For those of us who are homeowners, we know that home values are important. Whether you plan on staying in your home for another 20 years or you are looking to sell in the near future, it is crucial that you consider the resale value of your home whenever you do repairs or improvements.
The garage door is no exception.
Luckily, your garage door is a pretty sound investment. According to Garage Wow Now, garage doors were ranked in the top three for home improvements whose costs are recouped through increased home value. Similarly, realtors regularly increased the list price of a home with a new garage door by 1 to 4 percent! That means, if you spend $2000 on a new garage door, you can increase the value of your home by almost $8000 if you have a $200,000 home. Furthermore, compared with the other two highest rated improvements — siding replacement and deck installation — a garage door replacement is far more affordable.
However, while garages are a great investment, they unfortunately break. Either they no longer track correctly, behave erratically, are difficult to lift or are damaged by a vehicle or inclement weather. Homeowners are therefore regularly left with the question, “Do I repair or replace my garage door?”
Luckily, there is a bit of science to questions of garage door replacement.
Before we get to the question of repairing or replacing your garage door, it is important that you understand how important professional help is, regardless of which direction you choose.
To begin with, any home improvement is ultimately about improving the value of your home. Whether you are adding a deck, putting on a new coat of paint or updating your garage door, you don’t want to do anything that might minimize your return on investment.
Garage doors are more complicated than new gutters. They influence the beauty, functionality and security of your home. They integrate powerful motors and delicate electrical systems. And they are only as useful as they are reliable.
You may be able to make a repair on your own, but if that repair is subpar in any way, all of the interacting systems will likely break down in the future, leading to even more costly repairs or replacements.
However, most importantly, do-it-yourself garage door repairs are dangerous.
First and foremost, a garage door, by design, contains springs designed to balance your door and make it easier to lift. Those springs are under incredible amounts of tension. If a spring breaks or is improperly released, it can cause incredible and potentially fatal injuries. Keep in mind, when working on a garage door spring, it is likely that your face and head will be close to it, meaning that your most sensitive area will be in the direct path of the released spring.
However, in addition to potentially causing injuries to the under-prepared DIYer, a malfunctioning door can become a safety hazard to you and your family. Keep in mind, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), over 13000 people checked into hospitals with garage related injuries in the United States in 2007. You don’t want to turn a loved one into a statistic just to save a few dollars!
So, while you may feel like a certain repair is no big deal, especially with a YouTube video as a guide, we urge you to reconsider. Even if you think your repairs have been completed without issue, you may find you are the cause of significant problems further down the road.
Warning Signs to Replace the Garage Door
Your Garage Door Hasn’t Run Properly for a While
While a sudden issue is usually easily repaired, a consistent issue that has gone unaddressed for months or years will likely require a total replacement. The problem is that garage doors have a number of heavy, powerful moving parts. If the door is working as it is designed, it can open and close hundreds and hundreds of times without issues. However, if there is even a small issue in the lifting mechanism that repeatedly influences the movement of the door, you will soon find that the damage caused over those hundreds of lifts can’t be fixed.
Your Garage Door is Severely Damaged
At a certain point, the cost of repairing portions of a damaged door end up costing more than replacing the whole thing. This has become increasingly the case as the costs of garage door fabrication have lowered. Like so many things in life, replacement parts just don’t make as much sense in many instances as a total replacement.
This is especially true if your door has been damaged by inclement weather. While an errant hockey puck usually causes isolated damage, a fallen tree limb is likely to spread damage across a number of separate door panels.
Keep in mind, if you have experienced damage, you want to fix it quickly as you can, as a damaged door will also be unbalanced and thus cause further issues on the tracking mechanism and motor. A brand new door is still more affordable than an entire new door system.
Your Door is Old
Remember, the real value of a garage door is the curb appeal. Those searching for their dream home will be looking at the details, and one of the most obvious and eye-catching details is the garage door.
While a new coat of paint can go a long way in improving the look of your garage door, the truth is that door design has come a long way in the years since garages were first installed in homes. Not only are newer doors more in line with current fashion trends, but they are also better sized for today’s cars. A new, contemporary door is a great way to get an immediate boost on the value of your home.
Furthermore, newer doors come with more improved security features, helping to improve the way you protect your home and loved ones. While older doors are easy to break into, whether through breaking the lift mechanism or even using a universal garage door remote, new doors come with many redundant security features, which will go a long way in deterring even the most ingenious burglar.
You’ve Had a Break In
Unfortunately, even newer doors are sometimes bypassed by thieves. Maybe the burglar figured out the pin code for manually opening the door. Maybe they found a way to disengage the motor and were able to open your door by hand. Either way, it is unsettling when someone uninvited enters your home and sanctuary.
While you can certainly redo any security features on your garage door, it is often wise to replace the entire door if in fact that is the way a burglar gained access to your house. A new security code may seem like enough, but you don’t know how the thief figured out the old code in the first place. If the motor was disengaged, the issue might be a design flaw in the door itself. The best way to ensure that the thief doesn’t return or another thief doesn’t take advantage of the same unknown security weakness is to install a new door. Again, doing so with give you access to the kinds of robust security features that are being installed and implemented in the newest garage doors on the market.
Your Door is Sapping Energy
There’s another reason new doors are superior to old ones: energy efficiency. Keep in mind, garage doors are large, and when they open, they let a lot of outside air into your home. While you may have significant insulation separating your garage from the rest of your home, eventually that temperature differential will start to influence your energy bills.
While you may be able to increase efficiency by replacing the weather stripping at the bottom of an old garage door, the kind of insulation and energy efficient materials used in today’s new doors will make a drastic improvement on your garage’s energy efficiency. Just like the way a new garage door recoups its costs in increased home value, a new door will also quickly pay for itself in energy savings!
Your Door Lacks Child Safety Features:
Finally, one of the most important garage door innovations over the years in increased child safety features. Sensors can detect when a child or pet is crossing the threshold while the door is closing, prompting it to stop immediately. Furthermore, doors can also sense when something is being pressed by the door, causing it to stop before inflicting a brutal crushing injury.
While many of these features can be installed aftermarket on older doors, others are not cost-effective when retrofitted. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your door comes complete with all of the latest child safety features is to install a new door.
Remember, garage door injuries are significant and more common than we would like to imagine. Isn’t your family worth the investment?