Buying Side Hinged Garage Doors

The UK's No. 1 Website for Garage Doors

knowledgeable, professional and reliable advice, services and installation since 1986.

Guide to Buying Side Hinged Doors

The Garage Door Centre guide to buying Side Hinged Garage Doors

Hinged door Overview

Side Hinged, or 'swing'  garage doors are today still one of the most commonly searched for types of garage door in the UK and the demand for this type of garage door has increased recently too, a lot to do with people not using their garages for their car storage and far more for an extra room requiring easier access, insulation and good security. The average garage is being used to store almost anything and usually the value of what is stored inside can be very high and probably not properly insured either.

Many garages are also being used as a workshop, gym, office, playroom and numerous other uses where the garage door required is required for security and occasional pedestrian access or in the case of a mews style house, very common in London, used as a main entrance for pedestrians into the property.

Side hinged garage doors, or ‘swing doors’ can only ever be as good as the total combination of the components, a good stable and strong pair of door panels, sturdy hinges, strong fixing sub frame and good recognised locking and furniture. A lot of our latest models of insulated garage doors tick all these boxes.

Obvious maybe, but true.

Look at some of the side hinged garage doors available nowadays  -  they offer effortless operation, easy access and specified correctly also offer superb weather sealing and all this with little maintenance ever required as there are very few movings parts involved. You also do not have any internal tracking or mechanisms interfering with internal garage space.

A simple lever handle and cylinder lock will be smooth and easy to operate for anyone with back, neck, hand, or arm issues.

What material is best for side hinged garage doors?

Traditionally most people will think of side hinged garage doors being built in timber, and there are a huge selection of designs and timber species available as standard before even looking at bespoke designs. We can offer Cedarwood, Idigbo, Accoya and Oak as standard. Cedarwood is the main timber generally used, being light in actual weight and also in colour. Cedar can be stained or painted in a microporous paint to almost any colour and is very stable in our wet and very unstable British climate.

Unsorted redwood and pine is a low priced unstable softwood timber used for side hinged doors with very high rates of failure after a short period as it is not stable with the variations in air moisture in the UK. The price differences when looking at these doors in isolation on various websites 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 is standard with many of the hinged doors we supply. Check the differences carefully!!

If the requirement is based on low price alone then you will be better of looking at some of the single skin galvanised steel side hinged garage doors available as they are very stable and practical with some nice pressed panel designs and colours available.

Insulated options available for side hinged garage doors

Steel is not a material normally associated with swing type garage doors but is now readily available with the fantastic option of double skinned steel doors with a foam filled insulated core giving a 40mm thick insulated garage door panel with great strength and therefore overall security when locked. These insulated doors offer components at much higher levels than most other doors as they have to deal with heavier panels - the hinges are stronger and the locking mechanisms used are usually far superior as the panel depth can take the mechanics of far more robust locking systems.

We also offer a range of insulated personnel side doors in the same construction to complete the visual appearance, security and insulation of your garage. These are in a standard or purpose made range of sizes.

GRP or fibreglass is also a great material for swing garage 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

What sizes are available for side hinged garage doors?

Generally side hinged doors manufactured in steel, timber or GRP are produced up to around 8 feet (2438mm) wide and around 7’6” (2286mm) high. The doors 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 high quality hinged garage doors are made to order in the UK although there are some standard sizes available for better pricing where standard sizes can be used.
Be aware of the ordering sizes as some hinged doors are ordered by the sizes between the fixing sub frame and some include the sub frame as well making the width and height greater. Check before ordering to make sure you get what you require.

What sub frame is required for side hinged door installations?

All side hinged garage doors require a fixing sub frame and these are normally either steel, aluminium or timber box sections in a ‘goal post’ arrangement. In most cases a timber sub frame is a nominal 70mm x 70mm but a 90mm depth is generally preferred to enable a decent ‘door stop’ to be included for weathersealing and the thicker sections also provide more strength. In steel construction the frame is usually between 50 and 70mm wide and varies in depth.

The sub frame is required for fixing the hinges, weather seals, a proper stop for the door panels to hold against when closed, squaring up the structural opening and making the doors work in the best possible way with the best sealing possible.

Most people want the door panels and the fixing sub frame to match each other in finish and colour, especially if the requirement was for a lighter stained finish. Mixing and matching timber species will not usually work very well.

The galvanised steel box section sub frames have great stability and strength to enable the use of uprated locking systems in the doors they a supplied with.

Steel and aluminium frames are generally powder coated in a colour finish to match or contrast the main door panels. Some steel frames can also be clad in a matching timber to the main door panels.

How secure are side hinged garage doors?

Security on a pair of side hinged doors can be very good indeed, but only if the main door panels are strong enough in their 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 optional 3 and 4 point locking upgrades. The construction of these steel 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 fibreglass GRP doors can also be secure if uprated locking systems are specified and they are installed with a proper steel or hardwood timber sub frame. 

If you want a super secure set of doors we can provide double skinned steel doorsets from commercial specification models, with rebated edges, up to 9 point locking and a specification of resistance that would be happily used in any secure room environment. Designs can be 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 guage than more normal doors.

Windows will always reduce security levels and enable potential intruders to see inside the garage through the windows for worthwhile pickings.

The security can be repeated in the pedestrian hinged doors of course as they use exactly the same principals as the double hinged doors in all ways.

Cheaper softwood or low quality single skin steel side hinged doors can never be very secure as the panels themselves can be forced and bent outwards relatively easily making any type of locking relatively useless to the determined intruder. Think carefully about the security as add on locks can be clumsy and difficult to install as an after thought.


As with most things in life, you will only get what you pay for and this is really obvious if you take the time to investigate side hinged doors properly. A cheap pair of doors in low grade softwood timber will only last you a very short time before needing replacement.

A proper set of high quality timber, steel or GRP hinged doors will last for many, many years indeed, a proper investment for your home without ongoing hassle and maintenance being required.

Request a Callback

Request a Callback