Types Of Sectional Garage Doors For Your Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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A garage door is a necessary component of every home. Its primary function is to endure the weather and safeguard your vehicles. Choosing the perfect garage door for your house may help safeguard your things while providing much-needed curb appeal. This article will focus on what sectional garage doors are, the different types, benefits, and maintenance.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Sectional Garage Door

Sectional garage doors are garage doors installed today that are made up of panels or sections that slide up and overhead when the door is opened. These doors are popular for residential and commercial applications, as they are easy to operate, energy-efficient, and provide excellent security.

The sections of a sectional garage door are usually made of interior and exterior steel, aluminum, or wood. They are connected by hinges that allow them to bend as the door moves up and down. The panels are also designed to overlap each other, creating a tight seal that helps keep out the elements and pests.

Single Panel vs. Sectional Garage Doors

There are two main types of garage doors: single panel and sectional. Both types have advantages and disadvantages, and choosing between them will depend on several factors, such as cost, ease of installation, maintenance, and aesthetics.

A single-panel garage door or one-piece garage door is made from a single panel that swings up and out when opened because it hangs from a strong hinge system attached to the jam. These doors are typically made of wood, aluminum, or steel and come in various styles and colors. Single-panel garage doors are typically cheaper than sectional doors, making them a popular option for homeowners on a budget. However, a few drawbacks to single-panel doors should be considered before purchasing.

Advantages of Single Panel and Sectional Garage Doors

One of the main advantages of sectional garage doors is that they require less clearance space than single-panel doors. Because the panels slide up and down on tracks, they don’t need as much room to operate, making them a great choice for homeowners with smaller driveways or limited space in front of their garages.

In addition, sectional doors tend to be more energy-efficient than single-panel doors. The individual panels provide better insulation as they are made of polystyrene insulation, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature inside the garage and can lead to lower energy bills.

Another advantage of sectional garage doors is that they are easier to maintain than single-panel doors. If a single panel door becomes damaged or dented, the entire door may need to be replaced. However, replacing just the damaged panel is often possible with sectional doors, saving homeowners money on repair costs.

Read more on whether it is worth it to replace the garage door.

In terms of aesthetics, single-panel, and sectional garage doors are available in a wide range of styles and colors, so homeowners can choose the option that best suits their personal preferences and complements the overall design of their home.

When it comes to installation, both single-panel and sectional garage doors can be installed by a professional, although sectional doors tend to be easier and quicker to install. This is because the individual panels can be assembled on-site, while single panel doors must be transported as a single piece, which can be more difficult and time-consuming.

Single panel garage door

Image credit: byhyu.com

Disadvantages of Sectional and Single Panel Garage Doors

One of the main disadvantages of single-panel garage doors is that they require a lot of clearance space. This means that the area directly in front of the garage needs to be clear of any obstacles, such as cars or other items, for the door to open fully. This can be a problem for homeowners with smaller driveways or limited space in front of their garages.

In addition, single-panel doors tend to be less energy-efficient than sectional doors. Because the entire door swings open, maintaining a consistent temperature inside the garage can be more difficult, leading to higher energy bills.

Sectional garage doors, on the other hand, are made up of multiple panels that slide up and down on tracks when opened and closed. These doors are typically made of steel or aluminum and are available in various colors and styles. A sectional door is more expensive than a single-panel door, but they offer several advantages, making them a popular choice for homeowners.

Types of Sectional Garage Doors For Homes

1. Carriage House

Custom Carriage House Garage Doors

Image credit: houzz.com

Depending on their design preferences, homeowners can choose between a single bay and a double bay. They should, however, keep in mind that car garage doors open in two ways:  swinging or climbing.

Remember that if your garage door opens, it will require additional clearance and could pose a risk of collision with someone or something when it opens. Carriage-house garage doors appeal to many people because they have a rustic, domestic feel and are an unusual opening method.

2. Raised Panel

Raised Panel Garage Door

Image credit: garageservicepros.com

Raised panel garage doors are the most common type of sectional garage door, and they come in various materials, such as steel, aluminium, and wood. The panels are usually rectangular, raised, and lowered along vertical tracks attached to the sides of the garage door opening. Raised panel garage doors are versatile, durable, and can be customized with various colors and finishes.

3. Contemporary

Modern Garage Doors

Image credit: distribudoors.com

A contemporary garage door commonly combines metal and glass parts is a good choice for those seeking a modern-style house. Using contrasting materials highlights your home and increases its charm.

This door design typically opens and closes by sliding up and down like a regular raised-panel door, but it can also be fitted as a single-panel door with a side opening. Contemporary garage doors can be customized with different panel designs and glass options, such as frosted or tinted glass.

4. Insulated

Insulated Garage Door

Image credit: hgtv.com

Insulated garage doors have an added layer of insulation that helps regulate the temperature inside the garage. This is especially important in regions with extreme temperatures, where an uninsulated garage can become uncomfortably hot or cold. Insulated garage doors are typically steel or aluminum and come in various finishes and panel designs.

