Renovation Solutions: Selecting a garage door for a higher return

Published: Friday, May 16 2014 9:00 p.m. MDT

Doors with overlays are more expensive. Overlays can be made of several different materials. The most expensive is real wood. You can choose from many types, including cedar, exotic hardwood and salvaged barn wood. Doors finished with a real wood overlay are quite heavy and require commercial-grade operators. There is also some maintenance with wood overlays, such as staining, sealing or painting. Single-size wood doors range in cost from $2,000 to $5,000 or more for custom designs.

Another option for overlay material is cellular PVC. This is a vinyl material whipped with air and then extruded into lightweight pieces made to mimic wood. These pieces are applied to sections made of steel or cellular PVC. These doors are lighter in weight, moisture-resistant, more economical and they hold paint better than wood. The cost range for this type of door is $1,400 to $2,000.

Overlays can also be made of a composite material of wood fibers and resin extruded into pieces with a wood-like texture embossed into them. Composites are moisture-resistant and less expensive than wood, though they have not been used for very many years so their longevity is still unproven. Composite doors cost around $700.

Another overlay option is steel. "Boards" are created with an embossed texture and then applied to the base sections to create the carriage-house look. These doors run from $750 to $1,000.

Many door styles are now available, just a click away on the Internet. Ranging from styles that mimic carriage doors from the earliest days of automotive history to sleek glass doors that are at home in the most contemporary design, most people can find an appropriate style and color from standard manufacturers’ designs. Doors come in a variety of standard heights and widths, so whether you are replacing an existing door or creating a new garage you should be able to find the size you need.

Besides design, you should also consider an insulated door. Insulated doors are especially important on garages that are attached to the main house as they help to minimize cold air from reaching the interior of your home. The basic concept is a continuous layer of foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation that is sandwiched between two layers of steel. More expensive doors will also focus on providing thermal breaks in their design as well.

A good garage door opener will probably add another $300-$500 to the cost of the door. If height is an issue, there are options for low-overhead operators.

Overall, replacing a garage door is a relatively small investment that can add serious value to your house in way of curb appeal and energy efficiency. The design goal is to make this large portion of your front façade contribute to the style of your home without competing for too much attention. The garage should never be the star of the show, just a supporting cast member.

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com

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