Choosing a garage door can be a challenge when you consider all of the options—let’s see if we can make the process a little easier.

Many people are surprised to see how much a garage door can affect the look of a house. To see what we mean try our new faster DoorView™ program (Click button at left). You will be able to quickly see different styles, colors and options on your house. Quickly get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like and It is easy to use.

On many homes the garage door is the first thing that you see as you come up to the house. A well matched garage door will dramatically enhance the curb appeal of your house.

Style and look

The look of modern garage doors range from ultra-contemporary aluminum and glass, to doors that fit right in on a 100 year old carriage house. The easiest way to narrow your options is to consider the overall style that will work best with your house. For example, rectangular raised panels often match the longer horizontal lines of a ranch house. And decorative hardware like pulls and hinges can easily create the look of a swing out door.


Steel garage doors are by far the most common material. Compared to wood it is lower cost and much lower maintenance. Steel sections can be stamped with a wood grain surface on standard raised or wainscot panels making it look like a painted wood door. Insulated steel doors provide the highest R-value and longest warranty of any material. Steel doors can be dented which is another reason to consider an insulated door. Insulation sandwiched between the outer steel surface and the inside steel surface provides a significantly stronger construction. Also note that our Courtyard collection® of steel doors provides all the benefits of a steel door with the look of a wood panel door.

Wood doors are beautiful and a wood garage door matched to a wood front entry door can be stunning. Generally they are the most expensive and they do require maintenance. Plan on having them refinished every couple of years. When maintained they will stand up well over time. They will not dent like a steel door but they can split and crack.

Fiberglass doors are relatively new. They are typically used to provide a stained wood look with low maintenance. They will not dent like steel doors can and are priced between wood and steel doors.

Aluminum doors provide a very contemporary look with windows in each section.

EcoBuilt® Doors

For a green alternative consider the EcoBuilt Doors engineered from Douglas fir, resins and sealers to produce a wood based door that has the look, feel and sound of a wood door. These composite doors are made from 100% recycled wood fiber and use a minimum of 88% recycled content.

Particle Board Doors

We don’t recommend particle board doors; they do not hold up. They are inexpensive flat panel doors that are very susceptible to water damage and for that reason we do not recommend them for use up here in Minnesota. They are particularly susceptible to soaking up water and blistering. They can work in a shady area in the desert southwest but not in the rain and snow we get in Minneapolis and St Paul.


Color is obviously one of the most important visual components or your garage door and the good news is that with most doors you can easily get the color you are looking for. Wood, steel and our EcoBuilt® come in a variety of standard colors but can easily be painted to any color you desire.

Consider matching color highlights on the garage door in the same way they are on your house. For example, paint the bracing on a carriage house door to match the window trim and paint the rest of the door to match the house color.

Windows and Window Trim

Windows not only bring natural light into your garage, they also can really help make your garage door fit your house. A good place to start is to match the windows on the house. Many options are available including classic multiple panel look or sun burst styles. Again our DoorView program can help you quickly see what various options will look like on your house.

Thermal Efficiency

Another plus for steel doors is that when insulated they provide the highest thermal efficiency of any doors. Our Thermacore® doors provide R-values up to 17.5. (The higher the R-value the better insulation it provides.) Here in Minnesota if you have an attached garage and especially if it is a tuck under, you will want to consider a Thermacore door.

The high thermal efficiency is made possible by a continuous layer of foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation sandwiched between two layers of rust- and corrosion-resistant steel. This process squeezes the insulation into all of the edges creating a much better insulation than glued in place sections. These doors also feature between-section seals that provide added resistance to air infiltration, as well as bulb-type bottom seals that guard against wind and rain. Choose from raised or flush panels, or you may combine the energy efficiency of Thermacore® with the carriage-house styling of Courtyard Collection® doors.


Panel style: flat, raised panel classic, raised panel long, raised panel wood grain, raised panel wainscot (fiberglass)

Style: Classic flat or raised panel or carriage-house style

Windows and trim: a variety of styles available on each door model


  • Steel most common, durable though they can dent, highest thermal efficiency, longest warranty
  • Wood it is beautiful, requires maintenance, good thermo efficiency, generally the most expensive
  • Fiberglass can provide a wood look with comparable cost and no maintenance.
  • Aluminum for contemporary look with windows
  • Ecobuilt® doors for a great look from recycled materials, a green product for LEED rating

Paint: All door models come with a variety of color choices and they can be painted to get exactly the color combination you want

Maintenance and durability: Steel leads the pack

When choosing a garage door there can be a lot of choices, we are glad to help you walk through your options. Call us for a complimentary design consultation at 651-683-0307.