If you are looking at replacing your garage door there are a number of options available to you. Theses include the following mechanisms: side hinged, up and over, roller, sliding and sectional. Furthermore, the way that the door functions can be manual or automated and operated with a remote control.
Two of the most popular selections are the side hinged and sliding garage door and there are some good reasons for this. Here is a summary and comparison of how both work
The hinged door, normally supplied in pairs, uses the oldest and most basic opening approach, namely that of having a swinging doorway held on hinges. The doors are normally made of wood and this gives them a unique appearance and it means that they can be painted or treated with preservative. These doors use conventional handles and locks and one door can be opened whilst the other is left closed. They can be repainted, or repaired and the hinges can be changed or replaced.
The sliding garage door mechanism is completely different. The door will be made of metal and it combines tracks and rollers that enable it to slide to one side of the garage opening. The door is not usually a continuous single unit, but rather an interconnected set of panels that bend at their junction and this means that the panels can run on tracks that bend or curve. The advantage of this is that the door can slide to one side of the opening, or even slide away to an adjacent wall (i.e. at 90 degrees to the opening).
A big difference between the two systems is the location of the door when open. With hinges the doors open outwards. This leaves the inside of the garage clear, but it means that any obstruction in front of the entrance will prevent opening.
With the sliding method all that is required is a free wall for the tracking and any obstructions that may be present either side of the doorway do not prevent opening and closing. With home garage doors the door-panel will slide on the inside of the wall.
Another big difference is the potential for motorisation. Side hinged doors can be motorised, but they can be problematic on windy days and the challenge is one of getting both pairs of doors to synchronise perfectly.
With sliding doors motorisation is ideal. The smooth operation of rollers on tracks makes automation simple and this means that remote control operation is generally the best way to operate this opening system. Most home based doors of this type come with motors and remote controls.
Other factors worth consideration are of course cost and maintenance. The traditional wooden pair of doors still work out as the most economic option and they are easy to maintain. There is no complexity to how the hinges work! Periodic painting or treating of the wood is required, but this is a relatively unskilled job.
Sliding doors certainly cost more money, but they are easy to use, easy to automate and they require little in the way of maintenance unless something stops working (which is rare). Most will have a permanent protective coating, so painting is not required and many have insulated panels that help to keep the garage warm.