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What are the Different Types of Garage Doors?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Garage doors are often differentiated from each other in two main ways: the materials they are made with and the way the open. While many are familiar with overhead garage doors, other types include horizontal sliding doors and bifold doors. Popular materials for such doors include wood, steel and vinyl.

The most common type of garage door is the overhead garage door. These doors work on a track that lifts the door over the opening. They usually come in sections so that they can move around the bend in the track. They go from a vertical position when closed to a horizontal position above the garage floor when open. For a residential garage, this is the most common type.

The overhead garage door is convenient because it can be operated by an automatic open system and suspends near the ceiling, leaving lots of open space.
The overhead garage door is convenient because it can be operated by an automatic open system and suspends near the ceiling, leaving lots of open space.

Sliding garage doors share some similarities with overhead doors in that they are usually on a track. However, they always stay in a vertical position and simply slide away from the opening. Using such a door in a garage means it must have ample room on at least one side.

Bifold garage doors usually fold up to create an opening. The door is sectioned in the middle with the bottom pulled up toward the top when it is opened. Both the top and the bottom eventually come to a position that is nearly horizontal when opened, much like an overhead garage door.

The most common material for garage doors, whether for a residential garage or a commercial garage, is steel. This material is durable and costs less than many other materials. They also can be textured to look like wood so they look more impressive in a residential setting. Many steel doors are also insulated. Commercial doors are often very plain in appearance, though some may have windows to let in natural light, especially if a substantial amount of work activity is going on.

Wood garage doors are another option for those who want to go with a traditional garage door. While wood will have the tendency to rot or warp over time, it can be treated and offer many years of enjoyment. Despite the obvious benefits of steel, wood still remains a popular choice for garage doors.

Vinyl is another popular material for garage doors. Manufacturers of vinyl say it offers a number of advantages over wood and steel. These include dent resistance and colors that do not peel or fade. While some vinyl doors have a tendency to turn yellow over time, some are specifically made with special coatings that prevent this from happening.

Discussion Comments


@speechie - Oh yeah – I have seen them. They look to me like they open from the middle and out like you would open double French doors inside a house. I think the technical term for opening in such a manner is “swing doors.”

My neighbor has them and he called the actual garage doors - carriage garage doors. So I don't know if that is the right term or just what he calls them...

But based on how my neighbor's garage doors look, if someone was looking for a custom and distinct look, this would be one to check out!


@Mykol - I know exactly how you felt having to manually roll the garage door up and down, these were the type of garage door we had growing up.

We had a string we pulled on to get the garage door to start sliding down and then we had another string we had to pull up to get the garage door to start going up and then I remember as a kid absolutely stretching and jumping and pushing to get that garage door to go all the way up.

In fact I think my parents still have the manual garage door, but we called it a rolling garage door because of the wheels it had to help us roll it up and down.

But you know what I have noticed lately - is fancy garage doors. I don't know how to describe them other than to say they look like they look they belong on the front of a castle. Has anyone else seen these?


My neighbor has a sliding garage door and a huge garage to accommodate it. Though there is only one door, there is plenty of space for three cars. There is also enough room for the cars to enter fully before driving into their individual parking spots.

I had never seen a sliding garage door before I saw his. The entire garage is made of steel, so there is no brick barrier like most houses have. He had the sliding door in mind while designing the garage, so he didn’t have to go back and cut anything out to make room for it.


We have a steel garage door with a row of windows running across it near the top. We do our various hobbies in the garage, and we prefer natural light to light bulbs.

I paint with acrylics, and I love to place my easel right in the path of the sun’s rays at the right time of day. There is nothing more illuminating than sunlight. It allows me to see details I would miss while using an overhead light.

My daughter makes artwork and jewelry from seashells. She loves the solid row of windows on our garage door. It lets in enough light to make the whole garage feel like a bright place.


I have vinyl garage doors, and I’m happy with them. I bought them in a buttercream shade so that it wouldn’t matter if they turned yellow over time. I painted my shutters this color for the same reason, so the door matches the exterior of the house.

I wanted a door that resisted dents. We often have hail storms, and my last door took a beating from golf-ball sized hail. Also, my husband throws the tennis ball around a lot for our golden retriever, and he can chunk it pretty hard at times. The vinyl door could hold up to a hit from this ball.


My sister’s house has overhead garage doors. They have a protective feature to prevent injury. If anything runs under them while they are closing, they start to open back up.

This would seem like a useful feature, and in most instances, it is. However, it caused me problems while I was house-sitting for her.

She lives near a state park, and lots of strange people hang out in the area. One day, a strange man was following me on my bumper. I managed to lose him, but I knew he could be coming around the bend any moment.

I pulled into the garage and started to close it, but my sister’s dog made a game of running underneath it and making it stop. I screamed and yelled a few choice words at the dog, and eventually, he moved out of the way. The man would have had time to see my car if he had been close, though.


When we were building our house I had never given much thought to the different kinds of garage doors. We went with steel garage doors because they hold up well and were reasonably priced.

For me, it is more important to have automatic garage door openers than anything else. In my car I can program my garage door openers with a program that is built in to my visor.

This is wonderful because then I don't have to worry about keeping the actual door opener in my car. My husband uses the extra one to keep in the motorcycle, so we don't have to get on and off the bike every time we want to open or close the garage doors.


Our garage is included in a section of our house that has a breezeway and a finished room above the garage. There is also a heater in the garage so the pipes won't freeze in the winter time.

We keep the temperature at 40 degrees and while it is nice to have a warm garage in the winter time, it can also get very expensive.

We have overhead garage doors and have been looking at buying some insulated garage doors. There are a several cracks and holes where the cold air gets in and this makes heating this area quite expensive.

I just need to figure out if the expense of insulated garage doors would be worth the extra money and save on my heating bill.


We have automatic overhead garage doors installed on our garage. You never think about how handy these are until you lose your electricity and the garage doors won't open.

I remember years ago when we had to use roll up garage doors instead of having automatic ones. Every time you opened or closed the garage doors, you had to manually roll them up or down.

When the electricity goes out this is the only way to get the garage doors open or closed. It doesn't take long to realize how nice it is to push a button and have them automatically open and close for you.

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    • The overhead garage door is convenient because it can be operated by an automatic open system and suspends near the ceiling, leaving lots of open space.
      By: SeanPavonePhoto
      The overhead garage door is convenient because it can be operated by an automatic open system and suspends near the ceiling, leaving lots of open space.