If you’ve got a garage, you’re going to want to install a garage door, unless you like to live dangerously. Not only can a good garage door keep your vehicles and everything else you store in your garage secure, but it also keeps your home secure. It also keeps curious critters out of your garage. If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider the amount of money you spend heating and cooling your home, and then imagine it flying through your open garage. Conclusion: You need a garage door. If you already have one, but it's been a couple of decades since it was installed, it's a good idea to start thinking about a new one. Not only will a new one be more advanced (and thus, easier to operate), but it will also be safer.
Thankfully, installing a garage door, while not a walk in the park, is still fairly easy to accomplish. Once you’ve got your measurements down and your new garage door chosen, you are ready to begin. This is how you do it.
Read The Instructions
If your garage door comes from the manufacturer with instructions, be sure to read those first. They know their garage doors better than you or me, so if any instructions conflict with these here, go by what the manufacturer says.
Make Sure You've Got Everything You Need
This is important if you've bought a garage door kit. Before you start, you should make sure that the kit included all the pieces you need. Putting together a puzzle to find one piece is annoying, but it's not nearly as frustrating as missing brackets when you're trying to hang a garage door.
Even if you're not working for a kit, you should do an inventory anyway to make sure you've got all your tools.
Begin Removing Your Old Garage Door By Releasing The Tension
(If you're installing a garage door from scratch, skip to step 5.)
Otherwise, let's break the tension—the tension from the springs, that is. These instructions apply only if you have extension springs, which you might if your garage door's seen better days. If you have a torsion spring, you can release the tension yourself, but it can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. In that case, get a pro to help.
Raise the garage door and lock the springs into place with the locking pliers. Do this on both sides. Secure them to the track with the safety ties.
Dismantle The Old Garage Door
Disconnect the automatic garage door opener, if applicable. If you're replacing it, go ahead and remove it now by removing the track and then the opener. Then begins the work of dismantling the garage door. Lower it onto a block—2x4 is a good size—so you don't smash a toe or finger bringing it down. To do the actual dismantling, you'll want to start at the top by removing the hinges that connect the top panel to the one below. Remove each panel one at a time by removing all the brackets and rollers. Be careful of the window glass—it's a good idea to tape them (in a starburst pattern) so shards don't fly around if they break. Remove any leftover hardware and the roller tracks and then you're ready to start installing.
Begin By Preparing The Panels
If you're installing a single garage door, you can skip this paragraph. For everyone else installing a double garage door, when you begin installing the panels, you must brace the top panel with a reinforcing bar. This is to keep the garage door from sagging in the middle, so make sure the bar is right in the middle of the garage door. Drill pilot holes in the bar and then screw it in.
Now you will begin the regular preparation of the panels. You will work with one panel at a time. The top part of the panels may come with hinges already attached, but if not, go ahead and attach them to the first panel now. Be sure to see if the manufacturer already provided pilot holes. While your panels are still horizontal, you can take a shortcut and drill holes for the other hinges. That's because it's a lot easier to line up where the hinges will attach when they're lying on the ground.
If your garage door(s) came with weather-stripping, you can also go ahead and attach it to the bottom panels now. Make sure to screw brackets to the garage door so the weather-stripping stays in place. You will also attach the axle supports now. They go on the bottom of the bottom panel and the top of the top panel.
Begin Putting The Panels Into Place
Stand the bottom panels in the doorway where they will go. This is much easier with a helper, but if you are going at it alone, you can temporarily secure these panels on each side by wedging them into place with a nail driven into the wood jambs at an angle. Don't put the nails in the garage door itself. Finally, make sure the bottom panels are level. Then you'll begin attaching the top panels. Be sure that they're fit into place with the bottom panels and then start attaching the hinges on the bottom panels to the top panels.
Install The Tracks
Attach the vertical track with the brackets, making sure to consult the official instructions so the brackets are in the right place. You might not want to tighten the brackets completely, in case you need to move them. That's in case your tracks aren't level, for example, which is something you should be checking for now.
Then it's time to put the wheeled axles into the hinges on the panels' sides and into the axle supports (both top and bottom). Put the brackets against the wall and check to see if the wheels fit correctly in the track. Then secure the garage door cable to the bottom axle support before you attach the bottom bracket to the wall.
Double-check the instructions for where exactly to attach the spring assembly. Put it together and attach it where the instructions say. Put the curved end of the track on the vertical piece. The other end will be attached to the ceiling bracket with the same supports your old garage door used. (Obviously, if you have never installed a garage door, you will first need to install ceiling supports.)
Begin lining up the horizontal track with the vertical. The vertical will likely have pre-drilled holes, so you can see where on the horizontal track you'll need to drill to match. Once you've done and done the drilling, bolt the tracks together.
Attach The Springs
The spring anchors are attached to the springs, which is then attached to the spring locking cone. Be certain that the spring locking cone is tightly fitted. Then bolt the springs to the header bracket.
Slide In The Torsion Rod And Adjust The Tension
The torsion rod goes into the holes on the side header brackets. Once you've got it secure, you should attach the pulleys to the ends of the rod.
Mark where the center of the garage door is at the top. That is where the header bracket should be attached.
Attach cable to the pulley wheels on both sides and turn the wheels so that there's no slack. Move the wheels over to the header bracket and secure them there. Make sure they won't move and then secure the torsion rod with your locking pliers on the outside of the bracket.
Check your instructions to see how many times the spring must be turned to get the appropriate tension and then adjust it to that point. Once it's there, lock it with the anchor bolts and remove the pliers. You've just installed a garage door.
(Note: Again, if you're uncomfortable adjusting the tension yourself, it's best to consult a professional.)
Installing a garage door is not a task for beginners, but if you've got some experience—and better yet, some help—it's not as daunting as it might seem.