Help Me Choose! Steel vs Fibreglass Garage Doors

If you’re looking for a hardy, reliable garage door that requires minimal upkeep, then opting for one made of either steel or fibreglass is a fantastic option. But, which one is best? Keep reading to find out what type of garage door material is most suited to your individual needs.

Differences between steel and fibreglass

Before we get into the specific pros and cons associated with these two types of garage doors, it’s worth knowing more about how they’re constructed.

Modern garage doors are made of a combination of materials. When we talk about steel, aluminum, wood, vinyl and fibreglass garage doors, we’re referring to the materials used for the panels. These panels are overlaid on steel or aluminum frames. Within the core of the door there’s also a layer of insulation.

  • Steel garage doors are made with rugged, real–gauge steel and are galvanized in zinc to guard against rusting. They can be single-, double-, or triple-layered. Single-layer doors are uninsulated; triple-layer doors are the most robust and well-insulated.
  • Fibreglass garage doors are essentially steel garage doors sealed with a fibreglass coating. Fibreglass is an extremely light and malleable material, which presents a number of advantages—these will be discussed below!

Now let’s look at how steel and fibreglass doors stack up against each other!

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Durability and upkeep

Steel garage doors are extremely sturdy. However, given that they have a steel foundation, the same is true of fibreglass doors. In fact, the fibreglass coating further enhances their durability. Whereas steel is prone to getting nicked when on the receiving end of forceful contact, fibreglass, to the contrary, is highly resistant to denting.

Both garage door types have the benefit of being low-maintenance. Unlike wood garage doors, they aren’t at risk of chipping, warping, or rotting and don’t require special upkeep. However, fibreglass garage doors prove the hardier option in coastal regions. While steel is prone to rusting in places that get a lot of rain and have salt in the air, fibreglass is entirely rust-proof.

Quality of insulation

Neither steel nor fibreglass is an inherently insulating material. However, modern steel and fibreglass garage doors typically contain added insulation. Depending on the type of insulation used, these doors can provide either lower or higher insulation values.

For example, the Model 9800 designer fibreglass garage doors by Wayne Dalton have foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation and an R-value of 7.6.

Some examples of highly insulating steel garage doors are the Models 8300 and 8500 from Wayne Dalton, which each have an R-value of 16, and the Briarcrest Landmark Series from Richards-Wilcox, which has an R-value of 18.

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Appearance and craftsmanship

Both steel and fibreglass garage doors offer a sleek, clean appearance. However, if you love the look of wood grain, fibreglass garage doors may be more to your taste.

Both steel and fibreglass garage doors can have a faux-wood finish, but due to the texture and malleability of fibreglass, the wood grain patterns on fibreglass garage doors are particularly exquisite and nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

To get an idea of the level of craftmanship you find on the wood grain finishes of fibreglass garage doors, take a look at the pictures in the brochure for Wayne Dalton’s Model 9800 garage doors.

Wood grain gives a warm, welcoming look to your home. And, unlike real wood garage doors, faux-wood finishes on steel and fibreglass doors have the advantage of not requiring much in the way of maintenance.

Options for customization

Both steel and fibreglass doors can offer you plenty in the way of customization options, though specifics will vary depending on the model. Both garage door types can accommodate a range of panel designs, window designs and hardware.

However, with steel garage door models, you tend to have a wider range of colour options. For example, a number of Wayne Dalton steel garage doors such as Models 9100 and 9605 are available with the TruChoice Colour System, which allows you to choose between 6,000+ colours. This is very handy if you want your garage door to be an exact match to your house’s trim or if you have a specific colour in mind. Moreover, steel garage doors can easily be repainted.

Fibreglass garage doors, on the other hand, come with a variety of pre-set colour options. Fibreglass is difficult to repaint and doing so will void the door’s warranty. Plus, if the door has a wood grain finish, this will detract from the craftsmanship. However, a top clear coat can and should be applied periodically to maintain the factory finish.

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Quality steel and fibreglass garage doors in Western Canada

Hopefully, you’re now able to make a more informed choice about whether a steel or fibreglass garage door is a better fit for your home. For further advice, reach out to the garage door experts at Creative Door. Explore the steel and fibreglass residential garage door models on our website, or contact our team to get expert advice from the pros.

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