Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors? (The Best with Authentic Reasons!)
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Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (A Really Difficult Choice!)
Steel is the most popular material used for making garage doors. Aluminum and Wood rank number two and number three, respectively. Both Wood & Aluminum Garage Doors have an aesthetic appeal that Steel can never hope to match. So many homeowners, just like you, are perplexed when it comes to Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors.
Real Wood Garage Doors are rare. Real Wood Garage Doors are steeped in history. They are the epitome of luxury and old world class. Each wooden garage door is unique, mainly because wood is a natural, not a synthetic building material.
Aluminum, or rather Aluminum and Glass Doors are pretty much at the other end of the aesthetic spectrum. Nothing spells “uber chic” and “ultra modern” more than a completely streamlined, flush, aluminum and glass garage door. They are so futuristic.
So if you are not able to make a decision when it comes to Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors, I can totally understand. I am writing this blog post in the hope that I can help you make a decision that you will not regret.
Real Wood Garage Door Construction
Garage doors made out of real solid wood are much superior than those made from engineered wood or faux wood. Each section is made from a single piece of plank cut out from the trunk of a large tree. It’s the real stuff!
The real wood that is used in making wooden garage doors should have high hardness. These are hardwood such as walnut as opposed to softwood such as pine.
The Table below gives some of the wood that is commonly used for making garage doors.
|Maple is well known for being really dense, strong and durable. Maple is quite affordable. |
Being light colored it stains very well. Often it will be stained to mimic a more expensive wood such as Cherry or Mahogany.
|Oak is very dense, and has great strength and hardness, making it a good choice for exterior doors. Oak has a very distinct and visible grain. |
Oak has high tannin content making it very resistant to insect and fungi attack. It is a very water-resistant wood and will not warp, if properly cut.
|Mahogany has a rich, warm reddish brown color. It takes well to finishes, stains, and polishes/|
Mahogany is a tropical hardwood and rates very high as the hardest, strongest, and highest quality wood type, commercially available.
|Walnut is a rich dark chocolate color, and may also appear to be black color with a purple undertone. It is quite a unique & classic wood color. |
Walnut is dense & sturdy and is favored for wooden garage doors because of its color and straight grain with intermittent curls or waves.
Walnut is highly resistant to rot and has good dimensional stability and strength. It is therefore quite durable.
|Cherry can range from pinkish-brown to darker shades of reddish-brown. With exposure to the sun, cherry will additionally develop a dark, rich patina over time. |
Wooden garage doors made from cherry are smooth in texture, with a tight, clear grain. Cherry has exceptional moisture-resistance, which prevents shrinking and swelling. Cherry exterior doors are highly resistant to rot or decay.
|Spanish Cedar is another tropical hardwood which is quite popular for making wooden garage doors. It has an appearance and color very similar to Mahogany.|
Cedar is one of the world’s most robust wood species, as it naturally resists decay and maintains its stability, even in particularly harsh environments. Cedar doors can last for 15 – 25 years with minimal maintenance.
(All Janka Hardness Scale ratings are sourced either from American Hardwood Information Center or BellForest.) Higher hardness rating also means that the wood is more difficult to work with.
Aluminum & Glass Garage Door Construction
Cheap aluminum garage doors are made from sheets of aluminum. But I am not going to talk about them here. They are just not comparable to real solid wood garage doors. Really good quality aluminum garage doors are made from aluminum frames and high quality glass.
The doors are made from heavy duty aluminum frames. Aluminum is rust & corrosion resistant, but it does oxidize. To prevent this the garage doors use anodized or powder coated aluminum frames.
The glass used is also not the typical fragile, ready to shatter at the slightest impact type of glass. Glass technology has evolved significantly.
There are four types of glass that are used in building construction.
- Float Glass (also referred to as Standard Glass) is the most common form of architectural glass. It is widely used for windows. It may be clear, tinted, textured, patterned or even have a wire mesh embedded in it.
- Tempered Glass (also referred to as Toughened Glass) is made by using a heat treatment process. It is five times stronger and if broken, will shatter into many small, safe non-cutting pieces.
- Laminated Glass has a plastic film sandwiched between two sheets of glass so that if it breaks, the pieces remain attached to the film. The glass will crack but not shatter to pieces and fall.
- Insulated Glass has an air gap sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Moreover, the glass is also glazed to reflect heat.
Aluminum & Glass garage doors generally use tempered glass or insulated glass. Glass, like aluminum, is resistant to rust, rot, insects and decay.
Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (Styling)
Garage Doors, especially Sectional Garage Doors, tend to follow one of the following three styles.
- Carriage House
- Traditional Raised Panel
- Contemporary Flush
Wood can be used to create a garage door in any one of the above three styles. An Aluminum & Glass Door is restricted to Contemporary Flush Style only.
