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What are the Different Types of Garage Door Panel?

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

Whether one is looking for a replacement garage door or hoping to conduct do-it-yourself garage door repair, there are several things to look for when choosing a garage door panel style. A garage door panel can be made from a variety of materials and can be found in a number of different styles. Recessed panels, raised designs, insulated panels, and those with windows may be the most common. They can be made from wood, wood composite, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, glass, or vinyl. Some may be laminated for better resilience and longer life.

If one is replacing panels anyway, this might be a good time to look at the insulated garage door panel style. Better energy efficiency can be obtained by replacing existing panels with insulated ones, while at the same time changing the look or replacing damaged panels. When insulating the garage, one should shop for materials or pre-made panels that offer the same level of insulation as that which is recommended for the home. Using energy saving materials may help the homeowner save on taxes as well, as in some areas credit is given for energy efficiency.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

A windowed garage door panel, or several of them, can create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Window panels will also allow sunlight in, which can help create a brighter space and may help save energy on heating bills. There are also entire garage doors made of windows, which create a stunning appearance that resembles French doors.

On the other hand, many homeowners prefer privacy and a heightened sense of security and thus opt for solid garage doors. A solid garage door panel tends to be more affordable and many are available in low-maintenance designs. An aluminum garage door panel is lighter weight than many other materials and weight may be an issue with retracting overhead doors. Still, steel tends to be a popular material due to its sturdiness, low maintenance, and attractive price.

A wooden garage door panel is still a very common type and is fairly simple to replace as needed. There are also wood composite garage door panels. Wood composite doors are made mainly from recycled materials and are therefore less costly to the environment as well as the wallet. Wood obviously needs to be sealed and painted to protect against the elements, so it tends to be a little higher maintenance.

A vinyl garage door panel can be matched to the exterior of the home and does not require treating, priming, or painting. One may be able to purchase vinyl panels in a finish that mimics the look of wood. Many vinyl panels are made to withstand scratching and denting and will not rust or chip. They may cost more at the outset, but the long life and low maintenance offered make them a good value.

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Discussion Comments


Anyone who is looking for new garage door panels to replace a solid wood garage door should consider aluminum garage door panels that have a faux wood finish. When these panels are made by a skilled manufacturer, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the aluminum faux wood finish and real hard wood.

Wood garage doors are nice, but frequently warp and crack after years of exposure to rain, wind, sun, and snow. You don't have to worry about this issue with aluminum garage door panels.


I had an old garage door panel with windows, and I never felt that it was very secure. The glass of the windows was also very thin, which didn't help.

A few years ago I replaced my old garage door with a new, solid vinyl one. I got a good deal for it, and now I feel much more secure.

Though vinyl garage door panels can be costly, many home improvement stores regularly put these items on sale. If it is time for your to replace your garage door, you should do like I did and watch for sales. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how much money you will be able to save on this major home purchase. You will also be able to get some good tips for installing the new garage door panels from the sales rep at the store.

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