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We discuss wooden garage doors cost, where to get the best deals, what type to choose and how much would a contractor cost to install garage doors.
Your garage door is often the first line of defense between much of your valuable property and the outside world. Sometimes your garage is an integral part of your house, in which case it can easily give access to your home for burglars. If your garage is detached from the house and there is no physical link, your garage is open to being broken into and your property stolen without you knowing.
So how can you win?
The answer is to make sure you have a sturdy and lockable door that has been well maintained and fitted. Unfortunately the garage and especially its door are often regarded as something that doesn’t really matter and they often don’t have enough thought put into their construction and security.
Although this article will concentrate on wooden garage doors, they can be constructed from many other materials. The commonest materials are:
Wood. The material from which all doors are traditionally made is wood. The material is attractive to look at and if the door is varnished so the grain is visible, it can be very beautiful. Wood is very strong and durable and if the door is made using proper joinery techniques and well maintained it can last for many years.
Wood has a very good thermal efficiency and will protect inside the garage from extremes of heat and cold. If however water is allowed to enter into the end grain through weathering, damaged areas or by not being protected properly, the wood can succumb to rot and deteriorate very quickly compared to the other construction materials.
Steel. Steel doors are very strong especially in areas prone to storms and high winds. Sometimes if the garage is subject to the building codes associated with fire resistance, then the door may have to be made of steel and you haven’t got a choice. As long as they are maintained well and the paint is regularly inspected they can last for many years. If rust and corrosion are allowed to gain a hold however, the steels door can become very weak and fall apart very quickly.
Aluminium. These have many of the advantages of a steel door except that they are often thinner so more easily affected by physical damage. Unlike steel they are not prone to rust and require very little maintenance. If repairs are needed, they can be expensive to maintain.
Fibreglass. This material has a good thermal efficiency and can withstand most commonly experienced temperature changes. Fibreglass resists splitting unlike wood and if damage occurs can be repaired very easily. There is no problem with corrosion and the surface is easily painted. The surface can be molded into any design you prefer.
You can buy wooden garage doors from retail outlets, home improvement centers and specialist contractors. You can even have your own door made to your specifications by a good carpenter or by a joinery workshop. There are therefore many different styles you can choose from depending on your budget, your preferred application and the existing architecture of your home.
Even though there are many different styles, they all fall into just three different categories.
These garage doors are probably the most used and are constructed from horizontal slats connected together with hinges and with a roller wheel at each end running in a grooved track. When the door is opened the slats can either be rolled up onto a reel at the top of the door or can run into a horizontal channel suspended from the roof of the garage.
These doors have a traditional and rustic look about them. They consist of two flat panels fitted to the sides of the opening by hinges like a regular household door but much wider. They open outwards to allow access to the interior of the garage and because of this are unsuitable if the doors open onto an upward sloping driveway.
These doors consist of one large panel completely covering the opening. They swing up on hinges and when opened are stored horizontally in the roof of the garage. They are very heavy to lift and so use counterweights or springs to balance the weight when opening or closing.
All these types can be controlled either manually or electronically by means of a motor and a remote control.
Unless the wooden garage doors are completely rotten and literally falling apart, they will require merely maintenance to make them as good as new rather than have replacements.
Most of the maintenance jobs can be done as part of your regular home maintenance program by someone who is reasonably good at DIY.
✓ If you have a remote control, replace the batteries regularly.
✓ If you have a remote control, check that the sensor is not obscured. Often trees and bushes can grow and prevent the signal from the remote control reaching the sensor. Cut the foliage back if you suspect this.
✓ If the door doesn’t open and you have checked the batteries in the remote and the sensor isn’t obscured then try the main switch inside the garage. If the door works ok then you have a problem with your remote or sensor. If it still doesn’t open then there is a fault in the motor.
✓ If you have a manual lock, use a squirt of lubricating oil in the mechanism.
✓ Check there is no obstruction in the guiderail or grooved channels? Have they been damaged or dented?
✓ Lubricate the following parts with some light grease:
✓ Inspect the door for signs of damage.
Inspect the door for paintwork damage.
✓ Inspect the door for signs of rot and insect attack.
There are some items that will have to be checked and maintained by a professional contractor:
✓ Replacement of the sensor. You should be able to buy a replacement remote control yourself.
✓ Servicing and repairing the motor.
Although removing dents in the channels can be done as DIY, anything involving removing the channels, counterweights or springs must be done by a contractor. The springs and counterweights store a large amount of energy and can be very dangerous if it is not released in a controlled way by someone who knows what they are doing. Not only that but it is a very difficult job to replace the springs and channels and best left to the professional anyway.
