Your Garage Door: Repair or Replace?

December 16, 2009

Opening your garage door is an iffy proposition. Your garage door works, but is looking tired and outdated. Here are some tips for determining if you should repair or replace your garage door.

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Garage Door 101: How it Works

Most garage doors open using springs and a remote garage door opener. If your garage door doesn't work, check for malfunctions:

  • Remote garage door opener: As with home electronics remotes, your garage door remote control won't work if its batteries are expired, loose, or missing. It's also possible that your remote needs to be reprogrammed. Check out the remote before calling for garage door repair.
  • Garage door springs: Your garage door has either extension springs (mounted on either side of the interior garage door) or a large torsion spring. These springs do most of the work to lift and lower your garage door; if a spring breaks, the garage door won't open or close. If you have a single car garage, your garage door will have only one spring, and won't open at all if the spring breaks. Larger garage doors may open slowly with one broken extension spring. A visual inspection of your garage door will easily reveal a broken springs, which can be difficult to replace by yourself. Broken springs can be replaced for $200 or so. Avoid scams charging more than $300 for replacing your garage door springs.
  • Garage door opener: Your garage door opener may need to be replaced; home repair experts suggest that replacing your garage door opener (and getting a new manufacturer's warranty) costs about the same as having someone repair a malfunctioning opener.

Fortunately, most garage door problems are associated with these three mechanisms, and don't require replacing your entire garage door. Replacing your garage door may have more to do with its appearance than its functionality. An old, damaged garage door can detract from your home's appearance. If you're updating your home's exterior, adding a new garage door can boost your home's appeal, particularly if your garage door is visible from the street.


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