Installing a new garage door can increase your home’s curb appeal, save energy and keep your family safe.
Replacing the garage door ranks as one of the top five home improvement projects that generates the highest return on investment at resale, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value report. Homeowners can expect to recoup 91.5 percent of their investment in a new garage door.
“Ten years ago, garage doors didn’t rate as an important exterior design consideration, but that has changed,” says Mischel Schonberg, spokeswoman for Clopay, North America’s leading residential garage door manufacturer.
“Today, the range of garage design and material options is almost endless, which means you can get a door that not only secures your home and enhances its curb appeal — it can improve its energy efficiency at the same time,” Schonberg says.
How do you buy a garage door?
Trying on garage doors isn’t easy – or is it?
Homeowners can get a feel for different materials and styles by visiting a highly rated dealer’s showroom, or schedule an on-site appointment. The latest technologies allow companies to take a photograph of your house and display different door options via a tablet or smartphone.
“Most often, homeowners are shocked at the myriad of options,” says Chris Cunningham, co-owner of Cunningham Overhead Door in Louisville, Kentucky. “And most often, they don’t know what they want. It’s our job to ask questions to ensure they’re getting what they want.”
Some factors to consider include whether you want an insulated door (which can increase your home’s overall energy efficiency); if you want windows in the door; and what style you prefer.
“Visit retailers and review manufacturer websites to get a sense of the options available, but ultimately let your home be your guide,” Schonberg says. “The garage door design you choose should complement your home’s architectural style, the shape and size of the windows and entry doors, and other exterior details.”
Consider wind-load garage doors
You don’t want your house to blow down. However, a breach in the garage door during a hurricane or tornado can cause a buildup of internal pressure, resulting in a blowout of the roof and supporting walls, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you live on the coast, be mindful of building code updates.
“Chances are, if your door is more than six years old, it does not meet the new Florida building code criteria for safety against hurricane winds,” says Kristie Lamay, president of Broten Garage Doors in Pompano Beach, Florida.
States like Kansas, Missouri, Utah, Nevada and California also have wind-load reinforcement requirements for garage doors because of wind speeds related to the terrain and weather in those regions.
While there’s no such thing as a tornado-proof or hurricane-proof door, there are wind-rated options that will help secure and add value to your property. The exact wind-load requirements for garage doors varies depending on local building codes, but throughout Florida doors must withstand winds ranging from 100 to 150 mph.
Moore, Oklahoma, the site of a devastating and powerful tornado in May 2013, recently became the nation’s first city to adopt building codes that focus on minimizing tornado damage. The city’s new residential building requirements include garage doors that withstand winds up to 135 mph, rather than the accepted standard of 90 mph.
But Lamay says homeowners shouldn’t worry about wind-rated doors affecting their home’s curb appeal.
“A reinforced door doesn’t necessarily mean covering the garage opening in a solid sheet of steel,” she says. “There are many code-compliant design options available to complement most architectural styles. New technology means people don’t have to sacrifice style for safety.”
How much is a new garage door?
Of course, prices are going to depend on the style, material and size, but homeowners might be pleasantly surprised to discover that a new garage door might not cost as much as they thought.
“People who come in to buy a door and haven’t bought one before expect it to be more expensive than what it really is,” Cunningham says, noting that his most inexpensive two-car garage door is less than $900 installed, and his priciest one-car door costs around $4,500.
Prices will be higher for custom-made or oversized doors, but Cunningham says homeowners shouldn’t be afraid of the bottom line. “People are surprised how little difference in cost there is between the styles — even the popular carriage-style doors,” he says.
According to the Cost vs. Value report, the average garage door replacement costs $1,652.
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