If you have problems with your garage door and can’t decide on whether to call a professional or not, there is a simple troubleshooting guide that might help you sort things out:
There are a few things that can make a door not open or close properly.
✓ Problems with the sensor. Check to see if the sensor is blocked by anything, we talked about this earlier.
✓ Problems with the remote control. Check the batteries don’t need changing. If you have new batteries then it might be the remote itself. Get it repaired or buy a new one.
✓ Problems with the motor. If you try to open the door with the main indoor switch and things still don’t work, you may have problems with the motor. Before you call the professional check you haven’t got a power cut or that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If those are ok then you will have to call in someone to fix the motor.
✓ Check to see whether there is an obstruction preventing the door from closing or opening. Is the door hanging correctly? The channel may be damaged or dented and you may be able to bend the metal back into shape. If not then you will need to call a professional.
✓ There might be an obstruction. Check to see if something is preventing the door from moving or is stopping it from hanging correctly.
✓ Springs. If there is a problem with the springs or counterweights, you will need a professional. Do not attempt this yourself as they can be dangerous.
✓ Check in the horizontal and vertical tracks to see if there are problems. You may be able to fix this yourself or you might need a professional.
✓ Loud screeching noises when the door moves. First of all check to see if the moving parts need lubricant, if so:
✓ Clean the tracks. Using a soft brush clear any debris from the tracks, hinges and grooves. You can also wash out any solids with water.
✓ Let it dry. Allow the hinges and tracks to dry properly and apply lubricant (light grease or whatever the manufacturer recommends).
Did that work? If you still have a horrible noise you will have to call in a professional.
✓ If your door falls quicker than usual or if it moves around like it is out of control, you have problems with the springs or counterweights.
Call a professional.
Other minor problems can occur to your garage door and the attachments that allow it to move. Usually you can fix them yourself but if you aren’t sure then always call a professional.
Dents and scrapes. Usually this can be repaired easily as a DIY job. If however you aren’t sure how to fix it or the damage is too great to fix then call in a professional.
Glass. Sometimes garage doors have glass panels set into the surface. If the glass becomes cracked or smashed then replace the pane with new. If you aren’t sure how to do that, call a glazier.
Roller, hinges and remote control. Usually these things cannot be repaired and require a new replacement. If you aren’t sure how to do this then call in a professional.
There is one maintenance task that many people forget about and that is paint or varnish. Wooden garage doors are just like any other piece of exterior wood; they need to be protected from the weather, scrapes and knocks. A good quality varnish or paint will help protect the wood. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to seal the top and bottom rails and anywhere that has had parts cut out for fitting lock and hinges. Remove the fittings and give the wood a seal before replacing the fitting again.
It is very easy to find a good garage door installer but unfortunately there are even more ways to find a bad one.
Before we talk about good or bad contractors let’s just sidestep a minute and talk about the difference between a “quotation” and an “estimate”. Many people use the word interchangeably but in fact they have two very different meanings when applied to the construction industry.
An estimate. This is basically an approximation of a quantity based on practical experience and other information available at the time of giving it. It also implies that there may be other pertinent facts not yet known that might affect the estimate.
A quotation. This is a formal statement of a promise by a supplier for goods or services at specified prices. The quotation may also contain other items such as terms and conditions of sale and payment, any warranties offered together with guarantees. Acceptance of a quotation constitutes a contractual agreement binding on both parties.
From this you can see that a quotation is always more preferable for a customer to have and an estimate is usually better for the supplier to have. Although you should always try for a quotation there are some situations when you just are not going to get one.
Sometimes the condition of the workplace or even of the work that is required to be done holds so many unknowns that it is impossible for a contractor to give you a firm quotation. In this case an estimate is the only type of agreement available. If this is the case, try to get as many other terms and conditions written into the estimate as is possible. An example of the unknowns could go something like this.
You ask the contractor to repair your garage door and he agrees to take on the work. In all fairness you must realize that he will not know exactly how much rotten wood needs to be replaced until he starts to cut and chisel away at the damage. In cases like this you must accept that there will be unknowns and be prepared to alter your payment terms accordingly.
So, we now know what an estimate and a quotation are we can now talk about the contractor who will hopefully give one to you.
The following points might give you some ideas about how you can go about finding a suitable professional to do the work.
✓ Ask around and find a friend or acquaintance who can give a personal recommendation.
