5 Garage Door Material Types: Applications, Maintenance, & What to Expect

House with wood garage door that is one of the different garage door material types to choose from

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Choosing the perfect garage door material can improve the functionality and security of your home and offer many practical benefits, such as enhancing the exterior’s aesthetic appeal.

According to Remodeling by JLC, the 2022 Cost vs. Value report cited that garage door construction and replacement offer an average return on investment of 87.5%. So if you’re looking to improve your home’s value, this is a great way to do it.

But there’s more than just the good stuff. To ensure that you make the right decision, you must know the available materials, challenges, and benefits.

This article will discuss the five types of garage door materials, their applications, maintenance tips, and what to expect from them when considering a garage door improvement project.

Garage Door Materials Pros and Cons

The right types of garage doors can make all the difference in the look and functionality of your home. Here the pros and cons of the best garage door materials to help you make an informed decision.


steel garage door

Steel is sturdy, long-lasting, and can add value to your home. Most steel garage doors are an ideal choice in humid climates, and that is because a humid environment prevents the metal from swelling.

Additionally, steel doors typically feature insulated foam cores that help keep the inside temperature of your home more comfortable while adding an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Although steel garage doors are inclined to be noisy when operated, they can also be ordered with dampeners to reduce such sounds. Lastly, with proper maintenance, steel garage door durability is estimated to be 20 years or more.


  • Highly durable
  • Modern curb appeal, which adds value to your home
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Economical and affordable options for garage doors.
  • Highly customizable, so you can easily find one that fits your home’s aesthetic


  • Not energy efficient in case its a non-insulated door
  • Prone to rust
  • Reacts to impacts

Best Applications and Design Options for Steel Garage Doors

Steel garage doors make a great choice for home security and energy efficiency since they are strong, durable, and easy to maintain. When selecting a steel garage door design, it’s essential to feel confident in your decision by considering both aesthetic appeal and performance.

Look for models with a classic wood grain texture if you want an elegant finish on the exterior of your home.

The steel will give you total peace of mind regarding strength and durability. On the other hand, if low maintenance is your priority, then opt for smooth steel finishes, which are simple to clean and don’t require any staining or painting.

Remember that the thickness of the steel used affects performance as well. Thicker composites will provide greater strength and insulation while costing more upfront. Ultimately, select an option that fits your budget and lifestyle needs so you can be sure that your new door is both practical and stylish.

Maintenance of Steel Garage Doors

Simple maintenance and upkeep can go a long way toward extending the life of your steel garage door.

To properly care for it, you’ll need to examine it twice a year for any signs of wear or damage, such as light rust, loose hardware, etc. Then, lubricate the door with a silicon or silicone spray lubricant.

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Painting Steel Garage Doors

  • Start by washing the door with mild soap or detergent and then dry it thoroughly.
  • Next, use sandpaper to scuff the surface so your paint can stick better lightly. After this, you can apply a rust-inhibiting primer and let it dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Once that has dried, you can then move on to applying two coats of quality exterior paint.

Cleaning Steel Garage Doors

  • To clean your steel garage doors, you’ll need to clear off any dirt or debris from the surface with a brush or vacuum.
  • Then, you can use a mild soap solution and rinse it off with water.
  • After that’s finished, dry the area completely before applying any type of lubricant or wax.


Wood is one of the common garage door material used.

Wood garage doors provide a classic and timeless look favored by many homeowners. However, wood garage doors are also the most expensive garage door materials.

Common types of wood include cedar, cypress, mahogany, and pine. Many factors play into determining costs, such as the width, height, type of wood, and decorative accents.

Real wood garage doors require more intense care than steel ones and should be limited to climates with heavy snowfall or radical temperature changes throughout the year for maximum lifespan.

A well-built wooden garage door can last over 50 years with proper maintenance and treatment.

Wood Types Used for Garage Doors

  • Cedar – Cedar is one of the most popular choices for wooden garage doors because it’s naturally resistant to decay, insects, and weathering without additional treatments. Cedar has a distinct grain pattern that can be stained or painted to provide an appealing appearance to your home.
  • Mahogany – Mahogany is a strong, lightweight wood often used to create luxurious doors, as you can polish it to a high gloss.
    It’s also highly resistant to rot but should still be treated regularly with an oil-based coating or sealant for extra protection against the elements.
  • Redwood – Redwood is a popular wood due to its rich red color and durability, but it comes at a much higher cost than cedar or mahogany. It’s naturally resistant to warping, splitting, and cracking and makes an excellent choice for those looking for something that will last.
  • Oak – Oak is a popular choice for garage doors due to its strength and natural beauty. Oak is a dense hardwood that can be stained or painted to fit any decor and can last for decades with proper maintenance.
  • Wood Composite – Wood composite is an artificial material made from various wood products that can provide an economical alternative to solid wood. Wood-composite garage doors are more durable than their natural counterparts and require less maintenance. However, they don’t offer a better look or longer lifespan than real wood options.


