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Garage doors get lots of use in our fast-paced lives. The average garage door in America opens and closes about 1,500 times a year as families rush in and out for work, school, soccer games, doctors' visits and vet appointments. That's quite a workout — and one that can eventually lead to cracked panels, chipped paint and worn-down parts.

If you have a damaged garage door, you probably know you should do something about it sooner rather than later. Untreated minor wear can lead to significantly more damage over time. Damaged garage doors can also admit pests from outside and can pose a security threat by offering more convenient access to potential intruders.

If your garage door is a bit roughed up, you may be losing money as well. A damaged garage door lets in more air from outside. In the summer, this air heats your garage, which heats your house, which raises your air-conditioning costs. In the winter, excess cold air admitted through a broken garage door can add to your heating costs, too.

And of course, there's your curb appeal. Depending on the layout of your home, your garage door can make up a surprisingly large percentage of the face your house shows to the world. A damaged garage door can give your home an unsightly appearance instead of helping to brighten the neighborhood.

Should you repair your garage, or replace it altogether? Below we will outline a few scenarios in which you might repair or replace your garage door. We'll also offer some guidance on how to choose the best step for the aesthetics, safety and functionality of your home.

Repair or Replace — Narrowing the Decision

What is the average lifespan of a garage door? The average lifespan of a garage door is about 30 years with the right maintenance. But individual circumstances vary — maybe your newly minted teenaged driver accidentally backed into the garage door, or maybe a windstorm flung debris at your door and damaged some panels.

In any case, should you replace your garage door? Or should you repair it? The answer may depend on a few different factors.

1. Types of Garage Door Damage

Your garage door may have sustained only cosmetic damage, or its functionality may be severely compromised:

  • Minor: Sometimes, the damage to your garage door is visible but does not affect the structural integrity or function of your door. Your door may have chipped or fading paint, or a large crack may have appeared. If the damage to your door us purely cosmetic, you'll usually get more value out of repairing the door rather than replacing it.
  • Moderate: Sometimes, though, the damage to your garage door isn't just cosmetic — the structural integrity of your door is compromised as well. A warped or rusted door, for example, will not work as effectively as it once did. It also won't keep out the elements as well or help protect your garage from thieves and other intruders. If your garage door has structural damage, you'll likely want to look into having the door replaced.
  • Serious: If the damage to your door is so severe that your door will no longer open and close as it should, you may want to look into replacing your door with a new and functional one. If your door gets stuck, makes a terrible squealing noise as it operates, opens and closes only sometimes, or won't open at all, a new door is probably in order. However, it's always a good idea to make sure the problem isn't a simple one, such as just needing a new battery or a new set of springs.

2. The Extent of the Damage

If your door has only one minor issue, such as peeling paint, then looking into a repair job is likely your best bet. If your door has several issues, though, such as cracked panels, a screeching noise and a laboring, jerky operation, then it may be time to look into an upgrade. If your door is so compromised it poses a significant security risk to your home, getting a sturdy new replacement door is an excellent way to make sure your home and family have the best protection.

3. Cost

The choice between garage door repair and replacement may also depend on cost. As with a totaled car, if the estimated cost to repair your old garage door ends up being more than the price of a new door, then getting a brand-new door is undoubtedly your best option. If you're looking for replacement options that won't blow up your budget, there are many economical alternatives available to the upscale styles.

4. The Age of the Door

If your garage door has only minor damage but it's getting on in years — say it's 10 to 20 years old — you may want to consider a replacement. An older door is likely to need replacement sooner rather than later. So it may not be worth investing in repairs for a door that doesn't have much more life left. Replacing your older door, even if the severity of the damage doesn't necessarily require it, can also have other benefits, such as a modernized appearance or a garage door that matches better with the style of your home.

Automatic Garage Door Repair

If your garage door's issues are minor, think about getting the door repaired rather than investing in a replacement. You'll probably want to consider a garage door repair in these circumstances:

  1. If your door has suddenly stopped working. If the batteries are not the culprit, you'll likely want to look into a repair. The problem may be with a component of the door's mechanism, such as a burned-out motor, snapped belt or chain or broken spring, that a technician can quickly diagnose and fix.
  2. If the door has a damaged panel. With a damaged panel, you can probably get away with just a repair. A damaged garage door panel isn't too serious, but you'll want to act quickly to get it replaced so cracks don't spread. Replacing a damaged panel is also crucial so your garage interior is protected from the elements.
  3. If your garage door is crooked or sagging. Typically, a crooked or sagging door indicates a problem with the door's torsion springs, which do most of the heavy lifting of the door's operations. You can easily replace these springs rather than getting a brand-new door.
  4. If the door feels heavy. If you open and close your garage door manually and the door begins to feel much heavier, this added weight usually also indicates a problem with the springs. In this case, having the springs replaced is an easy fix. You'll want to address this problem immediately, though, because it can put immense stress on the door's motor.
  5. If the sensors fail. If your garage door does not open immediately when it senses an obstruction, you will need to schedule a repair. This issue indicates a problem with the government-mandated sensors all garage doors must have to prevent injuries to people, especially children, and pets.

If your garage door needs a repair job, it's best to get it done right away. Even small issues can put major stress on the doorframe and mechanical systems. This stress usually leads to more involved and expensive problems over the long term.

