A garage door viewed from the front of your house generally covers a significant percentage of your home's exterior, facing the street and helping define your home's curb appeal. Selecting a metal garage door that complements your home requires aesthetic appeal considerations as well as an understanding of the impact of its metal gauge. When making a garage door purchase, review the options to ensure the door provides the durability, insulative properties and security you require.
Standard Metal Garage Doors
Manufactures build two basic gauge metal garage doors. The two most common metal gauges are 24 and 26 gauge. Gauge measurement is backward compared to normal thinking -- the lower the number, the thicker the gauge. For garage doors, the 24-gauge steel option is thicker or heavier than 26-gauge steel. Two other primary differentiators are key to understanding the gauge difference: The 26-gauge door dents more easily and does not provide as much of a sound barrier.
Heavier Gauge Garage Doors
Garage doors are also made of 20- or 22-gauge steel. These thicker gauges are heavier, but not always better when it comes to metal garage doors. Even though these thicker-gauged doors will not dent as easily as the 24- or 26-gauge doors, they require heavier brackets and garage door openers to operate.
Some manufacturers build their metal garage doors by using a lighter-gauge steel, but add supports to the interior construction. This gives the door more strength, which helps with any potential dents. Review the garage door you are considering to see how it was built and whether it makes sense for your budget to purchase a lighter-gauge door. Lighter doors require lighter weight brackets and garage door opener. If finances are tight, a thinner-gauged door is a reasonable option.
"R" value refers to the insulative property of the garage door. Insulated garage doors, whether prefabricated or using insulation board installed later on a metal garage door, are heavier and provide a better sound barrier than non-insulated doors. The insulation makes the garage door heavier, which requires heavier duty brackets and a heavy-duty garage door opener. The cost for putting in an insulated door is typically more than a standard 24- or 26-gauge metal garage door.