✓ Local garage door companies have a reputation in your area and will not want to jeopardize this. You will often find that local companies who have been established a long time will be a good choice.
✓ Large national garage door companies who have local branches are always a good bet. They have the resources to thoroughly train their workforce. They are also able to fund apprentices and continuing professional development courses for their established technicians.
Expect these technicians to be well versed in modern techniques and quick workers but also expect to have a trainee on site with a qualified person.
✓ Many garage door manufacturers will have a list of approved contractors local to you.
✓ Always get at least three quotations before choosing. The amounts should be approximately the same. If one is a lot less than the others check that they haven’t missed anything important out of the quote. Don’t automatically choose the cheapest, look at the whole package offered. One contractor might give better warranty terms than the others.
As said previously, unfortunately there are scams and confidence tricksters in every walk of life, it just so happens that the construction industry has probably got more than any other. It is impossible to give an example of every type of scam you might come across, but we can give you an idea of what to look out for.
A reputable contractor will always want to inspect the job before giving a quotation, but he might be able to give you an approximate estimate over the phone. Just make sure you know exactly what you want and be specific. For example you could ask for a pair of oak carriage doors to be manually opened and closed. He will most probably be able to give you a rough idea of cost to install but will not specify the cost to buy the doors because that depends on the size and style. Be wary of the person, who can pluck figures out of the air, they might not be true ones.
f the company has a local phone number but is transferred to a large call center then it probably is a small company trying to look bigger than they really are.
When you receive the quotation make sure the information is on headed paper and is signed by someone in authority.
When the contractor arrives to inspect the job, notice how professional he looks. Notice the condition of his vehicle and whether there is a company name on the side. Is he clean, tidy and polite? Does he sound like he knows his stuff? Would you trust him in your home alone?
If there are various options you can choose from such as quality of springs etc, make sure he has put the specifications down in writing and that he has explained what the differences between them are.
Try to find out before the contractor’s visit what is wrong with your garage door and whether it can be repaired or if it should be replaced.
Does the contractor give a guarantee and warranty for his labour and for the garage door from the manufacturer? If he doesn’t then you should find someone else.
Ask for references from previous customers for similar jobs. Follow them up and ask the references if they were really happy with the contractor’s work. Was he professional at all times and what was he like at timekeeping?
If the contractor is a specialist garage door company then don’t expect any other work except those connected to garage doors. This isn’t always a bad thing as most installation companies will also offer a regular maintenance and service contract. You will pay a fee, perhaps monthly or quarterly and in return the company will arrive at regular intervals to service the motor, lubricate the springs or hinges, and clean out the channels and many more jobs.
If you choose an independent contractor such as a carpenter to install your garage door, the carpenter will also be able to do many more jobs associated with carpentry such as:
The cost to install a new garage door, whether it is for a new build garage or a replacement for an existing door depends on many factors.
The cost of the door. This will vary depending on the style, size and whether it is made from hardwood or softwood.
The cost of any extras. These can include glass panels inset into the door, electric motor, new tracks and cost of connectors.
The cost of labour. This will depend on whether you have chosen to use a specialist garage door company or an independent contractor.
Whether you choose one, two or more doors on your garage.
There will also be additional charges depending on whether you need an electrician to wire the motor up to the mains electricity or whether you require someone to dispose of the existing garage door.
When having a new wooden garage door fitted it is always advisable to employ a contractor. If fitted incorrectly there will be a good chance of problems in a few years, requiring repairs and more maintenance than would be required if fitted professionally. A professional contractor will be able to offer guarantees and warranties against any problems which might occur due to the quality of the installation.
We covered a lot about quotations and estimates earlier on so we won’t repeat those points except for this one. When you ask for a quotation, make sure you know what it is you are paying for. Make sure that everything is specified on the contract or quotation. Do not assume that the contractor will do something out of kindness; he is in business to earn a living so you must expect that everything will be charged for.
Sometimes if you are having a new garage door fitted as a replacement for an old one that was installed many years ago you might find that the existing opening is the wrong size for modern models. The door frame will be replaced anyway but the opening might have to be made larger or smaller to accommodate modern standard sizes.
The costs to repair an existing garage door and to install a new replacement door will all vary depending on where you live as well as what has gone wrong with your existing door and the type of door you have.
