Garage doors can be tricky sometimes, especially where kids are involved. It is far too easy for a child (or even an adult carrying heavy items) to slip or bang into your garage door and damage a panel. This may not sound too upsetting, but any damage can result in much more severe damage later one. This is a big deal because it may end up resulting in the replacement of your entire door if you are not careful. Damage to garage panels is common and easily fixable if you know what you are doing.
Removing a Garage Door Panel
If you look at the area on your garage door, where the panels are connected to the frame, you will likely see the panels are connected by a bracket that is often a triangular shape. Additionally, there will be hinges that attach the panels together. There will be hinges on the left side, the right side, as well as the center of the garage door. If you have a garage door opener, you are going to need to remove that as well before you can remove the panel.
Starting on one side, remove the hinges that hold the panels onto the system carefully. Do this in the middle, do not forget to remove the automatic door opener if you have one installed, and again on the last remaining side of the garage door. Some garage door panels have an extra little hinge in the middle that you will require sliding your panel up and out to get it out from the supports.
Inspecting the Panel And Hardware
Once you have the hinges off of the panels, you can inspect the rollers and hardware for any damage or signs of wear. This is a really easy way for you to replace any parts that show signs of wear. The panel itself should be easy to inspect as well.
The first thing you want to do, once you have the panel off the garage system, is carefully remove the top brace from the panel. This will allow you to attempt to straighten out the panel itself. With a drill, you are going to want to drill some holes in your piece of angled steel in order to allow you to bolt the angled steel to the panel.
Using a long piece of angled steel, you can brace the area where you see any large tears or gaps to help prevent it from falling apart. It is recommended that you use a longer piece of angled steel as shorter pieces will not offer the same amount of support that a longer piece will. It is important to note that you should be attaching the angled steel on the inside of the panel. This will not be as rigid as if you actually put it on the outside. You can also use a piece of flat metal to place under the lip of the panel to add a little more durability to your fix job. Just as before, you are going to have to drill holes into the flat metal in order to drill it into the panel itself. It is important to note that the holes in your angled steel and the holes in your flat metal piece should line up as you are going to want to place the bolt through both of these pieces in order to secure them together.
The easiest way to make sure your holes are perfectly lined up is to drill your holes in your angled steel first. Once you have done that you are going to drill your first hole in the flat metal piece and stop. If you take a screw and place it through both the angled steel and the flat metal piece, you can mark the flat metal piece with the drill so that you know exactly where to drill the holes into the piece to ensure it lines up perfectly.
Putting Together Your New Panel Frame
If you made it this far you should be proud of yourself. Take a deep breath, the worst is over. The way this is going to work is the flat metal piece is going to slide inside the lip of your panel holes facing up and the angled steel is going to go on the outside of the panel where the holes are facing up as well. Generally, you are going to bolt the new angled steel bracket into place with the flat metal piece holding the panel between them. To hold it all into place you can use nuts with lock washers. This will ensure you hard work does not come apart by itself.
To begin this process, you are going to place your angled steel against the panel and drill the holes where you need them to sit. Hold the angled steel flat against your panel on the inside of the panel and drill the holes so that you can easily place bolts into the holes to hold the angled steel into place.
The trickiest part to this is going to be next. Take the flat metal piece you drilled the holes in and slide it between the lip of the panel. This sounds easy, but the inside of the panel is often insulated, so doing this without ripping out the insulation may be somewhat tricky. On top of being careful that you do not rip out the insulation, you are going to have to line the holes in the flat metal piece with the holes you drilled in your panel.
Place the angled steel over the panel and slide the first bolt into place to hold the entire thing together. This will help you to move around the panel without having the metal pieces fall all over the place. It is recommended that you use a nut with a lock washer to lock the first bolt into place and avoid having to repeat steps or ripping your panel more. Go ahead and finish bolting the angled steel, the panel, and the flat metal piece together and lock them with a nut and possibly a lock washer.
Replacing Your Panel
Make sure your garage door is all the way down before you attempt to reattach your panel. Be very careful while doing this step as you can easily drop your panel outside and damage it more, or injure someone. The panels of your garage door are kind of like a puzzle piece. They lock together. You are going to want to carefully place it in the proper position and lock it into place. Ensure you replace any rollers, nuts, and bolts that you may have removed to the appropriate places. If you have an automatic car door opener, you can reattach that once your panel is secured again.
Tips To Help You Along
It is highly recommended that you have someone help you when you are removing or replacing a panel from a garage door. It can be awkward to carry and you could get seriously injured if you are not cautious. It helps to have someone help you in these types of situations.
There was some weight added to the door, so you may want to adjust your spring tension ever so slightly to cover the weight difference. It will likely not be enough weight to make a big difference, but it is always a good idea to test this out when making any adjustments regardless how big or small. Also, it is a good idea to ensure you test out the system after you attempt to fix a panel in your garage door.
When you are testing your work for the first time, it is a good idea to manually test how the door opens instead of using the automatic door opener. The reason for this is if there is an issue and the panel you fixed does not want to roll properly because you did not connect the rollers properly or something you do not want to have all your hard work ripped apart. If you do it manually, you will notice the issue before it tears your work apart which allows you to make the necessary adjustments before testing it again.