Garage doors play a prominent role in most homes, both functionally and aesthetically. It needs to work reliably day in and day out. It has to survive the elements and inclement weather. It has to be able to take some abuse, whether from getting smacked with soccer balls or being bumped with a car. And, of course, it must suit the look and feel of your home’s exterior. There’s more than you might imagine behind buying a garage door, so we’ve put together a guide to help you pick a contemporary garage door in Connecticut.
What Is a Contemporary Garage Door?
Before we get into the wide world of garage doors, it helps to know exactly what a contemporary style is. The term is often confused with “modern,” but there are key differences to be aware of. “Modern” in terms of architecture refers to a particular style that was established in the 1930s. You can spot a modern home by looking for some of this style’s most common hallmarks:
- Minimal decorative moldings and lack of elaborate trim
- Emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines as well as rectangular forms
- Low, flat roofs
- Emphasis on relatively bare materials, such as choosing to stain wood rather than paint it
- Frequent use of glass and natural lighting
Several of these traits are visible in contemporary architecture as well, so what’s the difference? Contemporary simply refers to what is currently popular during a particular time period. It’s what’s in style, and it’s constantly changing. Currently, modern styles and contemporary styles share a lot of overlap, but this won’t always be the case.
Contemporary garage doors come in styles that address modern sensibilities, but also in styles that mesh well with more traditional types of architecture. It’s very possible for a contemporary garage door design to elevate the appearance of any style home.
Choosing Contemporary Garage Door Materials in Connecticut
When choosing from contemporary garage door styles, you should first take materials into account. This door will be part of your home for the foreseeable future, so the material needs to be both durable and pleasing to the eye. You can choose from three main options.
1. Wood Garage Doors
The classic, natural beauty of wooden doors is almost never out of place. Wood, whether natural, stained or painted, brings an air of tradition and elegance to a home without feeling too old-fashioned. The flexible style fits in nearly anywhere, providing a touch of warmth to whatever ensemble it’s in.
Wood garage doors can be quite affordable, with a trade-off in having to perform maintenance. Every few years, you’ll need to repaint or re-stain the door to keep it looking pristine. Wood is also susceptible to damage like chipping, so it’s not ideal for families that expect their garage door to take a beating from physical use as well as the weather.
There’s no denying the charm and personality a wood door can infuse into your home, and if you’re okay with a bit of extra maintenance, this choice can provide your home with a unique point of pride.
2. Steel Garage Doors
Steel is the material of choice if your garage door needs to survive harsh weather or rough treatment. They’re designed with durability in mind and can handle a lot more abuse than a typical wooden door. Maintenance isn’t an issue either, as you’ll only need to treat the door to a quick cleaning every now and again to help it look its best.
Some people are concerned that steel doors only come in one style and that they might not be able to find a door that fits. These days, steel comes in so many colors, styles and finishes that you could walk right by one and never know it. If you love the look of wood but don’t love the upkeep and durability, you can get an almost identical steel door thanks to advances in finishes.
3. Aluminum and Glass Garage Doors
Aluminum doors are lightweight and come in an astonishing range of colors and designs. One of their main benefits is that they don’t rust. Like steel doors, they require almost no upkeep on your part, but their lightweight nature also means they are less insulated. In Connecticut’s cold winter months, that relative lack of insulation might be a deal-breaker. However, many quality aluminum garage doors are built with thicker cores that make the difference in insulation negligible.
The addition of glass to an aluminum garage door can result in the sleekest and most contemporary aesthetics. Even a few glass panels across the top of an aluminum frame can change the door’s whole look while giving you the benefit of natural light. It’s easy to find options that let in the right amount of light, from completely transparent to mostly opaque. These materials also make excellent contemporary residential doors on the inside or outside of the home.
Common Garage Door Features
What should you be looking for in a garage door for contemporary homes? Here are five elements to consider when exploring your options.
When you’re talking about modern roll-up garage doors, it’s a given that they will open or close at the touch of a button. Traditional carriage house doors, however, don’t always come with that feature. Although these doors are some of the most striking around, having to open and close them yourself can be a major hassle. When you’re looking for doors of this type, ensure they come with a reliable opener.
Convenience can also come in the form of smart openers for any type of contemporary garage door. Being able to operate your garage door with the use of an app can really come in handy on those days someone forgets to shut the door.
The majority of people with a garage forego the use of the front door, opting to instead go directly from the car in through the garage entrance. Without strong insulation, this can result in you bringing bursts of hot or cold air into the house in the summer and winter — which can raise your energy bill and cause general discomfort. If there are living quarters above the garage, a poorly insulated door can affect temperatures there as well.
The best doors on the market come with insulation, often in the form of a polystyrene or polyurethane core. Insulation can raise the quality of a more budget-friendly door, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
One of the most popular contemporary garage door trends is glazed glass. If you’re a fan of natural light and your home features clean lines and geometry as part of its design, glazed glass panels can elevate the look of your home immensely. You’ll get the benefit of filtered natural light during the day, which is ideal for garages that double as workspaces or home gyms. You’ll also enjoy the look of the interior glow when the lights are on at night.
