Featured Articles - Southern Doors

Transform Your Car Oasis: Broaden Your Garage Door Access

For individuals passionate about cars, the garage serves as more than just a parking spot; it becomes a sanctuary to safely house and proudly display cherished possessions. As your collection expands or you venture into custom projects, the constraints of space become apparent. One solution to this challenge involves widening your garage door entrance. Southern Doors explores the advantages of this approach and emphasises the crucial role played by lintels in this process, particularly when converting two separate single garages into one unified space.

Why Should You Consider This?

Accommodating Valuable and Larger Vehicles:

Safely parking expensive performance cars, reviving classic automobiles to their former glory and the rise of larger SUVs and specialised vehicles have made navigating tight openings with a central pillar a significant hindrance. Eliminating this obstacle enables you to effortlessly park and access your garage, eliminating the fear of accidental damage or scratches. It instils the confidence to enter and exit the garage without scraping the car or brushing a side mirror. With a more accessible entrance, you can adeptly manoeuvre the vehicle into a more suitable position.

Facilitating Car Modifications:

Enhancing your vehicle’s performance and aesthetics becomes seamless with ample garage space dedicated to this purpose. This allows you to work on your car comfortably and design a space tailored to your requirements. Moreover, professional garage fitting services can assist in optimising the additional room by enhancing the practicality of tools and the workspace.

Enhancing Accessibility:

Expanding the entrance space also enhances accessibility for individuals with mobility constraints. Garage door specialists can provide specially adapted, zero-rated VAT garage door solutions for disabled individuals, subject to eligibility. Adding a double door can, in certain cases, render your garage more wheelchair-friendly. No one wants to get drenched in the rain while attempting to park in a confined area.

Cost-effective Maintenance:

Maintaining a single door is more cost-effective than maintaining two. You’ll notice fewer repairs needed for a single door, not to mention reduced overall maintenance compared to managing two doors.

The Role of the Garage Door Lintel

Having highlighted the benefits of widened garage access, let’s delve into the significance of lintels in this process:

Providing Structural Support:

Broadening the garage door access involves cutting into the existing wall or removing a central pillar to create a larger opening. This modification can compromise the wall’s structural integrity, necessitating additional support. Lintels are employed to span the expanded opening, ensuring proper distribution and support of the load from the wall above.

Managing Load-bearing Capacity:

Lintels come in various materials, such as steel, reinforced concrete, and engineered wood, each with distinct load-bearing capabilities. Expert surveyors meticulously select the appropriate lintel based on the garage door’s dimensions and the load it must bear, effectively preventing potential structural issues.

Ensuring Even Weight Distribution:

A properly installed lintel guarantees the uniform distribution of the extra load imposed by the larger garage door along the lintel’s length. This guarantees the smooth and safe operation of any new installation.

Professional Installation and Lintel Selection:

Lintel installation is a technical process that demands the expertise of seasoned professionals. Hence, it’s crucial to consult a reputable garage door specialist who can evaluate your garage’s current structure and recommend the suitable lintel type and size for your project. They possess the skills and tools to precisely cut the brickwork, install the lintel, and ensure optimal performance and safety.


Expanding entry/exit space presents an excellent opportunity to enhance the garage’s versatility and functionality. Keep in mind that such modifications necessitate meticulous planning and professional execution. The significance of lintels cannot be overstated. They not only distribute the load of the wall above the opening but also prevent potential wall damage and ensure the garage door operates smoothly. Whether your aspiration involves parking a larger SUV, a custom-built automotive masterpiece, or addressing mobility limitations, consider the potential benefits of creating more space in your garage. Invest in expert guidance and quality materials to establish a secure and usable area where you can continue nurturing your passion for cars or simply resolve the long-standing issue of challenging access.

Transform Your Car Oasis: Broaden Your Garage Door Access

An often-overlooked option for saving energy, certain types of garage door have over years of development by manufacturers evolved into an effective insulator for homes with integral garages. This article explores this notion.

