All homeowners eventually face the same question: Should I repair or replace my garage door? That’s because garage doors don’t last forever even when they are well maintained. But there are considerations that go beyond the age of the door. Garage doors contribute a significant amount to your home’s curb appeal so the value a new door adds needs to be considered.
Your future plans can play a role in your decision to repair or replace as well. For example, squeezing a few more years out of your existing door may not make sense if you plan to sell soon. A new $2000 door can add 3 or 4 times that to your home sale value. On the other hand, an old door can be seen as a liability by a prospective buyer.
Most garage doors will last between 15 and 30 years depending on maintenance and environment. The age of the door will factor into your decision so take the time to determine the age of your door.
In this article, we discuss some issues homeowners should consider when making the decision to repair or replace garage doors.
Garage Door Repair
A new garage door is a great upgrade but can be an expensive investment. Components in a garage door system can be repaired and maintained to stretch your dollars while keeping the house looking great. Of course, the cost of a repair always needs to be weighed against the expense of a new door installation. In addition, the age of the door will impact how much money is worth spending on a repair. And finally, your budget is a factor too. If money is tight, you may want to look for the least expensive solution to keep your existing door in service. Let’s start by looking at some common repair situations.
Broken Garage Door Springs
This is one of the most common repairs and is usually not a cause for an entire door replacement. Garage door springs have a rated lifespan expressed in cycles (number of open and close cycles). Standard springs are good for around 10,000 cycles which translates into 7-10 years. Heavy duty springs will usually have twice the lifespan. The cost to replace springs on average is around $200. So a spring repair is usually no more than 10% of the cost of a full door replacement. Unless your garage door is at the end of its life, replacing the springs makes sense.
Garage Door Rollers
Garage door rollers are an easy repair job too with replacement costs in the $200 range as well. A broken roller is easy enough to spot but a poor performing roller may not be as obvious. A lot of squeaking and other noises may be a sign that rollers are dirty or worn. Poor performing rollers put a strain on other parts of the system like the springs and opener. It may be difficult to say if the rollers are a problem or not so we recommend having a garage door technician check them as part of a routine maintenance call. The lifespan of your rollers will depend on the quality you have, the environment you’re in and usage.
If rollers are a problem, you need to weigh the cost to replace versus a whole new door. More often than not, we discover problem rollers when we’re replacing garage door springs. In this case, the garage door repair can get to $400-$500. Once again, the homeowner needs to weigh the repair cost versus a new door. If your door is less than 5 years old, a repair is the way to go. You may even consider upgrading rollers and springs so they last twice as long or more. If you have a high end garage door system, repairing can make sense for older doors.
Many garage doors feature sectional horizontal panels which can get damaged over time. Accidents happen, and a damaged panel reduces the appeal of the garage door. A damaged panel can also impact other parts of the garage door system so it’s a good idea to have the panels looked at by a pro. The good news is that most panels can be replaced, eliminating the need to replace the whole system. If the garage door is in its final years, it probably make sense to look at a new door but otherwise, a panel replacement is the way to go.
Garage Door Opener Problems
Openers are another common reason for repair calls. They have a tough job raising and lowering doors that can weigh well over 100lbs. And there are plenty of things that go wrong with an opener including the electronics, the motor and the remotes. Sometimes the reason an opener stops working is simple and a quick visit from your local garage door pro can get things sorted out. On the other hand, if the opener is fried or otherwise beyond repair, a new opener is called for.
None of these situations on its own would be reason to consider a new door. However, homeowners will need to consider why the opener failed. Sometimes the door system itself may be putting too much strain on the opener. For example, old springs and rollers can force the opener to work harder than normal causing damage to the motor. Your garage door technician can assess the condition of the door when servicing the opener and if there is an issue with the door, you will need to consider the bigger picture.
Garage Door Replacement Situations
A new garage door is always a good investment, especially from a return on investment perspective. Studies conclude that a new garage door gets the best return on investment and has the greatest impact on a home’s curb appeal. But the increased value of your home doesn’t matter much if you have no plans to sell in the next 5 years or so. So aside from curb appeal, homeowners need to trade-off new doors versus repair based on expense and functionality. In other words, what’s the most economical way to get a door that provides the features you need?
Garage Door Over 15 Years Old
With garage door life expectancy between 15-30 years, any door over 15 years old is at least past mid-life. So you need to consider if putting money into a repair makes sense for a door you may be replacing soon. The value of your existing door plays into this as well. For example, a high end insulated door may be worth more repair expense versus a cheaper standard sectional door. This is especially true if you plan to replace with an equal quality door. Does it make sense to spend $500 on a $2000 door that you may replace in 5 years? Probably not. Does it make sense to spend $500 on a $5000 high quality door? Maybe so. Chances are your high quality door will last longer too.
If the door has sustained serious damage, it may be an easy call. Unless your door is less than 5 years old, it probably makes sense to replace. For example, if your brand new door accidentally gets run into by a car causing extensive damage, it may still makes sense to repair. Once repaired, you could still count on 15-30 years service. But if the door is more than 5-7 years old, it might make sense to bite the bullet and replace with a new door and all new parts.
Upgrade For Curb Appeal
Upgrading for curb appeal comes into play if you’re planning to sell in the next 5 years or less. A new, upgraded door will help get the best price for your home when you sell. For example, an upgraded insulated door, maybe a battery backup system and upgraded components can be a real selling point. When prospective buyers visit the home, a quiet door is surprisingly noticeable! And buyers always appreciate energy saving upgrades like door insulation. So if budget allows, an upgraded garage door can be as good an investment as a kitchen or bath remodel at a much lower cost.
Repair Versus Replace
In summary, there are plenty of reasons you may need to call for service on your garage door. In many cases, it may be obvious whether you should repair or replace garage doors. If not, consider the following factors in your decision:
- the age of the garage door (lifespan is typically between 15-30 years)
- the extent of the problem and cost to repair
- the value of the existing door
- the cost of a new door
- when and if you plan to sell the house
In other words, the amount of repair cost to put into a door is greater for higher quality, younger doors. For older, standard doors, you may be better off investing your money in a new door.