Replacing a garage door isn't considered an open and shut case by today's homeowner. It's one of the more popular remodeling projects, and manufacturers have responded with architecturally pleasing styles, colors and sizes to keep up with this new demand.
"People are paying more attention to their garage doors," says Chris Cunningham, president of Cunningham Overhead Door in Louisville, Ky. He attributes that growth in popularity to two key factors. First, savvy consumers are far more sensitive to design ideas and concepts—considering home design more carefully today than even 10 years ago.
In addition, property lots have become smaller as land prices rise, pushing garages away from the back or side of the house and moving them in front.
"When the garage door is right in front, homeowners decide they have to do something to make it look good. Homeowners spend a lot of money on their front entryways and use them once a month, but they use their garage door every day," Cunningham points out. "For aesthetic reasons alone, it's nice to have a good-looking garage door to come home to every day."
Manufacturers are responding to that growing interest by offering new options. The biggest fashion trend is for the carriage-house look, which features barnlike styles or large hinges and designs that were popular for carriage doors before overhead doors existed. "Many types of homes are using this style, even including prairie-style homes. Almost any design but contemporary has adopted this retro look in the past five years."
Along with the new styling come some new colors. "For many years, manufacturers offered white and brown," Cunningham says. "But now there is a wider range."
Manufacturers often face a challenge when creating new colors for steel doors. It's a popular material, but since each door is made from pre-painted steel, a new color requires a significant material inventory. Wood is a cost-effective, versatile alternative that has risen in popularity in recent years, largely because it can be painted easily.
"Steel offers low maintenance, but some homeowners are willing to trade a little bit of maintenance for the look they can get with wood," he notes.
Aluminum doors, a much smaller portion of the market, can be powder-coated in different colors, providing more options to complement a home's overall look.
A wider range of window inserts is also available. Sunset designs have been available for decades, but now manufacturers are offering prairie-style grids, leaded glass and other options. "In some cases with new homes, builders have a limited selection of garage doors. But homebuyers can still differentiate their homes by selecting a different window pattern," he says.
The range of options helps homeowners find something to dress up an enormous square space on their homes, but it can complicate the purchase. "We have customers come into our showroom who are really surprised at what we have to show them," Cunningham says. "They had no idea there were so many options today."
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