Garage Door Design Guide

Wooden garage door on a brick house

Garage Door Designs and Styles for All Homes

If you’re looking to spruce up your home’s exterior and increase curb appeal, getting a new garage door in one of the best ways to do it. But, with so many styles available, many homeowners find themselves unsure about where to start when selecting a stylish garage door that will also add value (and functionality) to their home.

We’ve been helping members of our community pick the perfect garage door for over 20 years – here’s a guide to answer some common questions and help you get started!

Garage Door Panel Designs and Styles

When choosing a new garage door design, one of the first places to start is deciding whether you want short panels or long panels. Although there may be unique design options for each one, the choice between panel types is typically based on your personal preference.

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Short panels typically consist of four or more rectangular sections spanning a single garage door. They create a visually appealing design and the elements give your garage door a bold look.

Long panel garage door

Long panel designs feature elongated rectangular sections (usually no more than two) that extend the width of the door, often creating a sleek and sophisticated appearance. They may appear more refined when compared to short panel designs. 

Garage Door Panel Styles and Options

Different types of garage door panels can add visual interest to your home’s exterior. The style that looks best on your garage really comes down to your personal taste and aesthetic, and there are quite a few to choose from. Check out some of these popular styles to get started!

Raised Panel

The raised panel style is one of the most traditional and widely used designs for garage doors. It features rectangular panels that are raised slightly, adding depth and dimension to the door’s appearance. Raised panel garage doors come in various materials like steel, wood, or fiberglass, providing versatility in terms of both style and durability. They offer a classic and timeless look that complements a wide range of architectural styles.

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Recessed Panel

Similar to raised panel doors, recessed panel doors also provide a textured and dynamic appearance. However, instead of raised sections, the panels are set back or recessed, creating a subtle yet distinct design. Recessed panel doors can be an excellent choice for homeowners seeking a more understated and contemporary look for their garage doors. These panels work well with modern and minimalist architectural styles.

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Carriage House

The carriage house style is inspired by the charm and elegance of traditional carriage house doors. These doors often feature a combination of sturdy materials like wood, steel, or composite overlays that mimic the look of real wood (without the bigger price tag). Carriage house style garage doors typically have decorative hardware like handles or hinges. These are an excellent choice if you’re seeking a touch elegance.

Wooden garage door on a brick house

Ribbed Panels

These doors feature horizontal lines or “ribs” that run across the width of the door. They’re a popular style and available in a range of materials. Ribbed panels tend to have a clean and contemporary look, adding a subtle touch of modernity to the overall design. They’re versatile and complement a wide range of homes, making them a solid choice if you’re seeking a simple yet stylish garage door.

A modern garage door in Chicago

Flush Panels

The flush panel typically have a sleek and minimalist appearance. The panels are smooth and flat, without any raised or recessed sections, and often made of steel or aluminum. This style is well-suited for modern and contemporary homes that look best with clean, simple ucluttered designs.

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Bead Board panels

These panels feature vertical or horizontal grooves that span the doo and give it a distinct texture, adding character and visual interest. Bead board panels are typically made of wood or composite materials and add a charming, cottage-style look. They’re often chosen to complement traditional or farmhouse-style homes. Like carriage house doors, they can add a touch of warmth and nostalgia to your home’s exterior.

Garage Door Materials

Garage door materials not only impact your door’s visual appeal, but also its expected lifespan, durability, and maintenance requirements. Some materials may also be exclusive to certain garage door styles. Here are some popular options you’ll see when making a selection.

Wood and Wood Composite

Wood garage doors are crafted from various types of wood, such as cedar, mahogany, or redwood, and offer a warm and inviting aesthetic. Wood composite doors combine wood fibers and resins, providing the look of real wood with increased durability and resistance to rot and decay.

Pros: Classic and luxurious appearance, a variety of customization options, and excellent insulation proterties.

Considerations: Higher maintenance requirements, typically more susceptible to weathering and warping, more expensive than other materials.

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Steel garage doors are known for their strength, durability, and versatility. They are constructed with layers of galvanized steel and often feature a layer of insulation for energy efficiency.

Pros: Wide range of design options, low maintenance, excellent security, relatively affordable.

Considerations: Prone to dents and scratches, limited insulation options without adding additional insulation, may require some extra TLC to remain in good shape visually.

Front of two-story home with gray garage door


Aluminum garage doors are lightweight and corrosion-resistant, making them a popular choice. They are available in various finishes, including powder-coated or anodized, and typically offer a sleek and modern look.

Pros: Lightweight and easy to operate, resistant to rust and corrosion, low maintenance, can be easily customized.

Considerations: Less insulation compared to other materials, may dent or deform with heavy impact, higher cost compared to steel.

Fiberglass wood overlay carriage house door


Fiberglass garage doors are constructed with a fiberglass outer skin and a polyurethane foam core for insulation. They are known for their resistance to moisture, warping, and insects.

Pros: Lightweight, resistant to dents, cracks, and rust, excellent insulation properties, customizable designs.

Considerations: Less commonly available, may fade or discolor over time due to exposure to UV rays, higher cost compared to some materials.

Stamped Carriage House garage door in White with Madison window inserts


Vinyl garage doors are made of durable PVC (polyvinyl chloride) material, which is resistant to rust, dents, and peeling. They often feature foam insulation, providing energy efficiency.

Pros: Low maintenance, excellent durability, resistant to moisture and insects, good insulation properties.

Considerations: Limited design options, may fade or discolor over time (unless they have a UV-resistant finish), cost is typically on par with materials like steel and aluminum.

Glass garage door


Glass garage doors offer a contemporary and sleek look, allowing natural light to flood the garage space. They’re usually constructed with aluminum or steel frames and large glass panels.

Pros: Modern and visually striking, maximizes natural light, customizable options, enhances indoor-outdoor connectivity.

Considerations: Limited privacy and insulation, glass panels may require periodic cleaning, higher cost compared to other materials.

Other Design Options to Consider

Garage door panel materials and designs aren’t the only thing that can influence your door’s aesthetic. When checking out the options, also think about these factors:

  • The color options available to you
  • Different window inserts you can add to your door
  • Decorative hardware, including handles, hinges, and more
  • Garage door customization options
  • Different finishes, i.e. wood staining, brushed metal doors, etc.

If you aren’t sure what type of door works best for your home, Precision can help! We’ll walk you through the entire garage door replacement process, from choosing the style through installation.

Precision Garage Door technician repairing a spring

Precision has been providing trusted garage door services in the Chicagoland area for over 20 years.

We take pride in using only the most high-quality garage door parts and backing up our work with an industry-leading warranty.

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