For those of us who are homeowners, we know that home values are important. Whether you plan on staying in your home for another 20 years or you are looking to sell in the near future, it is crucial that you consider the resale value of your home whenever you do repairs or improvements.
The garage door is no exception.
Luckily, your garage door is a pretty sound investment. According to Garage Wow Now, garage doors were ranked in the top three for home improvements whose costs are recouped through increased home value. Similarly, realtors regularly increased the list price of a home with a new garage door by 1 to 4 percent! That means, if you spend $2000 on a new garage door, you can increase the value of your home by almost $8000 if you have a $200,000 home. Furthermore, compared with the other two highest rated improvements — siding replacement and deck installation — a garage door replacement is far more affordable.
However, while garages are a great investment, they unfortunately break. Either they no longer track correctly, behave erratically, are difficult to lift or are damaged by a vehicle or inclement weather. Homeowners are therefore regularly left with the question, “Do I repair or replace my garage door?”
Luckily, there is a bit of science to questions of garage door repair and replacement. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on when to replace a garage door. We’ll prepare you to compare repair vs replacement garage door costs. We’ll discuss the ways in which repairs are the most affordable option while also exploring those moments when replacement will in the end provide you with more value added.
Either way, we want you to be happy with your garage door. We know that it is in an important element of the modern home. So without any further ado, here is your comprehensive guide for those asking, “Should I replace my garage door?”
The Importance of Hiring a Professional
Before we get to the question of repairing or replacing your garage door, it is important that you understand how important professional help is, regardless of which direction you choose.
To begin with, any home improvement is ultimately about improving the value of your home. Whether you are adding a deck, putting on a new coat of paint or updating your garage door, you don’t want to do anything that might minimize your return on investment.
Garage doors are more complicated than new gutters. They influence the beauty, functionality and security of your home. They integrate powerful motors and delicate electrical systems. And they are only as useful as they are reliable.
You may be able to make a repair on your own, but if that repair is subpar in any way, all of the interacting systems will likely break down in the future, leading to even more costly repairs or replacements.
However, most importantly, do-it-yourself garage door repairs are dangerous.
First and foremost, a garage door, by design, contains springs designed to balance your door and make it easier to lift. Those springs are under incredible amounts of tension. If a spring breaks or is improperly released, it can cause incredible and potentially fatal injuries. Keep in mind, when working on a garage door spring, it is likely that your face and head will be close to it, meaning that your most sensitive area will be in the direct path of the released spring.
However, in addition to potentially causing injuries to the under-prepared DIYer, a malfunctioning door can become a safety hazard to you and your family. Keep in mind, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), over 13000 people checked into hospitals with garage related injuries in the United States in 2007. You don’t want to turn a loved one into a statistic just to save a few dollars!
So, while you may feel like a certain repair is no big deal, especially with a YouTube video as a guide, we urge you to reconsider. Even if you think your repairs have been completed without issue, you may find you are the cause of significant problems further down the road.
Common Problems That Can Be Fixed
So what has caused you to ask yourself, do I need a new garage door? There are a number of issues that are common for garage door owners and that are repairable if a professional is consulted. Let’s explore a few of them.
- The Door Suddenly Stops Working:
You might think that if you wake up one morning and your garage door doesn’t work, that it is dead and you’ll have to brace yourself for a complete replacement.
Interestingly, sudden break downs are usually easier to fix. That’s because the problem is usually isolated. Because it’s sudden, you haven’t been mis-using your door for years, causing irreparable damage.
First and foremost, always check the remote batteries before you call anyone. Sometimes in the stress of an early morning commute with a non-functioning garage door, even the most mindful homeowner will forget to check the batteries and then feel the embarrassment of knowing that the only thing wrong was a couple dead AAs.
However, if you are confident that you don’t just need new batteries, make sure to call a professional. A service person with a lot of experience will be able to look at the problem and quickly diagnose the issue, saving you precious time. Again, while you may be able to save money in the short term by taking a day off and troubleshooting the problem yourself, the amount of energy and time lost as you search out the issue will quickly surpass the cost of a professional repair.
