Single Panel vs. Sectional Garage Doors

a single panel garage door vs a sectional garage door

Single Panel vs. Sectional Garage Doors

Most people can spot the design differences between a single panel garage door and a sectional garage door, but what are the pros and cons of owning one versus the other? There are slight operational and functional differences between the two garage door styles that make them suitable for different types of homes and homeowners.

To help make your garage door choice more clear, this article will cover the nuances of single panel and sectional garage doors along with the benefits and drawbacks of owning each kind.

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What’s the Difference Between Single and Sectional Garage Doors?

Before comparing single panel garage doors and sectional garage doors, we need to understand what they are. Let’s look at what makes a garage door single panel and what classifies it as sectional:

  • Single panel garage doors: A single panel garage door comes in one large piece that slides up into the space above the car once opened. Typically, single panel garage doors are hung on a strong hinge system attached to the jamb instead of on overhead tracks. This type of garage door is typically found on older homes or newer homes with a vintage look.
  • Sectional garage doors: The layout of a sectional garage door includes several horizontal panels joined together by hinges that enable the door to bend and curve as it goes up and down. Sectional garage doors are more modern and have a smaller opening clearance.

3 single panel garage doors in a row

Pros of Single Panel Garage Doors

Even though it’s an older style, there are still plenty of benefits to choosing a single panel garage door for your home. Check out these main advantages of single panel garage doors:

1. More Variety

When it comes to design and material, single panel garage doors offer more of a selection of both. Although sectional garage doors come in many styles, they tend to be more limited to designs that function well within smaller segments and seams. Because single panel garage doors give you one giant palette to work with, you can use virtually any material without having to worry about additional panels interrupting the look of the door. 

2. Less Expensive

Typically, single panel garage doors cost less than sectional garage doors made from similar materials. And your single panel garage door will continue to save you money when you don’t have to worry about frequent garage door cable or torsion spring repairs. With fewer moving parts, single panel garage doors can be less expensive to install and maintain in the long run.

3. Simple

Because it is one big panel, a single panel garage door is much simpler to properly install than a sectional garage door. A single panel door has fewer parts, which means there are fewer bits to potentially wear down and break over time.

Cons of Single Panel Garage Doors

Along with its great benefits, a single panel garage door can come with some drawbacks. If you’re considering getting a single panel garage door, be aware of these factors:

1. Safety

The main reason single panel garage doors have gone out of fashion is their lack of safety features. As opposed to more modern garage doors, single panel garage doors use extension springs, which can fail drastically if not properly maintained. Old springs can fly off rusted connectors and cause damage to drywall, car windows or whatever else is in your garage.

2. Expensive Repairs

Single panel doors may require less maintenance and repairs, but when they do break down, there is potential for the whole door to fail at once. A sectional garage door that’s been crushed or dented in a single section can have just that section repaired, but a single panel garage door must be entirely replaced each time.

3. Space Restrictions

Smaller houses in tightly packed communities may not be the best fit for a single panel garage door. Single panel garage doors do not allow for quite as much space inside the garage due to the angle at which they operate. A single panel garage door will also need to tilt a few extra feet to open, which means you’ll need to be parked farther back as the door begins to open.

a sectional garage door

Pros of Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional garage doors offer their fair share of benefits. Here are some of the top advantages of a sectional garage door:

1. Security

Sectional garage doors offer some extra security because they have rubber seals around their perimeter, which block wind drafts and prevent dirt from blowing into the garage. Because they don’t have an obvious target point of entry, sectional garage doors also offer more security and protection from potential intruders.

2. Durability

A sectional garage door typically stands up to harsh weather conditions better than a single panel garage door. Sectional garage doors also grant you more control over how much the door is opened, so you can open it incrementally to allow for ventilation while cutting down on any glare from the sun.

3. Compact Operation

Unlike single panel garage doors that need a certain clearance space to operate properly, sectional garage doors move within a compact vertical plane. A sectional garage door’s narrow range of motion means you get more room for vehicles to come and go without restrictions. Sectional garage doors do not kick out at all when they open, so you can drive right up to the face of the door before opening it. This feature comes in handy for those with a short driveway or whenever a car needs to be parked close to the garage.

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Cons of Sectional Garage Doors

With the benefits of sectional garage doors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the negatives:

1. Continual Maintenance

A sectional garage door will require a bit more upkeep than a single panel garage door. The many components of a sectional garage door may need to be repaired and replaced when necessary to keep your garage door operating properly. If you choose a sectional garage door, you will need to develop a regular maintenance routine that includes lubrication and cleaning. 

2. Cost

The operational mechanism of sectional garage doors paired with their higher routine maintenance costs makes them a more expensive alternative to single panel garage doors. With more parts to repair or replace periodically, the maintenance costs of owning a sectional garage door can quickly add up.

3. Complicated Installation Process

Installing a sectional garage door is more complicated than installing a single panel garage door. Because the various parts of a sectional garage door make it a more complex mechanism, it is always recommended to have a professional install the door. Although sectional garage door installation can be tricky, hiring a garage door expert will ensure you get a safe and smooth installation.

how to know which garage door is right for you

Choose the Best Garage Door for You From Garage Door Specialists, Inc.

Now that you know the different appearance and performance characteristics of single panel and sectional garage doors, you can make an informed garage door decision. For a timeless traditional garage door or classically elegant carriage garage door, check out the variety of products from Garage Door Specialists, Inc. We even offer a selection of specialty garage doors.

To find out more about which garage door style is right for your house, contact Garage Door Specialists, Inc. for a free consultation today.

View Garage Door Styles in North Carolina


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