House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
The original garage door design and models were made to open and close as a simple slab. As such, they existed as a single piece that slid up and down, or sideways as was required. Modern garage doors are not quite as simple. They are usually made up of multiple panels that tilt independently when the garage door is opened or closed.
Damage to these modern-day garage doors or a malfunction of the door can usually be isolated to a certain panel or panels, and the knowledge of how to replace garage door panels could be a savings tool in the long term.
This advantage of applying your handiness is thanks to the design of the garage doors, and though there are still some old one-piece garage doors around, the multiple panel models are more popular. If your multiple-panel garage door has a problem with any of the panels, here is how to replace the faulty panel.
Not so extensive damage. This might sound counter-intuitive, but it would only be reasonable to change a single panel of the garage door if you have correctly established that the damage to the door is not too bad. If the damage is too extensive, a single panel change might not do the trick, and you’d only end up having to replace the whole door after spending to replace the panel initially. Extensive damage might also require you to replace many panels, which might not be so cost-effective as replacing the whole door.
Modern garage door design and recent model. This works in two ways. If the model of the door is too old, it might be hard for you to get replacement panels that fit your garage door because the models might no longer be available. A similar problem exists when your garage door is too old and past its functional prime. In such cases, you might be better of changing your garage door completely.
A faulty security system. If you have a security system that you use, it might not be necessary or of immediate importance to change a defective door panel. If the security system is also failing, it might be time to replace the panel. This doesn’t mean the security system should be ignored, though. A suitable replacement for that would be the Ring Floodlight Camera Motion-Activated HD Security Cam and Siren Alarm.
What do you need to replace a garage door panel?
When you have a damaged panel in your garage door, the first thing to do is find out if replacement panels are available on the market. After that, organize your garage and tools and ensure you tick the following items off your list of needed items before you begin any repair work:
A spanner of appropriate size
A pair of scissors
A cable wire
A power drill
What to do to replace garage door panels?
A damaged garage panel poses a security risk. If you’re in a position where you need to replace one, you might like to improvise until the replacement panel is ready or, better still, invest in a garage alarm and security camera system. A popular alarm system is the Driveway Informer Wireless Driveway Alarm.
To replace a panel, you would need to lower the garage door and measure the size of the panel to be changed before purchasing the replacement. Once this replacement panel has been purchased, the next step is to go about gathering all of the necessary tools and protective gear that is needed for the job properly.
Before you start replacing the panel, wear the protective gear you have gathered and raise the garage door. After raising the door, disconnect the power to the automatic door opener and disconnect the center arm opener if it has one.
To remove the panel, follow these steps:
Undo the tension springs from the turnbuckles of the door.
Lower the door and use vise clamps to hold it up if the panel to be removed is a bottom one. You could use a spare 2-by-4 board to prop up the garage door before attaching the vise at the preferred height.
Loosen the bolts holding the panel in place and carefully remove the panel. To be more careful, loosen the bolt in the center bracket last.
New panel installation
Once the old panel has been successfully removed, the following steps can be taken to install the new panel:
Line up the new panel with the bottom anchors, the hinges, and the brackets.
Use the hinges and brackets as a guide for the drilling of holes for bolts.
Drill the required holes
Place the panel and attach all the brackets accordingly.
If the panel is a bottom one, holes can be made for the attachment of a new handle also.
Once the brackets have been attached, raise the door; reconnect the tension springs and the automatic garage door opener.
Finally, paint the door if you consider it necessary.
The process of changing or replacing a garage door panel is a very technical one, and it could get very tiring if you are not up for a little hard work. It gets even trickier when you need to replace more than one panel or even the whole door. As such, inviting a professional to do the job is not a very bad idea.
However, if you feel up to the task or the work isn’t all that out of place for you, you could give it a try until you can go no further. Even if you fall into this class, it might be better to watch a professional operate before you take this on. One thing is sure though, the kill and knowledge on how to replace a garage door panel would save you a lot of dollars down the line.