- The Door Seems Heavy:
As we’ve mentioned before, springs are installed within your garage lift mechanism in order to help lift the door. Because doors are so heavy, the lift motor would undergo far more significant wear and tear if it had to lift the full weight of the door every time you opened it. Furthermore, in order to ensure that you can open your door even if you lose power in your home, springs allow you to lift the door by hand when the motor is disengaged.
If your door feels heavy, it is likely that your springs have started to wear down and are no longer capable of bearing the weight that they once did. Now, don’t worry, just because a spring is starting to lose its strength doesn’t mean it will snap at any moment. However, simultaneously, a weak spring isn’t any safer to try and repair on your own.
Luckily, a worn spring is generally a quick and affordable fix. A repair person will come and replace your springs — always making sure to replace both simultaneously to maintain balance in your door — and soon be on their way.
You’d be surprised at how much new springs will change the feel of your door.
- A Single Panel is Damaged:
If you do have physical damage to your door, regardless of the cause, you want to get it repaired quickly if you want the repair to be cost-effective.
The key is to repair a damaged panel when the damage is limited to just that single panel. Most factory manufactured doors also supply individual panels to service dealers, so swapping out a panel is a pretty painless fix.
However, like a rusty spot on a car, if you ignore a small issue for long enough, it will spread and completely change the equation for repair costs. Once you are replacing more than a couple panels, it isn’t any cheaper than replacing the whole door.
So if you do dent your door backing out of your driveway or because your child is learning how to throw fastpitch, make sure that you address the issue immediately if you want to avoid a total replacement.
- Your Garage Door is Sagging:
When your door is closed only half way, does it look like one side is lower than the other? That’s the tell-tale sign of an imbalanced garage door. While it might just look funny, it is also a sign that your door is putting increased wear and tear on the lifting mechanism.
Think about the importance of having balanced tires on your car. If one tire is more worn than the rest, your car won’t work as efficiently. Simultaneously, certain parts of your car will bear the brunt of that increased wear more than others. That’s why it’s so important to rotate your tires regularly.
The same is true of garage doors. If one side of your door is sagging, it is likely that only one spring has begun to wear. That means that one side of your door is heavier than the other, putting uneven stress on your lift motor.
Luckily, rebalancing your door is a simple fix and requires a similar procedure to replacing your springs. By replacing both springs and then rehanging your door, a service person will restore the important balance of your door and ensure that it will wear evenly moving forward.
Signs It’s Time for a Replacement
Now that we’ve discussed some common and reasonably affordable repairs, let’s look at some the issues that commonly lead to homeowners replacing their entire garage door.
- Your Garage Door Hasn’t Run Properly for a While:
While a sudden issue is usually easily repaired, a consistent issue that has gone unaddressed for months or years will likely require a total replacement. The problem is that garage doors have a number of heavy, powerful moving parts. If the door is working as it is designed, it can open and close hundreds and hundreds of times without issues. However, if there is even a small issue in the lifting mechanism that repeatedly influences the movement of the door, you will soon find that the damage caused over those hundreds of lifts can’t be fixed.
- Your Garage Door is Severely Damaged:
At a certain point, the cost of repairing portions of a damaged door end up costing more than replacing the whole thing. This has become increasingly the case as the costs of garage door fabrication have lowered. Like so many things in life, replacement parts just don’t make as much sense in many instances as a total replacement.
This is especially true if your door has been damaged by inclement weather. While an errant hockey puck usually causes isolated damage, a fallen tree limb is likely to spread damage across a number of separate door panels.
Keep in mind, if you have experienced damage, you want to fix it quickly as you can, as a damaged door will also be unbalanced and thus cause further issues on the tracking mechanism and motor. A brand new door is still more affordable than an entire new door system.
- Your Door is Old:
Remember, the real value of a garage door is the curb appeal. Those searching for their dream home will be looking at the details, and one of the most obvious and eye-catching details is the garage door.
While a new coat of paint can go a long way in improving the look of your garage door, the truth is that door design has come a long way in the years since garages were first installed in homes. Not only are newer doors more in line with current fashion trends, but they are also better sized for today’s cars. A new, contemporary door is a great way to get an immediate boost on the value of your home.
