Just like many other aspects of a house, the garage door degrades over time. Often, if your door is over two decades old, it may be time for a replacement. Newer doors offer a range of benefits, including less cumbersome operation as well as more robust designs. Installing a new garage door also gives you a chance to update the aesthetics by choosing a style that suits your personal preferences.
In most cases, assembling a new garage door isn’t overly complicated, putting the project well within reach of many homeowners. There is some skill involved, so it’s helpful if you are already fairly DIY-savvy. Here’s how you need to handle the process.
Disconnect the Old Garage Door
If your garage currently has a door installed, you’ll need to remove it. This process begins with releasing the tension on the existing door. Begin by taking your adjustable pliers and clamping onto the shaft of the torsion spring. Then, wedge the pliers against the header located at the top of the door. Take one of the steel rods and place it into a hole located in the spring-based winding cone (any one of the four holes will work). Maintaining a tight hold on the steel rod, loosen the screws that secure the cone.
Start loosening the spring, proceeding with one-quarter turns, until the tension is released. Once you’re done addressing the tension, you can start removing the door. Your first step is to disconnect your old garage door from the opener. Then, you can begin removing door panels. Begin with the upper most garage door panel. Remove the hinges that connect the first panel to the second panel below. If your door features glass, make sure to take extra care during this process. Next, unscrew or unbolt the door from the track and remove the panel. Proceed with the next panel, using the same process as outlined above, until all of the pieces have been successfully removed.
Prepare the New Garage Door Panels
Once the old panels are safely removed, you can begin preparing the new ones for installation. If you are replacing a two-car door, you’ll need to add the reinforcement bar to the upper panel first. This ensures the center of the door doesn’t bow during the process. You’ll need to make sure the bar is completely centered. Then, drill the pilot holes. Once the holes are drilled, you can install the bar using screws.
Next, begin attaching the hinges to the top of each door panel. In many cases, new doors have predrilled pilot holes that were added by the manufacturer. Then, install the axle supports at the bottom edge of every garage door panel. You’ll also attach axle supports to the upper edge of the top panel.
Place the Garage Door Panels
To assemble the new garage door, you’ll be working your way from the bottom up. Begin by placing the lower panel into the garage door opening. Keep this panel upright by hammering a nail into a spot on the garage wall near the panel. Bend the nail towards to panel to keep the door in the proper position. Once the first panel is in place, use a level to make sure it is straight. Then, add the next door panel by placing it on top of the one that is already in place, ensuring the groove on the uppermost panel sits on top of the ridge located at the top of the lowermost panel. Check the upper panel to make sure it is level, then proceed with the same process to add the remaining panels. When the last panel is up, it should extend approximately one-inch beyond the top of the doorway opening.
Now that all of the panels are properly located and level, you can finish securing the hinges. Secure the top half of each hinge to the panel that is placed directly above using the hardware provided by the manufacturer. In most cases, guide holes will be provided, allowing you to get the hinges connected in the right place quickly. After the hinges are attached, you can begin adding the track brackets. Start by installing the brackets to the vertical portion of the track pieces. Make sure to refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the right locations are chosen for the brackets. Once the brackets are attached, you can set them against the nearby wall and check to make sure the bracket’s wheels are correctly located within the track. Next, connect the cable for the door to the hook located on the axle support of the lowermost panel. Then, attach the bottom bracket to the proper location on the wall according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Add the Spring Assembly
The next step is to attach the provided spring assembly to the track. You’ll need to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the spring mechanism is put together correctly and to find the ideal location on the track according to those specifications. Place the curved section of the track onto the vertical portion that was installed previously. Then, install the opposite end of the track to the existing ceiling bracket that was used for your old garage door. In some cases, you’ll need to drill a hole through the horizontal portion of the track to align it with the vertical section. Use the existing holes in the vertical track as a guide to help determine the correct placement. Once the track is in place, use bolts to keep each portion in place. Tighten them down firmly, checking to make sure everything lines up properly and the door fits. It’s important that you use the proper bolts. Otherwise, if they are the wrong size, the bolt heads may protrude into the track and prevent the door from operating properly.
To correctly install the springs, you’ll first need to determine where the center of the garage door opening lies. Use a tape measure to identify the center point and mark the header for the door accordingly. Next, attach the anchors to the associated springs according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow that by adding the spring-based locking cone based on those guidelines. Make sure the provided locking cone is very secure as it ensures the spring won’t come loose even under extremely high tension. Then, take the primary header bracket and use it to secure the springs.
Begin by placing the provided torsion rod into the designated holes located on the side header brackets. Once the rod is properly secured, install the pulleys by placing one at each end of the torsion rod. Next, you can secure the center head bracket to the door header on the mark you added in step nine. In some cases, you’ll need to lift the center of the complete assembly to reach that point. Lifting the cable up from underneath the pulley, bring the cable around the pulley from the side closest to the door. You’ll need to turn the pulley wheel to remove any slack as you proceed. Then, shift the wheel over to the primary header bracket and tighten everything down. Then, you’ll need to use two sets of adjustable pliers that lock into place to stop the rod from shifting when you start tightening the springs. Place the pliers on the outside of the bracket, attaching them to the rod. Using two steel rods, tighten the new springs. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the proper number of turns. Once the springs are handled, tighten each of the bolts to the anchor. This locks the springs into place. Then, you can remove the adjustable pliers from the end.
After everything is in place, you can test the spring tension to ensure the door operates smoothly. If you have issues with the operation, the springs may need to be loosened if too much force is required to bring the door down or tightened if there is not enough resistance. Once you achieve the proper level, you can reattach the door opener per the manufacturer’s instructions. As you can see, assembling a new garage door can take some time, but the process isn’t especially challenging. Now, you can enjoy your new garage door and everything it has to offer.