Contractors are known to wear a lot of hats: task managers, coordinators, delegators, schedulers, coding experts, and quality controllers to name a few. While contractors regularly juggle many different roles and responsibilities, there’s one role they don’t receive nearly enough credit for: design influencer.

Contractors are on the ground floor of implementing design trends. While designers push the envelope with their ideas and concepts, contractors work out what’s possible, what’s probable, and what’s within budget. Keeping up-to-date with trends and understanding how to include them within a project’s guidelines and deadlines is a task residential garage door contractors regularly face. Consider this list a resource for which garage door trends are ruling the year 2016.

1. Faux Wood Grain

Faux wood grain feel has become a popular option for clients who want a wooden garage door. This treatment lets steel garage doors achieve the look of wood. As a result of its cost effectiveness, this finishing option is great for homeowners who want the appearance of wood without the upkeep, maintenance, and upfront cost.

2. Letting Outside In

For clients looking to maximize the safety and comfort of their garage space, we’re customizing ways to let natural light inside. The most common option is a garage door with windows. These allow natural light to illuminate your space.

Lifestyle screens are quickly becoming the most popular way to let the outdoors in. They are full retractable screen doors that work with your existing garage door. Lifestyle screens are great for individuals who plan to use their garages for exercise, entertainment, or recreation.

3. Size Matters

Garages provide a useful, safe, functional space, and homeowners are optimizing their space in a multitude of ways. Garages capable of storing vehicles, excess home goods, exercise equipment, and anything else a homeowner can think of require additional space. This need has definitely surfaced in terms of residential garage doors. Requests for oversized single doors and double door/single door combinations are rising. Instead of standard 9 ft. x 7 ft. residential garage doors, requests are typically 9 ft. x 8 ft. and 10 ft. x 8 ft.

4. R-Value

Do you have clients asking “What is R-value?” Put simply, it’s a measurement of thermal resistance. As people use their garages for less conventional purposes, the need for well insulated, energy efficient garage doors increases. The contractors we currently work with typically recommend mid-level insulated doors over non-insulated.

5. Bold Colors

Garage doors keep moving further away from strictly being a functional item. White, tan, and beige garage doors are still the standard, but you’ll encounter more homeowners searching for bolder garage door colors. When garage doors are seen as a statement or accent piece to a home’s exterior, they become a way to stand out from the neighbors. Thankfully, new paint technologies allow for added freedom in color choices. Previously, dark colored finishes were discouraged because of heat retention and delamination issues.

Residential Garage Door Contractors Influence Design

As a design influencer, your work as a residential garage door contractor is much more than project management. You’re bringing ideas and inspiration into reality, while keeping projects grounded in that same reality. Delivering a client’s vision and staying within a project’s parameters are key to balancing high quality service with cost and efficiency.