Fitting a Garage Door to a New or Existing Garage

Summary: Information and advice on fitting a garage door and things to take into consideration when installing a new door.

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Traditional garage doors were made of timber in two leaves and hung on sturdy band and hook hinges. They needed regular painting and despite their solidity they had a limited life because their weight meant they could sag after a while and damage would be caused to the bottom of the door scraping on the ground.

Band and hook hinge

Band and hook hinge

This would lead to the ingress of water into the door and cause permanent damage. These days garage doors are usually the up-and-over light weight type that have a long life and are almost maintenance free. If you want to paint a metal garage door visit our Painting a Metal Garage Door project

Standard up and over garage door

Typical up and over style garage door

Installing a new garage door to an existing or new garage will almost always require the services of two people. This is necessary not only for the lifting and manoeuvring of the door, but also for the sighting and positioning of the opening mechanism.

Before starting the installation, the instructions delivered with the door should be studied closely. A decision will already have been taken at the ordering stage on whether a canopy or retractable type of up-and-over door is suitable.

Roller doors that retract into a internal casing are becoming very popular, and can be made to measure your existing frame. This is always a good choice as you can be 100% sure the fit will be correct. Additionally they tend to take up less space in the garage itself when opened.

The door height is usually 1981mm or 2134mm (6 feet 6 inches or 7 feet) and in the case of a canopy door, the lower 600mm (2 feet) would project horizontally beyond the face of the garage when installed to form a canopy.

This door would normally be installed if there was an obstruction blocking the full entry of the door into the garage such as vertical brick piers or electric or gas meters.

A retractable door enters the garage for its full height so there is no projecting canopy beyond the face of the garage entrance. If the new door is being fitted to an existing softwood door frame, the frame should be carefully checked to make sure that it is still structurally sound and capable of supporting the door.

The position of the existing frame should be checked to make sure that it is still in its original position. A spirit level will show whether the frames are still true vertically whilst the horizontal distances between the vertical frame members should be also examined by taking three or four measurements and these should all be the same. A final check should be made to ensure that the two diagonal distances between the opposite bottom and top of the vertical frames are the same. If there is a significant difference in any of these measurements it shows that the frame has moved out of position during use and, if it cannot be rectified, a new frame will be required.

Another decision that must be made when ordering is the position of the new frame. If it is fitted between the brick reveals and to the underside of the lintel of the garage opening, this would marginally increase the internal length of the garage. But if the frame is fitted behind the reveals it would increase the opening width available.

Most of the first fixing installation work is carried out inside the garage so all tools and other equipment such as ladders and drills should be brought inside before commencing the work. The fixing instructions that will be attached to the product are usually clear and easy to follow. When completed, the opening equipment may need some minor adjustments to ensure trouble-free operating. Regular oiling and spring adjustments should be carried out to maintain the door’s performance.

For part two of this video visit the DIY Doctor YouTube channel

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