Heat Loss Measurement

Garage Door manufacturers offer guidance using U-values. The U-value is a measure of the heat transfer through a 1m2 surface area for every degree of temperature difference between the inside and outside. A lower U-value indicates greater energy efficiency in the material.

Building Regulations

While there isn’t specific legislation that directly addresses U-values for insulated garage doors, Part L of the Building Regulations does cover garage conversions. For example, when previously exempt unheated spaces become part of a heated dwelling, a garage door used to access the space, if being retained or upgraded, may need to comply with the energy efficiency regulations.


Garage door manufacturers employ multi-layered designs to enhance energy efficiency, much like individuals wearing several layers of clothing during winter to keep warm. To achieve this, they utilise a combination of materials to create a double-skin structure, using steel, aluminium, or vinyl on the outer skin and a CFC free polyurethane rigid foam filling. This provides exceptional insulation whilst enhancing strength and durability. Naturally the thicker the panels are the better they will perform.

As an indicator of optimal performance, the best ‘sectional’ garage door designs are sub 1.0 W/m² K insulators and have the lowest U-values. Furthermore, to improve on this ‘layered’ model, some manufacturers construct the design as a broken sandwich to create thermal separation of the outer and inner shells. This can produce heat insulation values below 0.5 W/m2K.

Additionally, to brighten a dim garage area using glazing that won’t compromise the energy efficiency, triple-glazed windows are used.


Double seals are very effective at addressing air leaks around the frame. Additionally, seals can be installed on the floor to close the bottom edge of the door, allowing for unobstructed access while preventing water from entering. For sloping thresholds, potential gaps can be avoided using a bottom rail to even out an unlevel driveway. This close-fit between the bottom of the door and the uneven floor ensures that insulation properties are maintained. Furthermore, the highest quality garage doors can have plastic profiles fitted to the frame to create a thermal break where it connects with the brickwork.

Wood as an insulator

It’s no surprise that timber garage doors are airtight. Cedar wood’s cellular structure creates natural air spaces that give it an insulation value higher than most woods, as well as having excellent sound suppression and absorption qualities.

What are the best insulators?

Whilst capitalising on the multi layered ‘thermal’ design principle, sectional garage doors also use space filling seals at every panel interconnect. They are intentionally made and tested for the purpose of insulation. A sectional garage door installed fully behind the garage opening usually offers the highest levels of insulation as the door and frame will be sealed fully against any brickwork. Where sizing issues create gaps at the top of the garage opening, the best manufacturers provide options for fascia panels, which are made to size, to fill the space to the lintel.

Roller Doors are good insulators! Aren’t they?

Roller garage doors, on the other hand, are made up of up to 24 individual foam-filled slats. Whilst offering some protection, they are untested on a fitted door. Because the interlock between the laths/slats are not sealed they are unable to carry a meaningful U-value. The gaps simply don’t prevent air and moisture from escaping. Other features however do play a role in determining the amount of heat that can be saved. These include weather seals placed in the guides, a full surround hood cover for the roll, and the extent to which the door slats overlap the sides.

Energy efficient Side Hinged Garage Doors

Side hinged garage doors are available in single or double skin options. Single skin doors are a cost-effective option best suited to spaces where there’s no need for insulation or draught sealing. Double skin doors are a thicker, insulated alternative. The actual door leaves are constructed in a similar layered design to their sectional garage door counterparts using a rigid Polyurethane (PUR) foam core inside steel. Furthermore, side hinged doors made of natural wood around a tight-fitting frame are also inherently a good insulator.

Non-insulating up and overs

Generally, up and over doors do not offer very good insulation but some effort can be made by adding off the shelf insulation packs. That said there is still the problem of having a gap all around the edge – A failing affected by the whole door having to move through the sub frame when opening and closing.


Garage door manufacturers are making progress as the significance of energy efficiency grows. The development of new materials, construction with multiple layers, advancements in seal design, and the use of weather stripping are all contributing to the production of increasingly efficient garage doors.

Can Garage Doors Save Energy?

The benefits provided by high quality garage doors often go unnoticed by homeowners, simply because they are hidden beneath well manufactured surfaces.