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Automatic Garage Door Replacement

If the damage to your garage door is severe, you'll probably want to think about getting a replacement.

Garage door replacement may sound expensive, but if you're planning to sell your home soon, there's good news — garage door replacements pay off in a big way. Most garage door replacements return 90% of their costs in the form of the increased selling price of the home. A Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association study found that an upscale garage door replacement had the highest return on investment of any home improvement project, and a Clopay study found that 70% of real estate agents say a new garage door helps a home sell faster.

Consider getting your door replaced in the following scenarios:

  1. If multiple panels are damaged. In this case, you'll likely need to think about getting a replacement door. Multiple cracked or rotting panels are easier to deal with through a replacement than by trying to fix the extensive structural damage. This issue can also cause an uneven weight distribution, which puts too much extra stress on the framework and motor. You'll want to get your door replaced quickly to protect your garage from bad weather, intruders, bugs and neighborhood animals like stray pets or raccoons.
  2. If your garage door is noisy or vibrates excessively. If your garage door makes a squealing noise when you operate it, or if it shakes excessively as it moves, you may need a new door. Your door may have broken hinges, broken springs, worn-out bearings or an uneven distribution of tension, or it may have reached the end of its lifespan and need an upgrade.
  3. If there's long-term structural damage. If your door has had damage for a while and you've been putting off repairs, there's a strong likelihood that you'll need to replace the door. What may seem like cosmetic damage may be putting substantial amounts of wear and tear on the door's frame and mechanical systems. If these stresses have persisted for some time, they may have damaged the door' mechanisms to the extent that a total replacement is your best option.
  4. If you'd like to upgrade your home's appearance. Of course, your door doesn't have to be damaged for you to decide to replace it. If you're remodeling your home and going for a different look — or if you'd just like to upgrade your garage door to something sleeker or more attractive and inviting, that's a great reason to look into a cost-effective and high-quality new garage door.
  5. If you're seeking to reduce energy consumption. Concerns about energy efficiency may motivate you to replace your door as well, even in the absence of any serious damage. Older garage doors may not be well insulated and are likely to let in heat and drafts that significantly add to your energy bills. In this case, replacing your door with one that offers tighter seals and insulating polyurethane panels may be an attractive option. The savings you see on your energy bills will soon offset the money you spend up front.

Garage door replacement may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Garage doors these days come in a variety of attractive options to suit any style of home, as well as a variety of materials, such as steel, aluminum and polyurethane, for added security, durability and insulation. Many quality options come in an array of price points, so you don't have to break the bank just to get a stylish, functional new door that looks great on your home.

Your garage door replacement options are numerous. You can get a galvanized steel door to prevent rust, or choose a glass-and-aluminum door to give your home the glow of natural light. If you loved the look of your old wooden door but want something more durable, you can get a composite door with a steel interior and wooden finish or cladding. Or you can spring for a beautiful, handcrafted wooden door that will boost your curb appeal with the classic warmth of hemlock, redwood or cedar. Composite carriage house doors also add a traditional rustic charm to any home.

Don't Forget About Garage Door Preventative Maintenance

Once you've replaced your garage door, don't forget to do regular preventative maintenance to catch small problems before they balloon into bigger ones. To make sure your new garage door stays in good working order, try some of these helpful tips:

  • Look over the pulleys and cables: Over time, garage door cables may become frayed, and pulleys may become damaged as well. Keeping an eye on these components of your garage door system helps you know if a change has occurred. If you notice any damage, call a professional garage door company for help.
  • Assess the balance of your door: Sometimes, a garage door gets out of balance, and the result is that it sags on one side. Or the door may feel increasingly heavy and hard to open. In this case, you'll likely need to have a professional replace the torsion springs of the door.
  • Touch up the tracks and rollers: The tracks of your garage door easily collect dust and debris, so make sure to give them a thorough brushing once in a while to remove dirt that may gum up the rollers and impede their function. It's also a good idea to lubricate the rollers to keep them running smoothly and reduce the wear and tear caused by friction. If you notice that any bearings aren't rolling smoothly, make a plan to get them replaced soon.
  • Check and tighten loose hardware: The tracks your garage door rollers run on contain brackets that can become loose with time and wear. Check the bolts in these brackets occasionally to make sure they're holding each section of track securely in place.

If the check of your garage door reveals problems you can't solve alone, or if garage door maintenance seems like something better left to the pros, you can always call a professional garage door company like Door Pros. Along with our installation services and repair and replacement services, we also offer routine maintenance to keep your garage door running smoothly for years to come.

Request an Estimate With Door Pros

When you need reliable garage door repair or replacement, turn to Door Pros. We are a leader in garage doors in San Francisco, San Rafael, San Carlos, Folsom, Granite Bay and surrounding communities. We are committed to the highest standards of workmanship and customer service, and we stock an extensive selection of garage door brands — Clopay, Wayne Dalton, Raynor, Windsor, Garaga and more — so our customers can find the styles they love.

When you need to get your garage door fixed, we can help with that too. Our technicians are experienced in cable, spring and hardware repairs.

Check out our gallery of garage doors to get a feel for what we offer. Then contact us today to request an estimate for your garage door repair or replacement.

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