Karl Humphris, Author at Southern Doors

Transform Your Car Oasis: Broaden Your Garage Door Access

For individuals passionate about cars, the garage serves as more than just a parking spot; it becomes a sanctuary to safely house and proudly display cherished possessions. As your collection expands or you venture into custom projects, the constraints of space become apparent. One solution to this challenge involves widening your garage door entrance. Southern Doors explores the advantages of this approach and emphasises the crucial role played by lintels in this process, particularly when converting two separate single garages into one unified space.

Why Should You Consider This?

Accommodating Valuable and Larger Vehicles:

Safely parking expensive performance cars, reviving classic automobiles to their former glory and the rise of larger SUVs and specialised vehicles have made navigating tight openings with a central pillar a significant hindrance. Eliminating this obstacle enables you to effortlessly park and access your garage, eliminating the fear of accidental damage or scratches. It instils the confidence to enter and exit the garage without scraping the car or brushing a side mirror. With a more accessible entrance, you can adeptly manoeuvre the vehicle into a more suitable position.

Facilitating Car Modifications:

Enhancing your vehicle’s performance and aesthetics becomes seamless with ample garage space dedicated to this purpose. This allows you to work on your car comfortably and design a space tailored to your requirements. Moreover, professional garage fitting services can assist in optimising the additional room by enhancing the practicality of tools and the workspace.

Enhancing Accessibility:

Expanding the entrance space also enhances accessibility for individuals with mobility constraints. Garage door specialists can provide specially adapted, zero-rated VAT garage door solutions for disabled individuals, subject to eligibility. Adding a double door can, in certain cases, render your garage more wheelchair-friendly. No one wants to get drenched in the rain while attempting to park in a confined area.

Cost-effective Maintenance:

Maintaining a single door is more cost-effective than maintaining two. You’ll notice fewer repairs needed for a single door, not to mention reduced overall maintenance compared to managing two doors.

The Role of the Garage Door Lintel

Having highlighted the benefits of widened garage access, let’s delve into the significance of lintels in this process:

Providing Structural Support:

Broadening the garage door access involves cutting into the existing wall or removing a central pillar to create a larger opening. This modification can compromise the wall’s structural integrity, necessitating additional support. Lintels are employed to span the expanded opening, ensuring proper distribution and support of the load from the wall above.

Managing Load-bearing Capacity:

Lintels come in various materials, such as steel, reinforced concrete, and engineered wood, each with distinct load-bearing capabilities. Expert surveyors meticulously select the appropriate lintel based on the garage door’s dimensions and the load it must bear, effectively preventing potential structural issues.

Ensuring Even Weight Distribution:

A properly installed lintel guarantees the uniform distribution of the extra load imposed by the larger garage door along the lintel’s length. This guarantees the smooth and safe operation of any new installation.

Professional Installation and Lintel Selection:

Lintel installation is a technical process that demands the expertise of seasoned professionals. Hence, it’s crucial to consult a reputable garage door specialist who can evaluate your garage’s current structure and recommend the suitable lintel type and size for your project. They possess the skills and tools to precisely cut the brickwork, install the lintel, and ensure optimal performance and safety.

Conclusion

Expanding entry/exit space presents an excellent opportunity to enhance the garage’s versatility and functionality. Keep in mind that such modifications necessitate meticulous planning and professional execution. The significance of lintels cannot be overstated. They not only distribute the load of the wall above the opening but also prevent potential wall damage and ensure the garage door operates smoothly. Whether your aspiration involves parking a larger SUV, a custom-built automotive masterpiece, or addressing mobility limitations, consider the potential benefits of creating more space in your garage. Invest in expert guidance and quality materials to establish a secure and usable area where you can continue nurturing your passion for cars or simply resolve the long-standing issue of challenging access.

Transform Your Car Oasis: Broaden Your Garage Door Access

An often-overlooked option for saving energy, certain types of garage door have over years of development by manufacturers evolved into an effective insulator for homes with integral garages. This article explores this notion.

Heat Loss Measurement

Garage Door manufacturers offer guidance using U-values. The U-value is a measure of the heat transfer through a 1m2 surface area for every degree of temperature difference between the inside and outside. A lower U-value indicates greater energy efficiency in the material.

Building Regulations

While there isn’t specific legislation that directly addresses U-values for insulated garage doors, Part L of the Building Regulations does cover garage conversions. For example, when previously exempt unheated spaces become part of a heated dwelling, a garage door used to access the space, if being retained or upgraded, may need to comply with the energy efficiency regulations.

