Full-View Garage Doors: What to Know Before You Buy?

You’ve seen them in restaurants, at retail stores based out of garages, and even in some friends’homes (probably in a cool design connecting the kitchen and deck or something equally hip).

Full-view garage doors—they are fabulous! They’re modern, versatile, and they just scream “elegance.” You’re in love and you don’t care who knows it.

This full-view California garage door between the living room and the outside swimming pool creates a wonderful indoor / outdoor space.

This California full-view double garage door comes with a Black aluminum frame that makes the light gray stone and the blonde wood stand out. Chrome hardware adds an industrial touch, and it all comes together like something from Pinterest or Instagram. You could even go with all black for the frame and walls for something chicer. Either way, imagine if this inside/outside space were yours!

This full-glass California garage door is perfect for creating that flow of space from inside to outside that you’ve been wanting for years now. The plans for your home improvement project are underway; your ideas are coming to fruition. You even have the perfect place picked out for your new all-glass door. But hold those horses just a second. This is important information you’re going to want to know before moving forward.

1. Full-view doors come with an aluminum frame.

AZO Matering says that this is very good news. Here’s why:

  • Aluminum is among the lightest of materials, even lighter than steel or wood.

    This means that your garage door springs won’t be under quite as much pressure or tension as they would be otherwise.

  • Aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion.

    Aluminum generates a protective covering called oxide, which naturally keeps the metal from coming into direct contact with the weather and environment. This is very useful when your frame is exposed to corroding agents. If you live by a large body of water such as a lake or the ocean (saltwater is among the worst corroding elements), an aluminum garage door like this California style is a great choice.

  • Aluminum reflects light and heat.

    This means that an aluminum door is already a natural insulator. However, since you’ll have large windows, this will probably be canceled out. But it can’t hurt—any insulation is a plus!

After the good news, though, usually comes some not-so-good news. This situation isn’t any different.

Aluminum is a strong conductor of thermal energy.

If your area of the country is pretty cold during the winter, your full-view garage door frame will bring that cold air right into the room.

If you choose a garage door with the full-view effect, remember that they have a fairly low R-value.

An illustration of houses, one of them having a scarf, they other seem to envy it

Basically, you’re choosing between aesthetics and insulation. Insulation means saving energy and money, but the aesthetics are what makes your space beautiful. The choice is yours.

For example, in an attached garage with heat (kept at 8-10℃, the recommended R-value for a garage door is 12; R-16 would be even more efficient for lower energy bills.

This can help you understand how much it will cost if you choose to have a full-view door in between an average-heated living room (20℃) and outside.

A boho kitchen with a California full-view garage door with a Nature layout, White frame color, and Clear Windows

North of Quebec, Canada has one of the harshest winters around. This homeowner still decided that a California full-view garage door was worth the added energy cost, especially with a crisp White frame and Clear windows accentuating the blend between her kitchen and the landscape outside. Isn’t that natural light amazing? It must feel great to gaze at the cold outdoors while sipping hot coffee every morning.

Perhaps your area of the country is milder. Maybe your energy bills aren’t too bad overall and you’re willing to use this aesthetic choice to bring in beauty and light to your space since you heat with wood or solar panels. No matter the choice, looks are often what people go for over anything else. We understand.

2. Your view might fog up in the winter.

Just like other windows in your home or the ones in your car, cold weather makes these windows prone to condensation.

Why does condensation happen?

Condensation is caused by warm, humid air coming into contact with cold surfaces.

A picture of heart drawing in a foggy window.

Air is full of moisture, no matter the temperature. Warmer air, however, holds more moisture than cold. Everyday living and breathing indoors increase the moisture level in a house. The sources are endless: showers, baths, dishes, laundry, cleaning, breathing… We don’t think about this very often, especially when warm weather allows us to keep doors and windows open so that air circulates.

As air cools down, it contracts, and moisture condenses into a smaller space. Then, when the temperature lowers, condensation shows up on the windows. This is because the windows are the coldest places in your home.

If you have large windows, that’s a large cold surface. Thus, a full-view garage door will fog up like a giant window… because that’s what it is.

Look how this full-view garage blends well with this shed transformed into a cute, cozy cottage. The Anodized frame color fits with the exterior siding.

Full-view garage doors aren’t just for modern, new homes in a contemporary style. See how this shed-turned-cottage (found on Houzz is accentuated by the glass door? The Anodized frame blends with the industrial style.

If condensation bugs you like it bugs us, there are many things you can do to prevent it.

  • Keep your thermostat around 19°-21℃.

    Don’t waste money on heating and then walk around in a t-shirt; get use out of your winter wardrobe and put on sweaters! This also has the added benefit of making the outside temperature seem less frigid if your home isn’t heated to summer weather.

  • Make use of your fans.

    This means you’ll need high-quality fans to begin with. Many appliances, such as dryers and stoves, create plenty of humidity in a home. Showers, too. Make sure the areas with these appliances are well-ventilated by using vent fans. Always turn on that range hood when you’re cooking, too.

  • Use a dehumidifier or air exchanger, or both!

    What’s an air exchanger, you ask? It works to suck in external air and exude internal air. During the winter, outside air is dry and cool—more so than inside air. Thus, an air exchanger lessens window condensation.

  • Put in a wood burning stove.

    Using a wood stove to heat a room or your home dries out the air. They’re beautiful and add ambiance to boot! They sound lovely, smell delicious, and work to heat the floor much more than other sources. Imagine what it would be like to watch the sunset through your all-glass garage door, curled up under a cozy blanket with a drink in hand, enjoying the fire. What is better than that?

  • Don’t hang clothes inside.

