The Scary Truth About Cedar Overlay Garage Doors

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Garage Doors | No Comments
The Scary Truth About Cedar Overlay Garage Doors

Look around your neighborhood, and you might see some garage doors that appear to be made out of cedar. But many of these garage doors aren’t actually made of solid wood. Instead, they’re a cedar overlay — which is essentially a wood façade on top of metal panels and framework.

Due to their hybrid nature, these garage doors are lighter and easier to mass manufacture than solid wood garage doors are. But while this might sound good at first, you should think twice before you buy these doors — as they can lead to a host of headaches in a short amount of time.

Here are three common issues with cedar overlay garage doors.

Busted Garage Doors

Overlay garage doors can be susceptible to impact-related damage.
(Image courtesy: Todd Martin via Flickr)



Both history buffs and Superman fanatics have long raved about the strength of steel. As a manufactured alloy of multiple metallic materials, steel has been considered close to indestructible. That’s why giant steel girders have been used to support skyscrapers and bridges for more than a century.

But as with any material, the density of steel products matters. Those giant beams used to build giant towers are thick enough to be nearly impenetrable, and they’re anchored in a solid bed of concrete.

Cedar overlay garage doors with a steel backing are very strong, but far from impenetrable. By nature, these doors must open and close easily, often several times in a day. Because of this, the steel backing is much less dense than structural steel, or steel used to protect a bank vault.

Over time, extreme weather events such as straight-line winds can actually cause structural damage or breach these doors, necessitating repairs. Similarly, if you drive straight into your garage door by accident, the door will likely suffer significant damage.

Inside of Garage Door

Due to their design, overlay garage doors can become unhinged from the track easily.
(Image courtesy: Jon Dunning via Flickr)

Track Issues

Since cedar overlay garage doors are built with the track on the inside, that track is protected against intruders and rust alike. But you might still have issues opening and closing these doors from time to time.

There are three likely causes of stuck overlay garage doors. One is a poorly lubricated track, a second is failing rollers and a third is loose hinges.

If your track isn’t properly lubricated, the rollers will have issues moving up and down the track as needed. Thanks to the volume of usage and changes in the weather, track lubrication can get worn away in as little as a year’s time, so it’s important to re-lubricate the track every year or two.

Rollers can also wear down after a few years of use. A worn down roller will still operate normally at first, but eventually it might stop working entirely. It’s important to replace your rollers every five to 10 years.

Hinge issues tend to be the most troubling, particularly on cedar overlay garage doors. Hinges on these garage doors tend to only fasten the door frame or the interior steel panels to the rollers and the track. This design helps hide the hinge bolts from the outside of the door, which is the side that everyone sees as they pass your home.

However, since cedar overlay garage doors aren’t bolted all the way through, it’s easier for the wood panels to come loose over time. And when doors with loose panels open and close multiple times, the panels are susceptible to a collapse.

If the hinges on your cedar overlay garage door come loose, you’ll likely need to either refasten them or replace them. However, the design of the doors makes it nearly impossible to keep the issue from reappearing over time.

Damaged Garage Door Panels

If exterior panels rot or crack on an overlay door, the panels can be difficult to replace.
(Image courtesy: Grant Hutchinson via Flickr)

Cedar Panel Damage

While durability and track issues can cause major functional problems in cedar overlay garage doors, damage to the cedar overlay panels can also cause a lot of frustration. After all, these panels serve as the façade for your door, and no one wants a shoddy-looking exterior on any part of their home.

Since the cedar panels on these overlay garage doors are thinner than those on a solid cedar garage door, they’re more susceptible to weather-related damage and deterioration. If the cedar panels rot or crack on your overlay garage door, you’ll most likely need to replace them — which can be an arduous process because of the way these doors are put together.

Custom Wood Garage Doors

Wood garage doors give you the same functionality as overlay doors, but with fewer issues.

A Better Alternative

If you want that beautiful cedar look on your garage doors, don’t settle for an overlay. A solid cedar door will bring you increased durability and a stylish, natural look. Cedar garage doors built by Premier Entry Systems are bolted all the way through, so you won’t have to worry about the hinges coming loose. And cedar garage doors tend to have a similar price range to overlays, so you won’t break the bank to get one. It’s a win-win.

About Us

Premier Entry Systems is your best choice for custom wood garage doors and gates. We use the finest kiln dried wood for our products, which are made in our Texas-based shop. Contact us today and see why Premier Entry Systems stands above the rest!