(ARA) - In the "Leave it to Beaver" era, garage doors were little more than heavy slabs of wood that sealed your garage shut from the elements: white, heavy and mostly flat. Little had changed to garage doors by the time the "Brady Bunch" arrived in the 1970s or even the "Cosby" generation years later.
But would the style-driven "Desperate Housewives" of Wisteria Lane be content with a garage door that satisfied June Cleaver? Not a chance. Garage door manufacturers realized a few years ago that it was time for garage doors to join the ranks of kitchens, baths, lighting and other home accessories as statements of personal style and fashion.
"Regardless of the architecture of your home, today's garage doors come in a wide range of styles, colors, and materials to complement any home's architectural style," says Vickie Lents of Amarr Garage Doors. "It's easier than ever before to find a garage door that says, 'you.'
"Beginning as early as the 1990s, homeowners began experimenting by decorating garage doors with magnetic material, wood molding, and even PVC pipe added to flat panel doors to give them elements of style," she says. "As you can imagine, none of those attempts worked very well. A good rain storm will often take care of the most carefully placed magnets."
The first generation of architecturally styled doors were solid wood doors, but most of those were initially used in affluent, more expensive homes. Although upper-end homes are an important market for garage door manufacturers, it remains a relatively small one.
The conversion to steel garage doors began in the late 1970s, but the use of stamped steel as an architectural element didn't evolve until much more recently.
"Sectional steel doors look great and are affordable to a broad range of the home buying public," Lents adds. "Like wood doors, steel doors can be custom painted to coordinate with any house, but, unlike their wooden cousins, steel doors are much lighter and offer resistance to insects and rotting."
Architecturally inspired garage doors took another giant leap ahead with the introduction of carriage-house doors, which move up and down like typical garage doors but appear like they swing open for an authentic carriage house style. Deception never looked so good.
The trend for garage door fashion also applies to hardware. No longer are garage doors completely flat. Today, homeowners want strap hinges, handles, and other decorative hardware on their garage doors.
"Ornamental wrought iron designs continue to play an important style design element in homes today -- on both the inside with cabinet hardware and on the outside with wrought iron railings, fences, gates and entry doors," says Lents.
In addition to evolving style options for garage doors, the sizes of the doors are changing. For years, the standard garage door has been 16 feet wide by 7 feet tall, and most garages had two car bays. With today's larger vehicles and multi-car families, the standards are being rewritten. Increasingly, homeowners and developers are ordering special, oversized garage doors and in quantities of three or four doors for a single home.
And what would June Cleaver have to say about all this? "Ward, put the Hummer in bay three for the night." Courtesy of ARAcontent