Wood vs Steel Garage Door

Wood Garage Door

   PROS
  • Adds beauty and grace to your home
  • Won’t dent easily
  • Adds curb appeal
  • Choose from a variety of options
  • More energy-efficient
  CONS
  • More expensive
  • Harder to maintain
  • More difficult to install
  • Automatic doors are a necessity
  • Affected by humidity, rain, and heat
$1,400 - $2,000

(7 ft x 8 ft, installed)

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Steel Garage Door

   PROS
  • More durable
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to install
  • Longer lasting
  • Can imitate the look of wood
  • Less maintenance
  CONS
  • May dent
  • Limited choices
  • May rust
$740 - $1,140

(7 ft x 8 ft, installed)

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Whether you are replacing a garage door or choosing one for a new garage, making that choice can be difficult. Two options that are popular with many homeowners are wooden and steel garage doors. In the sections below, we explain the differences so that you can make an educated decision.

Appearance

Wooden garage doors are designed for elegance and beauty and come in a variety of sizes, looks, and colors. They improve the curb appeal of your home, increasing property value. Also, wooden garage doors aren’t mass produced but are semi-custom or custom built, which means the design can match your home’s architecture.

Steel doors, on the other hand, are built in factories and come pre-assembled in a variety of styles. Some imitate the look of wood, which is a plus for a steel door’s appearance.

Garage doors are constructed from horizontal panels that roll up to the ceiling of the garage. This type of door is used in most styles of homes such as Ranch, Cape, Craftsman, Victorian, and European-style homes.

Installation

When it comes to installation, a steel door is easier to install than a wooden one because it is lighter. Therefore, it is easier to lift when installing.

You also have the choice of manual or automatic doors. With a wooden door, automatic door openers are a necessity because you can be hurt if the counterbalances become out of sync. The cable and motor must be properly installed for automatic doors. Although this can be a DIY project, we recommend a professional installer because it guarantees that the job is completed correctly and in a timely fashion. Also, if you install the door yourself, it could result in voiding the warranty.

Costs

A 7-foot x 8-foot steel garage door with one layer of 25-gauge steel ranges between $489 and $738. For labor of 3.5 hours of installation, prices range from $225 to $365. For the supplies needed, such as connectors and fasteners 1, the cost is between $32 to $37. The total price ranges from $740 to $1,140.

A 7-foot x 8-foot wooden garage door ranges from $974 to $1,468. Basic labor for 5.4 hours of installation is between $340 and $412. Extra job supplies needed range from $24 to $28 Wooden doors require additional equipment, such as miter saws and sanders. This costs between $64 and $87. The total cost is between $1,400 and $2,000.

Maintenance

With wooden garage doors, there is some maintenance involved. The door needs to be sanded and stained or painted every couple of years. Also, moisture buildup or termites may cause damage.

Steel doors can rust over a time. If they have a polyester top coat or fiberglass 2 overlay, this may not occur. These doors can become dented or dinged if made from cheaper steel. However, a steel door requires less maintenance and lasts longer than a wooden door.

Durability

A wooden garage door can warp, crack, chip, rot, or have termite damage. The good news is that if this happens, you can replace any damaged panels. If the damaged panel is a main part of the garage door, then the structural integrity could be compromised. So, the new panel will look good on the outside, but the moving parts of the door may not work properly.

A steel door panel can be replaced, but you will have the same issues when doing this. Also, a new panel may stand out if the rest of the door is weathered in any way. A steel door can dent and corrode, but if you choose a higher-density steel, the chances of this diminish. A steel door that is 24-gauge in thickness is sturdier than a 28-gauge one. When a steel door is created from a stronger steel, then the chances of deep scratches and dents lessen with normal wear and tear.

Additionally, a wooden door will not dent, but a steel door won't be affected by rain, heat, and humidity. The lifespan of either door is about 15 to 20 years. So, the problem isn't with the garage door itself but with the components and installed parts. The springs that open the door are made to open it about 10,000 times. So, the more you open the door, the faster the springs need to be replaced.

Energy-efficiency

Both wooden doors and steel doors can be insulated for weather. A steel door has the benefits of economy, design, energy-efficiency, and low maintenance. A wooden door has several layers of wood with polystyrene insulation between the layers. This insulation improves the R-value factor plus helps to deaden noise.

Environmental Concerns

If you’re concerned about having an eco-friendly garage door, you can buy these in both wood and steel. An eco-friendly solid wood-appearing garage door is designed from resins, wood pulp, fiber, and wax. It looks just like wood but doesn't need refinishing and is less expensive. It has the other quality aspects of a wooden door, too.

If you want a metallic garage door, there are eco-friendly doors designed from composite steel. They're sturdy and durable but cost more than non-metallic doors. Since these doors require less maintenance, they cost less over the long term.

Resale Value

When you replace your garage door, it adds to both the curb appeal and resale value. Choosing your door is key. You want a garage door that will complement your home in color and design. Also, when your garage door faces the street, the look of the door can influence the decision of whether the buyer wants to see inside your home.

Replacing a garage door, whether it is in bad condition or because you want an upgrade, can recoup about 75% of the cost. It is one of the top things that a realtor will suggest on upgrading before attempting to sell your home. Depending on what replacement garage door you purchase and how well it goes with the design of your home, it can increase the list price from about 1% to 4%.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Fasteners: Hardware used to attach two or more objects to each other. A common example is a nail
2 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric

Cost to install a wood or a steel garage door varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Andover, MA
+39%
Athens, GA
-9%
Austin, TX
+13%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bowie, MD
+16%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clementon, NJ
+16%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Wayne, IN
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Hammond, IN
+11%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Humble, TX
+16%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Little Rock, AR
0%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Montgomery, AL
-10%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Overland Park, KS
+15%
Parachute, CO
+12%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Rochester, NY
+6%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Jose, CA
+33%

Labor cost in your zip code

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