For years we have had residential customers request “the cheapest door you’ve got”. The next comment is usually something like -”I am selling the house” or “It only has to last a few years” or “Why would I need insulation - my garage is not heated”.In most cases they are looking for a 1 layer not insulated garage door for a detached, unheated alley or side drive garage. We have seen builders install these same cheap garage doors on an attached garage with living area above the garage door just to cut their costs. In Chicago there are “door installers” who tape a half sheet of paper on every garage in the alley claiming that they will install a 16x7 garage door for $595 or $650 etc. Any professional in the business knows that a reliable and respectable garage door company cannot survive by installing doors at this price point. The material cost, liability insurance, workmens compensation, vehicle insurance, employee wages, employee benefits, gas, advertising, office overhead expenses etc would leave no profit.

While on the surface one would think that this application could justify a single layer uninsulated garage door. The problem with the 1 or 2 layer “pan” doors is that the construction quality keeps getting worse. Manufacturers keep going to thinner gauge metal, less expensive stile attachment methods, cheap hardware, less reinforcing struts, single spring on 2 car garage door  -- this list goes on and on. This is all done to reduce the price point thus the cheap garage door. The only person who loses with these changes is the poor consumer who buys the product. This problem occurs with nearly every manufacturer including the largest names seen in most home centers and sold by most door companies.

Garage Door Co Repair Pros tries to educate its customers as to why a 3 layer insulated garage door is the better alternative for this application. These 3 layer doors have a steel layer on the outside, insulation in the center, and a steel layer on the inside - thus the 3 layer designation. If the garage is unheated with no living are above the garage then a polystyrene insulation of 1 ⅜” is fine. Although the door will have an insulation R=6.5 (the higher end R=18.4) it is not the insulation that is important but rather the construction.  The door is much stronger and dent resistant due to the laminated construction. The 3 layer models by Clopay are called the premium collection ie model 4050, 4051, and 4053 - Amarr calls it the Stratford 3000 series -- Ideal calls it SDP38, MDP38. If a customer is insistent on a 1 layer door than Garage Door Co Repair Pros will provide one with the upgrades shown below.

Garage Door Co Repair Pros upgrades all of its residential garage doors with the following:

  1. 3 reinforcing struts minimum - 1 strut per section over 16’ wide (yes 8’ one car doors get 3 struts)
  2. high cycle (25,000) coated torsion springs on all doors- double wide get 2 springs
  3. heavy duty 14 ga hardware
  4. quiet nylon rollers with durable steel ball bearings
  5. ⅛” cables  - some manufacturers have dropped to 3/32” to save cost
  6. reverse angle supported track on all double wide garage doors

If you are located in the Chicago, IL area please contact Garage Door Co Repair Pros ( for professional guidance in choosing the best quality door with “Simply competent service at a fair price” tm  - not just a cheap garage door which may cost less initially but become a service problem and reduced life down the road.


Driveway Gates (not verified) Thu, 03/03/2016 - 22:50

This is an extremely well written and informative article.And I really like the way you have explained each and everything so well. Very well done with the article!