Author Topic: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?  (Read 2788 times)

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Offline ryanjg117

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Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« on: April 11, 2018, 02:05 PM »
We need to replace two ancient garage doors in our 1977 tri-level home. Only one had a door-opener, and it's a vintage Chamberlain unit that doesn't even have a wireless remote (just a wired button).

Because of a large wood beam that supports the upstairs that runs along the ceiling of the garage, a traditional ceiling mounted opener won't work - I will need to use a jackshaft opener like the LiftMaster 8500. Pricier but they seem to have decent reviews.

The doors are 9' wide by 7' high, uninsulated. Since this is not my workshop (I have a detached shop elsewhere on the property), I don't really care about keeping the garage heated, so I'm fine with replacing them with more modern but still uninsulated doors.

My questions is really around whether to do this myself (to save some money) or hire a professional garage door contractor. I received a quote months back to replace both doors and install a jackshaft opener on one door, for around $2,000. When looking around at the big box stores, it seems that just my material cost (for two quality doors and one opener) doesn't leave me much room for actual savings. Am I looking at the wrong places? Where would you look for doors and openers if you were going to do this yourself, on the cheap?

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Offline justaguy

  • Posts: 177
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2018, 02:26 PM »
12 years ago I replaced two 9x7 insulated doors with new tracks and openers in a day by myself. Those doors did not have torsion springs. It was not that hard. A few years ago I moved and I contracted out the doors this time.

If you have a room over the garage or the interior wall is common with a frequently occupied living space get the insulated doors. The energy savings and noise reduction are worth the cost. In addition, an insulated door finished on both the inside and out are less prone to getting dented.

Last point. I have the LiftMaster 8500 and so far I have no complaints. It's quiet and reliable. If you get the backup battery they only last about 5 years but replacement is a DIY project and the batteries at available at the big box stores.

Offline Master Carpenter

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Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2018, 03:32 PM »
If I was going to do it myself, on the cheap, I'd look on Craigslist. It's where I got my 12'x8' insulated door for $150. I could have added the opener for an extra $100, but don't like the lack of security of a powered opener(my door is locked with a padlock on the rails). It took a couple hours to install, but my rails were complicated by where I placed my lights.

If you don't want to buy used, call the install companies and ask for quotes with both supply only and installed prices. They may not want to supply only, but it doesn't cost to ask.
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Offline RKA

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Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2018, 05:33 PM »
Raw costs are probably $1100 for the two doors and $350(?) for the opener.  An installer would probably knock it out in 4-5 hours.  So your quote is pretty reasonable. 

I'm fairly handy, however, I knew I would be fussing getting everything aligned right so the doors operated smoothly (never installed one before).  It might take me a day to get the first door set up and maybe another half day to do the second door.  Then I still had to dispose of the old heavy wooden doors and I don't have a truck.  Finally, I didn't want to deal with setting up the torsion springs (well, winding them).  So I gladly farmed out the door install, but since they weren't crazy about dealing with the jackshaft opener, I did that myself. Low and behold I did have to fuss with the springs to balance the doors so the jackshaft opener would work without tripping the cable tension monitor. 

So like many things, it depends on how you value your time.  If you've got plenty of it, DIY and save a few hundred.  If you just want it done in a day without any headaches, pay someone that does it day in and day out. 
-Raj

Offline Kevin D.

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Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 05:22 AM »
Knowing a garage door installer from years past, I would stay away from DIYing it.  I do just about any repair/reno myself, but this is a tricky area.  A seasoned guy in this field will do way better typically more often than not than you in the quality of work you will get.  If you are dealing with tension springs, this is especially true.  Those things can kill you if not dealt with properly.
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 08:07 AM »
Garage doors are similar to fiberglass insulation installation in that when you look at everything involved it is commonly better to pay more to get it out of your hair so to speak.  Get a good product and a reputable company.  Make sure that they have experience installing wooden doors if that is your type.

