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How to Tell If You Should Repair or Replace a Garage Door

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As a homeowner, maintaining the value of your home is important. While many factors can affect home values, it’s always good to keep an eye on ROI. ROI (return on investment) is the difference between the cost of a project and the value it adds to your home.

Most home projects won’t necessarily pay for themselves in added home value. Still, maintaining your home overall will make a significant difference in its total value over time. Letting small repairs linger can turn them into larger and more expensive repairs, which become much less cost-effective. In addition, if you’ve owned your home for a while, you may also be considering some upgrades. Remodeling and renovations are a great way to keep your home from falling out of style, or just make your home more enjoyable to live in. However, some renovations have a much better ROI than others.

Some of the most popular home renovations, including kitchen and bathroom remodels, can attract buyers. However, even these appealing renovations rarely add more value than they cost. The main advantage is that they can keep potential buyers interested and increase the speed of sale. However, one renovation that actually increases home value more than it costs is garage door replacement. That’s because your garage door makes up a substantial part of your home’s facade, but it is relatively cheap to upgrade. The cost per square foot of a garage door replacement is much lower than the cost of upgrading any other part of your home’s exterior. In fact, according to Remodeling.com’s detailed 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, upscale garage door replacement in Atlanta has a positive ROI of 110%. Compare that to 87% for new siding and just 80% for a grand entrance.

How to Tell If You Should Repair or Replace a Garage Door [infographic]

When To Repair or Replace a Garage Door

With such an impressive ROI on garage door replacement, it makes sense to think about the effect of your garage door on your home’s value. However, improving the value of your home doesn’t necessarily require a full replacement. Sometimes all you need is a repair. TrustDALE wants to help you determine whether you need a repair or replacement. So here’s our rundown of the top garage door issues and which ones need repair versus replacement.

Garage Door Problems That Can Be Repaired

Some garage door problems don’t require a full replacement. Instead, you can save time and money and just get the problems repaired. Here’s how to tell if a repair is in order.

Your Door Suddenly Breaks Down

While a sudden breakdown may seem like an emergency, it is actually a sign that the problem is probably fixable. Unlike ongoing problems, a sudden problem is usually due to a single piece of your garage door malfunctioning.

If your garage door suddenly stops working, check for a dead battery in the remote before calling a repair professional. If you’re trying to get out of your home quickly to make it to work or to pick up a child, a sudden breakdown can be scary. But before you panic, try some new batteries. If that fails, you can always open up the door manually to get out of the house. Most garage doors have a red handle on a chain (sometimes it’s another color) that will disengage the trolley operator. Once that’s done, you should be able to lift the garage door manually. If the spring isn’t damaged, it will open without much effort.

If you replace the batteries in the remote and your garage door still won’t work, or if the door won’t open manually, you may need professional repairs. An experienced repair professional can diagnose your problem quickly and usually fix it on the spot, saving you time and money.

The Garage Door Seems Unusually Heavy

Your garage door is, in fact, quite heavy. However, it doesn’t always seem heavy. That’s because of one critical component, the springs. Your garage door is balanced with two springs that make it much easier to lift. Those springs save wear and tear on the lift mechanism. They also make it possible to lift the door manually in case of a power outage. But eventually, the springs begin to wear out. When that happens, they provide less assistance in raising the door, and the door can feel heavy.

Luckily, fixing a heavy door usually just means replacing the springs. That’s a quick and easy repair for a professional. However, this is not a DIY project. Even if they are wearing out, the springs in your garage door lift mechanism are under a lot of tension. If the spring is removed improperly—or even worse, it breaks—it can release all that tension at once. If you’re in the way of the spring when that happens, you could be severely injured. For that reason alone, it is worth calling a professional. In general, you should never do any repairs that require working on the springs yourself.

There Is Damage to A Single Panel

Most garage doors are made up of multiple panels. If a single panel is damaged, it can usually be replaced. Just don’t let the damage linger. A damaged panel can strain the lift mechanism or cause the door to lift unevenly. If left unrepaired, that could eventually cause damage to other parts of your garage door system, increasing the costs of the overall repair.

The Garage Door Looks like It Is Sagging

If your garage door looks like it hangs unevenly when it is partly raised, it is likely off balance. Just like a damaged panel, an off-balance garage door can put extra wear and tear on the lift mechanism. As we’ve mentioned, garage doors are carefully balanced on springs to reduce the energy required to lift them. If the balance is off, the lift mechanism is working harder to raise the door and will wear out more quickly.

Luckily, the cause of an unevenly hanging garage door is usually just broken or worn out springs. That’s a quick fix for an experienced garage door technician.

When It’s Time to Replace Your Garage Door

While many repairs are simple and making them quickly can save you money, there are situations in which a full replacement is the best solution. These are usually situations where the damage is more widespread and may include the following:

The Garage Door Has Been Malfunctioning for a While

A sudden breakdown is good news because it is usually just an isolated problem. But if your garage door hasn’t been working right for a while, the problem may have spread. It’s crucial to repair your garage door as soon as you notice a problem. If you neglected to do that, you might be in for a full replacement. A malfunctioning garage door can cause ongoing damage to the lift mechanism, even if it is opening and closing. If the damage has spread to the lift mechanism, it may be beyond repair.

Severe Damage to the Garage Door

If a single panel is damaged, it can be replaced. However, if there is more than one panel affected, it may be more cost-effective to replace the whole thing. If a tree has fallen on your garage door or a car has backed into it, the damage can be widespread. In that case, you may actually save money by just replacing the whole thing.

Your Garage Door is Getting Old

The garage doors made today have lots of features that weren’t available on older garage doors. If your garage door is getting old and is beginning to show its age, it may be time to replace it. A new garage door can increase safety, security, and energy efficiency, not to mention the improved appearance.

An old garage door can be a weak point in your home’s security. Older systems are not hard to break into. Sometimes a criminal can even override systems with a keypad and a code. New garage doors are much more secure and will increase the overall security of your home.

Older garage doors also have fewer safety features. One of the most critical safety features of any garage door is the ability to notice when the door is blocked. A descending garage door can crush a child or pet, causing severe injuries. Newer garage doors have sensors that will prevent them from closing if something is in the way. They also stop closing if the door bumps into anything on its way down.

New garage doors are also much more energy-efficient than older models. Your garage may be insulated from the rest of your house, but if hot or cold air is filling your garage, it will eventually affect your home. Newer garage doors use insulating materials and high-quality weather stripping to keep the outside temperatures from penetrating into your garage.

Finally, as we’ve already mentioned, replacing an old garage door can increase home values with added curb appeal. Replacing a garage door that is worn down or out of style is a relatively low-cost way of enhancing your home’s appearance.

The Benefit of Professional Garage Door Service and Installation

Garage doors are relatively simple machines, but that doesn’t mean they are a DIY project. High-tension springs can be dangerous to work on yourself. Also, if a garage door is off balance, it can cause damage to the lift mechanism. Trying to get the door balanced yourself could lead to added wear and tear. Finally, the time you spend on the garage door also holds value. Getting a professional to do the work for you could ultimately save you lots of valuable time.

If you need professional garage door service or installation, look to TrustDALE. We have quite a few trusted garage door service companies in our Family of Excellence. When you use any of these companies, you benefit from Dale’s 7-point investigative review process. You are also protected by his Make-it-Right Guarantee™. Contact a TrustDALE certified garage door service company for all your garage door service needs.