Garage Door Replacement Guide

By: Deanna Kane

As soon as your garage door begins making unusual noises or starts malfunctioning, it may be time for a replacement. It’s important not to ignore these signals, as they can signal serious safety concerns. This guide explains when a garage door replacement is necessary, the factors you should consider before a replacement, installation costs, and whether it’s better to do the installation yourself or hire a professional.

When is a garage door replacement necessary?

There are a few signs that signal it’s time for a garage door replacement. Here are the most common:

  • You’ve had issues with your garage door for months—If you’ve had consistent issues with your garage door for several months—it makes unusual noises, gets stuck, or doesn’t always open—it’s probably a sign that a mechanical function has stopped working and the whole door needs to be replaced. It’s best to do this sooner rather than later to avoid having to replace the entire garage door system.
  • There’s visible structural damage on the garage door—If the door’s surface has been damaged by rust, is warped, or has large dents in it, you should replace the door to prevent any further structural damage from occurring.
  • The replacement parts cost more than the entire door—If you’ve determined that the individual replacement parts for your garage door are going to cost more than a brand new door, purchasing a new replacement door may be the best option.
  • The garage door is run down—An old garage door can make your whole house look unkempt and dated, while a new garage door can increase curb appeal and attract the right buyer.
  • The garage door design is outdated—Though the garage door may work perfectly, its design could be outdated, causing you to replace it for cosmetic reasons.
  • Your home has been broken into—If an intruder breaks into your house through the garage, you’ll want to ensure no one can gain access through the garage door or compromise your home safety ever again. You can purchase a new garage door with updated security features that your previous garage door didn’t have.
  • You’re losing heat or AC through the garage—Some updated garage door models are more energy-efficient than older models. For example, a newer garage door may have better insulation to prevent heat or air conditioning from escaping, saving you money on utility bills.
  • You aren’t confident in the existing child safety features—Some garage doors can be equipped with child safety features that older models lack, such as motion or pressure sensors. If you have any doubts on the safety of your existing garage door, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid any potential life-threatening injuries.

Garage door replacement considerations

Before you determine which type of garage door is best for your home, there are several factors to consider.

Materials

Options may include custom wood, wood composite, steel, aluminum, tempered glass, fiberglass, and vinyl.

  • Steel garage doors—Steel doors are the most common type of garage door. They’re affordable, easy to maintain, weather-resistant, and secure.
  • Wood garage doors—While visually appealing, wood can fall victim to rough weather elements and require a higher level of maintenance to prevent weathering. Wood composite is a nice alternative to a wood door if you want the wood look without the maintenance.
  • Aluminum or fiberglass garage doors—While lightweight and less expensive than other types of garage door materials, these materials can be easily dented and broken.
  • Vinyl—This garage door material is one of the more affordable options available. Vinyl garage doors require very little maintenance, are weather-resistant, and can be manufactured with internal insulation. Though it’s a customizable material, its color can’t be changed (its color comes from the resin it was created with).

Garage door type

There are a myriad of door styles to choose from, including a sectional door panel, a sliding door, a swing-out door, a double door, or a swing-up door. All of these doors can come in classic styles, such as a carriage-house design or a sleek, modern model.

When selecting a garage door, make sure it matches the style of your home. For example, a sleek, contemporary door would look out of place on an English Tudor home—a traditional garage door would look better in this instance.

Custom designs and add-on features

Before purchasing a garage door, think about the add-ons you may want to include. Insulated garage doors can protect against harsh weather and improve soundproofing, while an additional layer of steel can increase door strength and make the structure more secure. Automatic garage door openers, windows, an access keypad to get into your garage, and other high-tech add-ons are just a few features you may want to include.

Permits

As a general rule, a permit will be required if you’re changing the structure of a dwelling. If you’re simply replacing the garage door and don’t plan to install a new garage, you likely won’t need a permit. Check with your local permit department, as well as your neighborhood’s HOA, before moving forward with installation.

How much will a garage door cost?

The average cost of a garage door varies, with costs ranging upward of $3,600. While this may seem high, a garage door replacement has the potential to recoup up to 97.5% of the costs.

To gain a better idea of garage door replacement costs in your area, collect several bids from different contractors and suppliers—this will help you narrow down prices and choose a garage door that best fits within your budget. When calculating costs, you should also consider the cost of removing and disposing of any old materials, installing the electrical system, replacing the actual garage door, and garage door opener installation.

Some other factors that may impact the price of a garage door replacement include: 

  • Materials used (steel, wood, fiberglass, etc.)
  • Width of the garage door
  • Installing a garage door screen door over the standard garage door
  • Adding additional layers of insulation
  • Installation fees, such as resizing the opening, replacing the mechanics or door hardware, or reframing the opening

Is a garage door replacement covered by homeowners insurance?

A garage door replacement may be covered by insurance in the event of vandalism, theft, or fire. Contact your insurance agent to learn more about your individual coverage.

How to replace a garage door

The best time to perform a garage door replacement is the beginning of the spring season to protect your new door from the harsh winter weather. While it’s possible to replace your garage door on your own, this is a job best suited for a professional. A professional installation will ensure that the garage door is safely and securely installed without any technical or safety issues.

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), more than 13,000 people in the United States suffered from garage door-related injuries in 2007. While DIY projects are tempting, a garage door replacement is a project that’s best left for a professional.


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