A Guide to the Different Types of Garage Doors and How To Choose One

Mar 1, 2024

Amarr Dealers

8 minute read

Considering a new garage door? Beyond the wide range of design styles available for garage doors, there are also lots of different garage door types. Before making your decision, you may want to consider how you want the door to look and any particular design elements that make it stand out from other options, materials, features and more.

Let's discuss some of the most popular types of garage doors, highlighting some of the top advantages and considerations for each to help make your decision easier.

A Breakdown of Residential Garage Door Styles, Materials, Features and More

Garage doors aren't as cut and dry as they used to be. These days, there are plenty of options available that appeal to a diverse range of style preferences, insulation and security needs, technology demands and more.

But first, let's start with a few of the most common styles, which essentially form the basis of most types of modern garage doors. From there, we'll discuss materials and additional features that make upgrading your garage door so exciting (and valuable).

Common Garage Door Styles

Traditional, carriage house and modern garage doors are three typical styles that you'll see in many homes today. Most other garage door styles can fit into one of these groups, perhaps with a few exceptions.

Here's how each common garage door type is defined:

Traditional Garage Doors

Traditionally designed garage doors are a common and classic style, often featuring raised panels that add depth and dimension to the door's surface. They're timeless and classic, and their simplicity lends itself well to a diverse range of home styles.

Traditional garage doors blend well with lots of different home styles and architectural aesthetics.Traditional garage doors blend well with lots of different home styles and architectural aesthetics.

Carriage House Garage Doors

Inspired by old carriage doors, this garage door style often has a rustic or traditional look, complete with decorative hardware. While some are actually designed to have a swing-out operation like their age-old predecessors, most modern iterations of the carriage house door are designed with a convenient overhead operation, but made to look like they swing outward.

Magnetic hardware is an easy way to enhance the look of a carriage house garage door, adding to its historical charm.Magnetic hardware is an easy way to enhance the look of a carriage house garage door, adding to its historical charm.

Modern Garage Doors

By modern, we mean contemporary. Even carriage house garage doors made to look antique are modern — with all the smart home technology, garage door openers and triple-layer construction to boot.

That said, modern-style or contemporary garage doors typically feature clean lines, sleek finishes and minimalist design elements, making them suitable for more stylish homes. Some may also emphasize windows, offering full- or multi-view designs that are almost entirely made of glass.

Modern plank-style doors can add that unique design element to your homes exterior.Modern plank-style doors can add that unique design element to your home's exterior.

Popular Garage Door Materials

Although most garage doors are made of steel in today's world, there are other available options becoming more popular as technology and materials are enhanced. From steel to wood to aluminum — let's take a look at these three options, highlighting their key advantages, appealing features and even potential pain points.


Steel garage doors are durable and have relatively low maintenance requirements, making them an appealing option for many homeowners. A wide range of garage door styles are or can be manufactured with steel, including everything from traditional raised-panel designs to contemporary flush-panel and modern MultiView glass options.

Typically, steel doors are more affordable than doors made from other materials, like real wood, which look incredible but can be costly and require regular maintenance.

Love the look of natural wood grain but want the durability and reliability of steel? Faux wood garage doors made from steel may be exactly what you're looking for.


Unlike steel garage doors, which tend to be heavier, aluminum garage doors are lightweight, rust-resistant and require minimal maintenance. This material is also available in various styles, including full-view glass doors and contemporary designs with sleek finishes.

Compared to steel, garage doors made from aluminum are typically more expensive due to the advanced manufacturing of the material. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that aluminum is not as strong as steel and may be more prone to dents and scratches. So, if you require a door that may be subject to these types of possibilities, then steel may be a better choice.

The Amarr Vista garage door is manufactured in aluminum, offering a full-view glass front to maximize natural light and visibility.The Amarr Vista garage door is manufactured in aluminum, offering a full-view glass front to maximize natural light and visibility.


