THE LAST GARAGE DOOR INSTALLATION GUIDE YOU NEED

A good quality garage door can serve you over 20 years if properly maintained and taken care of, but the day will come, and this garage door installation guide will come in handy. Depending on how comfortable you are with tools, this can be either a fairly easy task or a complete nightmare. Therefore if you’re unsure if you can handle a complete garage door installation, you might want to consider hiring a garage door company to handle your project.

Choose the right garage door

Needless to say, the most important step in the whole process would be choosing the right garage door. Things to consider will be listed below:

Design and color.

Your garage door attracts the most attention when people look at your house, so nailing the design and color is crucial. There is a huge variety of garage door designs by dozens of manufacturers, so doing your research and checking garage door reviews is very important.  We suggest choosing the right color from the get-go instead of painting your door later to match the house’s color.

Garage Door Insulation.

Depending on where you live, you need to choose your garage door’s optimal R-value (insulation value). There is no point in hanging an extremely heavy insulated door if you live in a fairly warm region. On the other hand, installing a non-insulated door in a colder region would be a costly mistake, as you’ll have a huge energy loss during the wintertime. In any case, most manufacturers offer similar designs with different R-Values, so you’ll most likely find the right specs for your particular need. Here you can find out more details about garage door energy efficiency.

 
Reliability.

Most garage door manufacturers offer a wide range of garage door models in order to fit any budget, but keep in mind, cheaper models won’t be as durable and reliable as more expensive ones. In this case, you really get what you pay for.

Availability.

Finding a great garage door picture online is an easy task, but finding the exact door at your local supplier can be problematic. Depending on your region, some doors won’t be available at all, and for some, you’ll have to wait 2-3 months to arrive. Take that into consideration and see what brands your local garage door suppliers can source for you.

Tools you'll need:

  • You will need a wrench set with bits. (Mostly for set screws on springs and cable drums, but may come in handy for tight spaces where your impact driver won’t fit in.)
  • Impact driver. (You can get away without it, but it will most likely triple the installation time.)
  • Level. (You’ll need it to make sure your tracks are installed properly and you’re not hanging your door crooked.)
  • Ladder. (Preferably two, it’ll make the job faster, so you don’t need to move one ladder around in the later stages of the installation.
  • Folding Sawhorse x2. (It is possible to get away without them, but you’ll have to keep all your sections and hardware on the floor, and your back won’t appreciate that.)
  • Green laser level. (Optional, but it is very handy if you have an uneven concrete floor. You can place it in the middle and see if you need to adjust the height of your vertical tracks. Also can help in determining the spring line later on.)
  • Grinder. (Not always everything goes as planned, and sometimes cutting off a piece of track is required during installation, doing it with a grinder or a jigsaw shouldn’t be a problem.)
  • Spring Winding Bars. (You’ll need them to unwind your current springs and wind up a new set of springs later.)

Let's get started

Let’s say you’ve done your research, chose and ordered your new garage door, and now it is ready for you to come and pick it up from your local garage door supplier or to be delivered to your house for you to install. Clear your garage as best as possible, so you have enough room for all the hardware and sections inside.

Step 1. Door Pick Up.

When loading your new garage door sections for transportation, consider the order in which you’re placing them. You don’t want to unload your garage door and realize that the bottom section is underneath, and in order to get to it, you need to start moving around the other sections. It will increase the chance of damaging or scratching your new garage door. On a side note, make sure you purchase a touch-up paint for your door, so you can fix small scratches if you’ll have any.

 
Garage door installation guide

Step 2. Removal of your current door.

Before unloading your new garage door, first, you need to take apart the old one. Note, for a professional garage door installer, removal, and installation of a new garage door is usually a one-man job, however for DIYers out there, we strongly suggest having a helper at all times.

  • With your door closed, pull the red emergency release cord down to disengage the door from the garage door opener.
  • Disconnect the L-Shaped opener arm from the door and move it all the way back towards the opener so it won’t get in a way.
  • Unwind your springs using spring bars or a pretty handy but expensive tool called The Surewinder.
  • Once you verify there’s no tension on your springs, you can start removing your spring assembly.
  • Starting from the top panel, choose one side of the door and remove a top fixture that holds the roller.
  • Proceed with the removal of the hinges that attach an upper panel to the one below it, removing the remaining top fixture and taking down the upper section safely.
  • Repeat the process for all other sections placing them outside your garage.
  • Finally, remove the rails (vertical and horizontal) and remove your old weatherstripping. At this point, you should be ready to unload your new garage door and bring it inside the garage.
 
how to install a garage door

Step 3. Unloading and preparing your new garage door.

