Garage Doors: Materials, Configurations & Design Ideas

Garage doors will serve a functional role, but they can still become a characterful addition to your home’s architecture. Take a look at this guide to the key design considerations alongside some wow-factor examples to inspire your project
by Jane Crittenden
29th April 2023

The design details of garage doors sometimes go forgotten, as the focus is understandably on practicality and performance. But the type of garage door you choose can make a big impact on your home’s kerb appeal as it’ll contribute to creating a striking first impression.

The style and design of garage door you opt for will be driven by a host of factors, from safety to weatherproofing, insulation and the space you have on offer – but with the modern options available, you’ll find a high-performance solution that suits your property.

From up-and-over designs through to roller configurations that open from the top or side, the choices are aplenty. Materials matter, too, and making sure the door is keeping your garage secure should come as a priority.

When it comes to the style of your garage door, the market has moved forward considerably. The best garage doors can rival a main entrance for style, texture and quality of design. Here we investigate some great garage door examples and the key factors that’ll influence the door design that you opt for.

Planning your garage’s design? Read more here: 10 Top Tips For Building a Garage: Planning, Costs & Design

Garage Door Opening Styles

Choosing the best configuration is vital if you want to make best use of your garage. “Sometimes we notice the practicalities of the door operation gets overlooked in favour of appearance,” says Ian Chubb, managing director of Deuren.

“A four-metre side sectional garage door looks great, for instance, but fitting a pair of two-metre doors is more functional and looks just as good.” Or you might simply be looking for a design that matches your home’s front entrance.

Garage doors come in a good range of standard hues, with many manufacturers able to match RAL colours for an additional charge. Likewise, there’s a choice of standard sizes but many products are available in custom dimensions. Here are the pros and cons of the main systems:

Up-and-over doors

An up-and-over door is a rigid panel, typically made from timber, steel or glass reinforced plastic (GRP), that swings outwards and tilts back inside the garage. Canopy versions will add provide added shelter, while a retractable style slides back along ceiling tracks. A basic design starts around £300.

Pros: Cheapest option. A wide opening. Lots of style choice. An easy-fit solution delivered on a factory-fitted steel frame.

Cons: A canopy isn’t suitable for automation. Needs room to swing forwards. Takes up roof space.

Roller doors

A roller door is a curtain of steel or aluminium slats that roll smoothly up and around a cylinder or into a box mounted to the wall behind the brickwork. A basic version starts around £400; insulated designs will cost more.

Pros: All the garage space can be used. Suitable for curved and arched openings. Possible to park a car in front. Can be automated.

Cons: One door style. Looks functional; although wood-effect designs are now available. Avoid entry-level products if security is a key concern.


Section doors

A sectional door comprises a set of large panels. These doors rise up and curve back section-by-section until the door is flat against the garage ceiling. Prices start at £600.

Pros: Good for extra-wide garage openings due to strength and stability. Won’t intrude on the driveway. Can be automated. Most designs are insulated.

Cons: Takes-up roof or wall space. Not generally available in traditional styles.

Side-hinged doors

Side-hinged doors come in a pair, typically with a 50/50 or 70/30 split and will open outwards. Prices start at £300 for most timber models.

Pros: Maximises internal garage space. Optional glazing. Partial opening is convenient for accessing a bike or garden equipment. Less to go wrong as no mechanical fixings (though can be automated).

Cons: Requires driveway space to fully swing open. Not suitable for drives that slope upwards from the door.

Insulation & Acoustics of Garage Doors

Most of the leading manufacturers offer upgraded versions of their doors that incorporate insulation to enhance energy efficiency performance. This is typically achieved with a double-skinned arrangement. For instance, a double-skin steel side-hinged or sectional door would likely have 20-45mm thick panels and a core of foam insulation.

Roller doors can also be enhanced in this way, but don’t perform quite as well due to the number of slats (high-quality rubber seals are a must). Hormann offers a Thermoframe kit to enhance insulation around the sides, available through the likes of The Garage Door Centre.

More Ideas: Driveway Ideas: How to Add Kerb Appeal to Your Home’s Entrance

Garage Safety & Security

However you use your garage, it’s likely the contents will be valuable to you – if not financially in terms of cars, tools etc, at least emotionally for those using the space to stow away family memorabilia.

Secured by Design accreditation is a great option for garage doors. This means they’ve undergone stringent security and safety tests: examples include SeceuroGlide Excel roller door from The Garage Door Centre, Hörmann’s LPU 42 and LPU 67 sectional garage doors and Garador’s Guardian range. Note that products must also be installed to the Secured by Design fitting criteria.

In terms of modern tech, check any remote control has technology embedded to change the signal code every time it’s used to prevent cloning. Garador’s GaraMatic operators can recognise when there’s an obstruction in front of the door and automatically reverse closing if an obstacle is detected, adding an extra layer of safety.

Read More: Beginner’s Guide to Garage Conversions

Matching Entrances

This new build home in Buckinghamshire has been upgraded with a contemporary timber garage door from Urban Front. The design features variegated wood panels, laid horizontally for a striking look.

matching timber front and garage doors from Urban Front

The model is an up-and-over automated garage door in their Rondo design, made in Iroko wood to match the front entrance. Prices for a similar design start at £20,000 + VAT.

Classic Yet Durable

Westbury Windows & Joinery chose Accoya for this garage’s exterior woodwork, as its dimensional stability allows the entrance to benefit from a timeless look while minimising the risk of any swelling and shrinkage.

