(BPT) – If your home is 10 years old or older, your garage door is probably a plain-Jane raised-panel steel door that adds little or nothing to the overall design of your house.
So why not make an improvement? In the last decade, the garage door industry has generated stunning new designs that can transform the curb appeal of your home from boring to exciting.
Large area = big impact
“When something consumes such a large part of the front of the house, it should not be generic; it should be special,” says Michael Walsh, a syndicated home-improvement columnist. “It should improve the looks of the house, not detract from it.”
A better-looking garage door can actually parlay into a more-valuable home. One nationwide study of real estate professionals by StrataMark revealed that an attractive new garage door can add as much as 4 percent to the home’s selling price. That adds $10,000 to the value of a $250,000 home, which means that a new garage door can easily pay for itself.
Two new designs that dazzle
Chris Long, long-time editor of Door & Operator Industry, a garage door trade magazine, identifies two new garage door designs that are hot right now: woodgrain prints and carriage house styles.
A woodgrain print is a steel garage door that looks so much like wood, you need to thump on it to realize it’s actually durable steel. This technological breakthrough by steel coating companies brings big benefits for garage door buyers.
“The rich wood-look of these doors is gorgeous,” says Long. “Plus, since they’re made of steel, they’re incredibly durable and require almost no maintenance.”
The other popular new design is the carriage house style. These attractive doors open just like your old door, but they look like the side-hinged, swing-out doors of the charming carriage houses of yesteryear.
Quick design tips
Since both of these new designs come in dozens of attractive styles, here are a few tips to select the one that integrates best with the personality of your home. Design experts advise you to select a door that matches with three exterior features of your home: colors, lines, and shapes.
“The color of your garage door should complement the overall house color as well as the window trim colors,” says Gale Steves, former editor-in-chief of Home magazine.
Then look at the lines on your home exterior. Are they horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or curved? Today’s garage door styles can provide excellent matches for any of these architectural features.
Finally, consider the shapes of elements on your home, particularly the window panes. Are they arched, square, or small rectangles? Matching the panes on the house with the garage is not that difficult, given the wide variety of garage door window designs now available.
Cool choosing tools
Thanks to new technology, you don’t need to guess at the right door design. Most garage door manufacturers now offer door designer tools on their websites. Many door dealers also have similar software on a computer tablet they bring to your home. You just upload a photo of your own home and drop in any of hundreds of door designs to see exactly how it would look on your home.
A good starting place is GarageWowNow.com, a non-commercial website that features dozens of garage door photos from many manufacturers. It also includes a find-a-dealer function that helps you find qualified dealers in your area.
Your new garage door is not only a perfect spring home improvement project, it’s a smart investment. Celebrity designer Chayse Dacoda says, “You are investing in the single largest moving part on your home, which is going to affect its appearance for at least the next 20 years.”