Unless you work with garage doors in a professional capacity, most garage doors probably look pretty much the same to you. While all garage doors have the same essential function, each category of door is different. One of the most important distinguishing categories is whether a door is commercial or residential. In everyday life, you can easily differentiate a commercial from a residential garage door due simply to the type of building it’s attached to. The importance of this separation mostly comes into play when repairing or replacing garage doors. Some DIYers who have experience with one of these types of doors may assume that they can figure out tasks for both types of garage doors.

Unfortunately, this assumption can have consequences that affect the door’s warranty and function as well as the building’s security, efficiency and safety. In this blog, we explain the main differences between commercial and residential garage doors and why these categorizations matter.


When it comes to garage door appearance, aesthetic appeal tends to be more important for homes and other personal residences than for commercial or industrial buildings. Because residential garage doors compose a significant portion of the building’s facade, these doors tend to be made to have a greater visual impact. To enhance appearance, residential garage doors may have extra design features like windows, designs and multiple color options. These features can ensure that the garage door looks like an integrated part of the residence’s facade and reflects any unique architectural features of the home. Since functionality is more valuable in an industrial setting than appearance, commercial garage doors tend to look plainer. Most commercial doors are conventional roll-up or flat designs in a basic color like white. Any custom design changes tend to be in door color.


Perhaps the most obvious difference between commercial and residential garage doors is their size. The standard for residential garage doors is seven feet high and between eight and nine feet wide. Some residential garage door options extend as tall as 12 feet high for homeowners with RVs, but these doors are special order. The size of a commercial garage door depends on its application. If the garage door is part of a trucking depot, for example, it needs enough clearance for semi-trucks to easily drive in and out. In an industrial setting where oversized machinery is used, a commercial door may need to be even larger. While homeowners can install larger commercial doors on garages that they design themselves, most do not due to the cost difference, which we’ll discuss in a later section.


Residential garage doors come in numerous materials, from wood to steel. The correct material choice for a particular home’s garage depends on the homeowner’s preferences and budget. Some of these materials have great curb appeal, like wood, while others last significantly longer, like steel. The climate where the home is located may also factor into the choice of material. For example, a home in a tornado-prone area is more likely to have a sturdy metal door rather than a fiberglass one due to the risk of dents and breakage from debris. Commercial garage doors are generally made of either aluminum or galvanized steel. These materials are highly durable, so they offer the security and longevity often prioritized by commercial clients.


Residential garage doors are designed to be opened a few times each day. The predicted lifespan of the garage door opener is partially based on this estimate of how often the door will be opened. These openers can wear out much more quickly if opened many times a day over a long period. Commercial garage doors, however, are intended to be opened and closed frequently. These doors may operate more quickly and efficiently. The average commercial door opener can withstand heavy usage for at least as long as a residential door opener can withstand daily usage.


As mentioned in the “Height and Width” section, there is a significant cost difference between residential and commercial doors. Commercial doors cost much more to install and to repair than residential doors because commercial doors are:

  • Designed for commercial-level security
  • Fitted with an industrial opener than discussed in the previous section
  • Often custom sized according to the building schematics

This difference in price is one of the reasons why so few commercial doors are used residentially. When you approach an issue involving a garage door, take a moment to evaluate the type of door, especially if you’re replacing or installing a new garage door. In most cases, even if you have relevant experience with the type of door in question, you’ll want to consult with a garage door expert on the project. For commercial and residential garage door service, repairs and installation, trust Shank Door. With over 50 years of experience in the garage door business, they can help you with any questions or concerns you may have.

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