There are four main types of garage doors: roll-up, sliding, swing-out or tilt-up. The most popular and inexpensive style is the roll-up sectional garage door, which, when open, horizontally hangs from the ceiling of the garage. Sliding garage doors often mimic barn doors, while tilt-up doors work similarly to roll-up doors, except they are a single piece of material. Swing-out doors, also called carriage house doors, function like wide French doors for the garage.
Builders also distinguish garage doors by the type of materials they use. Most types of doors are available in steel, wood, fiberglass, aluminum and composite materials. The door design may also include glass windows or metal trim. In general, steel is the least expensive option, while homeowners pick aluminum for large doors because it is lightweight.
Manufacturers build wood garage doors out of fir, redwood, cedar and meranti, and make each door out of several layers of wood to prevent warping. Homeowners can paint, stain or clear finish the wood. A wood composite garage door may look like solid wood, but the inside is a wood frame filled with polystyrene insulation and covered by fiberboard. Although most wood garage doors use woods that naturally withstand rot and insect damage, they typically have shorter warranties than other garage doors.
Homeowners seeking durability should choose vinyl or fiberglass garage doors. Both withstand denting and cracking. Manufacturers fill them with polystyrene insulation to increase their R-value.