Parts of a Garage Door: Terms You Should Know Before Buying

If you’ve never bought a new garage door, you may not be aware of the intricacies that bring the whole look together. Before you start designing your own, it’s crucial to understand the various parts of a garage door. 

Our new glossary defines all these parts, from the necessary hardware for your door to function properly to decorative elements that provide personal touches to your design.

To start our garage door glossary, we’ll highlight the four different material options. As you’re considering a new garage door, the material will be one of the first decisions you make.


Constructed from thin layers (plies) of wood, these products can be stained, painted, or left unfinished. While they require more maintenance than other materials, real wood garage doors are beautiful and provide effective insulation. 

Artisan offers three wood garage doors: Medallion, and TimberLife, which is made from Accoya®. Our TimberLife series is our most environmentally friendly wood garage door option. 

Wood Composite

Made from a blend of wood fibers, plastic, and a binding agent, wood composite doors are moisture-, insect-, and rot-resistant. While they offer the same rich look as real wood, they’re lightweight and low-maintenance. They’re also an environmentally friendly option since they’re made from recycled, sustainable materials.

Artisan’s wood composite garage doors are made from Tricoya® modified wood and Extira panels. We offer two paint-grade wood composite products: Benchmark, Benchmark 2, and Benchmark SP.

Faux Wood

Faux wood is a urethane-based product that’s made by pressing pieces of wood together in a rubber mold to create a wood look on the face of the material. Artisan offers three faux wood doors: Rhapsody, Quartet, and American Farmhouse.


Glass garage doors typically feature an aluminum frame, which is lightweight, rust-resistant, and great for cold temperatures. Glass doors let in a lot of natural light and are commonly used with modern and contemporary homes. Artisan offers one glass garage door, called Panorama.

Our Garage Door Glossary

Below, you’ll find all the different parts of a garage door, ranging from styles to decorative and mechanical hardware. The inner workings of a garage door can be complicated, but our team of experts can guide you through the customization process.


a blueprint of an arched garage door.


A design option for the top section of your garage door, this style is created from the radius of a single circle. Arched tops come in a variety of configurations to match your preferences and home aesthetic. 

Most are simulated, but you can also opt for a true arch top if you choose a swinging door. Arched tops may contain simulated or true divided lites for a sophisticated look and feel.


This thin strip of wood is typically used to cover and seal the seam between panels when the door is closed. These strips are used on true-swing garage doors and attached to the active section. 



The casing is a finish-quality material that frames the garage door opening and often has a model profile for aesthetic appeal. 


Also known as decorative nails, clavos are 1×1” garage door decorative hardware typically placed along the outside edges and down the middle of a door to create a true swing appearance.

If you want to learn more about decorative garage door hardware, we have an in-depth guide that covers a wide variety of topics.


Clipped tops feature angled corners and can be made solid or incorporate windows. This style adds a subtle, distinct design that can blend into your entire exterior look. 


A blueprint of an ellipse garage door.


Ellipse tops, pictured above, use a minimum of two compound curves for a one-of-a-kind look. As you increase the number of curves, the design becomes more complex.



The face encompasses the entire front of your garage door, including the panels, windows, trim, and decorative hardware. 

Faux Stain Paint

When designing an Artisan garage door, you’ll have three different paint or finishing options, stain, paint, or faux stain paint. Similar to faux wood, faux stain paint will provide the look of a natural stain but with less maintenance. 

This type of finishing is meant to be used on wood composite and vinyl garage doors. 


The door face is mounted to the frame, which provides reinforcement and helps keep the door steady. It’s commonly made from aluminum, steel, or engineered wood, depending on the door series you choose. 

The parts of a garage door frame include the hinges, cables, tracks, weatherstripping, and panels.



Another final touch of your garage door is the jamb. This is a finish-quality wood trim placed around the door opening to obscure exposed studs, headers, and wall materials.



In order to create the look of a traditional lock these garage door accessories can be tulip, heart, or bean-shaped.


Also known as window panes, lites are individual sections within garage door windows that are defined by inserts, grilles, or muntins. Like other design features, you have quite a few options to choose from including mullioned, prairie, simulated divided, and true divided.



Suitable for stain-quality materials designed for paint finishes, this is a common choice for most wood, vinyl, and wood composite doors.