    Obviously, you can use your clothes dryer, even though it does create humidity. However, if you have things that can’t go in the dryer, do whatever you can to not hang them inside. Believe it or not, clothes can be hung outside even when the weather is cold. Hang-drying clothes inside adds a LOT of moisture in the air that you don’t want.

When you think ahead, you can plan for less condensation. If you’ve thought about bay windows or patio doors, these will have the same amount as a full-view garage door, anyway, so you might as well go with the bigger, better choice. You simply need to solve the problem before it even becomes one.

3. A full-view garage door is basically a giant window!

We know, you already know this. That’s why you want one, right? However, there are so many options that come with your giant window-door. Some of these are easily decided based on your taste, budget, and project needs. Some will need to be thought out more based on safety or energy use.

This California all-glass garage door is in the More layout with a Black frame and Clear windows is on the façade and the driveway.

This all-glass door in the California style is part of the More layout—it’s shown here with a Black frame and Clear windows. This isn’t next to or behind a building, but rather right in the front of the house, connected to the driveway. This is part of a care center, though, so no one minded the lack of privacy in the communal kitchen.

Number One Choice: Do you want to feel like you’re outside, or would you rather have privacy?

Many urban neighborhoods have the next-door family a little too close for comfort. Especially if you don’t have trees or a fence, you might feel as if you’re exposed if you choose a garage door with Clear glass. This is even more intense during the night when your lights are on.

Spectacular space from Houzz! This large trendy formal and open concept living room with white walls doubles the feeling of always being outside with 2 full-view garage doors!

This space found on Houzz shows a trendy yet formal open-concept space. White walls and a brick fireplace add to the outdoorsy feeling; the room is complete with two full-view garage doors.

See a California full-view garage door with a Black frame and Sandblasted windows by night.

A great option if you don’t want to go with Clear: Sandblasted windows! Also known as frosted glass, this is perfect for some added privacy when you choose a California all-glass door. The square lines bring symmetry and there is plenty of natural light that still comes through. When lights are on at night, you can’t see inside but it looks like a gorgeous, oversized lantern! That’s a glow unlike any other.

Full-view glass garage doors come in many choices for the glass components. They’re actually rated on a scale of 0−5: 0 is fully clear, no privacy; 5 is full privacy with light still able to get through. These usually come in the words tinted, frosted, or translucent.

Houzz picture - A modern kitchen that opens to a private courtyard thanks to a full-view garage door. - From Jeannette Architects

Fences and/or trees mean that you can still choose Clear glass on your full-view garage door. This combination is shown here in a contemporary kitchen design by Jeannette Architects (found on Houzz).

A close look at a California full-view door in 8'x7' with a White aluminum frame.

If you’re blessed enough to have a mountain or lakeside view, you definitely don’t want to waste it, blocking it off with a wall. Using a full-view garage door, like this one in the California style, gives you a soothing, natural effect even when you have to be inside.

Second Consideration: Is energy efficiency important to you?

If you answered yes, then choose a thermopane window made with LOW-E Argon.

In the cold months of the year, LOW-E Argon windows allow the sun to penetrate your home with heat and light. It also prevents heat from escaping. During the summer, they work to keep ambient heat from driveways, vehicles, etc. from entering your home, while still allowing light to brighten your space.

Useful chart about Insulating Glass Unit Performance

This chart shows how windows with two clear panes vs. one clear pane and one LOW-E + Argon pane perform. Learn more about LOW-E Argon thermopane windows here.

Consideration #3: Are you looking to improve resistance and safety?

If your neighborhood is fairly urban and crime or vandalism are issues that worry you or if you have very active children who are always playing near the garage space with balls, bikes, scooters, and the like, then the answer to this question is probably yes.

We hope we haven’t turned your dream of a full-view garage door into something more resembling a nightmare. Just the vision of you screaming at your kids every time they go outside to, “Be careful of the door!” or posting watch every night so that no one comes up near your home can make you cringe.

But you don’t have to envision either of these! Simply choose tempered glass over clear and both of these problems will vanish.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is standard glass that has been heated and cooled over and over, creating a product that is up to five times stronger than the original. If it does happen to break (which is unlikely), the pieces are duller and larger than when traditional glass shatters. This is usually what you see in car windows.

An important note: thermopane window come with tempered glass on one side (the garage interior) or both sides. If you’re installing a California all-glass garage door or one like it, make sure you are getting one that has thermopane tempered glass on both sides for the ultimate safety precaution.

A beautiful modern house with 2 California full-view garage doors, 6' x 8'6" and 16' x 8'6", Black aluminum frame, Sandblasted glass.

After all this information, maybe you’ve decided that a full-view all-glass garage door isn’t the best choice for your living space. That’s okay! They’re also perfect for your actual garage. It’s just like another accessory to make the space uniquely yours.

When you’re replacing your door, do you want it to add resale value to your home?

Home improvements make you look at everything with a new set of eyes. From the color palette of the exterior to the siding material, to the lights, the roof, and the plants surrounding your property… once you change one thing, you’ll want to freshen it all up!

REPLACE YOUR GARAGE DOOR, TOO! Otherwise, you’ll be left with a beautiful exterior and a ‘blah’ 9’x7’ piece of material.

Call us today: 1-800-590-4455.

Time for a new garage door opener or overhead door?

Here at Dor-Co Garage Doors, it would be our pleasure to help you get exactly what you need for your lifestyle and budget. We’ll ask you a few easy questions so we can get a feel for your needs and expectations; then we’ll give you all the options to fulfill your wishes.

If you’ve already found your perfect garage door…

Ask us for your free email quote.

If you want to shop around online first, or if you need some inspiration…

Check out our photo gallery of residential spaces. You can even see your favorite choices “on your home” with our smartphone-enabled Design Centre. You’ll love building your dream garage right from the comfort of your own home.

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