Multi-Layers

Garage door manufacturers employ multi-layered designs to enhance energy efficiency, much like individuals wearing several layers of clothing during winter to keep warm. To achieve this, they utilise a combination of materials to create a double-skin structure, using steel, aluminium, or vinyl on the outer skin and a CFC free polyurethane rigid foam filling. This provides exceptional insulation whilst enhancing strength and durability. Naturally the thicker the panels are the better they will perform.

As an indicator of optimal performance, the best ‘sectional’ garage door designs are sub 1.0 W/m² K insulators and have the lowest U-values. Furthermore, to improve on this ‘layered’ model, some manufacturers construct the design as a broken sandwich to create thermal separation of the outer and inner shells. This can produce heat insulation values below 0.5 W/m2K.

Additionally, to brighten a dim garage area using glazing that won’t compromise the energy efficiency, triple-glazed windows are used.

Weather-proofing

Double seals are very effective at addressing air leaks around the frame. Additionally, seals can be installed on the floor to close the bottom edge of the door, allowing for unobstructed access while preventing water from entering. For sloping thresholds, potential gaps can be avoided using a bottom rail to even out an unlevel driveway. This close-fit between the bottom of the door and the uneven floor ensures that insulation properties are maintained. Furthermore, the highest quality garage doors can have plastic profiles fitted to the frame to create a thermal break where it connects with the brickwork.

Wood as an insulator

It’s no surprise that timber garage doors are airtight. Cedar wood’s cellular structure creates natural air spaces that give it an insulation value higher than most woods, as well as having excellent sound suppression and absorption qualities.

What are the best insulators?

Whilst capitalising on the multi layered ‘thermal’ design principle, sectional garage doors also use space filling seals at every panel interconnect. They are intentionally made and tested for the purpose of insulation. A sectional garage door installed fully behind the garage opening usually offers the highest levels of insulation as the door and frame will be sealed fully against any brickwork. Where sizing issues create gaps at the top of the garage opening, the best manufacturers provide options for fascia panels, which are made to size, to fill the space to the lintel.

Roller Doors are good insulators! Aren’t they?

Roller garage doors, on the other hand, are made up of up to 24 individual foam-filled slats. Whilst offering some protection, they are untested on a fitted door. Because the interlock between the laths/slats are not sealed they are unable to carry a meaningful U-value. The gaps simply don’t prevent air and moisture from escaping. Other features however do play a role in determining the amount of heat that can be saved. These include weather seals placed in the guides, a full surround hood cover for the roll, and the extent to which the door slats overlap the sides.

Energy efficient Side Hinged Garage Doors

Side hinged garage doors are available in single or double skin options. Single skin doors are a cost-effective option best suited to spaces where there’s no need for insulation or draught sealing. Double skin doors are a thicker, insulated alternative. The actual door leaves are constructed in a similar layered design to their sectional garage door counterparts using a rigid Polyurethane (PUR) foam core inside steel. Furthermore, side hinged doors made of natural wood around a tight-fitting frame are also inherently a good insulator.

Non-insulating up and overs

Generally, up and over doors do not offer very good insulation but some effort can be made by adding off the shelf insulation packs. That said there is still the problem of having a gap all around the edge – A failing affected by the whole door having to move through the sub frame when opening and closing.

Conclusion

Garage door manufacturers are making progress as the significance of energy efficiency grows. The development of new materials, construction with multiple layers, advancements in seal design, and the use of weather stripping are all contributing to the production of increasingly efficient garage doors.

Can Garage Doors Save Energy?

The benefits provided by high quality garage doors often go unnoticed by homeowners, simply because they are hidden beneath well manufactured surfaces.

In this guide, Southern Doors explains the importance of different textures and applications, including faux and natural finishes and explores some of the reasons why they are as important to you as making your colour, style, type, and material choices.

Key to this conversation is the fact that top manufacturers purposely apply finishes to their products to offer practical benefits such as promoting longevity and reducing maintenance.

Here are some examples:

Smooth Textures

Smooth textures offer an exceptionally clean, contemporary look. But they also have functional advantages. Erosion protection on good quality steel up-and-over garage doors, for example, is provided by galvanising, coupled with thick powder coating available in a variety of colours to provide resistance to unwanted chips.

Furthermore, sectional doors are often designed with smooth panels (other textures are also available) as multi-layered designs with a sealed top coating, adhesion primer, corrosion resistance steel layer, and additional protective coatings wrapped around insulation foam.

Composite

Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) is light, durable, and easy to maintain, and can come with a UV protective gel coating, useful for homes built in high sea-salt areas.

Timber Options

As an example, Cedar provides nature’s own appeal and comes with natural attributes to help repel ‘The Elements’. It’s also easy to clean with restaining required only once every three years to keep it in good condition.

