How Do You Install a Garage Door?

Garage DoorBefore you install a garage door, you need to know whether your garage door has a torsion-spring mechanism or an extension-spring mechanism. If your door has a torsion-spring mechanism, the money you might save by replacing the door yourself is not worth the risk of injury. Always call a professional to replace, repair, or adjust a torsion-spring mechanism. At least call a professional to remove your torsion-spring garage door before you proceed with the rest of the job yourself. If your door has an extension-spring mechanism, you need only moderate do-it-yourself skills to safely replace the door yourself.

Torsion-Spring Mechanisms versus Extension-Spring Mechanisms

Garage doors weigh around 400 pounds, and if your garage door is raised and lowered by a torsion-spring mechanism, the weight creates an enormous amount of tension in the safety cables and on the spring brackets at the bottom of the door. If that tension is released suddenly as you attempt to remove the garage door, you or anyone who happens to be nearby could be seriously injured. If your garage door has a torsion-spring mechanism, the springs will be attached just above the garage door when it is closed. The springs on an extension-spring mechanism will be above the upper tracks for the garage door on both sides. The double-wide doors on a two-car garage are more likely to have a torsion-spring mechanism, because the springs are stronger and the mechanism is safer when in operation. The door of a single-car garage is more likely to have an extension-spring mechanism.

Getting Started

Even if you have installed a garage door previously, read the manufacturer’s instructions. There may be differences in the steps from manufacturer to manufacturer. If there is a discrepancy between these general instructions and those of the manufacturer, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer, according to Home Tips.

Your newly purchased garage door should have all the necessary parts included. However, inventory the list of parts included, comparing the number you have with the number the instructions say you should have. If any parts are missing, do not proceed with the installation. Instead, contact the manufacturer and have the missing part shipped to you. As you inventory the parts, sort them into piles in your garage or driveway. For example, place the number of parts needed for each section of the garage door with each section and place the parts needed for each track with each track.

In addition to the parts provided with the door, you will need the following tools to remove your old door and install the new one:

  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Pry bar
  • Socket wrench set
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • C-clamps or locking pliers
  • One or more helpers
  • Ladders for you and for your helpers
  • Drill with a screwdriver tip and a socket wrench can replace the screwdriver and socket wrench

Removing an Extension-Spring Garage Door

Before you remove your garage door, you will need to remove your electric-garage door opener if you have one. You may be tempted to save yourself work by leaving the track from your old garage door in place, however, that could invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty on your new door, according to About Home Garages. Further, for the new door to operate safely and correctly, its measurements would have to be identical to those of your old door.

How to Install a Garage Door

Doing some preparation will make the job easier. Attach weather stripping to the bottom panel of the garage door. If you are installing a door for a two-car garage, attach a reinforcing bar to the top panel. Make sure that the bar is centered, and then drill pilot holes and secure the bar with screws. This prevents the door from bowing under its own weight. If the manufacturer did not attach the left and right hinges to the top of the bottom panel, attach them and slide a roller into each one. Now, attach the hinges to each of the other sections. If the manufacturer hasn’t predrilled guide holes, lay the panels on the ground from the bottom to the top and line them up exactly. Drill the holes where the hinges will connect the panels. Attach the axle supports to the bottom of the bottom panel and to the top of the top panel.