How to Install a Garage Door by Yourself

How to Install a Garage Door
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Installing a garage door may seem like a difficult task; however, with the proper knowledge, materials, and tools it is actually pretty simple. It may also be necessary to employ the help of a friend. It is important to understand that while this project is not necessarily difficult, it can be dangerous. Inexperienced individuals should seek the assistance of a professional to avoid injuries, structural damage, and further repair costs

Inspection and Preparation

It is important to read the garage door owner’s manual prior to taking any physical steps. It should explain what must be done as well as what is required for these tasks. Be sure to follow the manual and in the event that it differs from these or other online directions assume that the manual is correct.

Carefully take inventory of all of the parts which were included with the garage door package to ensure everything required is present. Review the installation instruction to determine what each part will be used for. It is a good idea to separate the parts into groups. This will make the inventory process much simpler, ensure all of them are there, and make finding them during the installation easier. Do not start the installation process, if anything is missing. This could cause bodily injury and/or damage to the door. While both garage doors and manufacturers vary, the following items should have been included in the package:

-  Panel sections

-  Hinges for connecting each section

-  Rollers for movement

-  Tracks to hold the rollers

-  Brackets for connecting the frame

-  Tension springs

Next, gather all of the following tools and keep them very handy during the installation process:

-  Nails

-  Hammer

-  Screwdriver tip

-  Screws

-  Power drill

-  One, or preferably, two ladders

-  An assistant

Step One

Attach the hinges to the first panel. Slip a roller into the right and left hinges of the panel. Affix the manufacturer’s weather stripping to the bottom edge of the first panel. Drill the holes on the rest of the panels for the remaining hinges. Lay the panels in succession on the ground to line up where the holes must be drilled to connect each section. It will be much easier to do this while the panels are horizontal instead of trying to do it while the panels are vertical.  

Step Two

Place the first panel in the entryway. Center it with the weather stripping edge on the ground. Ensure that the chosen garage door is the proper size. The standard size of basic rollup single garage doors is around 7’x9’. If the garage door is not the right size, it may be necessary to contact a garage door specialist to have a door custom fitted. Have a friend help or fix the panel in place angling nails partially into each of the jambs. Only use nails to hold the panel in place. Never hammer nails through the door panel.  

Step Three

Using the manual instructions assemble the curved, horizontal, and vertical parts of the track. These will be affixed during different steps so ensure they are kept separated; however, it may be necessary to connect the vertical sections together. The vertical length of the section should approximately match the height of the entryway.

Step Four

Slide the rollers of the first panel into the end of the track and lower it into position to install the vertical track. Begin with one side and continue to the other. Ensure that every track is level and the panel remains in the center of the opening. Affix the track onto the door frame using the provided bracket. Do not tighten them completely. It might be necessary to make small adjustments to their current positions when it is time to add the next panel.

Step Five

Place the next panel on the first with the help of a friend. The outside hinges should not be affixed to this panel when placing it. Angel each roller which is not attached into the track in order to install the rollers and outside hinges onto all of the panels. Next, slide the roller with the attached hinge into position on the panel and use screws to secure it.

The holes may be predrilled; however, the connection cannot be made prior as it will prevent the roller from fitting into the track. Perform this task on both sides of the entryway. Drilling the holes for the hinges and connecting the panels is much easier when performed on the ground. Be sure to do this prior to installing the second panel.

Step Six

Affix the hinges of the first panel to the bottom of the next panel. Once they are lined up precisely the screws may be tightened. The track must be secured further up the wall so that it is actually attached to the bottom of the previously installed panel; however, the attachment should still allow for adjustment.

It is important to ensure that the lag screws tap sound framing, however, are not completely tightened just yet as the tracks may still need further adjustments. Continue to ensure that the panels are correctly lined up and that tracks are level. Even a slight miscalculation in this area may cause future functionality issues.

Step Seven

Repeat the previous steps to install the rest of the panels of the garage door. Be sure the brackets below the panels are affixed to the wall. Make sure there is enough wiggle to allow for adjusting the brackets, but that they are secure enough to hold the panels in position. Examine the door to ensure that the vertical track is completely plumb and the door is perfectly level. Attach the top plates on the vertical track to the wall on both sides of the entryway to the point that they are secure. The garage door will exercise great force whenever it is raised or lowered so it is important that the lag screws are driven into sound framing.

Step Eight

Install the curved and horizontal tracks. Make sure to strictly adhere to all manufacturer directions while connecting the tracks. It might be necessary to use a ladder to support the horizontal track during this portion. Examine the horizontal track to ensure that it is level. Cut the rear track hanger to the appropriate size to support this track.  Use a portion of sound framing such as a ceiling joist to screw in and anchor the track hanger. Continue the process for the other horizontal track pieces. Ensure the distance between the tracks is the same below.

Step Nine

In the event that there is no garage door opener, the next step is to install the spring and/or torque tube which should have been included with the door. Make to follow the direction details laid out in the owner’s manual. If an opener will be used, do not install the torque tube just yet. Be sure to follow the garage door and opener instruction manuals for installation of the opener.

Both the spring and the torque tube supply lifting assistance for the garage door which is required to raise and lower it manually. Do not forget to install the safety cable when installing the spring. Springs are under extreme pressure and could cause serious injury without the protection of the safety cable. 

Finishing Touches and Final Inspection

All of the finishing touches including the final inspection are essential to installing the garage door.

-  Remove any nails which were temporarily placed.

-  Remove all obstacles from the path of the garage door so it has plenty of room to operate safely.

-  Ensure that everything is properly tightened once the alignment has been reexamined and perfected.

-  Examine the door to ensure it functions smoothly upon opening as well as closing.

-  Check the door once again to ensure it is secure and properly aligned.

-  Examine the track alignment and perform any adjustments that may be necessary.

-  Ensure that the rollers are free to move smoothly in the tracks.

-  Test the garage door to be sure it will safely remain open without falling.

Important Note:

This last item, as well as the entire check list, is extremely important as these doors are very heavy. If one should fall without warning, it could cause bodily injury and/or death. The spring and/or the slope of the horizontal track may require some adjustments, if the door does not remain open on its own.