(BPT) - If you're buying a garage door, you'll be faced with several decisions that you likely never had to make before. Before you call your local garage door dealer, here are some of the decisions that you need to face.
The design decision
Remember the adage that the front door is the most important design element in the home? Not anymore.
In most homes today, the visual impact of the garage door is many times greater than that of the front door. Studies have shown that your garage door design can affect the appraisal value of your home.
Today, manufacturers offer hundreds of new, stunning looks. Design experts recommend that you choose a door design that complements your home's overall appearance. To do that, match the door with your home's exterior colors, textures and patterns.
To help you with your design decision, the garage door industry has created the free consumer site www.garagewownow.com, which contains dozens of photos of the latest garage doors from many manufacturers. Plus, most manufacturer websites feature a 'door designer' that lets you see how designs will look on an uploaded photo of your own garage.
New opener decisions
The garage door and opener are two separate items, but they are often purchased together. And today's openers offer many more features and accessories than ever before. You can choose:
AC vs. DC: Openers with DC (direct current) motors, which were rare 10 years ago, are now widely available. DC and AC motors are durable and reliable, but DC motors are quieter, and they allow the door to soft-start and soft-stop, instead of clanging to an abrupt stop.
Accessories: Did you know you can now operate and monitor your garage door from your smartphone? You can also get a battery backup unit, a real lifesaver in a power outage. When you consider motion detection, music speakers, mini transmitters, automatic deadbolt locks, LED lighting, external keypads and more, you'll realize how far openers have come.
New thinking on insulation
'The garage acts as a 'buffer zone,' much like the vestibule to a restaurant or a grocery store,' says Joe Hetzel, P.E., technical director for the garage door manufacturers' association. 'An insulated garage door makes it easier to control the heating and cooling costs for the home.'
This new 'buffer zone' thinking considers garage door insulation a must. Fortunately, insulation typically pays for itself. Dow Chemical recently reported that, for every $100 you invest in an insulation project, you generally get a return of $117 in recouped energy costs.
'Once you get an insulated door, you never go back to uninsulated,' says Ed Hermanns, a door dealer in New Jersey and president of the International Door Association. 'Most of our customers today buy an insulated door, and that number seems to increase every year.'
You might be buying a new garage door out of necessity, but it's a smart purchase. An upscale garage door replacement delivers the highest return on investment for all upscale remodeling projects in the new 2017 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine.
So, while you have a few decisions yet to make, you've already made the good choice to get a new garage door. After you add the latest designs and technology, you can admire your choices every time you pull in the driveway.