How to Repair a Garage Door Panel
Accidents happen. We get calls about broken panels after a child rams their bike into the garage door or someone accidentally backs into the garage. With enough speed and impact, garage door panels crack and break.
In minor accidents, a broken garage door panel is a cosmetic issue. Sometimes, the garage door still works well and won’t experience any issues opening or closing.
However, a broken panel can spell disaster for your garage, depending on the extent of the damage. For example, if you try to move the door with a broken panel, it could catch somewhere, or the weight will be uneven, causing more damage to springs, openers, or other garage door parts.
Many homeowners ask whether they can repair a garage door panel or whether replacement is the only option. Replacement is more expensive, but sometimes it’s the only solution when the damage is severe enough.
They can restore garage door performance and save you money when repairs are possible. Here, we cover some of the problems caused by broken garage door panels and how to repair a garage door panel to get things back in good shape fast.
Why You Need to Repair a Garage Door Panel
If the panel is only cracked or dented, why fix it? It’s a valid question.
First, not every damaged panel needs repairing. For example, you may not need to do anything if you have a minor dent in your garage door from something like:
- Kids roughhousing
- Bumps from cars
- & Other small collisions
If you visit most homes across the country, you’ll see plenty of dings, scratches, and dents in household garage doors.
Modern garage doors are very durable. They can withstand a few bumps and scrapes. The real issues arise when the damage is significant enough to affect stability, performance, or safety.
Here are some reasons why you need garage door panel repair:
- Safety – Garage doors keep your cars out of the sun and snow, but they’re also a big part of home security. Frequently, people leave their interior doors unlocked because their garage doors are closed. If you have a broken or loose panel, it potentially exposes you and your family.
- Weatherproofing – Your garage door design, including panels, weatherstrips, tracks, windows, etc., prevents water, wind, and too much sunlight from getting in. Of course, if your panel is damaged to the point where water can get in, it’s a significant concern.
- Garage Door Performance – Perhaps the most significant reason you should get serious problems repaired is that they can affect how your garage door works. Remember, these doors weigh hundreds of pounds. It’s a legit safety risk if they’re not working as designed. When your garage door panel is broken, you run the risk of inflicting more damage or injury.
When to Repair vs. Replace a Garage Door Panel
Deciding on repairs or replacement is the million-dollar question homeowners ask when they have an obvious problem with a garage door panel. Everyone wants to save money. Here are some things to consider as you decide.
The Age of the Door
How old is your garage door? If the panels are old and brittle, you may want to replace them. Unfortunately, panels for older doors are often hard to find. In addition, sometimes repairs become so frequent that they exceed the replacement cost. Talk to a trusted garage door company for an honest recommendation.
It’s easier to replace a garage door panel on certain models. Others, however, are complex and pricey. If you’re like most homeowners, price is always a factor. Once you know how much replacement costs, then sticking with repairs or living with a few cosmetic dings may begin to feel more comfortable.
Does Insurance Cover It?
Whether insurance will foot the bill for garage door panel repair greatly impacts which way you go. But, of course, if the insurance company will cover the repair or the replacement, it’s up to you to choose the best option. Speaking with an experienced garage door repair company can help you navigate what can be a complex claims process.
Guide to Garage Door Panel Repair
OK, you’re here to learn how to repair a damaged garage door panel. Let’s break things down into a step-by-step process to get you started. Again, we want to emphasize that this is just for your information and not something we suggest doing by yourself.
Dealing with a heavy garage door is best left to the professionals. We always advise homeowners to work with an experienced garage door technician for anything related to door performance.
That said, here are some of the basics of garage door panel repair.
Pounding out bends
Garage door repair technicians can use a special hammer to pound out minor and even severe dents in your garage door. This, of course, beats replacing the panel entirely. One concern, however, is that the damaged board may not be as sturdy as it once was, making it prone to future dents.
Ideally, a wooden or rubber mallet is best for the job. A seasoned technician will start pounding on the dent lightly, adding pressure until the dent begins to reverse.
Suctioning the dents
Advanced garage door repair companies are increasingly using suction tools to pull dents without any of the cracks and creases a hammer may cause. Essentially, you attach strong suction cups to the dented or damaged part of the door and slowly increase the force with which the cups pull in one direction. Eventually, the suction cups straighten the dent.
Using a Heat Gun
Have you ever seen a body shop use a heat gun to pull out dents in a car bumper or door panel? The same wisdom applies here, and heating the metal door frame and letting it cool can return your garage door panel to its standard shape. But, again, this is best done by a professional because the last thing you want to do is cause burning or scarring on your lovely garage door.
Replacing the Broken Panel
If your garage door has a massive hole or dents, replacement may be your only choice.
Many homeowners worry about whether they’ll find a matching color. It’s true; a new door panel that’s the same model as your garage door can look odd because it’s brand new. It doesn’t have the same years of wear and tear and weathering as your door.
Working with a skilled company and garage door technicians can help improve the aesthetics of your garage after a door panel replacement. They can color-match the panel and install it in a fashion that helps it blend with the rest of your door.
If you can’t find an exact match, some companies offer painting services that will change any panel that fits into the same color as your door. Ask whoever you’re working with about parts availability and if they can paint the new panel if they can’t find an exact match.
Can I Replace One Garage Door Panel?
Many garage door owners worry they’ll have to replace every single panel after damaging one of them. Unfortunately, in some instances, this may be the case. However, garage door technicians can typically replace only the damaged panel, saving you time and money on the repair.
The best way to do this is with a professional inspection. A garage door repair professional will come to your house to look over the damaged panel, the springs, tracks, and other mechanics to guarantee nothing else needs fixing.
The repair is fairly straightforward if the damage is isolated to just one panel. Then, they remove the panel and install a new one, avoiding replacing the entire door.
The main issue is determining whether the damage impacts the garage door performance and how to best get things back in good shape long-term.
How Much Does Garage Door Panel Repair Cost?
Price is a concern for anyone fixing a garage door problem. No one wants to pay more than necessary to fix something like a damaged garage door panel.
Here’s what you can expect:
Call some garage door companies for a free estimate. In addition, don’t rush to choose the lowest prices. Instead, consider the company’s reviews and track record before choosing a quote.
A door panel repair using a hammer, suction cups, or heat gun can cost anywhere from around $100 to several hundred dollars. The final cost depends on the size of the dent and how many hours it takes to fix it.
Finally, panel replacement can cost a few hundred dollars and depends on the model and availability of the parts. In addition, any painting or custom work will add to the price tag.