The key difference between a roller and a sectional garage door is in the way it opens. But both types also offer different styles and functionality. So which do you choose?

A roller door can be cheaper to purchase and simple to operate, but the choice isn’t an easy one when you consider the benefits a sectional garage door offers in terms of design options, customisation and ease of installation. 

So let’s take a look at both options so you can decide what will work best for your house. 

traditional garage door with 7 stockton windows on the door

Roller Garage Doors

As a roller garage door opens, it slides up tracks and rolls around a barrel or drum to sit above the garage opening in a cylinder shape, much like a rolled up carpet.

Pros of roller doors

      • They are practical and durable
      • Can be used on a garage opening or on a carport at the fenceline instead of a gate
      • Great for backyard sheds
      • Usually made of steel with a ribbed profile
      • Can be operated manually or with automatic openers
      • Suitable for areas with high winds or cyclones
      • Allows you to maximise storage space along your garage ceiling
      • The price of a roller door is usually lower than a sectional or tilt garage door 

Cons of roller doors

      • Are not normally insulated
      • Limited design options and styles are available
      • Only suitable for garages with enough height at the garage opening to allow clearance
      • While they use a simple mechanism, they do require a small amount of maintenance. (Here are some tips on maintaining your garage door.)
      • If a roller door suffers damage – for example, from a car hitting it – the whole door will need to be replaced.

Sectional Garage Doors

A sectional garage door is made up of 4 or 5 different ‘sections’ or panels attached together by hinges. As the garage door opens, it bends at the hinges and slides on a track so that the panel sits under the ceiling space of the garage. Some newer styles can even open horizontally, with the panels moving to the side of the garage. 

Pros of sectional doors

      • Can give a modern, aesthetically pleasing look to your home
      • Is available in a wide range of colours and finishes
      • More options when it comes to which material your garage door is made of – wood, aluminium or steel
      • Panels can be customised with windows, ventilation and insulation 
      • Easier to install if made of a lightweight material
      • Available with a range of safety features
      • Low day-to-day maintenance and can be easier to repair if a panel suffers damage 

Cons of sectional doors

      • Best used with an automatic opener
      • Must be enough clearance along the ceiling space of your garage for the sectional door to work correctly
      • More expensive than other options
      • More moving parts than a roller door, which can mean more long-term maintenance

A side-by-side comparison of these two garage door types

Choosing between a roller or sectional door for your garage space depends on what you value most – looks, price, or ease of operation. 

Which type of door is more energy-efficient?

Normal roller doors can not be fitted with insulation panels because they need to be able to roll up. However, you can purchase rollers that are made of insulated aluminium slats. Roller doors can also be fitted with weather seals and stripping to stop draughts.   

Sectional doors can be manufactured with insulated panels which can cut your energy costs and reduce noise from outside. This is a great option if you plan to use your garage for handiwork, a home gym or another living space.

Here’s more information on the benefits of insulated sectional garage doors

Which type of door is easier to operate?

If you choose to have your garage door motorised, the opening and closing of both types of doors is quite similar. 

Which type of door is more durable?

Modern sectional doors are generally as sturdy as roller doors. If you use an automatic opener, they are both fully sealed from the outside.  

Both roller doors and sectional doors have parts that can break like anything. They both use springs, but roller door springs are hidden within the cylinder and are less likely to snap. 

You should never attempt to re-tention garage door springs yourself because they are made to bear the majority of the garage door’s weight. If a spring or any of the other hardware breaks, you shouldn’t open or close the door. You should have it repaired by a qualified garage door technician. 

Which type of door is more aesthetically pleasing?

While roller doors are available in a large range of colours and different finishes, sectional doors have much more versatility when it comes to style and design options. 

Which type of door is more affordable?

Roller doors are the most cost effective option when compared to a sectional door. However, sectional doors have a larger variety of styles and design features, which can make them more costly if you’re planning a lot of add-ons.

Which type of door is easier to install?

Sectional garage doors are lighter and, for this reason, they can be easier to install. However, they also have a lot more moving parts than a simple roller door mechanism. In any case, this is one job homeowners shouldn’t attempt to do themselves because garage door installation can be dangerous. A professional garage door installer won’t have a problem with either kind of door.

What to consider before choosing roller or sectional door

      • Space and garage dimensions
      • Climate and weather conditions
      • Budget and on-going costs
      • Aesthetics and style
      • Service and maintenance

If you’re still not sure about the best option for you, Steel-Line Garage Doors can help! We know a thing or two about garage doors because we have been making them for over 40 years. Our award-winning, Australian-made range is built to last.

If you’re having trouble visualising what might suit your home, you can use our interactive tool to design your own door and get a quote. If you prefer to speak to someone in person, give us a call on 1300 767 900 for a free measure and quote.


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