Wood Garage Door Buying Guide

buying guide wood garage doors

  1. Measure Before You Buy
  2. Choose a Garage Door Style
  3. Choose Your Type of Wood
  4. Choose Your Design
  5. Choose Accessories
  6. Choose A Finish

Garage doors are important. Increasingly, home buyers are expecting to have a garage when they are shopping for a new home.

In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 80% of American homes have a garage or carport.

That means if you’re looking to improve the value of your home, your garage is a great place to start.

There are many ways to improve the value of your garage, including reorganizing in-garage storage or replacing the garage door lift. However, one of the best ways to revive an aging garage while also improving curb appeal is to replace the garage door with a new design. And if you want to install the ultimate in garage door luxury, you should opt for a custom wood garage door.

Custom garage doors are an investment, and installing one requires some research and preparation. That’s why we’re putting together this guide on buying a custom garage door. As a leading custom wooden garage door dealer in the Pacific Northwest, we understand the ins and outs of this industry, and we want to pass our expertise on to you.

So join us as we go over the necessary steps for installing new custom wooden garage doors in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

1. Measure Before Shopping

You know the old saying, “measure twice, cut once.”

Image Courtesy of Clopay

The same rule applies for shopping for a custom garage door. While most people realize that they need to measure the size of their garage door opening, many don’t realize that there are several other crucial garage door measurements. So make sure that you follow all the measurement steps carefully, as it will make shopping and pricing a custom garage door much easier.

Measure the Door Opening

The first step is perhaps the most obvious. Ultimately, you need to make sure that your garage door is both tall enough and wide enough to cover the entirety of your garage door opening.

Start by measuring the width of the door opening followed by the height. To ensure that these measurements are exact, make sure that your tape measure is perpendicular to the edges that you are measuring. While this is easier to do with when measuring the width, as you will likely lay the tape against the floor of your garage, you need to make sure that you aren’t angling your measurement from the top of the garage opening when measuring down to the floor.

Measure the Side Room

While the garage door will only be as large as the opening of your garage, side room is important for mounting your door to the lifting mechanism. The side room is the space between the side edge of the door and either the wall or the space reserved for the lifting mechanism of the next door over.

For most standard side track mechanisms, 3-3/4 inches of space is required. However, even if you have plenty of space for mounting side tracks, write down the measurements as it will give your garage door dealer a better sense of what they’re working with.

Measure the Headroom

Next, you need to measure the amount of space, or headroom, above the garage door opening and the lowest hanging part of the ceiling. If you have a finished ceiling, this with be the space between the top of the door and the ceiling. However, if you have an exposed floor joist, then you need to measure between the door and the bottom of the joist.

You need at least 10 inches of clearance so that there is space for both the lifting mechanism and the door when open. Again, even if you have well over 10 inches of headroom, make a note of the measurement as it will make installation easier for your dealer.

Measure the Backroom

Finally, you need to measure from the garage door opening to the back of your garage. In addition to having space for the height of your garage door; you need at least another 18 inches to accommodate the lift motor. However, some lift motors need even more space, so make sure that you keep a record of the backroom measurement, as it may limit the lift options available to you.

Once you have all four measurements, you can begin to think about your door options. With this information, your dealer will be able to guide you to the kinds of custom wooden garage doors that are best suited for the particular measurements of your garage.

Need Help Measuring?

2. Choosing a Door Style

After you’ve gotten your measurements, it’s time to zero in on a particular design style for your custom wood garage door. In many cases, the best wood garage door will be one that matches the architecture of your home. However, sometimes a bold change of direction in design can transform your home in wonderful ways, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Here at TF Draper Company, we offer four styles with a wide range of available variations and customizations within each style.

Carriage House Style

This is our most versatile garage door style. It is simple and elegant and can be used with a wide variety of architectural styles without looking out of place.

Whether you choose to incorporate straight or arched windows, the clean lines of our Carriage House designs are both elegant and understated.


Arts and Crafts

Considering the population expansion of the Pacific Northwest, we have more than our fair share of so-called “Arts and Crafts” style homes.

Not that this is a bad thing. In fact, this architectural school of home design is increasingly popular for home buyers looking to purchase homes with a little bit of history.

Arts and Crafts designs are very geometric, creating patterns that are both straightforward yet visually arresting.

Old World

While our Carriage House Style doors speak to American history, our Old World doors have an even longer history behind their designs. Designed to mimic the strength and timelessness of castle doors, these garage doors speak to a style that predates the very country we live in.

These doors go especially well with homes with stone exteriors as well as Tudor-style homes that are rooted in older European architecture.

Get Help Choosing The Right Style To Match Your Home

3. Choose Your Type of Wood

Once you have selected your preferred door style, it’s time to select your preferred type of wood.

Keep in mind, all woods used in custom garage doors here in the Pacific Northwest need to be suitable for the damp climate. However, even once you eliminate woods that can’t stand up to the weather, you’ll still have plenty to choose from.