  • Rustic curb appeal
  • Energy efficient
  • High resistance to impact
  • Highly customizable
  • Various staining options are available
  • Noise-proof that dampens the sound better than metal doors.


  • Prone to moisture
  • Prone to pest infestation
  • Expensive than their metal counterparts.
  • Heavy than metal ones.
  • May warp due to extreme temperature changes.
  • Regular maintenance required

Best Applications and Design Options

For the best aesthetic effect, opt for wooden garage doors that match your house’s design by considering both the color scheme and overall building style.

For instance, darker door colors may work well with more traditional homes, while lighter hues complement modern houses better. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to get a beautiful finish for your wood garage that will impress family and guests alike.

Maintenance of Wooden Garage Doors

Wooden garage doors need regular maintenance to keep them in good condition, and giving them some TLC (tender loving care) is easy. Check out these simple ways below.

Painting Wood Garage Doors

Painting is the best way to keep your wooden door looking great, as paint protects against moisture and other environmental elements. The best time to repaint is usually in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate.

Staining Wood Garage Doors

Staining is another great way to protect and spruce up your wooden garage door. Stains can help keep the wood grain looking vibrant and beautiful while providing a waterproof coating.

Cleaning Wood Garage Doors

Cleaning your wooden garage door is an integral part of maintenance. You should avoid using harsh chemicals and instead opt for a mild detergent with warm water to keep dirt and debris from building up over time.

After cleaning, let the door air dry before applying any paint or stain.

Aluminum & Glass

rglass garage doors are more aesthetically pleasing.

Aluminum and glass may be a popular combo for making garage doors, but knowing their strengths and weaknesses is essential before deciding what is best for you.

They do very well in moderate climates and make for an aesthetically pleasing look for any home. While these materials are known for their unrivaled longevity and reliability, proper maintenance is key to maximizing the duration of your aluminum-glass combo garage door.

You can expect an intact lifespan of 10+ years from aluminum and glass garage doors with good maintenance. A good cleaning routine ensures that your aluminum-glass garage door looks as fresh as new even after extensive use.


  • Highly resistant to corrosion
  • Durable material
  • Lightweight compared to other materials
  • Penetrable by light
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Energy efficient
  • Economical


  • Limited customization
  • It may dent more easily than other materials
  • Privacy issues
  • Low R-value for insulation

Best Applications and Design Options

When considering aluminum-glass garage doors, there are a few tips that can ensure the best possible results.

First, factor in the style of your house. Do you want an industrial, contemporary, or traditional look? Your garage door should blend with the exterior of your home for a cohesive look.

For example, sleek and sophisticated aluminum-glass doors work best with contemporary styles.

When considering color, you can still use this material confidently with an industrial trend, usually using charcoal gray to offset their rustic surroundings.

Moreover, don’t be scared of statement colors or decorative hardware to give you options, like distressed yellow or copper detailing. Have fun with it—the only limit is your imagination.

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Maintenance of Aluminum-Glass Garage Doors

Taking extra time to ensure the maintenance of your aluminum-glass garage door plays a crucial role in keeping it looking and working at its best. The aluminum frames should be cleaned with a damp cloth, while a mixture of water and baking soda or detergent is great for cleaning both sides of the glass windows.

A light cleaning each week can go far when it comes to maintenance, but more detailed periodic cleanings can help you get the most out of your garage door for years to come.


Vinyl garage doors

Vinyl is an excellent choice for garage doors due to its durability, strength, and affordability. You can trust these modern doors to keep out rain, wind, sprinklers, and other moisture sources, making them perfect for damp environments.

Vinyl won’t rust or pit like metal, and the material isn’t too heavy, so opening and closing won’t be difficult. Its flexible nature makes it relatively easy to bend into any shape you want with little effort.

On the downside, vinyl garage doors are less resistant to impacts than steel or fiberglass and may require more maintenance than other options.