Now, as your old garage door was taken down and out of the way, you can start with your garage door installation. Place your sawhorses inside the garage and start unloading your new sections from the vehicle. Remember the correct order of the sections, you don’t want to unload the bottom section first and burry it underneeth the other sections, you’ll need that bottom section shortly. You can easily identify the bottom section as most manufacturers ship it with the retainer and bottom rubber seal pre-installed.

Put your springs, shaft, one vertical and two horizontal tracks aside, for now, you will only need one vertical track for the type of installation we’ll be describing here. There are different ways to install a garage door, and in this article, we’ll describe the method that works best for us.

Step 4. Garage Door Installation

  • Open a hardware box that came with your door and sort everything first. You’ll find your rollers, hinges, brackets, bearing plates, screws, and other hardware in there. It’ll save you time if you go through the box and sort everything from the beginning.
  • Different manufacturers use different track assemblies. Follow the instructions provided with your door to assemble a vertical track.
  • This step is optional, but it is extremely useful if you have a sloped concrete floor. You may place a level laser right in the middle of your garage and make markings on the side jambs. It’ll indicate the placement of the bottom portion of your vertical tracks, so both of them will end up at the same level regardless of the floor slope. Of course, you can eyeball the correct location for your verticals, but using a laser will be much more accurate. In any case, we suggest attaching your vertical tracks in such a way, so they don’t come in direct contact with the floor. That will prevent them from corrosion over time. Do not forget to use a level when attaching your vertical track to the side jamb!

Once your vertical track is installed, and you’re happy with its position, you can prepare your bottom section to be installed. The hardware you’ll need for your first section:

  • Two bottom brackets.
  • Three rollers.
  • Two #1 hinges.
  • Pair of torsion cables.
  • A bag of Tech Screws.
  • Two middle hinges that connect the door’s sections (most manufacturers use hinge #1 for this purpose.)
 
garage door installations

Installing bottom brackets, hinges, rollers, and cables on your bottom section.

Now you’re ready to install a pair of bottom brackets with rollers and cables. Different garage door manufacturers have different designs for their bottom brackets, but the main purpose is always the same. A bottom bracket is designed to have a torsion cable connected to it and have a roller in it to secure the door within the tracks. Some garage door manufacturers provide special red-painted Tech Screws for you to use with your bottom brackets. That’s an additional warning for those homeowners who might want to remove their bottom brackets without knowing the danger of their actions. Bottom brackets hold an enormous amount of tension from the springs and should only be removed when the tension is off. Following the bottom brackets, install 2 #1 hinges with rollers and 2 middle hinges that will hold your section together in the next step. Put a cable on each bottom bracket ( it’s much easier to do now instead of doing it later when the verticals will be in your way.)

 

Together with a helper ( or on your own, if you feel comfortable), pick the bottom section and bring it towards the door’s opening. Now you need to slide two rollers (one from the bottom bracket and one from hinge #1) into the vertical track that you’ve installed earlier and lower the panel on the ground. At this point, your section is fully supported with two rollers on one side, however, there’s no support on the other side. In most cases, if it is not too windy, you can definitely get away with this, but if you want to be on the safe side, get a long nail and secure the section from another side by getting it in halfway into the side jamb, and band it to secure the section.

garage door hardware

Repeat the process for the other sections.

Now you can pre-install two #2 hinges with rollers and 2 middle hinges to the upper portion of your next section. Once done, you’re ready to place your section #2 on top of the bottom section after sliding the roller into the vertical track from the side. Use a nail as described before to keep this section in place from the other side if you don’t feel comfortable. Most garage door manufacturers design their sections to be interlocked so that you can stack them, and they will stay in a place without sliding forward or backward. Now you can connect your first and second sections with the pre-installed middle hinges. 

Keep repeating the same process until you get to the last section. Now you’ll need to install a horizontal track, as the upper roller that supports your last section should sit in the horizontal track radius. Ensure you secure the track properly in the back hang, and both screws are tight between your vertical and horizontal garage door tracks. 