The costs specified here are an average amount and indicative of the true costs.
|Average costs to repair a wooden garage door|
|Typical range||$150 to $350|
|Average costs to repair individual items|
|Garage door service call. Adjust spring tension, lubricate etc||$150 to $350|
|Wheel track repairs||$130 to $150|
|Correct uneven doors||$150|
|Replace springs||$300 minimum|
|Replace cables and chains||$150 to ?250|
|Broken glass||$75 labour, $50 materials|
|Repair damage||$75 minimum|
|Replace rollers||$20 each|
|Replace hinges||$20 each|
The style of the garage door will also affect the cost of repairs:
|Average cost to repair wooden door depending on style|
|One panel||$180 minimum|
|Average cost to repair an electronic garage door opener|
|Typical range||$100 to $300|
The cost to install a new wooden door will also vary depending on the style, size and any additional extras fitted.
|Average cost to replace or install a new garage door|
|Typical range||$750 to $1,500|
As always, the actual cost will depend on whereabouts in the world you live, the availability of suitable contractors, the quality of door and the overall size.
There are so many different styles of door that you may at first feel swamped by the vast choice you are offered. If we can narrow down the choices by putting limitations on them, you will find that the range of choices become far more manageable and your decision will become far easier to make.
Style of house and garage. You will want a garage door that complements the existing style of the buildings.
Age of house. In which era was the house built or if it fairly recent, in which decade was it built. For example a 1940s house will require a different style garage door to a 1990s or a 1850s house.
Is your locality an area of historical significance? If you live in a place that has historical connections, there is a good chance that there will be restrictions placed on the style of garage door you are able to choose. You will probably also require a permit for the work so make sure you comply with all restrictions otherwise you will probably be made to remove the door.
Is your home joined to another house or is it detached? Very often houses are joined to their neighbour’s house, often being linked by two external garages. You may be legally required, either by a covenant in your property deeds or by a local regulation to consider the style of the neighbor’s garage door when choosing your own. This can be enforced by the local government.
Is the garage integral or separate from your main building? Some houses have garages that are built within the footprint of the house or in a basement while others have a garage that is separate to the house. If the garage is part of the house then it would make sense to have the style and color of garage door matching with parts of the house such as external doors and windows. If the garage is detached and maybe hidden behind trees or down a driveway then the requirement to match will not be so strict.
What is the garage’s use? If the items stored in the garage are car, packing boxes and other items too big for the house then security may not be too much of an issue. If the garage is used as a hobby room, play room, home gym or home cinema then there may be items inside more attractive to burglars. What we come down to here is the choice between a garage door chosen purely for looks or one chosen for security and warmth.
Safety considerations. Yes the garage door must have style and security but it must also comply with ordinary common sense safety codes. Have you any small children who might need their bikes from the garage and find they trap their fingers in the closing door. Does the garage have glass panels in the door and is it near a garden or play area where ball games might end up breaking windows? A good installer or supplier will be able to advise you on the safety aspects.
Everyone has a limit that they must abide by when choosing home improvements. As well as all the aspects mentioned before we will also have to consider the cost of everything and whether our ideal choice falls within the available budget range. You may be lucky and have plenty of money in the bank in which case the job is simply a matter of choosing the door you want and the contractor who will fit it. If you are like the other millions of home owners in the world you will probably have to borrow funds from a mortgage lender or a bank.
If you do, you must prepare a case for improving your garage, after all an attractive door on your garage will always increase the value of your home. If you need to borrow money to complete this project then the first stage is to ask for advice from an independent licensed financial advisor. I cannot go any deeper into this subject because it is outside the scope of this article so we must now move on and we finally come to the closing section.
As I said at the beginning of this article, a garage door is the first line of defence between the outside world and a lot of expensive items. Choosing the correct door and security extras will prove to be not only cost effective because of less maintenance costs in the future but will also help safeguard your property and belongings from those who might wish to take them. A well-made and fitted door will protect the inside of your garage from extremes in weather.
Always find out the costs of the labor involved in repairing or installing your garage door. When you have made your final choice of door, always choose the best quality you can afford, it will be worth it in the long term.
If you have to replace your existing door with a new one, find out from the local government if you have to comply with certain restrictions as regards style or color.
Before you choose your contractor, find out as much as possible to ensure you are not the victim of some kind of confidence trick. A simple request for references will usually be enough. If he has nothing to hide then the list of references should be forthcoming very quickly.
After you have chosen your installer, chosen your door and had everything fitted exactly as you would like, don’t forget to pay the invoice promptly. Every company needs cash flow to survive and in this there is no difference between a small company and a large one.
Finally when you have your new garage door fitted or the old one repaired, and all the bills have been paid on time, let us hope that you can enjoy the door for many years.
We hope you have learned something from this article. We thank you for sticking around and reading it.