The Ups and Downs of Installing a New Overhead Garage Door
by Debra Karplus
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If you stay in your home long enough, it is likely that at some point you will be replacing the overhead garage door. One couple had installed a new wooden overhead door and electric opener in 1992. Since then, they'd replaced the opener twice, but recently discovered that years of snowy winters and rainy summers had caused the wood door to rot. The rollers had also worn out. That style of door was no longer manufactured, so it was time to replace the door. The couple shopped for an affordable way to replace their overhead garage door on their detached one-car garage.
The couple ultimately paid $945 for a local company specializing in overhead garage doors to remove and dispose of the old door, install the new hardware, and put up the new 9 x 7 foot steel door, not insulated, with decorative windows. It took the three installers about 1 1/2 hours to perform the entire job start to finish. They were able to use the current opener, so it did not need to be replaced. (Note that the couple could have cut that expense in half if they had the know-how to install the door themselves!)
Where to shop for a new overhead garage door
Most home improvement shops sell a variety of overhead garage doors with assorted sizes and features. You can also shop at a place that sells garage doors exclusively. Wherever you shop, ask if installers are independent contractors or employees. If installers are not employees, walk away before buying.
One couple had a very bad experience when their garage door was installed by the shop's independent contractors. The opener fell off the garage ceiling, mangling their car top. When the homeowner went back to the shop, the manager blamed the installer and the installer blamed the shop. This ultimately went to small claims court with a favorable outcome for the homeowner, but it was a tremendous waste of their valuable time.
Getting an estimate
Have at least three different companies come to your home to give an estimate. They will measure the door, typically seven feet high and eight or nine feet across for a single width door and 16 feet across for a double width door.
You have several options for overhead door materials. Steel doors have become very popular because of their durability and price. These low maintenance doors sell for as little as $250 for a single door or $725 for a double width. Steel doors can cost as much as $3500, depending on other features you may desire. Aluminum doors can cost between about $1500 and $2000. Wooden doors are becoming less popular; they are heavy, vulnerable to wet weather, and require more maintenance like painting. Expect to pay between $1200 and $4000 for a wooden garage door. Overhead doors usually come with the required hardware, and if you're switching from one kind to another, such as an old wooden door to a newer steel one, the steel will require different hardware to support the door, so you'll need to remove the old and install the new.
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Other bells and whistles for your overhead garage door
When getting an estimate, you should consider other features. If your garage is detached from the house, it is unlikely that you would want an insulated garage door, because your garage will get cold in winter regardless of an insulated door. Therefore, you should save your money on this feature for your detached garage. However, for an attached garage, insulation is a must. Add $50 or more to the cost of your overhead door if you are installing an insulated door.
Many people choose windows for their garage door. This allows for better lighting inside the garage as aesthetics. The installer should show you some of the many options for garage door windows. The recent trend is to install windows on the upper part of the door rather than the middle, so that people cannot peek into your garage. Add another $50 or more if you want garage door windows.
Garage door openers are a separate expense for your garage. If you already have an overhead door and the opener works fine, you can have the door replaced but keep the old opener. The installer will simply attach the new door to the functioning current opener. Openers sell for as little as $120, depending on how much horsepower you desire.
When getting your estimate, ask about the warranty for both the labor and the parts. These vary greatly, so be sure to ask.
Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.
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