Garage doors are available in several different materials, including steel, aluminum, wood composite, and fiberglass, each of which has merits and shortcomings. Here is a quick summary of what each material offers, with suggestions on how to compare the options.
Steel is the most popular material for garage doors, and for good reason. Steel doors are reasonably priced, durable, low maintenance and available in just about any style you like. Steel can be painted, and it is available in textures that mimic wood.
When shopping for a steel garage door, two features are particularly worth giving some thought to. First, steel is a poor insulator, so insulated doors are a smart choice for saving energy (and reducing noise).
Second, garage doors have steel panels that vary in thickness. Low-cost doors have thin panels of 27- or 28-gauge steel. Though inexpensive and suitable for many garages, these doors will not stand up well to impact (from basketballs, for example).
Midlevel doors offer 25- or 26-gauge steel (the lower the gauge number, the thicker the steel). Top quality doors use steel that is at least 24 gauge. Commercial-grade doors use even thicker steel. Some steel garage doors offer thicker steel on the outside than on the inside.