How secure is your garage?

Choosing a garage door for a self-build project can be a daunting challenge. To help you make the right decision, garage door manufacturer Hörmann, offers advice on the options available.

When it comes to self-build projects, garage doors tend to be one of the last items to be considered. However, a garage door can represent a significant portion of a home’s frontage and with the vast range of alternatives available today, it is worth taking some time to fully consider the options and how they can add real value and appeal to your self-build project.

While the obvious purpose for a garage is to provide secure parking for cars, they can be an important addition to any home by providing storage for any number of other valuable items such as bicycles, garden furniture and tools among many other things. It is therefore paramount that a garage door can offer maximum security.

As well as security, thermal insulation and appearance are other important considerations. There are a seemingly unlimited choice of finishes available to help create a desired look, alongside this there is also the option to have matching or complimentary garage and entrance door combinations to create a co-ordinated look across the whole façade.

However, the first matter is choosing the type of door, as this will have a strong bearing on the designs available to you. The choices extend from truly bespoke automatic doors to the entry-level option of steel up-and-over doors.

Traditional up-and-over style doors are the least expensive option; however the levels of security and insulation are lower than with other styles. Up-and-over doors commonly come in two types; the canopy and the retractable. The canopy is so called since approximately one third of the door sticks out from the garage once opened, creating a canopy. A retractable door costs slightly more but slides completely into the garage on tracks suspended from the ceiling and is more reliable in the long run. However, you need to consider how the tracks could restrict access to internal doors and power supplies etc…

If good insulation and maximised security are a high priority, then a sectional garage door may be more suitable, some of which have Police approved, Secured by Design accreditation. These doors are space saving since they only require a minimum amount of interior space and also allow the door to be opened even if a car is parked right up to it. Sectional garage doors open vertically and rise in to tracks inside the garage, so do need some interior space albeit at ceiling height. This style of door is the only truly insulated option, so is ideal for integral garages.

For projects where interior space is limited a roller door may present the best option. In essence, roller doors wind around a central drum (hence the name), because of this, as with sectional doors, they can be opened even with a car parked in front of them. The only interior space required is for accommodating the roller barrel. Note when you are looking at your options to ensure that a casing to cover the roller barrel is quoted for as not all manufacturers include this as standard.

A further option is a side sliding door, which is suitable for use where headroom is limited or for projects wishing to make a style statement. Traditionally these doors have either been adapted industrial doors or expensive tailor-made options, now though modern versions are readily available in stylish designs and are far more smooth and quiet when in motion than traditional models.

How you intend to use your garage should have the greatest bearing on the type of door that you choose. For instance, if you have direct, internal access to the garage from the house sectional doors offers the best insulation and security options. If the garage is remote from the house and has no power, manual up-and-over doors may be more suited for your project.

When it comes to styling there are even more choices to make. Doors can be finished in steel, glass reinforced polyester (GRP), timber, or with some bespoke options, the material of your choice. All manufacturers offer an extensive choice of finishes and styles but for some this is just not enough. Specialist companies offer unique solutions and the opportunity to create your own unique finish.

Take your time and seek expert advice – write down what you need your garage door to do and ask a specialist for the options that they offer. If possible go and have a look at some doors in a showroom, you could be surprised at what you can afford and how much of a difference it can make to your self-build project.