Your garage door is one of the most enduring devices in your home, typically outlasting even some of the cars parked behind it. At some point, however, the dents from your children’s baseball and hockey practice and scratches from pets cease to be fond memories and appear as added damage on an old and sagging garage door. If your door, like many garage doors in Houston,Raleigh, and other cities across the southeast, also bears damage from recent hurricanes, you may be asking yourself the question homeowners face at every home repair: can this garage door be repaired or does it make more sense to replace it?

Old Garage Door

A well-made garage door often can have its panels replaced to extend its life and retain its appearance. Your garage door from NationServe, for instance, is built to withstand the constant wear and tear of normal use. Should you need garage door service in Houston or anywhere else in our service areas across the country, you can be confident that our professional service team will help offer you solutions to either replace panel sections in your door or offer you a new garage door for purchase.

However, certain kinds of damage, especially those associated with age, break-ins, or severe weather, may make the replacement of your entire garage door a safer and more cost-effective solution than replacing a panel.  Damage that leaves the door unbalanced will take a toll on the tracking mechanism and the lift motor in your garage door opener. If your garage door took a pounding in recent storms, visit our showroom to schedule a new garage door installation. Houston homeowners, for instance, whose garage doors took considerable wind damage and breakage from flying debris in recent hurricanes, are better advised to replace their damaged doors for better protection in future storms.

broken garage door

 A Rule of Thumb

Generally speaking, you should weigh the cost of a repair against the age and general condition of your garage door. Professional repairs and panel replacements to a relatively new door with little damage can protect your investment in the door. Trying to replace panels on an older and damaged door may be just one in a long string of repairs that add up to more than the cost of a new door replacement. Here are some common garage door problems and a guide to deciding when to repair and when to replace:

Rust: The paint on your garage door actually protects the integrity of its structure, sealing out moisture that can result in rust. Rust tends to spread, so it’s best to deal with paint damage early— and professionally. Painting a garage door is a more complex task than painting the walls of your home and is not recommended by NationServe as it can void your warranty. If rust has spread, or if there are multiple patches of rust on your door, it may be time to replace your entire door system. You will gain both greater curb appeal (and, likely, better resale value on your home) as well as a safer garage door.

Damaged Panels: If a single panel on a relatively new garage door has been damaged in a storm or dented in the course of daily living, it can be replaced quite easily. However, replacing multiple panels may turn out to be more expensive than a full door replacement. If your door is an older model, replacement panels might not be available or may not match the color and condition of your door. You can avoid the “patchwork quilt” effect by replacing the door rather than installing a brand new panel that will contrast painfully with the older ones.

Springs: Every homeowner should get in the habit of doing routine visual inspections of their garage door system. Disengage the garage door opener by pulling on the red cord and try lifting the door. Does it feel heavy and difficult to lift? Does it begin to come down on its own once you’ve raised it? When you pull it closed, does it seem to fall the last few feet? These are indications that the springs have worn out and may need to be replaced. While spring repair is fairly inexpensive, it is a job that must be left to experienced, well-equipped professionals at NationServe since the coiled energy in the springs can make them extremely dangerous to handle.

Cables: Is there excessive vibration when the door is in operation or does the door seem to be rising unevenly? This could be an issue with the cables. As with the springs, a professional repair is best to ensure that your door is properly balanced. A poorly done repair can put more stress on other components causing them to wear out more quickly. If this is a repair that has been put off a long time, our technicians will make sure that your other door components are inspected and replaced if they show signs of additional or unusual wear.

Broken Weather stripping: This is an easy and inexpensive repair. Simply remove the damaged strip from beneath the door and insert a new length of weather stripping (available at most NationServe locations) into the groove. This simple repair has many benefits, improving the insulating quality of the door and keeping out small critters that might otherwise take residence in your garage. However, if you have an older, poorly insulated garage door, the weather stripping alone will not be enough to make your garage comfortable or energy-efficient. If your goal is to make your garage an all-season work or living space, you may be interested in carriage hour garage door .

What Can’t Be Repaired

There are certain problems that simply aren’t worth repairing. If your garage door is warped, or your wooden door is rotting, it’s best to replace the entire door. No replacement panelrepairs will restore the original condition of the door, and, as the door bows out of alignment with its frame, it will cause more stress on the opening mechanism and be less safe to operate.

 A door that isn’t sitting snugly in its frame also leaves your garage open to small animals and intruders who seek out easy points to break in. Studies indicate that one tenth of all residential break-ins happenthrough the garage door. Don’t leave your home and family vulnerable by ignoring or trying to repair this kind of damage. If someone has forced entry through your garage door, it is best to replace the door, since the structural integrity of the door has been compromised.

 If your garage door or garage door opener requires frequent repairs, again, it would be prudent to consider a replacement garage door. One component which is failing can cause cascading damage to other components as the full weight of the garage door adds to the wear on them. For the safety of your family, and to reduce the stress of constant service calls, it is best in these situations to purchase a new replacement garage door.

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 While you’re weighing your decision, don’t forget that replacing an older door has many benefits.

Benefits of Replacing Your Garage Door

  • Modern convenience—If your old manual garage door is showing its years and requires frequent repair, you can get both a modern garage door and a quiet, affordable Genie® or LiftMaster® garage door opener at NationServe. Imagine sliding into your garage during a storm, without getting soaked!
  • Upgraded insulation— While insulation may not be a major concern for garage doors in Houston’s climate, homeowners in the North and Midwest can certainly benefit from insulated doors that reduce heat loss through the garage.
  • Improved safety— Garage doors built after 1993 are required to have a safety mechanism that keeps the door from closing if anything is in the way. If your garage door is not equipped with this feature, you should replace your garage door to protect children and pets.
  • Enhanced security— New garage doors and garage door openers are engineered for greater security against forced entry and can be wired into your home’s alarm system. If you live in an area where theft is a concern, consider replacing your garage door and garage door opener. Ask your local NationServe showroom team about smart technology which allows you to ensure that your garage door is locked and secure, from anywhere.
  • Better curb appeal and resale value— Consider how much of your home’s exterior is occupied by your garage door! Don’t let a noisy, outdated, or shabby-looking garage door scare off prospective buyers or give the impression that the house is not well-maintained. A quiet opener and new garage door that complements your home’s exterior will help keep your home from languishing in the “For Sale” listings.

Whether you decide to replace or repair an older garage door, your local NationServe team is a resource of information to help you in making a decision. Please call or visit your nearest NationServe showroom.