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Tips on Buying Side Hinged Garage Doors and Personnel Doors By Doormatic

Without a doubt, side hinged garage doors are still one of the most popular and commonly searched for types of garage door in the UK. The strong demand for this type of garage door has increased substantially over the past couple of years due to the fact that less garages are now being used for housing cars and are used as extra space or as an add on on room for storage. In Fact, so many homeowners are now using their garage as a workshop, gym, office and even as a studio!

There are so many different side hinged garage doors available today – offering smooth operation, easy access and fantastic weather sealing – all with absolute minimal maintenance.

How to choose the best material

Many people go for the timber material for the traditional swing type garage doors with the large selection of designs available – it’s an obvious choice. At Doormatic, we have Cedar, Idigbo and Oak as our most popular timber choices. Cedarwood is the most popular timber type that is used due to the fact that it’s very light in weight and the surface and be easily stained or painted to almost any colour whilst also being very stable in the unexpected British weather.

Unsorted redwood is an unpopular choice as it is a softwood timber for side hinged doors that have quite often failed for many uk homeowners who have opted for this choice. This is why here at Doormatic we do not provide this type of door as a side hinged timber door. The high rates of failure are mainly due to the fact that it cracks and breaks in a short period of time, making it unstable and holding in too much moisture from the UK weather. For this reason we do not supply, recommend or offer these type of low priced and low quality timber doors.

The price differences may seem enormous until you begin to add in hidden extras required such as the sub frame, hinges, hardware, locking and final finishing of the doors, most of which are standard with many of the hinged doors we supply.

Check the differences carefully!!

If your requirement is based on price alone then look to the single skin, steel side hinged garage doors available as they are very stable and practical with some classic designs and colours available.
 Steel may not be a material normally associated with side hinged doors but is now available in the UK with the fantastic other option of a range of double skinned, insulated steel doors with a foam filled core providing a 40mm thick insulated garage door panel with incredible strength and security. These insulated doors offer components at much higher levels than most other doors as they have to deal with quite heavy panels so the hinges are super sturdy, and the locking mechanisms used are usually far superior as the panels can take the mechanics internally of far more robust locking.

GRP or fibreglass is also a great material for swing doors, it is a strong and stable material and is offered with some great designs always produced using a mould from an original timber door design with the limits only being the imagination.

A good range of GRP doors are available and they are very low maintenance whilst looking just like the real timber equivalent in the colours and graining.
 Again, like the steel side hinged doors steel fixing sub frames are normal with GRP doors and therefore offer greater stability and strength in the overall product.

Personnel Doors

Doormatic Garage Doors also offer a very comprehensive range of insulated personnel side doors in the same construction to complete the security and insulation of your garage.
 These can be from a standard or purpose made range of sizes.

The emphasis is on a complete package with the furniture and sub fixing frame all factory assembled and ready to go once the door gets to site. We have personnel doors with an emphasis on security, and all doors are either in standard or purpose made sizes to suit your opening perfectly.

What Sizes are Available?

Generally side hinged doors in steel, timber or GRP are manufactured up to around 8 feet (2438mm) wide and around 7’6” (2286mm) high, they can be made much larger but with limitations on the design and timber used as the weight and strength becomes more important as well as the hinges and fixing sub frame used to support the doors when fitted.
Nearly all hinged garage doors are made to order nowadays, although there are some standard sizes available for better pricing where standard sizes can be accommodated.

What Fixing Sub Frame is Required?

All side hinged garage doors require a fixing sub frame of some sort and these are normally either steel, aluminium or timber. In most cases a timber sub frame is a nominal 70mm x 70mm but a 90mm depth is generally preferred to enable a stop to be added and also give more strength. In steel construction the frame is usually between 50 and 70mm wide and varies in depth.
The sub frame is required for so many reasons including fixing the hinges, weather seals, a proper stop for the door panels to hold against when closed, squaring up the structural opening and generally making the doors work in the best possible way with the best sealing possible. Have you ever seen an internal hinged door inside your house without a sub frame fitted?

The sub frames are either box section steel, aluminium or various timber profile sections, with or without a rebate.

When using cedar wood door panels we always recommend the use of a cedar clad timber frame where the main timber is not cedarwood as it is not recommended for structural framing. You would usually want the main door panels and the frame to match each other once treated, especially if the requirement was for a lighter stained finish and this is only achieved by using this cedar clad frame. The steel box section frames have great stability and strength to enable the use of uprated locking systems in the doors they a supplied with. The steel and aluminium frames are generally powdercoated in a colour finish to match or contrast the main door panels. Certain steel frames can also be clad of course in a matching timber to compliment the main door panel.
The only time you can potentially forget the sub frame is when the garage opening is of a timber frame construction or the rare case where you may have a steel box section garage opening construction but even then without the sub frame you will not have the benefits of rebated edges, seals and the hinges may not perform as they should on the frame they were designed with originally.

How Secure are Side Hinged Doors?

Security on a pair of side hinged swing type doors can be absolutely first class but only if the main door panels are strong enough in their general construction, as well as the surrounding sub frame used.
 The best hinged doors for proper security are the double skinned insulated steel doors we supply from Carteck, Ryterna and Hormann, with an optional 3 point locking upgrade. The construction of these doors allows far more robust locking mechanisms to be built in and combined with double rebated edges and a super strong sub frame the overall result is a very secure set of doors indeed.
 Timber and GRP doors can also be secure if uprated locking is specified and they are installed with a steel or hardwood timber sub frame.
If you want a super secure set of doors we can provide double skinned steel doors with rebated edges, 9 point locking and a specification of resistance that would be happily used on a shot gun cabinet. Designs are often compromised when high levels of security are required as the construction methods do not allow fancy pressings and designs as the steel used will usually be of a thicker gauge than normal doors.
All this security also applies to single width pedestrian hinged doors of course as they use exactly the same principals as the double hinged doors in all ways.

Cheap softwood, or low quality single skin steel side hinged doors can never be very secure as the panels themselves can be forced and bent relatively easily, making any type of locking fairly useless to the determined intruder, however good it may sound. Think carefully about the security, as add on locks can be clumsy and difficult to install as an after sale item.


There is really only one thing worth concluding about side hinged garage doors and that is that you will only get what you pay for, and this is really obvious if you take the time to investigate these types of doors properly. A cheap pair of doors in low grade softwood timber will only last you a very short time indeed before needing replacement.
 A proper set of quality timber, steel or GRP hinged doors could last for many years indeed, a proper investment for your home, increasing security, insulation and general ‘kerb appeal’.

For more information give Doormatic a call today – We are here to help!

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