Faux Finishes

Woodgrain options don’t readily show up dents, and scrapes, but should they appear, they can be easily repaired. Unlike natural wood they don’t need to be treated or stained, saving time on maintenance.

Manufacturers also provide stone effect options for ultra-modern architectural styles, and silk-like finishes with inherent characteristics that can minimise surface wear on automatic garage doors.

Heat Bonded Foil

Often installed to complement windows and entrance doors which also have foil lamination applied, this heat bonding technique delivers a permanent and realistic timber-look which copies the colour and pattern found on different types of wood. It provides a hard-wearing surface, with some brands offering a 7-Year guarantee.

Other Types of Protective Coating

High-quality film coatings on the inside and outside of some roller door curtain slats for instance provide abrasion protection, making them easy to clean, and UV-resistant.

Our Top Tip

When choosing your next garage door check out all types of textures and finishes before you come to a decision. They can be as wide-ranging as they are beautiful. Equally so, consider them as ‘investment protection’. The best options, endure the test of time, and although they may cost a little more, the pay-off will save you hundreds of pounds in low maintenance and manufacturing quality compared to low budget, basic options.

Faux or Smooth? A Guide to Garage Door Finishes

Although this is a logical question, to know ‘How much is a garage door?’ depends on quite a few points, such as size, finish, style, level of security and insulation, to name just some of the factors…

Size 

Prices vary depending on size. Whether a single car width or a double, i.e., can 2 cars fit in side by side, different weights and types of material contribute widely to cost. Double doors especially with heavier mechanisms to counterbalance the load when opening and closing illustrate this. An average single garage door size is 7’ x 7’, whilst double garage door sizes average 16’ x 7’.

Side Hinged panelled design

How much is a garage door to look good? 

In terms of the finish, you might have a particular colour and texture in mind? Perhaps, you want it to match your front door or windows? Panel designs vary enormously from Georgian styles to traditional and modern. An abundance of colour choices is also available usually manufactured in RAL palette colours and wood effect finishes that match most needs.

What level of security do you need?

Is your garage integral to your house? Do you keep valuable equipment or belongings inside? There are many security features that can help deter thieves, from doors that close and lock automatically, to panel structure and design, to different grades of locking mechanisms.

Does it need to be insulated?

These days heat loss is a major consideration especially with increasing heating bills and considering the environment. If the garage space is used as a multi-functional room, such as a gym, home office, studio, utility room, storeroom it would be well worth considering an insulated sealed garage door.

Will you want it rodent proof?

Especially if you keep foodstuffs in the garage you may want to restrict unwanted pests! You may consider a seal to seamlessly fill the gap between the bottom of the door and the ground.

Manual or automatic?

With the modern age of automation, a high majority of consumers choose to go automatic, it is important to select a renowned electronic system for reliability and hassle-free daily usage. Nonetheless, quality manual doors are also designed to operate easily due to their spring balance mechanism.

Renovation 

Does anything else need doing whilst you are changing the main door? If the structural integrity in and around your garage door is affected, additional work may be required to the surrounding frame, broken floor, facias, or soffit boards?

Space

Do you need additional space? Are you struggling to get your car inside your garage? It’s interesting how many cars just keep getting bigger every time a new model is launched.

Installation

Do you want a company to fit the door for you and take away your old door? Or do you want to install it yourself? There could be delivery charges if you choose to fit it and there is an onus on you to get the sizes correct. Some manufactures recommend that their doors are installed by trained technicians.

Reliability

Tried and tested quality products do what they are supposed to do every day of the year, and whatever the weather, providing they are maintained. Check out review sites such as Checkatrade and Trust Pilot to separate the unfailing from the unreliable.

So, as you can see there is not one size fits all! There is a little bit more to what you might pay for a garage door when you start investigating. Like quite a few things, it’s not always that simple, which is why experts in the field normally like to discuss your requirement first before committing to a price.

In addition, there is price and value, i.e., value for money – Cheaper products don’t always have the same warranties and are more prone to failure, so cheap isn’t always the best and the best isn’t always cheap!

Starting out you may search for the cheapest garage door, find a few prices then be unsure, may have a few questions and feel the need for some guidance.

If you would like some advice and a guide price, contact one of our experts. They have the technical and product knowledge to help you make the right choices. Contact us for the best rates.

How much is a garage door?

It may seem simplistic to ask, ‘What kind of garage door do I have?’ But delve into the detail and the differences become much more definite. With a vast array of styles, sizes, and materials, understanding the choices you need to make before you buy is essential. Ask yourself: Is cost or quality your most important consideration? Or is quality the best way to reduce cost?  In other words, will a cheaper garage door provide false economy, or will paying more deliver greater peace of mind?

