31 Dec

Garage Doors: Single Panel vs. Sectional

Garage doors come in many shapes and sizes, from the drive to the material you use when you install your garage door. There are also entire categories of doors, which can be divided into two types: single panel and sectional garage doors.

Single Panel Garage Doors

Blue, single-panel garage door

Garage door” by TerriersFan at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia by Ronhjones. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Single panel doors, also known as swing, one-piece and up-and-over doors, are made of only one panel (as the name suggests). Due to the lack of individual panels that can hinge on their own, the entire door must swing outward in order to fully open. It lifts in one direction at a time, first out and then upward. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of installing single panel garage doors:


  • Less expensive
  • Single panels appear more old-fashioned (if this is the type of style you aspire to)
  • Less weight, which means they are generally easier to use manually (without a garage door opener)


  • Being that it has only one hinge, it is more vulnerable to damage and therefore garage door repair/replacement
  • The biggest disadvantage of single panel garage doors is the space that is needed in order to open. Because it arcs outside of the garage, your car must be parked several feet in order to avoid contact with the garage door.

Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional garage door sliding up

Garage door sliding up” by Oleg AlexandrovOwn work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A sectional garage door is undoubtedly the preference of most homeowners and the most frequently installed garage door. All other things being equal, a sectional door will be exactly the same size as a single-panel one, yet it is composed of multiple hinged sections. Usually there are about three to five panels, but there may be as many as eight. They are hinged at the side, where rollers are also attached to the garage door. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of door:


  • The principal advantage of sectional garage doors is the space they provide when opening the door. Unlike single panels, which protrude outward at first, a sectional door may be parked within inches of the garage.
  • Sectional doors are more durable and reliable, as each panel has its own hinged connection to the track.
  • Sectional doors are also better insulated, which means lower costs for both heating and cooling in your garage.


  • The main disadvantage of sectional garage doors is their cost, which can be as much as 2-3x their single-panel counterparts.