Common Wood Types Used in Wooden Garage Doors:

  • Western Red Cedar
  • Mahogany
  • Meranti
  • Firn
  • Other moisture resistant woods

Here at TF Draper Company, we offer many types of wood. Because of our location in the Pacific Northwest, where lumber continues to be an important industry, we have the advantage of having a wide variety of lumber options to choose from.

One of our most popular options for building custom wood garage doors is Western Red Cedar that features clear vertical grain (CVG), meaning you will clearly see parallel grain lines along the whole length of the board. We also offer CVG fir. This is a standard wood in a lot of luxury construction here in the region. For darker woods, we work with any of the many species of mahogany, including Asian Meranti.

However, sometimes our clients have requests for special woods. We will happily construct any custom door in the wood of your choice, as long as it is strong enough and suitable for the climate here in the Pacific Northwest. As experts in real wood custom garage door construction, we can help you settle on a wood that is suited to your needs and particular tastes.

Get Help Choosing the Right Wood For Your Garage Door

4. Choose Your Design

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While we offer four general styles for our custom doors, you should not feel limited by these categories. Within each design style, there is a wide range of customizations and personal touches to choose from.

Within each style, you have the option of going with something more ornate or keeping it simple. You can emphasize something that you like, or you can go with something that is more understated.

Regardless of your tastes, the level of customization helps to ensure that your door communicates exactly what you want from a design standpoint. This is essential, as you also want to make sure that your door coordinates with the rest of your home’s exterior design.

Ask Our Design Experts About All The Design Options Available To You

5. Choose Your Accessories

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Accessory Options:

  • Decorative Hinges
  • Decorative Handles & Pulls 
  • Windows and Decorative Glass

In addition to design specifics, you also have accessory customization options available to you. If you want lots of wrought iron, a common option in our Old World designs, you can make sure that you have accessories that suit your tastes. If you prefer a clean look instead, you can opt for no accessories at all.

Similarly, you can make your choices regarding glass. While most people opt for standard clear glass in their doors, you do have certain customization options available. For example, frosted glass is a popular option for those that have security concerns.

Find Out More About All Our Accessories

6. Choose Your Finish

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Finally, once you have all your other design choices made, you need to pick a color or finish.

Because those who opt for custom wood doors want to make sure that the luxury of the material speaks for itself, many people choose a finish that allows that wood grain to show. However, there are paint options that still manage to retain the natural look. You can also choose to do a two tone finish, painting some portions of the door while staining others.

If you aren’t sure about the best color or finish for your door, our expert designers will partner with you, melding your particular tastes with their years of experience. We’ll take a look at your home’s current color scheme as well as the kinds of finishes you have elsewhere throughout your house.

Explore The Finishes Offered For Your Door

Design, Build and Delivery Nationwide

While we are based in Portland, Oregon and have earned a sterling reputation serving both homeowners and businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest, our services are available all across the country. We offer our design, building and delivery services nationwide, meaning that you can partner with us whether you are in Maine, Michigan, Montana or anywhere in between.

We will partner with local contractors to ensure that our expertly designed and built doors are installed properly which in turn will ensure that your door operates exactly as it should for years to come!

Installation Process

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we also offer installation services, making sure your door is perfect from its inception on the drawing board until it’s hanging on the rollers in your garage.

An improperly installed door is an added security risk, as burglars will have an easier time opening your door, even when it is locked. By ensuring that your garage door is properly hung and balanced, your door will last longer, require fewer future repairs and be safer for you and your family.

Because we understand our own doors intimately, we are best suited to complete the installation process. Our professional and courteous installation professionals work with you to make sure that your schedule has minimal interruptions.

TF Draper: The Sustainable Choice

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are concerned about the sustainability of our logging industry. We believe in the value of the highest-quality hardwoods, but we also want to make sure that those same woods are available for years to come.

That’s why we’re committed to sustainability. We don’t skimp on materials, but we partner with wood wholesalers who ensure that our woods are coming from sustainable sources and aren’t being harvested in ways that are damaging to the environment.

Combine this with our nearly 40 years of garage door experience, and you’ll have a partner that can deliver the most expertly designed custom wood garage doors in a way that will make you feel good about your purchase.

Investing in a custom wood garage door is a big commitment. However, as you think about your home’s value and the potential for resale, know that this is an investment and not a frivolous purchase. As more houses end up on the market, you want to make a statement that will allow your home to stand out from the crowd.

A custom wood garage door is the perfect way to increase the value of your home while also catering to your own tastes and sensibilities.

So if you are looking for a custom garage door dealer in Portland, OR, Lake Oswego, OR, Vancouver, WA or West Linn, OR, then look no further than TF Draper. We have been selling, designing, repairing and installing the highest-quality wooden garage doors for nearly 40 years. And we want to pass those years of experience on to you.

Contact us and start designing your dream garage door today!

Updated February 1st, 2018