Let’s pick up on our discussion about all the choices surrounding the selection of a composite garage door that I began a few weeks ago in our first blog post.
There are several well-informed decisions that have to be made when choosing to go with a composite garage door.
After choosing a composite door, many people think, “Alright, we don’t have to worry about rot or insects! Now we can move on to the next decision.” If a rot-free door is your only concern, then you will have more options available to you in the composite garage door arena.
If you want to take your information gathering to a deeper level, then one of the most important considerations is going to be the ongoing cost of owning a composite garage door.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s limit our focus to stained doors. Most composite doors are faux stained or stained with a wiping stain just like wood. While that, in itself, is not a problem, most people forget that their research started with the words, “rot free and maintenance free”.
So, if a composite door is finished with the same materials that are used on wood, then the clear coat becomes the most important factor.
What is the clear coat? It is the clear coating that is applied over the stain to protect it from the elements and to block the harmful UV rays that cause fading and damage. Some of the clear coats need to be reapplied annually based on your UV exposure to keep the finish from fading, cracking or peeling and just as important, to preserve your warranty.
So, while some composites have no wood in them at all and will not rot, the maintenance becomes about the preservation of your look and finish. When considering your finish, ask yourself:
- Will it be stained?
- Who is going to stain it?
- What will it be stained with?
Remember that the most important factor about finishing is what will be applied as the clear coat.
My best advice in searching for the door that most meets your needs, is to make sure you define specifically what you are looking for. Important issues to consider are:
- Are you looking for the same architectural detail that wood offers?
- Are you looking to have the same stained effect that wood offers?
- Do you want your doors to be only rot free?
- Do you want your doors to be rot free and maintenance free?
Each of these questions, and answers more importantly, will narrow the focus of your search as you move forward.
When it’s time to decide, ensure that you are armed with as much information as possible. There are some great composite materials out there, each with their own benefits. However, there are very few different types of finishing techniques out there. I would encourage you to search for the finish technique that is head-and-shoulders above the rest. I hope I have helped you feel better equipped to find the best one for you.
Keep in mind that just because your architect or designer has suggested a wood door, doesn’t mean that is your only choice. Remember that there are quality alternatives that provide the look and feel of wood.
Image: graur razvan ionut