The garage door plays a critical factor in protecting your garage unit from harsh weather, pests and insects, and suspicious people. A broken garage door panel is as good as a doorless garage because it will severely compromise your garage’s safety.
Damage to the garage door can be quite an awful experience for homeowners because it affects both visual and practical aspects. A broken garage door not only compromises your garage safety and door function but also ruins the overall aesthetic appeal. Moreover, nobody is willing to pay thousands of dollars to replace their garage door when it’s relatively new.
So what do you do? Repair or replace the garage door?
Thankfully, most garage door damages are related to door panels that can easily be repaired. This will virtually save you thousands of dollars in removing and replacing the entire garage door.
Did you know it only costs $243 on average to repair garage door panels? Yes, it’s pretty cheaper to repair door panels and replace minor parts, but if the damage is more extensive, the repair cost could run up to $1500.
So, let’s learn more about garage door panel damages and how to fix them by yourself so you can save on expenses.
How to decide when to repair or replace your garage door panel?
Most door panel damages are minor that may only require a simple garage door repair. You’d only need garage door replacement when there is functional or aesthetic damage.
Functional damages refer to damages that compromise garage door operation. For example, a warped door panel creates extra friction when opening or closing the door due to metal-to-metal contact. This can greatly slow down the automatic garage door’s performance.
Aesthetic damage refers to visible dents, peeled-off paints, holes from metal corrosion, and rusts on door panels. Your best option is to replace the door panel entirely.
Here are a few other cases when you’d need to consider replacing the garage door panel.
Wear and Tear
Wear and tear on garage door panels mainly occurs from age, rain, snow, hailstorm, and road salt. Wear and tear from age is the most common form of damage. Rain and moisture will cause door panels to warp and bend hence compromising the operation.
Note: Wood door panels will easily warp compared to steel door panels.
Brute Force Damage
Damage from brute force happens from accidents such as the impact of a car, football, or heavy machinery. This can create a permanent dent, bump, and hole in the door panels.
Faulty operation mainly occurs when one of the parts isn’t performing well. You can prevent this by replacing old parts, lubricating springs, garage door opener, and torsion, and cleaning the tracks and garage door spring.
The bottom door panel is often the most prone to damage due to its position being the closest to the floor. It quickly absorbs rainwater and road salt. Moreover, the debris will accumulate over time, creating holes and garage door dents. It’s also easier for pests and wildlife to enter through the damaged bottom door panel.
Under typical breakdown situations, you can spot a more severe problem and have a solution to fix it. However, when conditions are beyond repair, the replacement of the door panel may be the final solution.
Can you replace just garage door panels?
It’s very much possible to replace the panels but the entire garage door. Thankfully, most manufacturers install a custom function on their garage door to replace one or more door panels without taking out the entire unit.
To find the best and exact replacement, you’d need to reach out to the manufacturer that produced your garage door. You can order them online and have them replaced by yourself. Unfortunately, for older models of garage doors, the replacement panels might not be available.
What is the replacement cost associated with garage door panels?
Getting your garage panel replaced may cost between $250 to $800, depending on the labor (hourly rate). On the other hand, replacing the entire garage door could run between $700 to $1400.
If you want to save over half of the cost, you should consider installing the door panels yourself. You can easily do it for under $150 by undertaking the DIY methods.
How do you replace the garage door panel?
When it comes to replacing the garage door panels, you don’t need a professional. The process is relatively straightforward and only involves a minimum tool.
Here is the DIY instruction to help you replace the garage door panel. Let’s assume you’re replacing the bottom panel.
- Vise grips
- Two hoists
- Tape measure
- Impact wrench
For safety reasons, remember to unplug the garage door motor.
Start with measuring the size of your garage door. Take into account the height, weight, and depth of door panels. Now check if the newly brought replacement panel is consistent with the old ones.
Attach the hoist to the top of the garage door track, then attach the other end to the hinge.
Find the cable joining the bottom bracket and vise grip to the drum, and slowly lift the garage door to 4-inches.
Remove Bottom Section
Make sure the hoist is tight. Then ensure that the bottom panels are held up by a 2×4 or something sturdy. This will ensure the door panels remain in position.
Use an impact wrench to remove middle hinge bolts attaching the bottom garage section to the middle one. Begin from outside and move toward the middle hinges. (Check manufacturer’s product manual before starting to replace the hinges)
Use a vise grip to remove any bolts. Detach the bottom broken panel and put it on a sawhorse.
Install New Door Panel
Clear the space. Take the new garage door panel and place it just under the remaining door. (Use support to keep it in place. As an option, you can ask a family member or friend to hold it for you)
Use the vise grip to attach both sides to the tracks. Ensure that the panels are placed in parallel to the rest of the door panel.
Next, place the bolts on both sides and then secure the cable onto the bottom bracket.
Place the rollers in the tracks and bottom brackets before attaching the track to the upper part of the section.
When done, approach it from each side and mount the cable on the bottom bracket. Then, slide the roller into the bracket.
Before letting it go, make sure the garage door is in place. You can use a hoist to hold the garage door.
Ensure the hinges are adequately secured for the last time before removing clamps, vise grips, and hoists.
Plugin the power code and then conduct a test operation. When everything is fine and the garage door opener is working fine, you can move on to removing the clutter from the garage floor.
Usually, the labor cost rams up the garage door repair. A repair technician would take anywhere from $150 to $350 to install a garage door panel. By following the step-by-step DIY instruction, you can easily save costs on garage door panel replacement.
Ensure that your garage door is in perfect condition at all times by maintaining it regularly. If any parts need a replacement, do it ASAP because the same problem will become large enough to cost you hundreds of dollars in the future.