We've all heard how loud opening a garage door can be, but what you may not realize is that opening a garage door doesn’t have to be that noisy. There are garage door and garage door opener features you can choose that can make opening your garage door much quieter, which is particularly important for attached garages and garages with rooms above them.
If you’re not sure whether you want an attached or detached garage, you can listen to episode 199 called Pros and Cons of Attached vs Detached Garages. The information in the that show should help you make a decision. This week we’ll also cover when choosing 2 single garage doors is better than choosing one double wide door.
Let’s begin by going over the 3 main types of garage door openers. The one you choose will have a great impact on how quiet or loud opening your garage door will be.
3 MAIN TYPES OF GARAGE DOOR OPENERS
1. Belt drive openers
2. Chain drive openers
3. Screw drive openers
For the quietest garage door operation, choose a belt drive opener.
The belt drive opener is designed to allow for smoother operation with less vibration and less jiggling of the garage door which reduces the overall noise level. Not only is the belt opener quiet, but that steel-reinforced rubber belt is also durable. The tradeoff is that belt garage door openers are more expensive to buy and maintain. Belt openers can cost up to $500.
Next on our list is a chain drive garage door opener
Chain drive door openers use a metal chain to push and pull the garage door along the metal tracks when the door is opened and closed. Chain drive openers have been around for many years and will last a long time with routine maintenance, but they are also much louder than the other types garage door openers. Chain drive openers are also strong. They can usually lift more than a belt drive. This makes them the best choice for moving heavier 2-car wide garage doors or heavy wood doors. Always check the weight recommendations for whatever door opener you choose. Chain drive openers are typically the most budget friendly option, costing only about $150 to $250 (I mistakenly said up to $500 on the podcast) .
Lastly are screw drive garage door openers.
Screw garage door openers will give you the most power with fastest operating speeds. However, screw-driven opener have greatly declined in popularity. Although they used to be the main solution to noisy chain openers, belt-driven models have made screw garage opener much less common. Since screw openers use plastic parts at key junctions, they require more maintenance than a belt drive garage opening. Screw drive openers cost $200-$500, but in recent years, many manufacturers have stopped offering screw openers because belt drive openers are deemed as superior products.
So in most cases, you’ll be choosing between a less expensive, louder, but stronger chain driver garage opener, or a more expensive, but quieter belt drive garage opener.
OTHER THINGS TO CHOOSE FOR QUIET GARAGE DOOR OPERATION
If a quiet opener is important to you, make sure you look for a garage door opener with a DC powered motor. DC motors are quieter and lighter than the traditional AC motors. DC motors, which are more common these days, also allow more features on the opener like soft start and stop which reduces wear and tear on the door and motor. Many DC motors even offer a battery backup option to power your opener when the electricity goes out.
You’ll also want to avoid metal rollers. Instead you want nylon rollers. Garage door rollers are the wheels that run along the metal tracks on the sides of your garage door. When you open your garage door, the rollers slide up the track to lift the door. If you have metal rollers moving along metal tracks, this causes quite a bit of noise. Instead of having metal rub against metal, look for nylon rollers. Nylon rollers are much quieter, don’t require lubricants, and need less maintenance than metal rollers.
Nylon garage rollers are just a little more expensive than metal rollers, but for most people, the noise reduction is worth the extra money. Be warned thought that nylon rollers tend not to last quite as long as metal rollers.
Inexpensive plastic rollers are also available, but should be avoided if at all possible.
So you want nylon rollers for a quiet garage door and you’ll also want rollers with ball bearings for quieter, smoother operation. The more ball bearings, the better. Rollers with ball bearings are more expensive, and although ball bearings are not completely necessary, they are highly recommended for heavier or more frequently used garage doors.
Okay, now that you know to look for a garage door system with a belt drive opener and nylon rollers with ball bearings for the quietest operation. Now let’s talk about the average garage door sizes and the reasons for choosing 2 single garage doors vs one double wide garage door.
STANDARD GARAGE DOOR SIZES
The standard garage door width and height can vary depending on where you live. Typically, standard, single car wide garage doors are :
8 feet wide by 7 feet tall, or
9 feet wide by 7 feet tall, or
9 feet wide by 8 feet tall.
A standard double wide garage door is 16 feet by 7 feet tall or 16’ x 8’. But it’s not uncommon to see 10 foot high garage doors on custom homes.