A wood garage door offers a natural and classic look that can enhance a home's curb appeal. Moreover, it can be customized by choosing different wood species, stains and engravings to match the architectural style of the house.

That said, wood doors require regular maintenance, including treatments such as re-staining or re-painting to protect them from the elements and prevent warping or rotting.

For a lot of homeowners who love the look of real wood but don't want the upkeep of maintaining their garage doors regularly, a faux wood garage door made from steel is an appealing option and offers the best of both worlds — a real wood grain appearance with low maintenance requirements.

Amarrs Northwoods faux wood garage door offers the best of both worlds in terms of style and maintenance requirements.Amarr's Northwoods faux wood garage door offers the best of both worlds in terms of style and maintenance requirements.

Construction, Operation and Additional Features

To cover all our bases, there are a few more options and variables to consider that help make up your perfect garage door:

  • Opting for single-, double-, triple- or quad-layer construction.
  • Choosing sectional doors that may or may not have windows.
  • Adding a garage door opener and other accessories.
  • Purchasing a door with a suitable R Rating.


Steel garage doors are available in single- or multi-layers of steel to enhance durability and energy efficiency. The more layers you have, the more durable the garage door will be, and the better it will perform in terms of noise reduction and regulating temperatures.


Not all garage doors use an overhead operation, even though that's probably what you envision when you think about a garage door. Let's explore the basic types of door mechanisms.

  • Overhead garage door: This mechanism, which is the most known, includes variations like a tilt-up or canopy garage door and a sectional garage door, which is split into two or three steel sections.
  • Folding and sectional garage doors: Tri- or bifold garage doors fold into sections before opening — usually horizontally but sometimes vertically.
  • Hinged door: This includes side-hinged garage doors that feature a swing-out operation like a regular door.

Garage Door Openers and Other Accessories

A garage door opener is a necessity on all modern doors that make opening and closing them quick and easy.

Additional door accessories, like security cameras, smart openers, motion-activated lights, keypads and more, can be added to increase security, energy efficiency and peace of mind.

R Rating

This rating system communities the thermal resistance or insulation value of a garage door, measuring how effectively it resists the flow of heat. Garage door R-ratings typically range from around R-6 to R-17 or higher:

  • R-6 to R-9: Basic insulation levels suitable for moderate climates. These doors provide some insulation but may not be sufficient for areas with extreme temperatures.
  • R-10 to R-14: Better insulation suitable for regions with colder winters or hotter summers. These doors offer improved energy efficiency and help maintain more stable temperatures inside the garage.
  • R-15 to R-17 and higher: High-performance insulation levels are ideal for extreme climates or for homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency. These doors offer superior thermal resistance and can significantly reduce energy costs.

Garage Door FAQs (and Answers) To Help You Make the Right Choice

If you still have questions about garage doors, we have quick answers to help make the hunt for your next door easy.

Which Type of Garage Door Offers the Best Insulation?

These days, almost every garage door is designed with insulation in mind. That means no matter which type of garage door you prefer, it's going to offer adequate sound and temperature insulation. Amarr insulated garage doors are available in double- or triple-layer steel. 

Can I Convert My Existing Garage Door to a Different Type?

In some cases, it may be possible to convert an existing garage door to a different type. Still, it depends on factors such as the structure of the garage, available space, and compatibility with the new door type. It's best to consult a professional garage door installer to assess feasibility.

Are Certain Types of Garage Doors More Secure Than Others?

Security features vary among different types of garage doors. Generally, doors with sturdy construction, robust locking mechanisms and limited access points, such as sectional and roll-up doors, tend to offer better security.

Can I Customize the Appearance of My Garage Door?

Yes, many types of garage doors offer customization options, including material, color, design, and hardware choices. Customization allows homeowners to match the garage door to the architectural style of their home and enhance curb appeal.

Design Your Perfect Garage Door

Amarr garage doors are built to last — and are completely customizable. If you're looking for more than an off-the-shelf style, you can personalize your perfect garage door right down to the hardware using our online design tool.