A place where you store your cars? That location is littered with automobile parts and smells of grease and oil? Or the attachment to your house where you often do work like assembling huge parts and woodworking? The answer to all the questions is just one word - Garage. Garages have a long history of about ten decades of evolution from the first time they were built in the early twentieth century to the present times. Despite all the innovations, material changes, facilities, designs, etc one thing that has remained with garages since their inception is their door. 


Sharing almost the same number of years in their history, garage doors just like garages have gone through various changes and innovations over the years. With automobiles replacing animals in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the need to have proper storage spaces for their vehicles increased. Seeing how barns were not working for keeping the automobiles, personal garages came into the picture and with them came the garage doors. 

The first kind of garage doors was similar to those present in barns - double doors that were attached to the panels with hinges and screws and would open outwards. Despite the fact that they accomplished the task of protecting the vehicles inside, they had their own set of limitations. Their regular use led to wear and tear, with the doors often falling out to screws getting loose. Another problem was that in places that witnessed snowfall it was impossible to open the garage doors due to the snow blockage. But all these problems were solved with some alterations in the working of the garage doors. First came the sliding doors which shifted sideways instead of opening outwards. Later, in the year 1921, C.G Johnson invented the overhead garage door which could be shifted upwards in a manner that it would slide parallel to the garage ceiling. Johnson in the year 1926 went further in his innovation and made electric door openers, paving way for inventions that progressed with ease of use is a major factor. 

As the years passed, garage doors along with all other innovations, advanced, becoming more convenient and suiting the needs of the people as well as the surroundings.


  • Natural Wood

The first kind of garage door was made out of wood. For a good number of years, wood was the only material that was used to produce garage doors. Even in the current times, despite the presence of various other materials, wood is still used. The rustic, classy and antique look that wood provides is unmatchable. With all its positives, wood garage doors have their own set of problems. Wooden doors can be affected by changing weather quite easily, from rotting in excessive rain to getting warped due to heat. Due to this they need constant repainting and repairing thus making them high-maintenance.

  • Steel

Steel followed wood in the list of materials used for garage door production. This alternative of replacing wood with steel came into the 1970s and has stayed even till today. This production of garage doors using galvanized steel resulted in a boom in the production industry. In spite of steel not being a naturally good insulator as wood, it has its own set of benefits. A wide range of designs, self-chosen colors and various price options are some of its key factors. Other benefits of using a steel made garage door is its great durability, energy efficiency, quiet operation, and resistance from dents. Another good thing about steel doors is its option of insulation and non-insulation.

  • Fiberglass

In the line of garage door materials, fiberglass is one of the lesser-known ones. This material was introduced after steel for garage door production. Doors made out of fiberglass hold the qualities of being light and cheap, thus making them low maintenance. Fiberglass is a semi-transparent material and this nature of it has both pros and cons. The benefit of this transparency is the allowance of light into the garage and the downside is the poor insulation that it provides. Fiberglass is highly malleable and also gives various options in terms of colors and designs.

  • Aluminum

Aluminum is the most widely used material for garage door production in contemporary times. For people who prefer sleek, modernized and contemporary styles, aluminum is just the perfect material. One of the pros of using this material is its lightness in weight which not only makes installation easier but also increases the life of the doors. Aluminum is naturally rustproof which is one of the major plus points. Doors made from this material are corrosion resistant as well. With all its benefits, one still has to take some caution for aluminum garage doors being very light are easier to emboss and recycle and hence are not dent-resistant.


  • Sectional Garage Doors

One of the most commonly used garage doors, these are made up of various sections that are held together by hinges. As one closes the doors, the panels shift upwards and then moving in a direction parallel to that of the ceiling. Steel is the usual material used for these doors and they are known for their low maintenance.

  • Roll-up Garage Doors

Used generally in commercial and storage units rather than residential ones, these doors work on the system of barrels that roll up the door when opening the garage. The door is made out of various slat sections which enable this rolling up and down. With benefits like rust and corrosion-free along with prevention from freezing, make these doors expensive than sectional ones.

  • Slide To The Side Garage Doors

One of the first operating styles, these doors have become quite uncommon nowadays. As the name suggests, they work on the simple mechanism of sliding the door sideways rather than upwards. The door shifts in such a manner that it runs parallel to the wall. They are generally used in garages that lack sufficient headroom.

  • Side-hinged Garage Doors

The classic style garage doors, these are similar to those present in barns. They are generally made out of wood and work on the mechanism of opening and closing the door with the help of hinges. These doors are a good choice in case of garages lacking headroom and inner space.

  • Tilt-up Garage Doors

These doors work on the principle of one single, solid plate which shifts up completely on opening the garage, unlike other doors that are divided into multiple sections. They are further divided into two types - tilt-up canopy and tilt-up retractable. Tilt-up garage doors are quite expensive and difficult to manage when compared to other types.

Garage Door Problems And Solutions

Like any other mechanical and technical equipment, garage doors have their own list of problems that might cause hindrance in their efficient working. From some disturbance in their machinery, wear and tear to something as simple as a blockage, all are issues that a garage owner is likely to encounter. Some of these problems are -

  • Misalignment Of Photo Eye

Photo eyes are basically two small devices that are attached on both ends of the door which pass a beam between them to detect if anything is coming in the way of the garage door while closing. If the door is opening easily but is not able to close, one would want to take a look at the photo eyes. Sometimes the photo-eye gets dirty leading to blockage of the beam and in other cases due to constant use, they get misaligned causing the beams to not meet. To solve this one can try cleaning the eye with a soft cloth and a mild cleaner and in other cases checking the alignment is the solution. Both the eyes should be at the same level from the ground as well as be in the same direction and similar angles.

  • Broken Springs

Garage doors come with two torsion springs that do all the heavy lifting work. In the case of either of the springs breaking, the door opener will not able to properly lift the weight of the door and in many cases won’t open the door at all. This problem is not one which can be fixed easily by oneself and calling the professional is the only option. If one is looking for professionals in Garage door repair Virginia Beach, VA, one doesn’t really need to work much for the city has multiple such services.

  • Garage Door Opener Not Working

One of the most common issues, this problem of door openers not working properly can be easily fixed. It generally occurs due to the increased friction developed in the opener and can be solved by applying lubricant or garage door spray lube on the complete length of the opener.

  • Weather Sealant Issues

The work of weather sealant is to prevent water from coming inside as well as reduce the noise from outside. In the case of the sealant getting broken or the development of cracks in it, one needs to remove it completely and then install a new one in its place.

Garage doors just like garages have gone through a century of evolution and will continue doing so as long as we humans are innovating and finding ways to make things easier and tools more efficient.