I recently had to have bottom garage door panels replaced for a condo project.  The company had been in business for 50 plus years.  They came out and quoted the job.  The were awarded the bid.  By doing it in bulk it saved each owner about 40%.  We hen the panels came in the installer had virtually no experience with wooden garage doors.  For two days I had to help him scribe and install doors using my tools.  He was experienced only with metal doors - thick bottom gaskets / weatherstripping.  When they got to the last four they found out that their assumption that they were all the same design was incorrect.  They had to order 4 new door panels (at their cost of course) and install.  That installer didn’t need my help or tools.  His scribes weren’t as nice as mine but they worked.

Peter

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 217
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 08:11 AM »
We replaced our 16'x 7' door about 4 years ago.  The installer did the job including new tracks single handed & it took him perhaps 2 hours.  We did not replace the opener so this was a door & track install only.  My recollection is the installation cost was in the neighborhood of $200-$250.  At that price I would definitely pay for a professional installation.

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 605
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2018, 10:04 AM »
Because of a large wood beam that supports the upstairs that runs along the ceiling of the garage, a traditional ceiling mounted opener won't work - I will need to use a jackshaft opener like the LiftMaster 8500. Pricier but they seem to have decent reviews.

The doors are 9' wide by 7' high, uninsulated. Since this is not my workshop (I have a detached shop elsewhere on the property), I don't really care about keeping the garage heated, so I'm fine with replacing them with more modern but still uninsulated doors.

You will be happy that the motor is wall-mounted and not overhead. I'd still get insulated doors whether or not the garage will be heated.

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 342
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2018, 07:53 PM »
I have installed several overhead garage door openers and would not hessitate to do it again.  I have never installed a garage door and probably won't.  I got stupid one day and let the tension off a torsion spring and had to raise the door without assistance to re-tension it.  It was solid masonite and very heavy.  I haven't messed with the springs since.  I am sure that I could do it if I had to but they guys that do it all day do it quickly and only make a couple hundred dollars doing it. 

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2598
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2018, 10:59 PM »
Where I live, it seems like the professionals really aren't. About nine years ago I needed to replace my garage doors. After waiting for the doors to arrive, their installers didn't tie off the load and dropped the bigger door on the road on the way to our house. Later, after waiting for a second time, they arrived with the door about ready to fall off as they pulled up. The install was less than professional, as the hinges between sections weren't aligned properly and the door makes quite the racket as it goes up and down.

When I was much younger I would usually do jobs myself. Often times it paid for a tool purchase. And in most cases it resulted in a job done better because I cared about the job and I would take the time to do it right. I haven't installed a garage door before, but I have had to release and rewind a spring on one in the past. It wasn't difficult, but I sure was aware of the potential danger involved.
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Pnw painter

  • Posts: 154
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2018, 05:48 PM »
Its funny, but I had a new garage door installed in my house last week. I’m sure I could have done it myself, but it didn’t cost much extra to have it installed so I figured I’d leave it to the pros. 3 hours later he was finished. It probably would have taken me a a day to do it, so I figured it wasn’t worth the frustration.

When I was talking to the sales guy he said their bread and butter was repairing damaged garage doors. He said the don’t make nearly as much installing new doors.


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Offline ryanjg117

  • Posts: 111
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2018, 07:57 PM »
I’m sure I could have done it myself, but it didn’t cost much extra to have it installed so I figured I’d leave it to the pros. 3 hours later he was finished. It probably would have taken me a a day to do it, so I figured it wasn’t worth the frustration.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, reputable garage door companies quote $250-300 per door just to hang it (if you provide the door and hardware), more if they’re installing an opener. If you’re having them provide the door, this doesn’t include the rather substantial upcharge (another $400ish per door for the ones I was considering).

It’s enough cheese that I’ve decided I’ll do the install myself and, thanks to a fellow FOGger, get the hardware at wholesale prices. Like you, I’m sure it will take me all weekend, when it would probably take a pro one day.

Offline jarbroen

  • Posts: 52
Re: Replacing garage doors - DIY or contract out?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2018, 12:37 PM »
Ryan, keep us posted on how it goes.  And if you don't mind PM'ing me your source on hardware(and doors).
I'd like to replace my garage doors but have experienced that outrageous door installer pricing.  Quoted $400 just to replace the spring at the last house.