If you’re upgrading, replacing, or renovating your garage door, you might be asking yourself,
“Can I install the door myself or should I call a professional?”
The DIY vs. expert installation debate is one that frequently comes up with homeowners across the country. While there is no right answer, it is imperative that the option you choose maximizes safety and reliability. In the guide below, we’ll help you choose if garage door installation is a job you should take on personally.
One of the biggest reasons to opt for a DIY job is to save money. Of course, professional installation will typically cost more, but you could actually be saving money if you take long-term reliability into account. For instance, improper DIY installation could reduce the lifespan of the garage door, void the product’s warranty, or cause serious injury/damage. In many cases, DIY installation might seem cheaper in the short run, but compounding problems could force you to spend hundreds of extra dollars on a job that should’ve been handled by professionals.
Do I Have the Tools?
Before even considering if you should take on garage door installation by yourself, you need to make sure you have a range of tools and equipment. If you’re missing any of the tools below, then your DIY project could turn into a half-completed mess. Here are the tools you’ll need:
- Socket wrench and bits
- Adjustable pliers
- Electric drill
- Phillips head drill bit
- Open-end wrench
- Safety glasses
- Tape measure
Do I Have the Experience?
Some garage door sets are marketed as “easy-to install,” but for the average homeowner, this is still a harrowing task. There are dozens of parts and moving objects that could be dangerous if not handled properly, specifically the torsion spring, which is under significant amounts of pressure. A majority of the work isn’t necessarily difficult and can be accomplished with a background in construction or handiwork, but it is important to note that minor errors can pile up. For example, if you do not securely fasten tracks to the ceiling, the garage door can collapse. Similarly, if you do not mount the opener in the center of the garage door, then the door will not be balanced when opening and closing, warping the garage door over time.
While most of garage door installation is simple unscrewing of old parts and fastening of new ones, we again emphasize that only experienced handymen and women should undertake installation on their own.
How long will garage door installation take? That all depends on how experienced the installer is. A garage door company takes on this responsibility day in and day out, meaning that the average 3rd party installer can usually finish the job in less than 2 hours. Remember that a private garage door company almost never charges by the hour, but instead one flat installation fee. On the other hand, if this is your first time trying to set up a garage door, the project can take significantly longer, sometimes more than 4-5 hours.
Things to Consider
Garage door installation can be broken down into 2 parts: dismantling the old garage door and setting up the new one. When you purchase a new garage system, it will usually come with an installation manual, but keep in mind that this doesn’t include instructions on how to dismantle the previous garage door. This means that the disassembly process can be extremely difficult on your own.
According to most professional installers, removing the old garage door is the easy part. Installing the new one requires a commitment to accuracy and detail that will ensure the garage lasts decades without hassle. The average professionally-installed garage door should last about 30 years (with the motor lasting about 10-12). On the other hand, we find that DIY garage doors have significantly shorter lifespans, typically running into balancing problems less than 5-10 years down the road.
Weighing Your Options
While DIY garage door installation might seem like a good way to shed unneeded costs, we always recommend professional installation. Of course, this might seem like the more expensive option, but when you consider long-term reliability, this is actually a great investment. Contacting a local installer is easy and you could have your garage door up and running in less than 24 hours. Professional installation is certainly the way to go if you want to maximize the dollars you put into your garage door.