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A Guide To Residential Garage Doors

Residential Garage Doors

Q: WHat Are Residential garage doors Called?

A: Overhead Door

Your everyday standard garage door is called an overhead door. It may seem obvious, but, it is called an overhead door because when it is fully open it is over your head. 

The overhead door was invented in 1921 by C.G. Johnson. He had the first “upward-acting door” as he called it. Prior to C.G. Jonson’s overhead door garage doors just swung outward.  He actually traveled the country in a Ford Model-T with a functioning door installed on the back! The same man would invent the first automatic garage door opener 5 years later.

The overhead door consists of 2 sets of track, vertical tracks and horizontal  tracks. The vertical tracks help hold your door upright when it is in the closed position. The horizontal tracks run parallel to the ceiling and support the weight of the door when it is up. 

Sectional Garage Doors

Traditional 4 section garage door with windows

Garage Door InstallationAnother name for modern garage doors is a sectional door. Due to the size and weight of residential garage doors it is easier to transport and install them in sections.

Most garage doors are 7 or 8 foot tall and come in 4-5 sections. Sections are stacked one on top of the other and held together with hinges.

Q: What is the Most Popular Type of Garage Door?

A: Steel

Prior to 1980 garage doors were all mostly made of wood. A lot of those doors are still standing today.

 Steel quickly became the material of choice for a couple reasons. Number one, the material is more durable. Residential garage doors can take a beating. Everything from weather to, cars to kids with balls. A steel door is not going to rot on you like wood garage doors did. Steel doors are also lighter weight. Causing less wear and tear on parts. 

Steel doors are also easier on the budget. Although, steel prices continue to rise post COVID-19 and therefor garage door prices as well. Steel doors are still cheaper. Custom wood garage doors can cost $10,000 or more.

Garage door with windows

What are The Most Common Sizes of Garage Doors?

Everybody with a residential garage door believes their door is “standard”. Garage doors actually vary quite a bit. One of those factors is size. 

There is not just one standard size for garage doors. There actually about 8 common sizes. The first number being the width and the second number being the height. 

Most residential garage doors have a sticker on the side of the section telling you the size.


8 x 7

 8 x 7 garage doors are 8ft wide by 7ft tall. They are typically made of 4 sections that are 96 inches wide and 21 inches tall. 

9 x 7

9 x 7 garage doors are 9ft wide and 7ft tall. They are typically made up of 4  sections that are 108″ wide by 21″ tall. 

16 x 7

16 x 7 garage doors are 16ft wide and 7ft tall. They are typically made up of 4  sections that are 192″ wide by 21″ tall. 

18 x 7

18  x 7 garage doors are 18ft wide and 7ft tall. They are typically made up of 4  sections that are 216″ wide by 21″ tall. 

8ft tall residential garage doors

The other 4 most common size garage doors are the same widths but 8ft tall.

Some 8ft tall doors are made up of 4 24″ tall sections. However, most are 5 sections tall consisting of 2 21″ sections and 3 18″ sections. 

Popular Residential Garage door styles

Garage Door Panel Composition

When shopping for a new garage door there is more to consider than just the panel design. The major factors are windows and insulation. 


Windows on a garage door are a simple yes or no, for most people. However, a lot of people do not realize how many options can come with the design of the windows. 

The first choice comes down to the inserts, these are the plastic decorative pieces that give a specific look to your windows. We usually recommend trying to match the windows on the house to tie it all together. 

Second choice is glass type. most doors come with 1/8″ thick non-insulated glass. However, there are options for insulated, tinted, frosted and even glue chip glass.

Basic Insert Options

Basic garage door window inserts
Most manufactures have similar basic designs for their window inserts. They may have differen names but the styles are the same

Garage Door insulation

What garage door insulation you choose will depend largely on the type of weather you have where you live as well as your budget. Most builder grade basic garage doors have no insulation. If you have living space above your garage or park in your garage we definitely recommend at least a 2 layer door. 

2 Layer (Good) Insulation

A 2 layer door consists of an outside layer of steel and inside layer of polystyrene foam insulation with a vinyl backing for a smooth finish.  Most manufactures will have an R-value of 6-8 for this style door. 

3 Layer (Better) Insulation

A 3 layer door has an outside layer of steel polystyrene insulation in the middle and an inside layer of steel. This is known as a sandwich door and R-values are traditionally in the 6-10 range, depending on the thickness of the door.

Garage Door Insulation chart

3 Layer (Best) Insulation

The best insulation option on the market is a 3 layer sandwich door with a polyurethane injected insulation. These doors can boast an R-value of 17-18. That’s higher than the walls of your house! These doors are great for people who live in climates with sub zero temps, or really hot prolonged summers. These garage doors are also extremely heavy.

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