In this guide, Southern Doors explains the importance of different textures and applications, including faux and natural finishes and explores some of the reasons why they are as important to you as making your colour, style, type, and material choices.

Key to this conversation is the fact that top manufacturers purposely apply finishes to their products to offer practical benefits such as promoting longevity and reducing maintenance.

Here are some examples:

Smooth Textures

Smooth textures offer an exceptionally clean, contemporary look. But they also have functional advantages. Erosion protection on good quality steel up-and-over garage doors, for example, is provided by galvanising, coupled with thick powder coating available in a variety of colours to provide resistance to unwanted chips.

Furthermore, sectional doors are often designed with smooth panels (other textures are also available) as multi-layered designs with a sealed top coating, adhesion primer, corrosion resistance steel layer, and additional protective coatings wrapped around insulation foam.


Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) is light, durable, and easy to maintain, and can come with a UV protective gel coating, useful for homes built in high sea-salt areas.

Timber Options

As an example, Cedar provides nature’s own appeal and comes with natural attributes to help repel ‘The Elements’. It’s also easy to clean with restaining required only once every three years to keep it in good condition.

Faux Finishes

Woodgrain options don’t readily show up dents, and scrapes, but should they appear, they can be easily repaired. Unlike natural wood they don’t need to be treated or stained, saving time on maintenance.

Manufacturers also provide stone effect options for ultra-modern architectural styles, and silk-like finishes with inherent characteristics that can minimise surface wear on automatic garage doors.

Heat Bonded Foil

Often installed to complement windows and entrance doors which also have foil lamination applied, this heat bonding technique delivers a permanent and realistic timber-look which copies the colour and pattern found on different types of wood. It provides a hard-wearing surface, with some brands offering a 7-Year guarantee.

Other Types of Protective Coating

High-quality film coatings on the inside and outside of some roller door curtain slats for instance provide abrasion protection, making them easy to clean, and UV-resistant.

Our Top Tip

When choosing your next garage door check out all types of textures and finishes before you come to a decision. They can be as wide-ranging as they are beautiful. Equally so, consider them as ‘investment protection’. The best options, endure the test of time, and although they may cost a little more, the pay-off will save you hundreds of pounds in low maintenance and manufacturing quality compared to low budget, basic options.

Faux or Smooth? A Guide to Garage Door Finishes

Although this is a logical question, to know ‘How much is a garage door?’ depends on quite a few points, such as size, finish, style, level of security and insulation, to name just some of the factors…


Prices vary depending on size. Whether a single car width or a double, i.e., can 2 cars fit in side by side, different weights and types of material contribute widely to cost. Double doors especially with heavier mechanisms to counterbalance the load when opening and closing illustrate this. An average single garage door size is 7’ x 7’, whilst double garage door sizes average 16’ x 7’.

Side Hinged panelled design

How much is a garage door to look good? 

In terms of the finish, you might have a particular colour and texture in mind? Perhaps, you want it to match your front door or windows? Panel designs vary enormously from Georgian styles to traditional and modern. An abundance of colour choices is also available usually manufactured in RAL palette colours and wood effect finishes that match most needs.

What level of security do you need?

Is your garage integral to your house? Do you keep valuable equipment or belongings inside? There are many security features that can help deter thieves, from doors that close and lock automatically, to panel structure and design, to different grades of locking mechanisms.

Does it need to be insulated?

These days heat loss is a major consideration especially with increasing heating bills and considering the environment. If the garage space is used as a multi-functional room, such as a gym, home office, studio, utility room, storeroom it would be well worth considering an insulated sealed garage door.

Will you want it rodent proof?

Especially if you keep foodstuffs in the garage you may want to restrict unwanted pests! You may consider a seal to seamlessly fill the gap between the bottom of the door and the ground.

Manual or automatic?

With the modern age of automation, a high majority of consumers choose to go automatic, it is important to select a renowned electronic system for reliability and hassle-free daily usage. Nonetheless, quality manual doors are also designed to operate easily due to their spring balance mechanism.