4. Wind Resistance
Garage doors need to be strong enough to withstand sustained high winds as well as powerful gusts. Even if you don’t live in an area notorious for wind-related weather events, state building codes usually have a minimum wind resistance applicable to garage doors — especially contemporary garage doors with windows. These codes are often difficult to decipher, and it can be hard to tell what the actual requirements are.
What’s important to know is that since the garage door is the biggest entrance to your home, a wind breach can cause your home’s internal pressure to build until the walls and roof collapse.
Luckily, garage door manufacturers will tell you when their products are tested and wind-rated to withstand the high winds of areas like Connecticut. Door maker Clopay has a huge range of wind-resistant doors as well as a guide to understanding wind ratings.
It’s worth thinking about what level of customization you expect from your contemporary garage door. Naturally, the more you want to customize, the more you will have to pay for it. However, it’s important to consider that a new garage door will have a significant influence on your home’s resale value. National data from 2019 in Remodeling magazine reveals that in New England, an upscale garage door replacement has a 97.5% return on investment.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing one of a few set options for your new garage door, but customizing one to match your home’s character can definitely be worth it.
Common Prices for Contemporary Garage Doors
Here’s the question almost everyone has — What are common contemporary garage door prices? As with any home improvement project, multiple factors affect cost. A survey of more than 9,000 homeowners found that the cost to install a garage door ranges between $734 and $1,465, with an average of $1,097. This price tag includes:
- The door itself
- Labor cost
- Door tracks
- Hardware and adhesives
If you’re purchasing more than one door or you’ve chosen a high-end door, the cost will naturally go up. The best quality customized doors can run upwards of $4,000. On the other end of the spectrum, the cheapest doors might run as little as $400 or $500. Keep in mind, though, that these will offer little durability and don’t come with important features like wind resistance and insulation.
Notably, these estimates do not necessarily include the cost of the garage door opener. Many contemporary garage doors come with an electric opener, but not always. If you are replacing an old door with a better-insulated, heavier door, the old opener might not be able to handle the weight, and you might have to purchase a new one. If that’s the case, you can expect to pay between $100 and $400 depending on the type of opener and the features it has.
There are some other considerations that may increase the cost of installing a new garage door. They include:
- Resizing the door opening
- Installing new hardware
- Reframing the house exterior
- Replacing springs, metal cables or brackets
- Replacing the door track
- Removing and disposing of the old door
Types of Garage Doors in Connecticut
Now that you know what to expect in terms of materials, features and cost, it helps to see some real-world examples of contemporary garage doors available. These Clopay® collections represent the best American Overhead Doors, Inc. has to offer in Connecticut.
1. Canyon Ridge® Modern Series
These garage doors offer contemporary style rooted in modern design. Their wood-look plank design offers the option to add symmetrical or asymmetrical windows from top to bottom, resulting in a clean look across the board. They have a four-layer steel-based construction with the inclusion of composite and insulation. Tempered glass is the standard for versions with windows, but you can also choose from insulated frosted, insulated obscure and insulated rain glass.
2. Avante® Collection
The Avante® collection doubles down on the clean contemporary look with a combination of glass and aluminum. The simple design featuring rectangular glass panes nestled into aluminum looks natural yet unique in almost any style of home. This collection is an example of how flexible glass can be in terms of aesthetics. The multiple glazing options range from clear to laminate coated, with one-of-a-kind looks like bronze tint or mirrored glass.
3. Canyon Ridge® Ultra-Grain®
The Ultra-Grain® series exemplifies how far garage door materials have come in recent years. These carriage house style doors are made with a combination of faux wood and steel to bring together an unmistakable look with unprecedented durability. The paneled doors start out with a polyurethane insulation core wrapped in steel. The final finish comes from a composite made from actual wood to bring authenticity to this work of modern technology.
4. Gallery® Collection
Contemporary carriage house doors have been updated from traditional wood to grooved panel steel in the Gallery® collection. Choose from one to three layers of construction depending on your insulation needs, and choose from one of the many finish paint options available as well as a variety of window options.
5. Modern Steel™ Collection
Whether your home is modern, mid-century or contemporary, steel doors like the ones featured in this collection make an excellent option for durability and affordability. Flush and grooved panel designs make this a versatile steel garage door, which also features optional windows in a variety of configurations. In combination with polyurethane and polystyrene layering options, steel doors like these can be as insulation-heavy as you need them to be.
Transform Your Home With American Overhead Doors
If you’re ready to learn more about contemporary or modern garage doors for sale, come to American Overhead Doors, Inc. We’ve been building our expertise as a family-owned and operated Connecticut company since 1987, making us the experts in garage door installation and repairs. Whether you’re more concerned with cost, quality or finding the balance between the two, we can help you find the garage door that completes your vision for your home. Contact us today and request an estimate to see what American Overhead Doors can do for you.