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If you’re building a new home or adding a new garage, a key factor to consider is the size of the garage door. While there are a couple of standard garage door sizes, the ever-expanding world of custom homebuilding and designing a garage that accommodates large SUVs, boats, trucks, RVs and motorcycles gives homeowners additional options.
Double or Not to Double
You’ve probably seen many garages split into two pieces. This leaves two smaller doors on either side, with a vertical beam in the middle separating them. This might be aesthetically pleasing, but the inconvenience of having a post in the middle of the garage door is one thing to consider. It does divide the garage into 2 sections, typically 8 feet wide, but that’s easy enough to accomplish by driving vehicles into the garage on the left and right side through a single, wider door. You don’t need the extra post in the middle. In addition, you need two garage door openers at twice the cost for a double-door setup. A single door, 16 feet wide, that opens the garage is more efficient. In a pinch, even a door 14 feet wide will suffice. It increases the room and the versatility of the garage to include wider vehicles such as recreational vehicles and trucks with wide mirrors. This type of door requires that you plan for it before the framing begins.
Short or Tall
Standard height for garage doors is typically 7 feet. This works fine for most cars, but if you’ve got a rack on top of your vehicle that might not be enough head room. Some trucks have racks that will not fit under a standard garage door. Lots of recreational vehicles won’t fit. Raise the height to 8 or 9 feet and chances are that you’ll never need to worry about it. The height should be planned before framing to allow for the extra headroom, but depending on the design of your garage, it might be possible to gain an extra 12 inches in height with a little remodeling. There are options for shorter doors as well. Some manufacturers make doors as short as 6 feet tall for golf carts or other smaller vehicles such as four-wheeler recreational machines. One other option involves aesthetics. If the door has an arch at the top, provisions need to be made to accommodate it depending on the degree.
Standard Width Doors
Standard, single car garage door widths start at 8 feet for single car garages, and move up in 12-inch increments to 10 feet wide. Double car garage doors typically start at 12 feet wide, and move up in 24-inch increments to 18 feet wide. Doors that are 20 feet wide or bigger are available, but might need to be ordered ahead of time. If you’re not sure what door you need for the opening, measure the width and height, and the manufacturer will make sure to provide the right door. If the door is an odd size, it might be beneficial to alter or change the framing on the garage instead of ordering a custom door, which can be expensive.
Thickness and Affordability
It might not seem relevant, but the thickness of the door can be vital. Steel garage door panels can be as thin as about 1/8 inch. This type of door has horizontal panels just like any other garage door, but the panels are stamped out of thin metal. This is the most economical of all the garage doors but offers almost no insulation. Insulated doors are a bit thicker, with a 1/4 or 1/2-inch-thick piece of foam insulation on the inside of the steel panels. The thickest and best insulated garage doors have two panels with 1 or 1 1/2-inch-thick foam between them. It’s always best to go with more insulation, but if your garage is not used for anything but storage, the most economical door might be the way to go.
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