Furthermore, newer doors come with more improved security features, helping to improve the way you protect your home and loved ones. While older doors are easy to break into, whether through breaking the lift mechanism or even using a universal garage door remote, new doors come with many redundant security features, which will go a long way in deterring even the most ingenious burglar.
- You’ve Had a Break In:
Unfortunately, even newer doors are sometimes bypassed by thieves. Maybe the burglar figured out the pin code for manually opening the door. Maybe they found a way to disengage the motor and were able to open your door by hand. Either way, it is unsettling when someone uninvited enters your home and sanctuary.
While you can certainly redo any security features on your garage door, it is often wise to replace the entire door if in fact that is the way a burglar gained access to your house. A new security code may seem like enough, but you don’t know how the thief figured out the old code in the first place. If the motor was disengaged, the issue might be a design flaw in the door itself. The best way to ensure that the thief doesn’t return or another thief doesn’t take advantage of the same unknown security weakness is to install a new door. Again, doing so with give you access to the kinds of robust security features that are being installed and implemented in the newest garage doors on the market.
- Your Door is Sapping Energy:
There’s another reason new doors are superior to old ones: energy efficiency. Keep in mind, garage doors are large, and when they open, they let a lot of outside air into your home. While you may have significant insulation separating your garage from the rest of your home, eventually that temperature differential will start to influence your energy bills.
While you may be able to increase efficiency by replacing the weather stripping at the bottom of an old garage door, the kind of insulation and energy efficient materials used in today’s new doors will make a drastic improvement on your garage’s energy efficiency. Just like the way a new garage door recoups its costs in increased home value, a new door will also quickly pay for itself in energy savings!
- Your Door Lacks Child Safety Features:
Finally, one of the most important garage door innovations over the years in increased child safety features. Sensors can detect when a child or pet is crossing the threshold while the door is closing, prompting it to stop immediately. Furthermore, doors can also sense when something is being pressed by the door, causing it to stop before inflicting a brutal crushing injury.
While many of these features can be installed after-market on older doors, others are not cost-effective when retrofitted. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your door comes complete with all of the latest child safety features is to install a new door.
Remember, garage door injuries are significant and more common than we would like to imagine. Isn’t your family worth the investment?
Choosing the Right Repair or Replacement Service
At the end of the day, a garage door is only as good as its installation. So if you are ready to start exploring your repair or replacement options in the Winston Salem, Wilkesboro, Boone, East Bend or anywhere else in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, look no further than Marvin’s Garage Doors.
Since 1970, we have been working hard to keep our family-owned and family first approach front and center in our business. While being a family keeps us happy, it also benefits you. We are invested in these communities. We are known by name. And we’re not about to tarnish our name through shoddy work.
We also have a wide range of expertise repairing and installing both residential and commercial doors, meaning we can tackle any problem, large or small. We carry a wide range of doors from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Clopay, so you can make the choice that makes the most sense for your home and family while feeling confident that you are getting a door of the highest quality.
We offer industry leading service performed by the best licensed professionals in the region. Whether you need springs replaced, a motor repaired or need a new panel on your door, our service workers will get the job done efficiently and effectively, ensuring that your door is back in working order as soon as possible. We also offer a wonderful preventative maintenance program. This is a cost effective way to ensure that you avoid future problems by having the small, unnoticed issues addressed right away.
Finally, we also carry any and every residential garage door product that you need to have a state-of-the-art, secure and safe garage door. We are proud certified dealers of Clopay doors, the most durable and versatile doors on the market. With over fifty years of garage door manufacturing experience, you can trust Clopay quality, just as you can trust our team to install these highest-quality doors.
We are proud of the work we do in Northwestern North Carolina. We love this community and we love serving it. So whether you think you need a small repair or a major overhaul, we want to be the team that helps you increase the value of your home while making it a safer place to live for you and your family. Our professional and friendly sales team are eager to connect with you, so contact us today and find out just how we can ease your concerns and make transform your garage!