With an average weight of 400 lbs, the largest and heaviest mechanical device in your home is the cause of 34 million people being killed or injured every year. For example, children and teens enjoy the fun of “riding the door.” This dangerous activity alone causes about 90 injuries each year.
An overhead garage door that is properly installed and has regular inspections, however, should be able to hold the weight of a child.
Keeping everyone safe means you must know how to install a garage door properly before tackling the job.
Should You Replace Your Garage Door?
91% of people surveyed say they are more likely to buy a home if the garage is well-maintained.
An old, outdated garage door can detract from your home’s overall appearance. If your garage door is more than 20 years old, you should consider a replacement.
Newer garage doors are safer and easier to operate and can increase the value of your home. A newer door not only improves the home’s curb appeal, but it can also provide better insulation and decrease utility costs.
Things to Consider
If you are planning to purchase a new garage door, you will need to choose the style, material, and whether to get a door that is insulated.
Insulated or Not Insulated
Doors with insulation can help control the temperature inside the garage and reduce noise. When looking at insulated doors, check the R-value of the door. The higher the number, the better the insulation.
If the garage is attached to the home, this added insulation can increase the energy efficiency of the home. This is especially true if there is a frequently used room over the garage.
You also want to consider what direction the garage door faces. If it is baking in the sun or blasted with wind, insulation will help regulate the inside temperature.
Do You Need a Storm-Ready Door?
If you live in a high wind or hurricane-prone area, you need to make sure your garage door can withstand those elements. The large size of a garage door makes it more susceptible to damage than any other exterior door.
Doors installed in high weather areas require additional bracing, heavier gauge tracking, and heavier hardware to keep them in place during extreme weather. Look for “storm-ready” models with a passive reinforcement system. This means the reinforcement is contained within the structure of the door and is engaged by simply locking the door.
Torsion Spring vs. Torque Tube
The spring system is an important part of your garage door. It is what makes it operate easily when moving up and down. As the garage door moves down cables attached to the bottom corner of the door cause the torsion springs to wind up.
The winding of the springs creates tension that works as stored energy. When the door is opened the torsion springs unwind and the energy helps lift the garage door. This is one of the most dangerous parts of the door to install or repair. Proper maintenance is important to prevent injury.
A torque master or torque tube contains the springs inside a steel tube. Having the Springs enclosed in a tube helps prevent injury from the accidental release of the tension.
Garage Door Material
There are a variety of material options to choose from when installing a garage door. What you select will be determined by not only personal taste, but also the weather where you live and your personal budget.
Rust-resistant aluminum is lightweight and an ideal choice for humid, caustic environments. To give aluminum a modern look you can replace the panels with frosted glass.
Steel offers the widest selection of color, insulation, and price options. It is strong, secure, long-lasting, and durable. Steel is available in everything from an entry-level, single layer, non-insulated, up to a premium 3-layer 2″ polyurethane insulated door.
Wood is usually moisture resistant, with selections offered in cedar, cypress, or redwood. The classic, natural beauty of wood offers a wide variety of finish options. Although wood requires more maintenance, it does offer the most flexibility for custom designs and decorative details.
Fiberglass is resistant to salty air damage. This lightweight, translucent material helps brighten the inside of the garage.
Vinyl is affordable and low maintenance. Vinyl resists denting and weather damage. This makes it an excellent choice for the budget-conscious buyer.
How to Install a Garage Door
Garage doors are large, heavy, and mildly complicated to install.
Most people who purchase a garage door choose to have them professionally installed. If you decide to do your own garage door installation, it is suggested you have a friend help due to the size of the door.
You should always refer to the manufacturer’s instruction manual when installing a garage door. Following step-by-step instructions will help keep you on track.
Release the Tension
Release the tension in the torsion spring by clamping the adjustable pliers onto the torsion spring shaft and wedging the plier against the header wall above the door.
Insert a steel rod into one of the holes in the spring winding cone. The cone has 4 holes for loosening and tightening. Hold the rod tightly while you loosen the set screws that hold the winding cone in place.
Use the steel rods to loosen the spring one-quarter turn at a time. Alternate between the two rods, using one to hold the cone steady and the other to turn the cone after the first rod is removed.
Remove Old Garage Door
You are now ready to remove the old garage door and garage door opener. After the spring tension is released, disconnect the old garage door opener from the door.
You can now remove the door panels. Start with the top panel. Remove the hinges connected to the panel below, using extra caution if there are glass panels in the door.
Disconnect the track by removing the bolts or screws from the door frame. If you are also replacing the automatic garage door opener remove the opener track from above and remove the opener.
