Guide to Garage Door Windows

When searching for the perfect garage door, you might be surprised to discover how many possibilities are available. A variety of materials, styles and colors is expected, but one option you should also consider is a garage door with windows.

Benefits of Garage Door Windows

Whether you’re replacing an existing garage door or buying one for a new house, a garage door with windows has its benefits. One of the biggest differences you’ll notice is the abundance of natural light windows add inside of the garage. It’s nice to not have to open the door or rely on an overhead ceiling bulb to illuminate the entire space.

Clopay Grand Harbor Collection White Garage Doors with Windows
Clopay Grand Harbor Collection White Garage Doors with Windows

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Another significant benefit of adding garage door windows is the increased curb appeal. Many home designs put the garage door front and center facing the street, oftentimes taking up a good portion of the home’s profile. As such a dominant feature of the house, adding windows breaks up “the solid sheet of steel” and makes your home feel more inviting. Garage door windows are an easy way to give your house character and set it apart from others in the neighborhood.

In fact, garage door replacement continues to be one of the best investments you can make in your home. According to the 2022 Cost vs. Value report, homeowners can expect to recoup on average, nearly 100 percent of the money spent on a new garage door at resale. It can transform the entire look of your house.

Garage door windows are customizable, allowing you to select from a variety of shapes, styles and patterns. The windows can be placed in the door in a number of patterns, giving you the chance to truly create a one-of-a-kind garage door.

If you live on the coast or in a high-wind prone area, impact-rated glass that meets strict building codes like Miami-Dade County is available for garage door windows.

High-altitude glass is also an option for homeowners living in mountain regions above 5,000 feet who want garage door windows. Where standard glass has a greater risk of breaking, high-altitude glass is designed with a stabilizer to equalize any pressure differences.

Another garage door window consideration is to match the style of the windows to that of your entry door windows for a cohesive look. Some manufacturers like Clopay offer entry doors with decorative windows specifically designed to complement their garage doors, making it easy to coordinate your home’s home curb appeal.

Clopay Modern Steel Collection Garage Door 

Clopay's Modern Steel Collection Garage Door with Windows

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Before Adding Garage Door Windows

There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether to have windows or no windows in your garage door. From a purely aesthetic perspective you’ll be capitalizing on one of the latest design trends, the use of mixed materials. The combination of glass with steel, aluminum or wood (real or faux) can give you a warm, classic look or a contemporary punch of style. The garage door windows and door itself can be tailored to enhance the architecture of your home.

You might also be wondering if garage door windows are safe? From a structural standpoint, the answer is yes. Windows do not affect the overall stability of a garage door. However, windows are made of glass and just like the windows in your home, would need to be replaced if damaged by extreme weather or shattered by an errant baseball. If one of your garage door windows should break, it is easy to replace on most Clopay collections.

Privacy is another factor to consider. Most garage door windows are placed in the top row of the garage door, above the average person’s line of sight. But if you’re still concerned, there are options other than clear glass.

Take, for example, Clopay’s Avante Collection. This modern garage door style is made of aluminum and tempered glass, but homeowners can choose from several door designs including laminate, acrylic, frosted, mirrored, or tinted glass. Each option adds its own elements of style and degrees of privacy.

Clopay Coachman Collection White Garage Doors with Arched Windows
Clopay Coachman Collection White Garage Doors with Arched Windows

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How to Choose Garage Door Windows

When considering garage door windows and the pros and cons, it’s important to remember the experts recommend buying an entirely new door with windows as opposed to installing them in an existing garage door. To which your immediate reaction is, of course they do! But there are actually a few good reasons why a new garage door with windows is a better option.

Adding a new window section to an existing door can be problematic. First, a garage door panel with windows is heavier and adversely affects the door spring(s). The added weight can even cause issues with the automatic door opener.

Color matching also becomes a concern when you replace a single panel. As is the case with any exterior product exposed to sunlight, colors fade over time and the finish on the new garage door section may not perfectly match the rest of the door.

If you are investing in an insulated garage door, it makes sense to upgrade to insulated glass windows to maximize energy efficiency and keep your garage comfortable year-round. Especially if you use the garage as a more livable space, such as a workshop or playroom.

One of the nice things about adding garage door windows is the additional design opportunity. The actual shape of the windows come in several options, from a traditional square to sleek, designs with a Mid-Century modern feel. Decorative window inserts or grilles enhance the character of the window and can easily be removed for cleaning. Garage door windows can be simple or intricate, it just depends on the style you’re looking for.

Clopay offers garage door windows from either a classic or designer collection, both of which are inspired by current architectural trends. Options include Art Deco, Tuscany, Colonial or Prairie-style windows.

A good place to start when choosing a garage door window style is to consider the rest of your home’s exterior. How would you best describe it? Is it a classic Craftsman or a rustic modern farmhouse? Perhaps you’d call it a cutting-edge contemporary?

Regardless of your home’s style, you want your garage door windows to match. If your front door has windows, make sure the garage door windows have a similar shape and style. Otherwise, try to find a complementary counterpart to the other windows in the house.

Clopay Classic Wood Collection Garage Door with Matching Entry Door
Clopay Classic Wood Collection Garage Door with Matching Entry Door

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For example, many architects and builders use curved openings on windows and doors to make a house feel less boxy. You can mimic those curves by using arched windows in the garage door to help soften any horizontal lines across the house.

Clopay Reserve Wood Collection Limited Edition Series Garage Door with Arched Windows
Clopay Reserve Wood Collection Limited Edition Series Garage Door with Arched Windows

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The type and transparency of the glass you choose is also a key decision. Options range from crystal clear to completely opaque and everything in between. You can use glass or acrylic and have it tinted or frosted. Seeded glass and rain glass are also available to give your garage door a distinctive look.

Clopay Garage Door with Custom Seeded Glass Windows
Clopay Garage Door with Custom Seeded Glass Windows

Clopay Collections that Include Garage Door Windows

While there are a lot of customization options when it comes to garage doors with windows, Clopay already has several timeless looks established for every garage door collection – traditional, carriage house, and modern.

As you research your options, you’ll see that each door is available with architecturally appropriate window and glass styles.

Depending on the garage door model you choose, you may be surprised to find that you can put windows in almost any section you desire.

For instance, you can stack windows vertically down one side of the door, stagger them, or have windows in every section top to bottom on Clopay’s Modern Steel Collection and Canyon Ridge Modern Series.

Clopay Canyon Ridge Modern Series Garage Door
Clopay Canyon Ridge Modern Series Garage Doors

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If you want a garage door that has a French door vibe, consider adding two or three rows of windows instead of one across the top.

Clopay Avante Collection Modern Style Garage Door with an extra row of windows
Clopay Avante Collection Modern Style Garage Door with an extra row of windows 

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Adding extra rows of windows can also help balance the proportions of an oversized garage door that is 10’ tall or higher. This garage door height is common on homes where the owners have a boat or recreational vehicle to store.

Try on a Garage Door with Windows

Are you ready to take the next step and discover exactly how much of an impact garage door windows can have on your home’s appearance? Upload a photo of your home to Clopay’s Door Imagination System to “try on” different styles. 

Whether you’re ready to buy or still weighing your options, tap into the expertise a Clopay dealer can bring to your garage door decision-making process.