How to Replace Garage Door Panels
Author: Stan Klugman
After many years of wear and tear, especially in a harsh Calgary climate, your garage door panels may look tired and so worn out that they seem to be asking to get replaced.
Apart from wear and tear, damage or denting may call for instant replacement. You, therefore, need the right door panels for your garage door. Replacing garage door panels is not as easy as it sounds and not as difficult it may seem to you. There are so many ways of approaching the process, but if it has to be efficient and time-saving, you might need to consider the easy steps below on how to replace garage door panels.
But before you decide to do it yourself, make sure you have a solid understanding of how the garage door mechanism operates. Otherwise, it can be hazardous and cause serious injury.
Why Replace Garage Door Panels.
Usually, there are three scenarios when you need to replace your garage door panels. The most common being your bottom panel gets rusty, which causes you cables to break frequently and doesn't look appealing from the outside. Then you have upper panels that get damaged because the bracket that connects to your opener keeps popping out, leaving no usable surface to reattach it. In this case, you need to see if your springs are correctly adjusted, as it usually happens when the door is too heavy, and the opener has to pull too hard. The third scenario is actual damage to the panels if you drive into your door by the incident. In this case, you have to see if it even makes sense to replace 2 or 3 panels, as it can cost as much as a new garage door.
Find the Replacement.
Like any other process, you will need to gather what you need first. We are talking about the garage door panels you are going to replace the existing ones with. It is not on doubt that anyone would want a perfect replacement for their door panels. Depending on your door manufacturer
and model, it can be either very easy to find a replacement, or close to impossible.
Check your overhead garage door's brand and model to avoid ordering panels that would not fit, since many models are similar and a wrong type may disappoint you in the end.
In most cases, you can find the manufacturer of your garage door on one of the stickers on your door's inner side. With regards to the model, you'll need to look on the side of your panels, in most cases, you can find all the info you need on a side sticker.
It happens that there are no identifiable stickers on your garage door, and you can't find out what's the brand or model of your garage door. In this case, you have two choices, you can either contact your local garage door supplier, and maybe they will be able to identify your door just based on their experience, or find a section that looks similar and hope for the best. Obviously, the second option is far from being advisable.
After you are sure of the make and model of your door panels, you can search for them from any company that sells garage doors and see who can supply a new panel. However, if you are dealing with an older garage door, you might find it necessary to contact the manufacturer.
Remove the old door panels.
After receiving the new door panels for replacement, the first thing you need to do is get rid of the old ones. First, unplug the automatic door opener from the door to ensure no one of your family members tries to open the door while you're working on it. Remember, when it comes to garage door service - safety should be your first priority.
Once your opener is disabled, you can get to step number two, unwinding your springs. You have to be very careful about this since if you fail to unwind the springs, they might cause the door to spring open amidst the process, damaging the new panels or even causing injury. Keep in mind that if you need to replace more than two panels, it makes sense to replace the whole door since buying separate panels can be pretty expensive.
If you only need to replace your top panel, it can be pretty straightforward. First, you unwind the springs, and then you undo all the hinges so you can swap the panels. Once your new panel is in place, you can wind up the springs, and voila, you've completed the process of replacing your garage door panel. However, to get to the specific panel you want to replace, you need to remove all the panels above it. Remove each of the door panels one by one to get access to the one you want to replace. The panels usually have rollers at the ends and bolts on the bottom and top part. Loosen the panel by working up the bolts using a ratchet and socket. When it loses, it comes off the track easily, and you can remove it quickly. Do this successively until you reach the one you want.
The actual replacement.
After doing away with the upbeat door panels, you are now ready to fix the new ones. What you need to do is put the panel in place and slide it till it falls into position. Attach it to the garage panel below it. Once it is ideally in place, fasten it to the garage door.
You can use either bolts or screws to fasten it fully.
After confirming it is in place, you can now put back the other functional garage door panels and fasten them as well. Be sure to check that all the panels are in the correct order and are fully and tightly secured to their positions.
Wind up the springs making sure you have the right amount of tension, so your garage door is balanced. Test your garage door manually by raising and lowering it by hand. Make sure it's not too heavy, you should be able to leave your door half open, and it should stay there. If your door slides down, that means you don't have enough tension on your springs. If the door goes up when you let it go, you've put too much tension on your springs, and you need to release it a little.
After you are done with the springs and manual testing, connect back the overhead door opener and test the door to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
When Do You Need to Replace the Whole Door?
We have to be clear about when we have to replace the whole garage door or when simply one or two panels need replacement.
If you have a pretty standard garage door and there's rust at the bottom, it makes sense to replace a single garage door panel. You should keep in mind that the color of your existing overhead garage door probably won't match your new panel, even if you order the same color from the manufacturer. That's because the OEM paint on your door fades over time and can have a slightly different shade. In case you have two or three panels that need to be replaced, you might want to consider swapping the whole door.
When Do You Do It Yourself?
When the damage is not that serious, you can comfortably service the door panel replacing it on your own. However, some complications may require a call for a professional since they are more technical.
The importance of involving the professional is that if the problem is likely to lead to another one, probably even more significant than a current one, they will put proper measures to ensure the job is done safely and effectively. Ensure that if you decide to swap your panels by yourself, you have a solid understanding of what you're doing.
You can work on the minor replacements yourself, but as for replacing the whole door, you should contact a professional.
How to replace garage door panels is a question that is only answered when you are in a position to do the replacement or you have enough information pertaining to this process and similar ones. There is so much that you need to understand before you can work on such a project.