Period-appropriate Garage Doors

What to look for in new period-appropriate garage doors.

Plain or fancy, the doors have to look right, because they take up most of the wall. Many people thoughtlessly choose two-bay overhead doors in vinyl with a plastic sheen. Too often, the doors are painted in high-contrast white.

Clingerman provided the carriage-house doors— quite suitable for a residential conversion.

Wood requires maintenance, but it offers the most options when new and will age gracefully. Composite wood fiber/polymer material, steel, aluminum, and more are available now, too, in authentic styles and credible finishes. Circumstances and fire codes may suggest good reasons to opt for a wood alternative.

Several garage-door makers offer traditional doors that actually swing out, slide, or fold to open and close. Wicket doors—a person-size door within the large traditional garage door—are also an option. Most of the modern garage doors, however, even one that looks like a cross-braced barn door or carriage door, have horizontal breaks that allow them to retract overhead. Some designs are nearly seamless.

Company websites explain options in material, style details, finish and color, insulation and soundproofing, glass, hardware, and opener mechanism, as well as customization.


These companies specialize in period-appropriate garage doors. Some offer coordinating peripherals that may include windows and glazing, hardware, and driveway gates.

Amarr garage doors.

> Amarr Garage Doors (NC): Wood, wood composite, steel

> Carriage House Door Co. (CA): Wood, steel

> Clingerman (PA): Choice of wood; AZEK/Versatex; Extira

> Cambek Designer Doors (WI): (formerly Designer Doors) Wood; wicket doors; specialty claddings

> Clopay Building Products (OH): Wood, steel, aluminum

> Evergreen Carriage Doors (WA): Wood

> Everite (PA): Wood

Clopay building products

> Garaga Inc. (Quebec): Steel, steel with wood composite, aluminum

> GADCO, General American Door Co. (IL): Steel, wood

> Haas Door (OH): Composite wood, steel, aluminum

> Hahn’s Woodworking Co. (NJ): Wood

> Holmes Garage Door Co. (WA): Steel, aluminum, wood composite, wood

> IDC, Industrial Door Company (MN): Wood, wood composite, steel

> Northwest Door (WA): Wood, steel, aluminum

> Raynor (IL): Wood, steel

> Real Carriage Door Co. (WA): Wood, with swinging, sliding, folding options

> Sunwood Doors (CA): Wood

Tags: OHJ August 2020 garage garage doors

By Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes. 

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