Garage door replacement
February 8, 2015 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Had a catastrophic garage door failure this morning--the torsion spring broke, the cables broke. I'm wondering if other folks here have replaced their garage door and what recommendations they might have.

I wanted to get the axe out, Eugene. It took 3 of us a hour to get the 25 year-old, heavy wooden door open just so I could get the car out. I have a two car, 16'x7' garage door and a limited budget ($800-1200 range.) I know I'd like a lighter, possibly more weather-tight door. I plan to explore the gamut of possibilities--specialty shops and also the big box retailers and if can do it without paying for estimates, to get a few bids. My budget includes installation as I'm thinking this is beyond the scope of my handyman abilities.

I'm seeking advice from those who may have gone through this experience. Any pitfalls I should be on the lookout for? Any shops that folks would recommend? I can park the car outside so there is no time-pressure involved here, but I'd like to complete the process within a week or two. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
posted by CincyBlues to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Do you have a garage door electric opener? If you do not I don't see why you cannot life the door manually. But perhaps I don't get the whole picture.

I had my 2 garage doors replaced 3 years ago with insulated vinyl doors at $1200.
Not sure where you are but look in the phone book or search for garage door companies. They will certainly not charge for an estimate. At least here they do not. I'd avoid the big box stores. The contractors they use leave a lot to be desired. For them it is rush in, do it, rush out, in my experience.
Good luck.
posted by JayRwv at 11:32 AM on February 8, 2015

Best answer: JayRwv: "Do you have a garage door electric opener? If you do not I don't see why you cannot life the door manually. But perhaps I don't get the whole picture. "

The counter weight spring broke. Without the spring you have to lift the entire mass of the door to get it open; several hundred pounds.
posted by Mitheral at 11:42 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Okay, wait - did you have to destroy the door to get it open? We had a torsion spring break, got the door open just enough to have a repair guy go in and fix it. Keeping the old door. End of story.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:43 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had this happen, and we just had a local garage door repair guy replace the spring. They even make emergency calls, for when both your cars are stuck in the garage.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First, it will almost certainly be cheaper to get the current door fixed rather than to replace it. But the way you find that out is the same way you find out the cost of a new one -- call a few garage door places and have them send someone over for a quote.

I replaced a garage door a few years ago and it was a bit higher than your budget, but there were some weird things about my installation and I opted for a more expensive insulated door; without those extras, I think it would have been around $1200.

Personally I'd keep the current door and get it repaired unless it is rotting or having other issues, but you know your situation better than we do. Either way, getting quotes should be an easy process.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:59 AM on February 8, 2015

Response by poster: To clarify: I wish to replace the door, including the spring and cables. An insulated vinyl door is certainly in consideration and I'm glad to hear that it's in the rough price range I can afford. I'll be doing more due diligence during the work week, but I did want to hear from fellow MeFites who have replaced their garage doors.

I didn't destroy the door to get the car out but as Mitheral mentioned, it is one heavy booger. We used pry bars to get a wedge underneath it, then 2 of us muscled it up while another person placed (successively) a garden paver, a plastic cat litter box, and then a stack of milk crates. We got the door up but it was not a simple task.
posted by CincyBlues at 12:03 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Before going crazy on replacement, have someone in to look at it. The spring may not have broken but rather slipped on the rod.
posted by notsnot at 12:46 PM on February 8, 2015

I really appreciate having two rows of my vinyl insulated roll up door with window inserts.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2015

Best answer: My budget includes installation as I'm thinking this is beyond the scope of my handyman abilities.

Good. In my admittedly limited understanding of this kind of chore, I hear that people have gotten themselves seriously injured or even killed while attempting to install garage door springs.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: An insulated garage door makes a big difference if it gets cold where you live.

You can re-use the old garage door slats as makeshift attic flooring for storage. They are usually narrow enough to fit through the attic access panel and then you can lay them down across the rafters up there. Even if you don't want your old garage door, someone else may be interested in the pieces for this purpose.
posted by Ostara at 3:00 PM on February 8, 2015

Best answer: Those springs apparently have a 10-ish year life expectancy, so even if you replace your entire door this is something that will likely happen again at some point.

For future reference, you can avoid the pain of catastrophic failure by manually checking the balance every so often (use the quick release lever on your automatic opener if you have an automatic opener). All you have to do is move the door half way and notice if it drifts up or down. If it's drifting, have someone come look at it. They can adjust (or replace) the spring as needed so you don't end up with a randomly busted door.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 5:39 PM on February 8, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, everyone. Replacing the door was on my list of future projects--it's the original door and opener which makes it about 25 years old. All mechanical stuff eventually gives out and this just happened about six months too early for my optimal schedule.

Very good tip, doctor tough love. Not only is the spring dangerous, but if anyone has to get the door open manually in the way we did, watch out for toes. If the door comes down on a foot, it's a sure hospital visit.

And great idea, Ostara! The door slats just may end up in the attic after I have some fresh insulation blown in up there.
posted by CincyBlues at 11:15 PM on February 8, 2015

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