According to Better Homes & Gardens, the 10 most popular House Styles in the US are:
- Cape Cod Homes
- Country French Style Homes
- Colonial Style Homes
- Victorian Houses
- Tudor Style Houses
- Craftsman Houses
- Cottage Style Homes
- Mediterranean Style Houses
- Traditional Ranch Homes
- Contemporary Style Homes
Wood Garage Door is versatile as it will complement every home style.
Aluminum & Glass Garage Door is restrictive as it will complement only Contemporary Style Homes.
Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (Insulation)
Generally speaking both Wood and Aluminum & Glass Garage Doors are not insulated.
A high quality wooden garage door does not require insulation in most climates.
“Wood is a natural insulator due to air pockets within its cellular structure, which means that it is 15 times better than masonry, 400 times better than steel, and 1,770 times better than aluminum.”Source: MAKE IT WOOD
In colder climates you would need to use Insulated Glass in the case of Aluminum & Glass Garage Doors.
Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (Wind Load Reinforcement)
If you live in a high velocity wind or hurricane prone zone, then your garage door must comply with the regulations and standards concerning hurricane resistance.
Wind load doors are built specifically to withstand specific high-wind pressures with an interior wind load reinforcement system.
Wind load reinforcement can usually be added to Wood Garage Doors. However, this is generally not the case with Aluminum & Glass Garage Doors.
As an example consider the product offer from Amarr, a leading Garage Door brand.
Amarr Hurricane Rated Garage Doors
Their AMARR BY DESIGN Wood Garage Door can have hurricane rating but AMARR VISTA Aluminum & Glass Garage Door can’t.
Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (Maintenance)
A Wood Garage Door is a treasure and you have to be on your guard to protect it. Wood being a natural product, primarily made from cellulose, is constantly under attack.
Wood is hygroscopic. Wood has a cellular structure. It will therefore absorb water from rain and moisture from the humid atmosphere.
Increase of water content in the wood leads to
- Warping & Cracking
- Growth of fungus and mildew
- Pest Infestation & Rotting
Hardwood has higher resistance to water. Natural wood preservatives (tannins) in Cedar, Oak, Walnut, Redwood and Mahogany deter pest attack. Such wood will not rot easily and is very durable.
You can further protect wood from water by using stains, varnishes or paints. However, these do degrade with the exposure to the UV rays in the sunlight. As such the process of staining, varnishing or painting is an ongoing exercise.
A bit of polishing or waxing, now & then certainly helps.
Polishes use wood friendly mediums that are wax and silicone free. However, Waxes use carnauba wax and beeswax, two ingredients that naturally create a protective coating when applied to wood surfaces.
Here are my favorite wood furniture polishes and waxes available on Amazon.Old English Lemon Oil Furniture Polish 12 oz (Pack of 2) Howard Feed-n-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner Beeswax Polish 16oz (2)
Prevention is certainly better than cure. So you should also use pesticides and termite killers on and around your door.
You must also enter into a contract with a pest control company to come and perform pest control activities at regular intervals. This is any way required for your home. Just ensure your service provider is aware of the Wooden Garage Door and takes adequate care of it.
Aluminum & Glass Garage Doors, on the other hand, practically require no maintenance. All you might need to do is to wipe it clean with a wet cloth to remove the dust.
Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors (Durability)
Real solid wood garage doors are made from high quality hardwood such as oak, mahogany or cedar. These woods are renowned for durability and long life. They can easily take up a few scratches and scuff marks. These can be covered up by stains or polishes.
The charm of hardwood is that it ages beautifully and with elegance. Something like fine wine!
Aluminum & Glass Garage Doors on the other hand can get nicked quite easily by sharp stray flying objects like pebbles or hockey sticks. Aluminum is highly ductile & malleable making it highly suitable for extrusions. But it also means that aluminum sheets and structures are more prone to dents, scratches and deformations.
Do Wood Garage Doors Cost More than Aluminum?
The price of a garage door can depend on a lot of things. Certainly, material is one of them!
But, surprisingly a good quality aluminum & glass door can cost as much as a good quality real solid wood garage door. Check out the prices for Amarr Garage Doors, for example.
More often than not steel is the material of choice for garage doors. In my earlier blog posts I have explained how steel is better than vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass.
However, when it comes to Wood vs Aluminum Garage Doors, I can safely assume that aesthetics is at the top of your mind.
I admit that a home may have an architectural design element where only an Aluminum & Glass Garage Door will be the right fit. Even a flush panel wood garage door with a few glass windows will stick out like a sore thumb!
But for every other architectural home style, ranging from colonial to farmhouse or even contemporary, you will be able to find a real solid wood garage door that takes the curb appeal of your home up by several notches!
Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.