Garage door design has been a prominent influence in the design of new homes over recent years. In the 80’s and 90’s the garage door was generally seen as a plain Jane nothing special. But who cared, really? It was just a two, three, or four car structure to house the occupants' vehicles. No one expected anything so utilitarian in nature to be a thing of beauty. But that has been steadily changing since 2000 when an amazing trend started to gain traction in the garage door industry. That trend? Curb appeal.
It's a phrase that has caught on in the real estate market long ago and now applies to the garage door manufacturers and has picked up. In the door industry, people like to refer to the garage door as the largest moving object in the home. In today's home, it's become the focal point as the home shrinks, the garage door becomes more prevalent, particularly when it faces the street. The garage door makes up from 50 percent to 80 percent of a home's front elevation. Viewed from the street, that's a big part of the home.
Builders haven't traditionally spent much money on the garage door, despite its prominence or its 25 to 30 year lifespan. But that too is changing because builders are realizing that a handsome garage door design has a huge impact on a home's salability. First United Door originated the steel carriage house door in 2000. In the six years since, it's taken over an increasing share of sales. Over the next three to five years, the carriage house door will own at least 20 percent of the market. It's not just the individual home buyer who wants his garage door to look more like it's fronting a stable for his brougham and a team of high steppers. Municipalities are also enacting ordinances requiring that curb appeal be incorporated into a home's design, to beautify neighborhoods and increase home values. That means builders face a choice.
Either install a garage door that meets neighborhood standards, move the garage to a side entry, or put it in the back, where it won't be readily visible from the street. The latter two reduce the builder's profits because the additional space they demand will mean he can't put as many homes in a development as he may have liked. The base price of a steel carriage house door is higher, roughly $1,000 compared with $400 typically spent by production builders for a garage door but it's still a bargain. There just simply isn't another product that's made that's as inexpensive and that will have a bigger impact on the home. The design principles are addressing the consumer's shift away from the mass produced home, and carriage house doors are a part of that. Like great front yard landscaping, good carriage door designs enrich the appearance of the home and generate tremendous value. If all homes on the block have them, the entire street and neighborhood become more valuable as a consequence.