There is a huge range of garage doors available on the market today; choose one that offers good quality, security and is attractive to boot
Durability, safety and convenience are what most people look for when selecting garage doors for their home. Proud homeowners, however, seek something that offers all they are looking for in terms of quality and reassurance, but that also makes a sleek statement in itself.
Garage doors are one of the first things people see when they approach your home and because of their size, they can create a significant negative or positive impact. While this is true, there is something else to consider: The security of your belongings that are kept behind the garage doors.
The main garage door choices are steel, wood, aluminium, fibreglass and Chromadek (galvanised and painted metal), available in sectional, overhead, roll-up or tip-up.
Standard sized doors
A standard sized single door is 2 440mm in width by 2 135mm in height, and a double door is 4 880mm in width by 2 135mm in height. This is important as it will affect your budget considerably if your doors have to be purpose-made. Standard sizes are available everywhere, from local hardware stores to specialised garage door installers.
Headroom and side space on the inside of your opening is very important as this will determine your options regarding the type of garage door you can install. Standard headroom is 450mm and side space is 150mm. Although it is obviously easier to purchase a standard sized door, if your garage opening is not standard size, you will need to have your door custom made.
Choosing a garage door
There are three main aspects to consider when choosing a garage door:
This may consist of a number of panels joined together. Enquire about the thickness of the panels as this is important for the structural strength of your door. Try to find out whether the door was manufactured according to the right procedures to avoid inferior workmanship
The hardware of your door consists of springs, pulleys, hinges, etc. The quality of the hardware is important to ensure hassle-free use of your door over an extended period. Poor quality hardware may cause failure in operation and even death if a door dislodges and falls on someone.
Make sure the automation unit is manufactured by a local company to ensure a continuous supply of spares and backup service for years to come. Ask for specifications to ensure that you are getting what you paid for.
Materials and systems
When considering the type of door you require, bear in mind that, in general, wood adds more value in terms of warmth and an appearance of quality, whereas steel and Chromadek doors are more convenient in terms of maintenance.
The type of mechanism or system is often related to the type of material from which the door is made. Overhead sectional systems are the most popular because they allow for greater drive through space and parking space in front of the door. These systems also allow less wear and tear as the weight of the door is distributed evenly. Tip-up mechanisms are generally used in situations with limited headroom.
Wooden garage doors are most appropriate for tip-up and sectional overhead systems. They are available in various designs and types of wood. Usually meranti is used for wooden doors. Ensure that the wood used is of a high grade, which means that it will be denser than the cheaper options, making it more resistant to weather conditions. Wooden doors should be treated regularly to ensure longevity. Wood has to be sealed or varnished at least once a year, so there is some maintenance involved, but aesthetically there is no comparison between wood and other materials.
Affordable and requiring little maintenance, steel doors are available as sectional, overhead, tip-up or roll-up systems (double roll-up doors are generally not recommended as they are too heavy). They can also be automated on tracks.
Chromadek doors are made from galvanised, pre-painted steel. They are available as roll-up systems and come in a variety of colours, are durable and require little maintenance.
Aluminium garage doors are expensive, but require little maintenance and are suitable for coastal areas. Usually available as sectional overhead doors, they give a contemporary look and suit a modern or minimalist style home.
Maintenance free and ideal for coastal regions, fibreglass doors are available in a range of colours and wood grain finishes. They usually come as sectional overhead doors.
Colour and texture
Because your garage doors play such an important role in the look of your home’s exterior, give a lot of thought to the colour you choose. Allow your home’s architecture and style to influence your choice. It is best to choose a colour that matches your window frames, so go for wood if your frames are wooden, or white if you have white painted window frames and burglar bars, or one that will match the colour of your home’s walls or roof. Neutral colours, such as black, brown, charcoal, white or dark green, will blend with most colours. Brightly coloured garage doors will become a focal point, so only go for bright colours if your doors have a lot of character.
Garage door remote controls are available from one to four button versions, with some manufacturers providing up to six button transmitters. They can be paired with other devices, such as gate motors and alarms. Rolling code technology is the best option for your remote control as this technology is less likely to be compromised by would-be criminals.
Obviously your choice of material will determine the type of maintenance required for your garage doors. Wooden doors require regular maintenance and a protective coating should be applied at approximately three-month to a year intervals, depending on weather conditions. Steel, aluminium, glass and Chromadek doors are maintenance free in terms of exterior treatment, but all garage doors should be serviced mechanically at least once a year.
Convenience and safety are the primary reasons for automating your garage doors. Here’s what to look for when choosing an automation system:
Ensure that whichever operator you choose, it is suitable for your door. Centurion’s XTrac has variable speed, which makes it suitable for both tip-up or sectional doors. Centurion’s RDO operator is suitable for roll-up doors.
Newer technologies provide for a much quieter operation than traditional operators. Older technologies included the old bicycle chain style, which pulled the towing arm of the door, driven by a static motor or a worm-screw drive – both of which become very noisy with use. Centurion’s XTrac operator has a revolutionary design where the motor silently crawls along a static chain. This provides for excellent longevity of the operator with minimal maintenance.
*Speed of operation
Greater speed equals more convenience and better security.
*Reliability of operation
Choose a system with battery backup – this will ensure your system continues to run in the event of a power failure.
*Adaptive anti-crushing control
This ensures that in the event of the door closing on someone or something, it can immediately react (stop and reverse).
Ensure that the operator can have safety beams connected to it, which will prevent it from closing in the event that someone/something is in its path. Installing these beams is highly recommended, and if they are installed you can also activate another function called Autoclose. The Autoclose function allows you to open your garage door and simply drive off without having to worry about remembering to close the door. With the safety beams fitted, the operator can be set to close automatically after a predefined period.