Panels are going to be the biggest garage door component and make up a majority of the design. They are large horizontal or vertical sections located directly below the windows. The number of panels varies greatly depending on the size and style of your garage door. 

Artisan offers a wide variety of panel styles, including flat, tongue and groove, V-groove, raised, and recessed. Once you decide on a door series, our team can help you choose a panel style. 


Also known as a slab or leaf, a part refers to the number of pieces that make up your garage door. For example, true-swing doors have one or two parts, bifolds have four, and trifolds have three. 

Parts can be active or passive depending on which side opens first. Active parts of a garage door help your door open and close smoothly. So, hinges, tracks, and springs are all considered active parts. Passive parts are more decorative features such as panels, ring pulls, or windows. 

Pull Handles

Pull handles come in a variety of designs that can be matched to your existing exterior. Artisan’s choices include tulip, heart, or bean shapes and are typically paired with strap hinges to round out the swing-style carriage door look.

a three door garage with arched doors, clavos, and ring pulls.


Ring Pulls

Two ring pulls can be added to the center of the door to simulate the look of a true swing product. A best practice for garage door decorative hardware is to make sure they’re placed in a realistic spot. 


Rollers are small parts made from nylon or steel that help the door travel through the track as it opens and closes. If your door isn’t opening or closing properly, rollers may be part of the issue.


Specialty Windows

There are two different types of windows you can choose from. Standard windows are typically ⅛” thick, clear, and double-strength. However, there is also an option to incorporate specialty windows. 

Glacier, hammered, seeded, and frosted are all different styles of specialty windows. The glass can add dimension and texture to your door as well as be an extra layer of security. 

All specialty windows obscure the interior of your garage space so people walking by aren’t able to see in. 


This refers to the horizontal pieces of an overhead door that roll up or down as the door opens and closes. The place where each door section (or part) meets is known as the joint. 


Sills are the raised, horizontal pieces that serve as the door’s threshold. They’re typically made from aluminum and are designed to protect against water infiltration. 

Simulated Arches

When designing your garage door, you’ll have the option between true arches and simulated arches. A simulated arch is actually a square top hidden behind an opening with your desired arch design. 


Springs counteract the force of gravity on the garage door so it can be opened manually or with an electric opener. Similar to rollers, springs may need to be repaired if your door isn’t opening or closing smoothly. 


Overhead doors can only have square tops, which feature 90-degree angles for a traditional, familiar look. 


Stain brings out the natural beauty of all-wood doors and is designed to create a durable surface barrier while retaining flexibility. Artisan uses NewLook EnduraStain on all of our stain-grade doors. 

Strap Hinges

Available in tulip, heart, or bean shapes, these garage door accessories are usually positioned on the top and bottom rails and/or in an intermediate location under the window area. The key to decorative hardware is to make sure the design looks like a functional door. 

Different types of garage door hinges connect each section and simulate the look of bending with the door as it opens and closes. 


Door stops are designed to prevent true-swing door slabs from swinging inward beyond the closed position and damaging the contents of your garage. They’re generally made from wood, vinyl, or Q-Lon and can be customized to match the finish of your door. 


Door sweeps are made from aluminum and cover the space between the bottom of the door slab and the sill. They’re required on all exterior doors because they prevent air and water leakage. This is just one of the parts of a garage door that help weather seal your garage space

eight different blueprint options for board options on your garage door.


Trim Boards

Trim boards are decorative pieces placed on top of overlay garage doors that enhance the look of your door and boost its curb appeal. Trim boards look best in pairs and can frame your door, divide it into distinct parts, or separate the windows from the rest of the face. 

Artisan offers a wide variety of trim board styles, including chamfered edge, cross buck (X-buck), cross rail, sprung buck, V-buck, Z-buck (A-buck), and square edges. Like other design pieces, our team can help you pick out the perfect style once you choose a door series.



Also known as the weather seal, weatherstripping plays a key role in keeping your garage at a comfortable temperature year-round. Similar to the door sweep, it’s designed to prevent air and moisture infiltration.  It can also help keep your door’s parts from freezing.

This blog was originally published on June 23rd, 2021, and was updated on February 26th, 2024.

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