At this point, you may proceed with your last section. Pre-install both top fixtures and rollers and stack the last section on top of the previous one, don’t forget to secure all the hinges.

Install the second vertical and horizontal track.

Once all your sections are properly stacked, and all hinges are secured, you might remove the nails from the jamb if you used them and install a second vertical track. Keep an eye on the markings you’ve done earlier for the right placement of the track, and make sure you use level for this side as well. Finish the installation of the horizontal track while double-checking the back hang attachment. The last thing you want is your brand new door to collapse when you bring it up for the first time.

garage door shaft installation
insalling garage door springs
garage door spring assembly installation

Install your spring assembly.

At this point, most of the heavy lifting is behind you. Now you may install side bearing plates and center spring bracket in preparation for spring assembly installation. Start by installing side bearing plates that will support your shaft. Usually, they come with different pre-drilled holes, so you can decide how high they will be placed on the assembly. Just make sure you use the same holes for each side so the shaft won’t be crooked. You don’t want to waste your time later to fix a pretty mature mistake.

With both side plates mounted, you need to find the right spot for your spring bracket. It should be on the same line as your side bearing plates. You can definitely eyeball this one, but having a laser line running across would definitely help with that. When it comes to middle spring brackets, there are two main types you might have, the adjustable one with no bearing in it or a solid bracket with a steel bearing. If you have an adjustable kind, you may screw it in right away, but with a solid bracket, you’ll need to work a little harder.

Installing a spring assembly with an adjustable middle bracket.

Find two cable drums, a 1″ bearing (or a round plastic piece), and your springs. Put everything on the shaft in the following order:

  1. Cable drum with black marking and letter R on it. (That’s your right side drum.)
  2. A spring with black marking on the cone ( Right side with cone towards the drum.)
  3. A 1″ bearing or a plastic spacer.
  4. A spring with a red marked cone (Left side spring with cone facing away from the spacer or bearing.)
  5. And finally, a second cable drum with red markings and letter L, indicating a left-hand drum.

Get two ladders, one for you and one for your helper, and walk up with the pre-assembled spring assembly. Slide it into side bearings and place the center of the shaft onto the middle bracket and secure it to the wall while verifying the level of the shaft. Make sure your middle bracket is on the same level as your side bearing plates, otherwise your shaft will get deformed over time, and the bearings will wear out faster.

garage door cable installation
cable installation for garage door

Time to put some tension on the cables and wind up the springs.

Now, when the spring assembly is properly installed, you can go ahead and wind up the springs, but first, you need to put your cables in place properly to ensure the door is level and won’t get out of alignment. 

Please start with the left cable, feed it behind the rollers all the way up to the left cable drum, secure the cable end into the special slot located on the side of the cable drum, and rotate it so there is no slack on the cable. Secure the drum with two set screws, ensuring you are not over-tightening them to prevent excessive shaft damage. Finally, take vise grips and secure them on the shaft while pulling the drum down to create tension on the cable. Lean the vise grips against the wall or a stud to ensure the shaft can’t rotate and the cable stays under tension. 

Now you can proceed to the right cable and repeat the procedure for the other side.

Finally, wind up the springs by using winding bars and make sure you wind them up properly. Not enough tension, and the door will be heavy, putting much stress on the garage door opener and increasing the chances of cables coming off the drums. To much tension, and the door won’t close as the opener will recognize an excessive closing force. A general rule for most residential doors, 28 quarter turns on each spring for a 7ft door and 32 for an 8ft door, but make sure you check with your supplier if you’re not sure about your particular springs. Test your garage door by hand and make sure it is balanced. You should be able to lift it easily by hand, and it should stay in the middle range if you let it go. Then lift your garage door all the way up and make sure the cables stay under tension, otherwise, they can fall off the drums when you are setting up opener limits.

Reconnect the operator bracket and set up opener limits.

The last step will be connecting the opener arm to your brand new door and setting up the limits. Every garage door opener manufacturer has its own procedure for setting up the limits, therefore you need to refer to the user manual for your specific garage door opener. 

While we strongly suggest that the garage door should be installed by a professional garage door technician, we also believe that some homeowners can do it themselves if they have proper tools and guidance. We’re proud to provide garage door installation services for our clients all over Canada and will continue to educate those who choose to DIY.

Quick Contacts

Calgary Garage Door Fix Inc.

Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Quick Contacts

Calgary Garage Door Fix Inc.

Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.