Garage Door Materials: Fiberglass

A lot of people bandy about the word 'fiberglass' without actually knowing just what it means.

Basically, a fiberglass garage door will look like wood, but be made of a more durable, water-resistant material. It happens to be one of the lease popular materials for garage doors, possibly because people don't really know what 'fiberglass' means. Fiberglass garage doors are made out of aluminum framing, and then overlaid sections of fiberglass paneling. Each panel is quite lightweight but hardy, although they do tend to shatter in sub-zero temperatures, and they do sometimes go towards a yellowish color as they age. But they are certainly less pricey than steel or wood, and they don't dent, warp, or rot. Fiberglass itself is, as it sounds, made from tiny fibers of glass. The composite material (more scientifically known as fiber-reinforced polymer) was first invented in 1893 for use with silk in dresses, it wasn't commercialized for industrial use until 1938 when it acquired its trademark name fiberglass.

The material is highly useful because they have a great surface areas to weight ratio, making them stronger than most other materials at smaller amounts. Fresher, thinner glass fibers are actually strong than older or thicker ones because they have more of a quality called 'ductility', which is reduced over time as the surface gets scratched. Molten glass has variable viscosity, which is a key component for proper manufacturing success- pulling the glass delicately to make each fiber smaller in circumference requires a fairly low viscosity, while preventing the glass from forming 'droplets' requires a certain minimum viscosity.

Fiberglass is a great innovation that has revolutionized the production of many products in this country, including garage doors. It has many advantages that, depending on where you live and how you use your garage door, can definitely outweigh the disadvantages.

Especially if you live near the ocean. Steel rusts when exposed to salty, damp air, and wood easily warps and rots when confronted with ocean breezes, waves, or sand erosion. Fiberglass is very handy in such places, and one usually doesn't have to worry about the risk of freezing with such a large body of water nearby.

Fiberglass is also very flexible in terms of appearance- you can stain, paint, or gesso the surface to form any pattern or texture you want, creating the illusion of wood or a smoother material. It can be pretty fun to get creative with fiberglass garage doors.

For more information on garage door material choices and garage door installation, ask the experts at

This article was published on 08 Oct 2009 and has been viewed 781 times
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