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How to Replace a Garage Door

Learn how to remove an old garage door and install a new one with these detailed step-by-step instructions.

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Step 1: Take the Door Measurements

Before purchasing a new garage door, take some measurements. Measure the width of the door from the actual structural member, not the trim piece.

Next, measure for head room so there is enough room for the door to actually operate. Lower the door to make sure there are no pipes or framing members in the way.

take door measurements

Step 2: Lower the Door

Each door is different — some need to be taken out when they are in the up position and some when they are in the down position. If a door has tension springs on them, it should be taken down when it is in the up position. It is very important that there is no tension on the door when taking it apart.

Once the door is up and locked into place there is no tension on the spring and it is safe to release it.

Keep in mind that when the springs are released there is nothing to help with weight replacement. Garage doors weigh 150 pounds or more and if the door were not locked in place, there would need to be some way of holding it up until it can be lower manually. If no one is available to help, a clamp can be put on the track at the end of the door (Image 1). When ready, release the clamp and take the weight of the door.

Remove the tension spring cables and then carefully put the door down (Image 2).

Step 3: Remove the Door Panels

Remove the pin of the top center brace and loosen the brace (Image 1).

Remove the nuts from the bolts on the top panel (Image 2). Remove the nuts at the top of the next panel down. The first panel should come right out.

Continue this procedure until all the panels have been removed.

Step 4: Disassemble the Operator

Remove the old door tracks and the laser sensor that keeps the door from closing when an object is beneath it.

Remove the brackets holding the track in place. Disconnect the track from the brackets that allow it to hang from the ceiling. Keep a firm grip on the rail or it will fall (Image 1).

Remove the old operator by unfastening the brackets holding it in place and snip the wiring (Image 2). Use a ladder to rest the motor on until someone is available to help pull the whole thing down.

Step 5: Prepare the Frame

Before beginning installation, check to make sure all of the new door's hardware is accounted for.

Remove the header trim and the old 2" x 4"s so the rough opening can be reframed. Use new 2" x 4"s for this and attach them with 16-penny nails.

preparing the frame

Step 6: Level the New Door

Set the bottom piece of the new garage door in place to make sure it conforms to the concrete floor. Check it with a level and add shims until it is level. Use a compass to make sure it is the right distance between the concrete and the bottom of the door on the highest side. Transcribe a line across the bottom to show where to cut.

Use a circular saw to trim off the bottom of the panel. Trim slowly and follow the line as close as possible so it will be a nice fit to the door.

level new door

Step 7: Install Weather Stripping

To finish the bottom panel, install weather stripping using galvanized roofing nails.

Note: Weather stripping will wear out over time and needs to be replaced.

Step 8: Attach the Corner Brackets and Build the Hinges

The corner brackets usually have an R and an L on them so they can easily be installed on the correct side. Bring them all the way down flush to the bottom of the door (Image 1). The heart shaped areas are where the screws go.

Next, start building the hinges. The hinges are all numbered at the bottom (Image 2). The first section will be ones all the way across. The one always goes at the bottom. The next section will have twos on the corners and a one in the middle, the next will have threes on the sides and a one in the middle, etc.

Step 9: Install Tracks and Rollers

Once the hinges for the bottom panel are in place, install rollers in each of the ones at the sides.

Set the track around the bottom two wheels. Brackets will actually fasten the track to the wall, but it is better to wait until the end so the doors can be as close as necessary. Attach the brackets (they have a little play in them).

The track is slightly flexible so it is easy to fit the rollers into it. Attach the track to the new 2" x 4" framing.

install rollers

Step 10: Mark the Hinges

The middle hinges go 48" in from the edges of the panel, and the last hinge goes 1-3/4" from the edge, just like the first one. Use a carpenter's square to mark them before installing the hinges.

mark placement of hinges

Step 11: Attach the Panels

Put together the tension rod assembly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for assembly very closely, because the springs on them are very strong.

It is important to bring all the door hardware, tools, and panels into the garage at this point, because until the panels are attached to each other, you are pretty much stuck in the garage when the panels start stacking up.

The tongue of each panel fits over the groove of the panel below it as the rollers slide on the panels down the track.

attaching the panels

Step 12: Fasten the Tracks

Once satisfied that the rollers won't bind in the track, fasten it down with screws. Connect the horizontal track and vertical track. It is extremely important that the two align correctly (Image 1) or the door will be out of line and the wheel will bump. Tie in the horizontal track (Image 2). Connect the tracks on the other side.

Step 13: Install the End Bearing

The end bearing is what the tension rod will slide through and spin. It is simple to install. Both plates go on the outside. A hex head goes in the bottom and a carriage bolt in the top.

install end bearing

Step 14: Fasten the Hinges

Before setting the last panel in the tracks, set the power unit on the actual frame and slide it in the ends. Hardened screws are used to attach the center bracket (Image 1). They are a different type screw — they are tougher and will last a lot longer. Make sure the bracket is level (to the eye) when installed and leave the bracket a little loose so adjustments can be made. Fasten down all the hinges (Image 2).

Step 15: Install the Cable and Spring

To install the cable that will pull the door up, attach it to the bottom panel.

Thread the cable through the cable winder (Image 1) and wrap it around. Once the cable is wrapped, tighten down the set screws (Image 2). If preferred, a professional can be hired to wind the spring.

Step 16: Install the Operator Support

Install the brackets to hold the new operator. Make absolutely certain they are securely in place. A couple more brackets hang down and support the actual motor of the operator (Image 1).

Attach the bracket holding the spring in place to the header support block. Attach the rail of the operator to the bracket and mount the motor (Image 2).

Step 17: Install the Trim and Paint

To install the trim, use a paint scraper to get rid of the old caulk. The vinyl trim is installed with finish nails. Paint the door.

Note: A job like this is very labor intensive. Allow enough time to install the door so that it is done safely.

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  • Garage door from JELD-WEN

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