Picking The Right Garage Door

The garage door has become such a prominent part of the façade of new homes that manufacturers now offer more style and colour choices than ever before. “It’s important to make the garage door look beautiful,” says Bette Davies of Richards-Wilcox Canada, a garage door repair service in NC. “It’s not part of the background of your home, as many people think.” We talked to a few industry experts about some of the options to consider when you’re in the market for a handsome new garage door.

Decide on the material

When researching your options, there’s lots to think about: durability, maintenance, design, cost. “Wood doors can take more abuse than steel ones, which show dings and dents, and can even be pierced and start to rust,” says Francesco Di Sarra of Capoferro Design Build Group in Toronto. “The most commonly used wood is cedar, but you can get anything you want if you have the budget, even mahogany.” There’s also the question of aesthetics. “I like to match the style to the house windows,” says Eric Adelman of the custom-design company South Park Design Build in Toronto. “For wood and stone houses, I might stain the garage door. The idea is to blend it into the façade – white trim and a white door is a very old-fashioned look. With contemporary homes, you can go crazy with materials, like glass doors and interesting wood designs.”

1 Aluminum

Many styles, stock colours and designs
Low to no maintenance
Rustproof, which makes it a good choice for salty or humid environments
The light weight of the material makes it less taxing on the operating mechanism, door openers and tracks, not to mention easier to operate manually
Less durable than steel; dents easily

2 Steel

Astonishing variety of styles, stock colours and finishes
Sturdier than aluminum
Can rust if scratched or dented

3 Wood

The traditionalist’s choice; a range of options for custom design
Veneers or overlays offer the look of wood at a lower cost
Requires regular maintenance (painting or staining)

4 Fibreglass/pvc overlay

Wide choice of styles and designs
More durable than wood and metal, but can crack if hit hard
Newer to the market so not as widely available as wood and metal
Generally costs more than metal but less than solid wood

Determine the style that best suits your home

Choose a door that complements your architecture. “On a traditional house, you might want the door to disappear or blend in. But if your home is modern, you can celebrate that, perhaps by choosing all glass or a unique design,” says Francesco Di Sarra. Below are general guidelines on door styles and features that will match your house type.


1) Victorian/georgian/colonial

Panelled wood (or lookalikes)
Coach house or stable look
Divided-light windows, ideally coordinated with house windows
Decorative hardware, like iron hinges or handles

2) Arts & crafts/edwardian

Raised panels or sections
Arch-top or divided-light windows to match or complement your home’s windows (but nothing too fussy looking)

3) ’50s ranch style

Plain finish with simple, horizontal emphasis in design, like wood slats or banding
Simple hardware or windows that create balance with overall composition of home’s exterior
For a streamlined look, consider forgoing handles

4) Contemporary/modern

This style offers the most design freedom – choose materials and details that make a statement
Options to consider: stained wood, V-ribbed or horizontal banding, frosted or pebbled glass

Pick the right colour

Generally, the colour should complement your home and blend in with the overall structure rather than stand out; avoid vivid colours and extreme contrasts.
Consider matching the garage door to your home’s window trim rather than to the front door. Or go for a colour that blends in with your siding or brick.
For less contrast with red brick, choose a beige or tan that matches the mortar in the brick, instead of a white.


Choose finishing details to customize your look and add character

Design choices aren’t limited to the basic door itself. Many manufacturers offer decorative accents and hardware. panelling Options include multiple square or rectangular sections for creating everything from a colonial to a coach house look. decorative hardware Hinges and handles come in a variety of designs, including a forged-iron look to evoke the styling of a coach house or stable doors. decorative strapping An X or Z shape formed with strapping (and perhaps in a contrasting colour) can introduce a nostalgic country or barn door look. windows Styles include arch tops, divided lights, large panels and etched glass; textured and sandblasted styles are also available for less transparency.

Consider other options for convenience & comfort