Q: I live in Skokie, IL, and my widowed mother backed the car into the garage before first opening the door. Can you tell me how to replace a garage door?
A: First, take away your mother’s car keys.
I spoke with my favorite garage door repair guy, and he laid it all out for me:
- Measure the door width from the structural member. Measure the head room.
- Raise the door, remove the tension spring cables and then lower the (now heavy) door.
- Take off the door panels. There is a pin on the top center brace that you remove to loosen the brace. Then remove the hardware from the top panel and lift off the panel. Repeat for remaining panels.
- Remove the laser sensor and the old door tracks. Then remove the old opener by unfastening its brackets and snipping its wires. Lower the motor gently.
- Remove old header trim and reframe the rough opening with new 2x4s and 16 penny nails.
- Trim the bottom panel of the new door to make it conform to the concrete floor. Transcribe a level line and cut with a circular saw.
- Install weather stripping on the bottom panel using galvanized roofing nails.
- Place the left and right corner brackets flush to the door bottom and screw in. Build the hinges from the bottom up, using the numbers on the hinges as a guide. Install the hinges on the bottom panel.
- Install rollers in each bottom hinge location. Then set the track around the bottom two wheels, and attach the track to the new 2×4 framing.
- The middle hinges are to go 4 feet from the panel edges. Mark the spot. The last hinge goes 1 ¾ inch from the edge. Mark its spot as well. Use a carpenter’s square and a pencil. Install the hinges loosely.
- Put the tension rod assembly together. Then attach each panel’s tongue over the groove of the panel below.
- Fasten the track with screws, connecting the horizontal and vertical tracks. Check your alignment, and then connect the tracks on the other side.
- Install the two plates for the end bearing on the outside, using a hex head bolt on the bottom and a carriage bolt in the top. Install the end bearing.
- Set the power unit on the frame and slide it in. Attach the center bracket and make sure it is level. Fasten down all the hinges.
- Install the cable and spring. If this concerns you, hire a pro.
- Install the door opener, then the trim. Paint to your liking, or apply two coats of a good car wax.