Does anything else need doing whilst you are changing the main door? If the structural integrity in and around your garage door is affected, additional work may be required to the surrounding frame, broken floor, facias, or soffit boards?


Do you need additional space? Are you struggling to get your car inside your garage? It’s interesting how many cars just keep getting bigger every time a new model is launched.


Do you want a company to fit the door for you and take away your old door? Or do you want to install it yourself? There could be delivery charges if you choose to fit it and there is an onus on you to get the sizes correct. Some manufactures recommend that their doors are installed by trained technicians.


Tried and tested quality products do what they are supposed to do every day of the year, and whatever the weather, providing they are maintained. Check out review sites such as Checkatrade and Trust Pilot to separate the unfailing from the unreliable.

So, as you can see there is not one size fits all! There is a little bit more to what you might pay for a garage door when you start investigating. Like quite a few things, it’s not always that simple, which is why experts in the field normally like to discuss your requirement first before committing to a price.

In addition, there is price and value, i.e., value for money – Cheaper products don’t always have the same warranties and are more prone to failure, so cheap isn’t always the best and the best isn’t always cheap!

Starting out you may search for the cheapest garage door, find a few prices then be unsure, may have a few questions and feel the need for some guidance.

If you would like some advice and a guide price, contact one of our experts. They have the technical and product knowledge to help you make the right choices. Contact us for the best rates.

How much is a garage door?


an untidy garage

A garage may well have been intended for our cars, but it’s so easy for it to become a dump for our old clothes, paint cans, gardening equipment and broken junk – basically anything that we’d rather stow away and forget about. And in fact, it’s thought that only 24% of Britons are actually using a garage to store their vehicle.

But as spring rolls around, and the weather starts to brighten up, it’s the perfect time to get stuck into the mess you’ve been pretending doesn’t exist for so long.

In this blog, we’ve put together a few tips to help you reclaim your garage and make the most of this often-underutilised space.

Planning: Prepare

Throughout winter, or perhaps even longer, a lot can happen in the garage, so the first step should be to get things back to how they should be. Think about how you’ll be using the space. Are you a keen gardener? Do you enjoy artistic or crafty endeavours? Or do you use the room as a utility area?

Make a list of things that you need to do to accomplish your goals and get to work.

Planning: Execute

Tackling such a large area can seem pretty intimidating, so it’s best to stick to your guns.

We’re all different, so it stands to sense and reason that we’ll all choose a different way. For example, perhaps you’d prefer to start with easy things first, like bagging up old clothing for the charity shop, or maybe you’d prefer to empty the garage entirely and decide which bits are worth putting back.

Alternatively, if that seems too regimented for you, then start from the front and work your way to the back.

Decide What to Keep

somone carrying a box of clothes with donations written on it

A common rule when clearing out is if you haven’t used it for six months, it’s time to wave it goodbye. If no one has used those tennis rackets since the London Olympics, it’s probably time to get rid of them. If you’ve just never renovated that broken down old Vespa like you thought you might, then don’t worry about it – give it away to someone who might have the time.

Be honest about what you love doing, if you enjoy painting or DIY, then the kit for those activities deserves to be front and centre. But, if you’re struggling to decide what to let go, then itemise the stuff in the garage into ‘use regularly’, ‘use annually’, ‘never used’ and ‘sentimental.’

Never used can be thrown or given away, annual and regular use can be checked for signs of wear or replaced, and when it comes to sentimental items, decide what you really want and if you actually have the room to store it.

Storage Options

If space is at a premium, then consider using a pegboard with hooks for vertical wall hanging. Things like shovels, spades and the like have handles for easy storage, which also removes the need to store stuff on the floor.

Sports equipment, like golf bags and things of that nature are also easy to hang.

If you are using the garage to store gardening equipment, why not consider a potting shelf or bench, or even a wheelbarrow to make the transportation of tools much easier?

Think About Usability

Garage storage should be as thoughtful as it is inside the home, so think of the areas that are used often and plan your room around that.

If you use the area for your washing, then store all of your washing powder and dryer sheets in storage near the washer and dryer.