Save money but at what price?

It’s important to consider both function and form when choosing a garage door. Not only what the purpose of the garage is but also how secure and safe it needs to be. Product lifespan is also important along with structural integrity post installation. And yes, there are bargains to be had, but this won’t necessarily be your lowest quote.

Here are some pointers:

Consider what you are going to use your garage for. If it is to store high value items, then a design tested garage door with a specified security certificate may be more important than one which is untested or lacking intruder alarms.

Also, material choices can have a considerable effect on longevity. For example, a heavy-duty galvanised steel door barrel will last longer than a lightweight steel or plastic door barrel and will come with a 10-year warranty instead of 1 year and won’t need replacing earlier than expected. Take our roller doors for instance, there are a lot of options on the market with some designed to last up to 30 years.

Furthermore, look for a supplier who guarantees maintenance and includes yearly checks and repairs, along with multi-year manufacturer’s warranties. We at Eastern Garage Doors provide these because we believe in delivering the best value for money as a measure of quality, without which assurances of reliability and product lifespan can fall apart.

Beware the cheap quote – Take for example, a single skin roller garage door, the most affordable of its kind, it can cost on average between £850 and £2000 depending on size and whether it’s remote control or hand operated. For a double skinned, foam insulated, aluminium option you’d need to pay more, between £1150 and £2300. This is reasonably what you’d expect, so avoid cheaper options as the chances are you won’t receive the highest standard of fitting and future issues often arise.

Faulty garage doors and the misselling of warranties have previously been highlighted on this episode of the BBCs rogue trader programme.

Our advice would also be to use Checkatrade and other review sites to highlight top performers when researching suppliers. You will see many where consistent professional engineering and technical know-how wins over low skilled labour and questionable quality.

Every garage door is safe. Isn’t it?    

Safety is a key concern for many garage door buyers. The mantra needs to be one of lowest risk. Cheap garage doors are often not CE marked, not safety tested and don’t meet the standards required by law. Moreover, look for built-in safety systems as standard and ask about what additional safety features are available to help mitigate risk, such as manual overrides on motorised units, anti-drop safety brakes, precision tracking and spring safety systems.

How many different types of garage door are there?

There are commonly five different types of garage door to consider. Although each one can be tailor-made to individualise the design and function according to lifestyle tastes.

Up and Over

Common amongst homeowners there are two types of up and over garage door:

  • Canopy gear – Made of one solid panel, with a pivoting mechanism that tilts the door to sit parallel and above the garage when open and forming a canopy of about ½ of the door when open
  • Retractable gear – Similarly, the up and over retractable gear lifts the garage door up to comfortably sit inside the garage roof fully retracting all of the door on tracks
Roller

Roller garage doors fit perfectly in garages that have plenty of ceiling space and provide a smooth vertical opening to maximise space. They can be operated manually or automatically and provide reasonable security. Safety features such as manual override can be added to motorised options.

Slide to the Side

Commonly used as a space saver where there is very little headroom, or in larger garages, ‘Slide to the side’ or ‘Round the corner’ garage doors open, as the name suggests, by sliding along a side wall, either partially or to its full opening capacity.

Side-Hinged

Also known as barn doors, side-hinged garage doors are designed with conventional hinges in the same style as a front door.  Available non insulated and insulated with draft sealing. They are useful for garage conversions into storage space or multipurpose rooms and can be configured with a central or asymmetric split. Manual and automatic options are available and polycarbonate or laminated safety glass windows can be added.

Sectional

Sectional garage doors are made from insulated panels which are sealed to stop heat escaping, useful for garage conversions into an additional room such as a gym or small office. Like roller garage doors they use a rolling mechanism to open and close, vertically at the click of a button – beneficial for short driveways where cars are parked close-up to the garage opening. Automatic remote control also means there is no external handle. These doors are very reliable and provide excellent security.

Sizes

Knowing the sizes of single and double garage doors along with the size of the floor area will help you make a measured choice. For some UK average sizes look at our handy guide. To ensure you have the right garage door for the size of garage we can talk you through your measurements.

What is my garage door made of?

Material choices for garage doors play a big role in the aesthetic appeal of your home along with the colour, pattern, framing and furniture. We provide all our garage doors made from low maintenance materials, including steel, aluminium, timber, uPVC, and GRP.

Our experienced team will work with you to select everything from the brand to the right gear options, colour, size and special features. We will then fit your garage doors for you, as approved technicians, and we offer annual servicing and maintenance to keep them operating at their best as well.

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