Repair or replace garage doors? That’s a question most homeowners will need to face at some point in time. Garage doors last between 15 and 30 years depending on maintenance and the environment so it will come up. 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 will impact your decision as well. For example, repairing your existing door may not make sense if you plan to sell soon. A new $2000 door can add that much and more to your home sale value. On the other hand, an old door may hurt your sell price.
Below, we provide some factors homeowners should consider when making the decision to repair or replace garage doors.
Garage Door Repair
Most components in a garage door system can be repaired, replaced and maintained to keep the garage door working and the house looking great. But the cost of a repair needs to be weighed against the expense of a new door installation. In addition, the age of the door impacts how much money is worth spending on a repair. It doesn’t make sense to make a $500 repair on a 20 year old garage door. 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
A broken garage door spring 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 last 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 $200 so a spring repair is 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. Poor performing rollers put a strain on other parts of the system like the torsion springs and garage door opener. 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 of the roller, the environment you’re in and usage.
More often than not, we discover problem rollers when replacing garage door springs. In this case, the total garage door repair can get to $400-$500 so 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. If you have a higher quality garage door system, repairing will make sense for older doors since there is more value to preserve.
Damaged Garage Door Panels
Most garage doors have individual panels which can get damaged over time. A damaged panel can impact other parts of the garage door system so it’s a good idea to have the panels looked at by a garage door specialist. Fortunately, most panels can be replaced, eliminating the need to replace the whole system. However, if the garage door is more than 10 years old, it might make sense to look at a new door.
Garage Door Opener Problems
Openers have a tough job raising and lowering doors that can weigh well over 100lbs. There are a number of reasons a garage door opener might fail. Sometimes the reason an opener stops working is simple and easily repaired. On the other hand, if the opener is beyond repair, a new opener is called for.
A broken garage door opener on its own is no reason to consider a new door. However, it’s important to know 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 specialist can assess your door when servicing the opener and if there is an issue with the door, you may need to consider more drstic actions.
Garage Door Replacement Situations
Studies show 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 is not a factor if you have no plans to sell in the next 5 years or so. Still, 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 style and features you want?
Garage Door Over 15 Years Old
Any door over 15 years old is at least past mid-life. A heavily used door in a harsh environment may be near the end of it’s life at 15. So ask yourself if putting money into a repair makes sense for a door that may need replacing soon. The value of your current door is a factor as well. For example, a high quality insulated door may be worth repairing more than a cheaper standard sectional door. This is especially true if you plan to replace your door with a high quality, expensive 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 higher end door will last longer too.
If your garage 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 would still get 15-30 years service from it. However, if the door is more than 5-7 years old, it might make sense to bite the bullet and get a new door with all new parts.
Upgrade For Curb Appeal
Upgrading for curb appeal is a factor 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. For example, an upgraded insulated door with a battery backup system and upgraded components can be a real selling point. Buyers always appreciate the value of energy saving upgrades like door insulation.
Repair Versus Replace
In conclusion, there are many reasons you may need to call for service on your garage door. Sometimes, 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
The amount of money worth putting into a garage door repair is greater for higher quality, younger doors. For older, standard doors, putting the money towards a new door makes more sense.