There are many considerations when selecting the right garage door for your home and one of the most important ones is price. When selecting a door you want to compare the features available between the lines from the same manufacturer and then use those specifications when you compare doors from other manufacturers.
You may find that the design features that one company offers are not available from other companies but basic features will be available in most brands.
You will notice that prices can vary dramatically from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Most self install doors will cost less then ones that contractors can provide. The markup in price of materials to cover stocking doors and other overhead is one reason but the grade or supplier may also be a factor. Make sure you are always comparing apples to apples when pricing doors from installers and direct to customer suppliers.
Standard sizes vs off sizes
Most architects design garage door openings to fit within optimal sizes for width and height. If you are building a custom garage you want to make sure that you keep within the specs of standard sizes available from manufacturers.
Since garage doors are mounted on the inside of the opening you do have some flexibility and can install a slightly larger door on a smaller opening by adding framing in your walls however you do not want so much overlap that the door will cause problems or get hung up.
Although it is possible to reduce the size of a garage opening by a few inches with moldings it can be very difficult to increase the size because of the header beam that is installed above the opening that supports the roof or second floor.
Modifying the width of the door yourself is difficult to impossible due to the way doors are assembled with high bonding glue which probably won’t be available for purchase.
Two Single vs 1 large door for a 2 car garage
Single doors on a two or more car garage are often used when framing of beams above the opening is a concern. In three car garages you will often have the choice of a double and single door or you can go with three single doors. If you have a two car garage it is better to purchase one larger door if your header beam can support it.
The cost of a double door will often be less then doors with custom widths that range between the single size and double size. This is because there is a lower demand for custom sized doors and it requires special hands on manufacturing.
Windows or Not
Installing a panel with windows in your garage door will provide natural light and is a good idea for garages that do not have an exterior window. In the case of a power outage you will be able to get into and work in your garage. On the other hand it could open another level of security problems.
You really have to decide the use of windows based on your overall security plan. If you have motion sensors and other methods of detection then this should not be a problem for you.
Vinyl costs 30% more then steel but looks better
The look of the exterior surface of your garage door is often a simulated wood grain that is painted. Most basic doors will be steel with a white base color that you can paint to match your siding.
Vinyl door applications sit on top of a steel door and can provide a variety of simulated wood surfaces that you won’t have to paint. This is a good selection for a very high end custom home but expect to pay much more for this option.
If you live in a cold part of the country then an insulated door is very important. Garages are insulated and fire rated drywalled almost as a compartment to separate them from the rest of your home. This is done for safety but it also reduces the cost of heating your garage space.
In very cold areas or warm areas your garage temperature can fluctuate dramatically. Door insulation kits are available if you need to retrofit a door but manufacturer installed insulation is often the best choice when buying a new door.
Expect to pay a one to two hundred dollars extra for insulation when purchasing a standard door.
Garage doors come with a spring loaded system that when adjusted should allow you to open and close your door without much effort however dealing with a garage door late at night or in inclement weather can be frustrating.
Installing a garage door opener yourself is a project that will take a day for the first timer and will require an electrical outlet on the ceiling of the garage. Often you can replace a light fixture or run a line to a new outlet from your ceiling light.
Door openers will vary in price starting at about $150 for the low end products.
Direct Drive or Worm Drive openers seem to be much quieter and run smoother over the life of the door.
Buying from the Manufacturer or a Dealer
You should shop around for your door to get the best price but to also understand what features are available and how much you would save if you did the job yourself. If the price of labor is not too much then you may not want to do the work yourself.
If you are considering buying your door from a contractor you want to make sure that you can purchase replacement parts yourself and not need to go back to your installer if they go out of business or decide to no longer carry that line of door.
All doors and accessories should come with a warranty. Many will only be for one to a few years but others may provide a lifetime warranty. As when buying any product you should understand what is covered in the warranty. Most often basic wear or abuse will not be covered so you are really just getting insurance for manufacturing defects.
I don’t usually suggest buying Warranties that basically provide nothing more then the manufacturer provides as a default.