It’s small details like this that can help to make the process a bit easier, particularly when you’ve got a clear vision of how you want things to look and feel.

Labelling System

an image of a neat garage door

A great way to get the whole family behind your organisational splurge is through labelling everything. Label everything from hooks and pegboards and storage bins – this helps to maintain the order and keep everything where it should be.

It may seem like a lot, but it sure makes things easier to find, especially when in a rush and looking for the golf bag.

It will go a long way towards preventing garage clutter and keeping your doorways and floor clear of junk all year round.


Spring cleaning is not a mere one and done activity. It’s a little bit like going on a diet: you must maintain your healthy lifestyle in order to see results.

If you have any questions about garage storage, garage door conversions and alterations, or any of our other products or services, then contact us today.

For a free, no obligation survey give us a call in your local area, and our team will be happy to advise you on which products would be right for your home and garage.

How to Clean Out Your Garage This Spring

a garage door snow fall

A garage door is one of the biggest and costliest pieces of mechanical kit in your home and most of us open and close the door several times a day without thinking twice. Winter can be a tough season for your garage door, and depending on the harshness of the winter – which is especially relevant depending on which area of the country you live in – there are some potential problems that could come to fruition if you aren’t careful.

Of course, having a broken garage door would be a pain during any season, but if you’re unable to get your car out of the garage during those cold, dark months, it would be far worse than any other season.

The positive news is that you can potentially avoid these by performing a little maintenance.

Garage Door Springs


Cold weather can distress a garage door in a multitude of ways, but broken springs are the most common. Wear and tear is usually the main culprit – garage door springs typically last around 10,000 cycles and with everything else we need to remember in our lives, particularly during winter, maintaining the springs on our garage doors often slips by the wayside.

Despite this, it’s important to check the springs quite often by lifting the door to halfway and letting go. If the door is stationary, the springs are in good working order. If it begins to drop slightly, then consider replacing the springs.

Another way to safeguard against broken springs in the winter is to ensure you have a safety cable installed. The cable exerts enough force to act as a counter-weight, so if your springs do break, you won’t need to worry so much.

Door Frozen to The Ground

a man shovelling in front of his garage door

If water pools at the base of your door, a frost overnight can freeze the water and seal the door shut.

There are no easy or fast ways to deal with this problem, but here are a few solutions which you use to try to rectify the problem:

  • Manually open the door using the emergency cord. The severity of the freeze will directly impact this option.
  • Pour boiling water along the base of the door. Be sure to sweep away the pool though, as it could refreeze.
  • Use a scraper to chip at the ice until you can free the door.

Any of these methods takes a fair bit of time and energy, the best thing to do is to ensure you sweep away any puddle or snow build up and pour some salt around the area to prevent the reappearance of ice.

Water Damage

Especially the case with wooden garage doors, the moisture over winter can lead to the swelling of the door and the frame itself. In the worst scenario, this can close up the space, which causes rubbing.

The door can even get stuck, which prevents you from entering or exiting through the door.

It’s important to clear your rain gutters of leaves and debris to prevent water from running down onto the door, which only exacerbates the problem.

Opening Issues

Colder temperatures can meddle with the opening and closing functions of your garage door, here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Lubrication Consistency – Garage door opening mechanisms require lubrication at various times throughout the year to ensure the parts run correctly. During winter, it’s not unheard of for this lubrication to alter its consistency and prevent the components from moving successfully.
  • Sensitivity Problem – All automated garage doors are designed to stop the process if there is an obstruction. Thickened lubrication can alter the sensitivity of the sensors and prevent the garage from opening or closing correctly because it confuses the thickened deposits of lubrication for something it might crash into.

When the cold weather descends, your garage door may be pushed to its limits. However, by keeping an eye on your door and performing a few small tasks, preparing your garage inside and out for winter means it will be able to withstand the harsh conditions of winter.


If you have any questions about winter protection for your garage or any of our other products or services, then contact us today.

For a free, no obligation survey give us a call on 0800 048 0741, and our team will be happy to advise you on which security considerations would be right for your home and garage.

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