion of your house's façade, especially in the case of multi-car garages. If the door is dinged and dented, then your house won't look as tidy.
In short, you want a garage door that's both durable and energy efficient.
Choose Materials for Durability
Garage doors come in six materials — vinyl, steel, fiberglass, wood, composite, and aluminum. When it comes to durability, vinyl is a great option. These doors are called kid proof because they don't dent or break very easily. What's more, they require little maintenance over the years.
Fiberglass is another durable material. These doors also resist denting as well as rust and cracking. However, they can break on impact more easily than vinyl.
Wood is another durable material. While some woods are susceptible to rot, those made out of cedar and other hardwoods are not. Likewise, wood garage doors don't dent or break. Composite wood doors offer the same durability as wood doors with less maintenance.
Choose Materials for Energy Efficiency
When energy efficiency is the focus, you may look at your material options differently. If you’re looking for energy efficiency, wood is a great option. Wood garage doors provide the best insulation because the material is naturally resistant to heat flow.
Composite garage doors consist of sheets of fiberboard attached to a wood frame. Because they use so much wood in the construction, composite doors are also energy efficient.
When it comes to other materials, energy efficiency is dependent on the construction of the door because insulation must have been added to the material for it to be energy efficient.
Choose to Add Insulation to Garage Doors
When garage doors come already insulated, manufacturers are typically using a sandwich construction. That means they insert the insulation between two layers of the main material. You can choose between double layer and triple layer. Naturally, adding more layers leads to more insulation.
On its own, steel is a poor thermal conductor. However, manufacturers construct steel doors with insulation to increase the door’s R-value, which is a measurement of a material's thermal resistance.
Likewise, vinyl on its own doesn't provide a lot of energy efficiency. When you choose one with layers of insulation sandwiched in the door, you get a much better R-value.
You can also add insulation to an existing garage door. This job involves cutting bats of fiberglass or other insulation and attaching it between the recesses of the doorframes. However, garage doors designed with energy efficiency in mind are typically the better choice.
Putting it All Together
You'll get the best value for your money if you choose a garage door that's both durable and energy-efficient. You can approach this choice one of two ways. You can look for a material that naturally offers those two qualities, or you can pick a specific door that's built for those qualities.
If you're going for material alone, then wood or wood composite is probably your best material choice. You'll have some maintenance in keeping the wood cleaned and well-protected from the elements. However, your door will be resistant to denting and cracking and will naturally feature a good R-value.
If you're opting for a man-made construction, insulated vinyl might be your best option. However, a close second is low-gauge steel with an insulated core. The lower gauge translates to a thicker panel of steel, making the door more durable.
In addition to material and insulation options, you'll want to consider how the seals, weather stripping, and door opener affect both durability and energy efficiency of your garage door. Consult with the experts at Anderson Door Company for more information.