by Marcus Pickett
As a shelter for your home's vehicles, as one of the focal points for your home's curb appeal, as an auxiliary and frequented home entry, as an opportunity for additional living space or home storage, your garage is a multi-functional and often underused asset for your home. Does your garage live up to its potential?
Choosing a garage door for your home isn't all that different from choosing a front door for your home. Your primary concerns should be security, curb appeal, and insulating value. Of course, the price tag matters, too, and no garage door can offer it all. Here are the four most popular garage door materials:
he best material for looks and insulation without sacrificing security, wood garage doors are also the most expensive. Besides upfront costs, you'll also need to paint or stain your door every few years.
The strongest and most secure garage door, steel doors require little maintenance. Still fairly expensive, new decorative treatments and galvanization can cause the price tag to rival wood doors.
An inexpensive alternative to steel, aluminum isn't quite as strong as steel, but has even less maintenance or need for protective treatments. Aluminum doors can also have decorative treatments, but most doors are designed and marketed for budget-oriented projects. Plus, fiberglass doors use aluminum framing and fiberglass panels to increase decorative options.
Standalone garages can act as one of the easiest and cheapest ways to build a home addition. You can avoid complicated aesthetic issues associated with attached home additions. Yet, garages don't carry the same disjointed feel as other residential outbuildings. Better yet, you can add a loft apartment on top of your new garage, which allows for that extra bedroom or living space. If you already have a garage, you might be able to remodel it to accommodate these living spaces, again at a fraction of the cost of a conventional home addition. Take a look at these numbers, compared to the average cost of a home addition at $41,275.
-- Marcus Pickett is a senior home improvement writer with ServiceMagic.com. He has written more than 1200 articles on managing your home and home improvement trends.