How to Buy Garage Doors - Garage Door Construction Materials

Jun 22, 2011

In Part 2 of our series “How to Buy Garage Doors”, we look at the variety of garage door construction materials available today. The most common are wood, composite, steel and aluminum.

Wood: There's no substitute for the warm, distinctive look of wood. It offers the most design flexibility to create a one-of-a-kind door, and the species and stain options are endless. Wood garage doors weigh more than typical steel doors, so an opener with a higher horsepower is recommended. Depending on the climate and exposure, wood doors require more finish maintenance. Factory staining eliminates many concerns about proper finishing in the field and long-term durability. The door arrives ready to install.

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Door shown: Clopay Reserve Collection Semi-Custom factory stained Cedar wood door. Design 2, REC 13 windows.

Composite: If you love the look of wood but not the upkeep, we’ve got a faux wood composite option for you. Constructed from a durable, low-maintenance material that looks like real wood, the Clopay Canyon Ridge Collection offers a unique rustic appearance, design flexibility and customization in a composite polymer material that can be painted or stained. The material is UV resistant and impervious to moisture, so it won’t rot, split, shrink, separate, or crack.

The composite cladding is molded from actual wood to duplicate the species’ natural texture and intricate grain patterns as well as its imperfections, like deep, irregular pockmarks, knots, cracks, and holes up to 1/4" deep.

Once installed, the material is virtually indistinguishable from real wood. The 1/2" thick material is attached to a polyurethane insulated three-layer steel base door for added strength and energy efficiency.

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Clopay Canyon Ridge Collection stained composite garage door. Design 38, Arch1 top.

Steel: Classic steel panel doors offer the broadest range of insulation and price options from a single-layer, non-insulated door up to a premium 24-gauge, three-layer sandwich door featuring 2" thick polyurethane insulation and decorative windows.

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Clopay Premium Series insulated steel garage door, Long Panel, Palladian windows with grilles.

Steel doors with composite overlays offer the benefits of durable, insulated steel with added charm and design flexibility. Details like coped edging, true divided lites and embossed woodgrain texture make it another attractive, low-maintenance alternative to real wood, if you're in the market for a carriage-house style door.

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Clopay Coachman Collection carriage-house style steel garage door with composite overlays. Design 12, Arch3 windows.

Aluminum: Rust-proof and corrosion resistant, this material is ideal for humid, caustic environments as well as coastal areas. And it’s incredibly durable. Many homeowners replace solid panels with obscure glass for a modern look that allows for natural light and relative degrees of privacy.

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Clopay Avante Collection aluminum and glass garage doors. White frame with frosted insulated glass panels.

For more information on garage door styles and materials, visit or



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