While the style and look of your garage door contributes greatly to your home’s aesthetics, how the garage door works is just as important, if not more so. Form and function go hand in hand; with the many visual styles available for garage doors, the choice of which garage door to buy often falls on what kind of mechanism the garage door uses.
Garage doors by mechanism fall into one of four types: they either swing outwards, like a barn door, swing up on a hinge, roll up into the ceiling on a track, or slide sideways on a rail.
Sectional roll-up doors
A sectional roll-up door typically consists of four or more horizontal sections that provide the basic structure of the door. These sections slide on a track up into a retracted position overhead inside the garage eliminating the need for clearance when opening the door. Because of the ease with which these doors can be motorized, automated, and made to work with a remote door opener, they remain the most popular garage door choice in America.
Swing-out carriage-style doors
These types of garage doors swing outwards from the garage on a hinge, much like the doors of a barn do, and can come in single- or double-door designs. While this type of door requires a clear area beyond the garage to operate properly, they are nevertheless a popular choice for their look and aesthetic appeal, and are available in many styles to suit just about any home.
Tilt-up garage doors
Tilt-up doors swing up from the garage opening on a pivoting hinge. Though commonly made from steel, tilt-up doors made from fiberglass are a popular choice due to the light weight of the material and the ease with which such a door can be operated. Tilt-up doors come in two main types: tilt-up canopy doors, where part of the door juts out from the garage when the door is open, forming a canopy of sorts; and tilt-up retractable doors, where the door slides all the way into the garage’s overhead area, eliminating the need for clearance in front of the door.
Sliding garage doors
Possibly the least common type of garage door in the United States, sliding garage doors open by sliding sideways on a track or rail. This rail can be located at the bottom, much like sliding doors in a home, or the door can hang from an overhead rail. Because the doors are typically mounted on the exterior of the garage, they tend to accumulate dust and debris, and require regular maintenance to operate properly.
If you want to get the most out of your garage doors, it’s important to keep them operating properly. More on this in Part III.