What to look for when buying a garage door for your home

(BPT) – The most important factor that garage door buyers consider is not the price!

That was the surprising result of a 2016 national survey completed in February. According to that study, the buyers’ most important consideration is appearance/curb appeal, followed by price, durability, low maintenance, warranty, and five other factors.

‘This survey underscores the key role that garage doors play in the appearance of today’s homes,’ says Todd Thomas, managing director of the International Door Association.

‘Since garage doors command such a large area of the front of the typical home, homeowners are increasingly recognizing the powerful impact of an attractive garage door.’

Latest census statistics

The large area occupied by garage doors is getting even larger. In June, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 24 percent of new single-family houses completed in 2015 had a three-car (or more) garage, the highest percentage ever.

The Midwest region leads the country with 42 percent of new homes having at least a three-car garage. The larger the area, the larger the aesthetic impact.

‘Can you imagine how much it would cost to renovate 150 square feet of the front of your home?’ Thomas asks. ‘With a new upscale garage door, you can get the project done professionally for less than $3,000.’

The top upscale project

The new 2016 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine also echoes the cost-effectiveness of a new garage door. For the first time in the report’s history, an upscale garage door replacement earned the top spot in the rankings of all upscale projects studied.

The report said that the purchase of an upscale garage door recoups 90 percent of its cost at resale, far above the second place project, which was a siding replacement at 78 percent. The average cost recouped for all 30 projects in the study was 64 percent.

‘More people are migrating to the quality doors,’ says Wayne Pawlowski at Garage Door Guy in Barnegat, New Jersey. ‘No longer is it ‘What’s the cheapest you got?’ They would rather spend a few extra dollars and get a better door.’

New designs, more choices

Fortunately for the consumer, garage door manufacturers are now producing hundreds of stunning designs in steel, wood, aluminum and fiber-composite material. When combined with new colors, windows, insulation and decorative hardware options, the potential designs are almost limitless.

‘We have so many more attractive designs today than we had 20 years ago,’ says Randy Oliver of Hollywood-Crawford Door, a long-time garage door dealer in San Antonio. ‘An upgraded door that takes advantage of all these optional features is surprisingly affordable.’

Best buyer’s resource

The key is to learn more about a garage door’s features and the design possibilities. To help homeowners with the task, garage door manufacturers have joined together to create a free consumer website (www.garagewownow.com) that contains dozens of photos of the latest garage doors from many manufacturers.

The GarageWowNow site includes design tips, photos of many openers and accessories, and several before-and-after garage door images that demonstrate how a door upgrade improves the appearance of the home. A dealer finder on the site leads you to a nearby qualified door dealer who can handle the project quickly, properly, and safely.

‘I tell my customers that price should be a factor, but not the only factor,’ says Oliver. ‘When customers realize the overall value of a better-made and better-looking garage door, they buy the better door almost every time.”