But when taken care of properly, vinyl will typically last around 10–15 years, with some being able to go upwards of 20 years in optimal conditions.


  • Rust-free
  • High resistance to dents
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Resistance to moisture and chemicals
  • Economical
  • Lightweight


  • Not for high-temperature
  • Durable but not strong
  • Lack of aesthetics

Best Applications and Design Options for Vinyl Garage Doors

When selecting a vinyl garage door for your home, it is important to consider the size and shape of the house to ensure proper installation. Horizontal lines and brighter colors are preferred options for a large contemporary home.

However, suppose you have a smaller or more traditionally styled home. In that case, a garage door with classic panel detailing and deeper colors such as gray or black will give off an elegant silhouette.

Additionally, it can be advantageous to utilize paints specifically designed for outdoor use, which will help prevent fading and discoloration over time.

Maintenance of Vinyl Garage Doors

Regularly cleaning the exterior with soap and water can help keep its color bright and shiny. You can apply some protective sealant to restore its original sheen if it looks worn. You may also need to lubricate the hinges and tracks if they get stuck or rusty.

Also, replacing weather stripping when it begins to wear out will ensure your garage stays perfectly sealed against wind and rain.


Fiberglass garage doors

A fiberglass door is energy efficient and helps prevent heat loss from your home. Due to temperature extremes, fiberglass is highly resistant to rotting, scuffing, and warping.

However, it may need to be coated with an acrylic topcoat or wax for additional protection against the elements. They are best suited for climates with moderate levels of weathering and exposure, as cold weather can become a bit coarser over time.

Fiberglass garage doors can last 15 to 20 years or more if properly maintained. However, extreme temperatures can significantly reduce their lifespan. Unfortunately, fiberglass doors don’t reduce noise, so consider other garage doors if soundproofing is important.


  • Resistance to shrinking, warping, or cracking
  • Allows light penetration into the garage
  • Resistance to temperature changes
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Resistance to moisture
  • Lightweight
  • Imitates wood in appearance and texture
  • Highly customizable


  • Not strong enough for wind
  • Cracks due to aging garage door
  • Low insulation for the single layer
  • The color fades due to weather exposure
  • Not ideal for soundproofing

Types of Fiberglass Garage Doors

There are various fiberglass garage doors, and knowing the right choice is important. Here are three types of fiberglass garage doors to consider choosing.

Single Layer Fiberglass Doors

Single-layer fiberglass doors are the most popular option for low- to medium-cost garages. They feature a single sheet of fiberglass and come in different patterns, colors, types of insulation levels, and window options.

Double Layer Fiberglass Doors

Double-layer fiberglass doors are best suited for extreme weather conditions since they offer extra protection against the elements.

Double-layer doors are composed of two sheets of fiberglass fused with insulation material in between, making them highly energy efficient. They come in various colors and options for window designs as well.

Triple Layer Fiberglass Doors

Triple-layer fiberglass garage doors are composed of three layers of fiberglass fused with insulation, making them highly energy-efficient. They come in various colors and designs and offer increased insulation levels.

Best Applications and Design Options for Fiberglass Doors

To ensure your fiberglass door complements the look of your home, it’s essential to consider the door’s color, texture, and material.

For example, a satin-smooth finish may be suitable for a modern-style residence, while a more weathered grain is ideal for a rustic or country-style exterior.

As for application, fiberglass garage doors are versatile, as you can easily customize them without needing arduous maintenance.   

How to Maintain Fiberglass Doors?

Maintaining a fiberglass door doesn’t have to be complicated. A good way to protect it is to periodically wax the surface with mild car wax.

Additionally, regularly checking and replacing worn-out weather stripping is essential. This will help keep drafts and moisture from seeping through the door and damaging it.

Also, repainting your fiberglass door every few years will ensure that it remains beautiful.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of garage door options and factors to consider when selecting the material for your garage door.

Ultimately, it is up to you as the homeowner to balance these factors with the goals and expectations of your project and make an informed decision.

Think carefully about all the variables before making a purchase. Also, consider speaking with a professional to help find the best option for you and your family’s needs.

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Daniel Walter

Daniel Walter is a garage door expert with 15+ years hands-on experience and a degree in mechanical engineering. He's on a mission to empower homeowners with all the knowledge they need to tackle any garage-related issue with ease. When he's not sharing his expertise, you can find him scaling mountains and basking in the beauty of the great outdoors.

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