Accoya wood garage doors in a grey finish

The open-out doors, which are part glazed, part panelled, have been coated in Teknos’ Moss Grey to seal in the wood’s strength.

Handmade Appeal

These framed, ledged and braced softwood garage doors from Oak Designs are handmade in the UK and come with a clear Morells Omnia waterborne treatment to preserve the timber’s appeal.

Oak double-height garage with blue doors and dormer windows

The doors are available with monkey tail bolts and locally-sourced handmade T-Hinges for additional character. Prices start at £1,335 + VAT.

Sleek White Addition

A large, linear sectional garage door in Traffic White from Garador makes a neat addition to this home. Modern, secure and functional, the 42mm-thick sections have been sealed individually and treated with polyurethane (PU) insulating foam to keep the garage’s interior protected from cold and draughts.

White up-and-over Garador garage doors

The Silkgrain surface texture provides a smart wood-like finish. Prices for a similar model start from £1,705 + VAT.

Make a statement

Garage doors don’t always have to blend in. These homeowners chose bright yellow SeceuroGlide Original rollers, supplied by Access Garage Doors.

yellow roller garage doors

The colourful model is bold and sturdy, with insulated 77mm slats held together by a unique webbing that provides added security and keeps operation sounds to a minimum.

Read More: Building a Garage: Planning, Costs and Design

Characterful & Sturdy Garage Doors

The charming Little Gloucester garage from Oakwrights features oak double ledged and braced garage doors with black metal detailing and handles.

oak frame garage with oak doors, rooflights and side stairs

Photo: Mark Watts

The double-height garage is part of Oakwrights’ Room above Garage range; a customisable green oak frame design with the option to include dormer windows, rooflights and your choice of roof covering for additional character.

QUICK GUIDE Garage Door Materials

ALUMINIUM is a cost-effective and robust option for garage doors, with insulated versions available to keep out the worst of the winter chill. Its resistance to oxidisation and rusting makes it a value-for-money choice for homes in exposed locations, such as on the coast. Aluminium can be finished in a range of styles and requires minimum maintenance – but bear in mind that its lightweight properties can make it prone to denting.

TIMBER will give a classic feel to a set of garage doors. Timber products are available in a range of styles that will complement both modern and period properties, with each wood species having its own distinct qualities. Modern, factory-finished engineered wood doors are naturally insulating and highly resistant to issues such as warping, but will typically need repainting or resealing every two to three years to maintain their performance.

GALVANISED STEEL makes a durable garage door material. It can be finished in a whole selection of textures and colours to match your home or to create a standout look. A good quality model will be low maintenance and hardwearing, though it can be prone to denting. Pre-insulated versions are available for homeowners who want to use their garages for storage.

GLASS REINFORCED PLASTIC (GRP) doors are lightweight and practically maintenance free, as good quality versions are highly resistant to warping and dents. This material can be moulded to suit your preferred style and is often specified in an authentic-looking woodgrain finish; giving you the charm of timber without the upkeep.

Scandinavian Style Garage Doors

As part of this Nordic-inspired self build – designed by Fiddes Architects – a large singular Hormann electronic roller garage door was installed and colour matched to the home’s fenestration to create a cohesive scheme.

dark grey roller garage doors

Photo: David Barbour

The high-quality, pre-finished aluminium door provides maximum protection against the harsh Scottish elements.

Seamless Timber Finish

As part of an overhaul to a traditional 18th-century home in Cambridgeshire, Studio McW added a new garage that contains a guest suite with bathroom and kitchen. The home is located within a conservation area so the materials needed to be sympathetic to the original dwelling’s character.

timber cladded annexe with flush design

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

The building has therefore been constructed using reclaimed stone and pale timber cladding, with an unbroken design that creates a flush look and helps the functional building remain discrete.

More Inspiration: Timber Cladding Design Ideas for Your Self Build Project

QUICK GUIDE Smart Garage Doors

Intelligent controls are becoming more commonplace, enabling you to open or close the garage with a mobile phone or tablet. Hormann’s Homee app links to the entrance gate and garage door, and is also compatible with other smart home systems to operate door locks, cameras and heating.

Garador’s BlueSecur is similar, working with Google Home and Amazon Alexa to control garage doors fitted with a GaraMatic Series 4 operator. “An integrated Bluetooth receiver means all aspects of the garage can be remotely controlled, from opening, closing and partial opening, operating the lighting systems and a third door position for ventilation,” says Neil from Garador.

Smart & Secure

Installed by Freelance Entry Solutions, these insulated aluminium SeceuroGlide roller garage doors in black were specified to match the exterior joinery of this new build home in rural Hampshire.

black rollers on smart controlled garage

Each door is electrically operated and can be opened or closed via a keyring or through a control panel inside the garage. The doors add a modern feel to the traditional garage, and will continue to complement the timber cladding exterior as it silvers over time.

Wow Factor Statement

For this project, the homeowners chose Deuren’s Tavole range, matching their front and garage doors for a cohesive look. The doors are crafted in oak with a unique design, featuring deep lines that are carved into the surface for a wow factor look.

Deuren statement oak garage doors

The Tavole sectional garage door range makes a functional statement and is fully customisable to your specifications, available in a range of wood finishes that can be matched to any RAL colour.

This article was originally published in June 2022 and has been updated in April 2023, additional content by Sander Tel.

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