Install Door Panels
You will now install the door panels. If you are installing a two-car garage door, place a reinforcing bar on the top panel to keep the door from bowing in the middle. Be sure the bar is centered on the panel.
If the manufacturer has not pre-drilled the pilot holes you will need to drill them. Secure the bar with screws. Attach hinges to the top of each panel.
Attach axle supports to the bottom of the bottom panel and to the top of the top panel. Place the bottom panel next to the door opening. Hold the panel upright by driving a nail into the wall next to the panel and bend it over to hold the panel in place.
Make sure the bottom panel is level before you move to the next panel. Once you have checked the level you can attach the next panel. The groove of the upper panel needs to rest on the ridge of the lower panel.
Repeat these steps until all panels are in place. The final panel should extend about 1″ above the top of the door opening.
Secure the Hinges and Install the Track
You are now ready to secure the hinges and install the track. From inside the garage, secure the top half of each hinge to the panel above it.
Place the wheeled axles into the side hinges and the top and bottom axle supports. You can now install the track. You should check the manufacturer’s manual to make sure you are placing the brackets in the correct spot on the vertical track sections.
After attaching the brackets, place them against the wall. Make sure that the wheels are in the track correctly. Attach the cable to hook it onto the bottom panel axle support before attaching the bottom bracket to the wall.
Install Spring Assembly Supports
Before installing the spring assembly supports, check the instruction manual to be sure you place them in the proper location. Assemble the pieces to support the spring assembly and attach them to the track.
Rest the curved part of the track on the vertical section installed earlier, then attach the other end to the ceiling bracket. Use the same ceiling supports that were used with the old door.
Bolt Tracks Together
You will now bolt the tracks together. Attach the horizontal track to the vertical track on the door. Do not fully tighten the bolts until you are sure the door fits properly and lines up smoothly.
Drill a hole through the horizontal track to line up with the vertical track. Use the holes in the vertical track as a guide on where to drill the holes.
Bolt the tracks together. You must use the correct size bolt. If the head of the bolt is too large it will obstruct the track.
Install the Springs
It is now time to install the springs. Locate the center of the garage door opening and mark the door header. This is where a spring will be attached later.
Attach spring anchors to the springs, then attach the spring locking cone. Make sure the cone is on securely. This is what prevents the spring from coming loose under high tension.
Bolt two springs securely to the main header bracket.
Install the Torsion Rod and Pulleys
Install the torsion rod and pulleys by sliding the torsion rod into holes in the side header brackets. Make sure the rod is secure, then attach pulleys to each end of the rod.
Secure the center header bracket to the center mark you made on the header. You will probably have to lift the center of the assembly to get it level before attaching it.
Attach the Cable to Pully Wheels
Attach the cable to pully wheels by bringing the cable up from below and attaching it to the pulley wheel on both sides of the door.
Turn the wheel so any slack is pulled tight over the pulley from the door side. Slide the wheel to the header bracket and tighten it securely.
Tighten the Springs
Tighten a pair of locking pliers to the rod on the outside of the bracket. This keeps the rod from turning when you begin to tighten the springs.
Snap a chalk line across the springs. This chalk line will help you see how many times you have turned the springs when tightening.
Use the steel rods to tighten the springs. The springs are tightened by reversing the loosening procedure you used on the old door.
Check the owner’s manual to see how many turns you need to tighten the spring. Look at the chalk line to determine how many turns you have made.
Once you reach the proper tension point, tighten the bolts in the anchor to lock it in place. Remove the pliers from the tension rod.
Garage Door Installation Is Dangerous
Garage doors have numerous parts that must be properly assembled to work together.
If one piece is out of place, it can cause the entire garage door to malfunction. You must be able to correct any improper spring tension, incorrect operator force settings, and make sure the door is level on the track.
When doing your own garage door installation, make sure that you purchase the correct track system, quality lumber, and all necessary hardware for proper installation. Hardware that is normally not included with a garage door is the track hangers, a lock, doorstop, color matching nails, and the top section operator strut base.
A garage door that is not installed by a professional can endure costly repairs or result in serious injury. It is recommended that you do not attempt to adjust or remove a garage door that has a standard torsion spring mechanism.
A garage door can weigh several hundred pounds. A door spring has enough force to easily knock a person off a ladder and throw them onto the concrete floor. The torsion spring can unwind so fast that you will not have time to move out of the way in time, causing serious injury or death.
Installations require a combination of physical work, attention to detail, and mechanical ability. You may want to consider a professional installation instead of risking injury during a do-it-yourself project.
Call a Professional
If you have decided that learning how to install a garage door is something you would rather not do, and you want to leave it to the professionals, contact us to schedule a consultation.
You will find coupons on our website, too. You can also schedule your appointment online or by calling 888-601-6005.