Your Total Guide to Garage Door Hinges and Handles

Dec 1, 2022

Curb Appeal

8 minute read

Accents like decorative hinges and handles can complement the overall visual appeal of your home’s exterior.  While your eye might be immediately drawn to the style or color of your garage door, highlighting these elements with additional accessories can provide an extra level of flair. 

Decorative hardware takes curb appeal to the next level. Depending on your preferred style, you can easily choose from a variety of door hinges and handles. Many Carriage House designs create a visual illusion consistent with the original house door that swung open from the middle. This design often features large decorative exterior hinges and handles to replicate a barn door look.

Carriage House garage doors prominently feature hinges and handles.

On the other hand, modern garage doors such as the Amarr Vista collection may feature smaller handles cleverly affixed to the bottom and/or lower part of the door. This aesthetic allows the expressive paneling to be predominantly featured without drawing the eye towards elements that would detract from the uniformity of the design.

amarr garage door with hinges and handles
Adding hinges and handles to Heritage Carriage House garage doors completes the look of this traditional design.

Regardless of your preference, the installation of these important elements require a degree of precision to ensure your garage door is working properly. This article will examine the visual appeal and optimal installation procedures in equal detail so that you can make an informed decision regarding the repair or replacement of your garage door hinges and handles.

How a New Door Handle can Freshen Up Your Garage Door

Here is where your design sensibilities can come into play, as a unique handle can impact the overall visual appeal of your garage door.

Matching your home’s garage with the right handle is dependent on the style of your new or repaired door as well as the overall aesthetic of your property. Each style of garage door has unique considerations for handle placement. Modern and traditional doors may have handles towards the bottom of the door, while carriage house style doors often have handles directly in the middle. Something as simple as altering the placement of your decorative door handle can impact the appearance of your garage door. 
Carriage House garage doors, such as those featured in our Amarr Hillcrest collection, are increasingly popular. These doors often feature bold handles and large decorative hinges. Converting your classic garage door to a carriage house-style model can transform the look and feel of your entire home.

showcase hinges and handles for garage doors
Amarr dealers can help you choose the best hinges and handles to suit your garage doors

Although the garage door doesn’t open from the side hinges, the decorative door handles and hinges give it the illusion of a barn-style entry. The simple addition of bold, centrally-fixed door handles draws the eye and helps change the look of the entire home.

If permanent hinges and handles aren’t what you want, then there are also magnetic versions you can install.  They can be easily placed most anywhere on your garage doors without the risk of damage or scratching to the surface of your doors. Intended for residential steel garage doors and made with strong neodymium magnets, placement is easily altered if you change your mind about positioning later down the road.

Decorative magnetic handles can be placed almost anywhere depending on the look you want to achieve.

Although some homeowners enjoy the look of simple, more traditional garage doors, adding a visually impactful garage door handle can spruce up the look of a rather ordinary garage door.  Selecting a handle with locking features can provide extra security as well.  

The addition of hinges and handles works equally well for two tone garage doors with windows

How to Install Decorative Hinges and Handles

We always recommend that you leave the installation of any elements of your garage door to the garage door experts. Whether you’re seeking form, function or beauty, for best results, any alteration to your garage door should be executed with professional precision.

While cosmetic modifications to garage doors certainly fall under this category, we understand and appreciate the DIY attitude of many homeowners. So read on for best practices regarding the installation of your decorative garage door hinges and handles if you’re determined to get the job done yourself.

Properly installing traditional, non-magnetic decorative hardware can be tedious if you don’t know what you are doing. You’ll want to be very precise during placement, which can increase the time it takes to complete the project. Additionally, decorative hardware must be attached to the surface by drilling permanent holes in your garage doors so there is no real room for error!

You will need to measure, level and drill directly into the door, so precision is key to avoid leaving unsightly damage from misplaced marks on the surface. When it comes to the exterior of your home, decorative hardware loses that visual flair if it’s accompanied by visible drill holes!

Your estimated installation time is roughly three hours.

Remember, you’ll want to set aside enough time to get the job done right. There’s nothing worse than rushing through a project, only to spend the lifetime of your garage door looking at the results of a botched installation.

You’ll need a tape measure and level, as well as a pencil, to earmark your drill holes. Arming yourself with a versatile drill and screwdriver set should complete your requirements. As always, be sure to wear protective safety glasses and gloves. You’ll be drilling directly into a steel surface, and so that extra level of protection against flying shrapnel or debris could be needed.

A final tip: Be sure to read the product description for additional installation instructions! Your steel garage door deserves the optimal result, and overlooking specific information will only hinder your efforts to achieve the desired look.

Hinges and handles can be added alongside garage door windows to give your home a unique visual appeal.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Mounting Decorative Hinges and Handles:

  1. Mark your hinge locations: Decide where you want to install the decorative garage door hinge on the exterior surface. Some homeowners with paneled doors mount hinge straps between the first and second panel, and between the fourth and fifth panel on each side. 
  1. Designate your drill holes: Create a pencil mark on the door, through the screw hole in the bracket of your hinge. Remove the decoration and place your level over the pencil mark and draw a line along the door’s surface. Once you’re satisfied that you’re even, place the hinge against the door in accordance with your straight pencil line, and mark any other drill holes you’ll need to make.
  1. Drill Your Screw Holes: Drill directly over your pencil marks through the exterior surface of your garage door. (It’s always good to reference your manufacturer’s instructions for the width of your garage door before deciding on how deep to drill.) For Amarr steel doors, we recommend drilling slowly and stopping as soon as the bit breaks the surface.
  1. Mount the hinges: Place your decorative hinges against the surface of the door. Once your newly drilled holes are visible through the previously marked screw holes, mount your hinges directly to the surface of the door.
  1. Identify where your handle(s) will go: Begin by marking the height of your handle on the surface of the door. Most carriage house-style doors feature centrally located handles; most modern doors have handles towards the bottom of the door. Assuming you’re going with a centrally located, vertical handle for a paneled carriage house door, you’re probably aiming around the middle of your second or third panel. If you’re after a horizontally mounted handle, you’ll commonly use the bottom of the second panel as a guiding marker aligned with your mount location.
  1. Level your handle(s) location: Break out the tape measure to ensure you’re in the center of the door, or correctly positioned if you’re mounting double handles. From there, we always recommend using your level to draw a vertical line on the door along this mark, roughly the length of your intended handle. (For horizontal handles, repeat this process with a line parallel to the bottom of the door.) Now you’re ready to drill your screw holes.
  2. Install your handle(s): As before, use your drill to make small holes through the exterior surface of your garage door, stopping when the drill bit breaks through. Now that you’re holes are drilled, align the screw holes in your handle over the spots, screw them in, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The Amarr Difference

For over 70 years, Amarr has helped homeowners replace and repair their garage doors. Amarr doors are installed and serviced by over 4,000 independent professional garage door dealers in North America, which means we’ve got an expert near you.

We’re happy to provide you with resources and information on topics such as painting or the cleaning and maintenance of your residential garage door. When it’s time to design or choose a new garage door, our step-by-step tutorials will guide you through the process, with insight into how a carriage house, modern or traditional selection will increase your curb appeal. 

However, when it comes to installation and repair, we recommend leaving the heavy lifting to the professionals. When you’re ready, we’ll help you find a local Amarr dealer that can make your renovation dreams a reality.