5. Roll Up Doors

Roll Up Door

Image credit: atimprovements.com

This can be seen in commercial applications, but roll-up doors provide a simple solution designed primarily for spaces lacking ceiling space. These types use two 3-1/2″ thick steel sections to slam around a drum over the openings in the doors.

Roll-up and coil-shaped windows are designed for high-efficiency applications and are constructed without springs to prevent rust, corrosion, and freezing. Because of the heavier-duty character of the roll-up models, the upfront cost is much higher compared to a segmental layout.

6. Custom

Custom Garage Door

Image credit: gryphongaragedoors.com

Some garage door manufacturers offer customized options that allow homeowners to create a garage door that fits their unique style and needs. This can include custom panel designs, finishes, and hardware options. Custom garage doors are often made of wood, which allows for a high degree of customization and flexibility.

7. Roller Garage Door

Roller doors have a similar opening to section doors. The door is designed to provide optimum interior and exterior room, so it is possible to walk up the door. The ceiling is open so that lamp posts and storage can remain available. A roller garage door offers space-saving functionality while allowing for electrical access.

Roller door garages are fairly simple, but because they are primarily designed for commercial use, they are high-performing, withstand a high load, and are designed with extension springs that shouldn’t corrode or thaw.

Additional Types Of Garage Doors To Consider For Your Home

1. Traditional Raised-Panel

The symmetrical rectangular panel of this garage door type, sometimes known as “classic,” is easily identifiable. Traditional raised-panel garage doors are popular because they open upward instead of outward, providing a safety feature for a family-friendly house.

A typical raised-panel door is ageless and complements any home owing to its classic appearance. Another consideration when purchasing a typical raised-panel door is whether you want recessed or raised panels. A recessed panel will enhance a classic style, but a raised panel will provide depth.

2. Garage Door With Side Hinges

It combines solid and reliable functionality with straightforward personal access, said Hipgrav. These are opened outward and are usually produced in the same sizes. Units are an excellent solution to garage areas where access can be made to walls or utility boxes near entrances.

Side-hinged doors are typically made of wood and mimic barn door designs, but steel is another strong choice for these classic garage doors. Upon full opening, they offer greater room for the head and are ideal if space is restricted.

3. Up-And-Over/Tilt-Up Canopy Garage Doors

If driveway space is not an issue, a standard tilted roof-type garage door can offer optimum stability. Alternatively, it could lead by a mechanical or electrical device that rotates a hinge that extends inwards to allow it to swing upwards and into the garage.

Up an Over Garage Door

Image credit: glazingtradesupplies.com

They consist of one piece of solid slabs instead of section panels, and when fully opened, the opening is parallel to the ceiling. Up-and-down doors combine security, look, and functionality with advanced technology.

How To Install a Sectional Garage Door

Installing sectional garage doors can be challenging, but it can be done effectively with the right tools and knowledge. The process of installation involves the assembly of the door sections, installation of the tracks, attachment of the springs, and mounting of the opener.

Before you start, you must gather all the tools and materials needed for the installation process. These include a ladder, hammer, screwdriver, level, drill, measuring tape, pliers, and saw. Additionally, you will need the door panels, horizontal tracks, vertical tracks, hinges, rollers, springs, cables, brackets, and an opener.

1. Measure the Garage Opening

The first step is to measure the width and height of the garage opening to ensure that you purchase the correct door size. Measure the width at the widest point, usually at the opening’s center. Next, measure the height from the floor to the opening’s header. Ensure the opening is level and plumb to avoid any issues during installation.

2. Assemble the Door Sections

The next step is to assemble the door sections. Start by attaching the hinges to the top and bottom of each panel. Ensure that the horizontal panels joined with hinges are securely fastened and aligned correctly. Then, attach the rollers to each panel using the provided screws. Make sure that the rollers are properly aligned and slide easily.

3. Install the Tracks

The horizontal tracks should be installed first. Attach them to the ceiling using the provided brackets and ensure they are level. Then, attach the vertical tracks to the horizontal tracks using the provided brackets. Make sure the tracks are straight and securely fastened.

4. Attach the Springs

The next step is to attach the springs. The type of springs used will depend on the door’s weight, so choosing the correct ones is essential. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the springs to the track hangers. Ensure the springs are tensioned correctly and the door can easily lift and lower, or they will fly off, damaging car windows.

5. Mount the Opener

If you’re using an opener, now is the time to mount it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the opener’s motor unit, bracket, and track. Then, attach the opener’s arm to the door and connect it to the motor unit.

Installing a Garage Door Opener

Image credit: homedepot.com

6. Install the Cables

The next step is to install the cables. Start by attaching the cables to the bottom brackets on each side of the door. Then, thread the cables through the springs and attach them to the cable drums. Make sure that the cables are correctly tensioned and that they run smoothly through the pulleys.