The average national cost for a new garage door in the US is about $1000-$1200 according to fixr.com and homeadvisor.com. That cost includes installation and can increase greatly depending on the what the door is made of and how large it is.
IS IT BETTER TO GET TWO SINGLE GARAGE DOORS OR ONE DOUBLE WIDE GARAGE DOOR?
When deciding between a double wide garage door or two single garage doors, there are a few things to consider. Interestingly, the cost for two single doors is almost always about the same as the cost of one double wide door. Where you will pay more for 2 single doors is when purchasing and maintaining the 2 separate automatic garage door openers required for 2 doors.
Aesthetically, two single doors can help break up the visual expanse of the face of a wide garage. This is especially true if you’ll have an oversized garage. Two single doors help to make an oversized garage more visually balanced.
Another good thing about 2 single doors is that when opened, each opening is smaller, decreasing the amount of outside air entering the garage. This can increase the energy efficiency of the home and comfort of the garage space.
The size of your garage can end up determining which type of door(s) will work best. You typically need a wider garage, around 22 feet wide, to install two single doors. A double wide door can work with a smaller 18 feet wide garage.
An advantage of a double wide garage door is that it provides extra space for driving oversized vehicles into and out of the garage. And double wide garage doors are often easier for new drivers and clumsy drivers to maneuver into and out of. If you have your heart set on two single doors and a large vehicle, you can get extra-large single doors which are usually about 9' wide by 8' high. The garage, of course, will need to be sized appropriately to handle these larger doors and larger vehicles.
SINGLE PANEL vs SECTIONAL GARAGE DOORS
Finally, let's discuss single panel doors vs sectional garage doors. I didn’t even realize this was a decision we would need to make. I assumed all doors were sectional doors. But that’s not right.
It is true though that the vast majority of garage doors installed today are sectional doors.
Sectional doors are those with four or five horizontal panels that bend and curve along a track as the door opens and closes.
The other option is a single-panel door, sometimes called an up-and-over, or swing door.
A single panel door is a solid slab that swings up and over as one flat panel when the door opens.
Instead of being hung on overhead tracks like most sectional garage doors are, most single-panel garage doors are hung on a very strong hinge system. When fitted with springs, a single panel door can easily swing open without a garage door opener. But if you want to use a garage door opener on a single panel garage door, it can also be hung using a track system similar to a sectional door so it can be attached to an opener.
Advantages of Single Panel Garage Doors
Although single panel garage doors are not as popular today as sectional garage doors, single panel doors were actually used regularly before sectional doors came onto the market. There are several reasons why you might want to choose a single-panel style:
Single-panel garage doors tend to be considerably cheaper than sectional doors made from the same materials. They are easy to install and have fewer moving parts. Single panel doors will potentially have fewer problems and repair and maintenance costs over the life of the door when compared to sectional garage doors.
Because single panel doors are easy to install, they may be the best option for homeowners who wish to install their garage doors themselves.
It's true that sectional garage doors come in more styles than single panel doors, but if you want a garage door that has the appearance of one large, smooth slab, the seams between the panels of a sectional door usually interfere with that look. But with a single panel door, you can achieve that smooth, slab look that would work with a historic or contemporary home.
Disadvantages of Single Panel Garage Doors
Despite the advantages, there are also some drawbacks to a single panel garage door. One of the main reasons homeowners and builders started using fewer single panel garage doors is because of safety concerns. Well, not safety concerns about the door itself, but concerns about the spring system used with many single panel doors. Mishaps can happen when the springs are poorly maintained. Worn and damaged springs can fly off of rusted connectors and damage garage walls and contents, and even car windows. But remember, you can also use a track system instead of springs with single panel garage doors if you want to avoid this risk.
Another disadvantage of single panel garage doors is that the repairs are expensive. Although single panel garage doors have fewer moving parts that could potentially fail, when a single panel garage door does fail, it really fails and the whole door can fall down. Or when a single panel is crushed or significantly dented, the entire door needs to be replaced. When a sectional garage door is damaged, on the other hand, many times only a single section of the door is damaged. This means you may only have to repair or replace one section instead of the entire door.
Well, that’s our lesson on garage door openers and garage doors options. I hope you learned as much as I did and I hope you stop back by for the next episode/edition of BYHYU.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete and it’s subject to change, so it may not apply to your project. In addition, building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.