7. Test the Door

Before you complete the installation process, test the door to ensure it works correctly. Open and close the door several times to ensure it’s moving smoothly, with no issues with the springs or cables. Adjust the tension on the springs and cables if necessary.

8. Seal the Door

Finally, seal the door to prevent air or water from entering the garage. Install weather stripping along the bottom of the door and the sides if needed. Additionally, you can add insulation to the door to improve its energy efficiency.

Tips on How to Maintain a Sectional Garage Door

1. Lubricate moving parts

Lubrication is one of the essential maintenance tasks for sectional garage doors. The door’s moving parts, such as the rollers, hinges, tracks, and springs, need regular lubrication to keep them running smoothly. The type of lubricant to use will depend on the material of the door and its components. Silicone spray or white lithium grease is usually the best for most garage doors. However, you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific recommendations.

2. Inspect the Door Regularly

Regular inspections can help identify potential issues before they become significant problems. You should inspect the door at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed cables, loose bolts, and bent tracks.

Check the weatherstripping to ensure it is still in good condition and properly sealing the door. Also, test the door’s balance by disconnecting the opener and manually opening and closing it. If it is not balanced, it may strain the opener and cause premature wear and tear.

3. Keep the Tracks Clean

The tracks that guide the door up and down must be kept clean to prevent debris buildup. Dirt leaves and other debris can clog the tracks and cause the door to bind or even derail. Use a damp cloth or a soft-bristled brush to clean the tracks regularly. Avoid harsh chemicals or high-pressure washers, which can damage the tracks and rollers.

4. Tighten Loose Hardware

Garage doors have many moving parts that can loosen over time due to vibrations and constant use. Loose bolts, nuts, and screws can cause the door to operate poorly and may eventually lead to more significant problems. Inspect the hardware regularly and tighten any loose components. However, do not overtighten, as this can cause damage to the door or its components.

5. Check the Spring

The springs are the most critical component of a garage door. They support the door’s weight and help it move up and down smoothly. Torsion springs are the most common type of spring used in commercial garage doors. They are under high tension and can be dangerous to work with, so it is best to leave spring maintenance to a professional. However, you can visually inspect the springs to ensure they are not broken, stretched, or worn.

6. Test the Safety Features

Garage doors are heavy and can cause serious injury or even death if they operate incorrectly. Modern garage doors have safety features that help prevent accidents. These features include sensors that detect objects in the door’s path and automatic reversal mechanisms that stop the door from closing if it encounters an obstacle. Test these safety features regularly to ensure they are working correctly.

Garage Door Sensors

Image credit: cgdoors.com.au

7. Replace Worn or Damaged Parts

Worn or damaged parts should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage or accidents. For example, worn cables can snap and cause the door to fall, while damaged panels can compromise the door’s security and insulation. Replacing parts with genuine manufacturer parts is best to ensure compatibility and reliability.

Read more on garage door maintenance tips for garage owners.

Frequently Asked Questions on Sectional Garage Doors

i. What does a sectional garage door mean?

A sectional garage door is a type of garage door composed of several horizontal sections or panels connected with hinges. These panels are designed to slide up and over the garage opening on tracks and then lay parallel to the garage’s ceiling when fully opened.

This design allows for more efficient use of space inside and outside the garage, as the door does not swing outward like traditional garage doors. Additionally, sectional garage doors provide better insulation and security than other garage doors. They are commonly made of steel, aluminum, or wood and can be operated manually or automatically with a motorized quiet door opener.

ii. What are the advantages of sectional garage doors?

Sectional garage doors have several advantages over other types of garage doors. First, they provide excellent security as they comprise several panels that interlock tightly, making it difficult for intruders to gain access. Second, they are highly durable and require minimal maintenance, saving homeowners time and money.

Third, sectional garage doors are energy-efficient as they provide good insulation, keeping the garage warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Fourth, they are easy to operate as they can be opened and closed using a remote control, making them convenient for homeowners who want to quickly and easily access their garage. Lastly, sectional garage doors come in a wide range of styles, colors, and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose a design that matches the aesthetic of their home.

iii. What is the difference between sectional and roller garage doors?

Sectional and roller garage doors are two popular types of garage doors that differ in their design and operation. A sectional garage door comprises horizontal panels that slide up and overhead on tracks, with the door opening and closing vertically.

On the other hand, a roller garage door is made of a single curtain of material that rolls up and down around a drum. The roller garage door rolls vertically, occupying minimal space inside and outside the garage. In summary, while sectional doors slide overhead, roller garage doors roll up and down, making them a great choice for garages with limited headroom or driveway space.

iv. How much room do you need for a sectional garage door?

The amount of room required for a sectional garage door depends on the size of the door and the type of track system being used. Typically, a standard residential sectional garage door will require a minimum of 12 inches of headroom above the opening and at least 3 inches of clearance on each side.

However, some specialty garage doors may require more or less space. It’s important to consult with a professional installer to determine the exact amount of space required for your specific garage door.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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