Garage Door Installation – DIY

Installing a garage door requires the proper tools, equipment, supplies, and the knowledge of how to install a garage door so the final results will be a garage door that works properly for many years to come. Of course, there are many considerations that you will need to consider before starting work on installing your new garage door, so you will need to take a little time to do the research, find the proper materials, and get started the right way so that the installation will go as smoothly as possible.

Environmental Conditions and Budget

The first consideration is the year-round environment that your garage door will need to resist. There are materials that work better to fend off the changing temperatures and weather conditions of a moderate climate compared to a sub-tropical zone where the conditions change less over the course of each year. This will help you decide if materials like wood or aluminum may work best for your needs.

Your budget will also be a consideration as you’ll need to total up the amount of materials needed combined with the time spent doing the installation. You may find that a customized wooden garage door is too much or that aluminum is simply not right for your needs. Whatever you decide, it’s wise to allow some wiggle room so that you can cover an unexpected expense.

Garage Door Installation – DIY
Garage Door Installation – DIY


Now that you have what you want in terms of materials, the next step is measuring to ensure that the frame and header are the proper size, so they will fit. Your measurements will need to be precise, so double-check your work and perhaps get someone else to measure again just to be sure.

Precise measurement allows for enough room to set up the tracks, shaft, and door brackets so that there is enough clearance to let the garage door open and close properly.


Naturally, the dimensions of the garage door must match the opening, otherwise you run the risk of the door being too small or too large. So, if you have a 15’ x 8’ opening, the garage door needs to be same size.


The vertical tracks for a standard door will need 1.75” of space that go past the edge of the door and 2.75” of space from the wall itself. The horizontal tracks will need to be long enough to hold the entire garage door above the opening so that vehicles can get out. The required backroom needed consists of the length of the garage door itself and an additional 16” for full clearance.

Shaft System

To install the torsion tube/shaft, you’ll need at least 9” of clearance so the garage door has enough room to move. The shaft system will need 12” unless you use a low clearance kit which reduces that amount to just 5”. From the ceiling to the top interior jamb, you’ll need another 2X12 or 2X6 depending on the space involved should be present in the middle of the garage door opening.

Side Jambs

Basically, both exterior side jambs along the opening need to be flushed with the interior side jambs and 2X6 in size for proper fitting. The measurement of the exterior and interior jambs need to be identical and at least 3.5” wide that is past the opening from top to bottom. If not properly installed, the pressure exerted by the weight of the garage door will rip the side jambs from their mounts.

You will need to set up the opening for the garage door and bring the appropriate hardware. Once completed, you will need to separate the bottom, intermittent, and top panels of the door so they can be properly installed.

Hinges for the Garage Door

A garage door that is in sections will need the right hinges to be attached so that all the panels are working together. The correct hinges will need to be used so that the panels of the door do not bind with each other. The intermittent and end hinges should be #1 while the second section needs to be #2 hinges. You’ll need to screw in the top bracket while the bottom bracket needs to be mounted on both bottom corners so that balance is maintained.

Stack the Panels

Now that all the hinges have been attached, the next step is to place the bottom section against the interior side jambs. This should be aligned with the center of the opening. You hammer a 3” nail on the left and right of the 2X6 interior side jambs and slightly bend it towards the jambs themselves. This will temporarily secure the garage door until the installation is finished.

Install the Track

You’ll want to set up the track first and then tighten everything in place once it is in the proper position. Remember that the flat side faces the wall when setting up the track and you can use lag bolts to mount the jamb brackets so that everything falls into place.

You’ll need to make the proper alignments so that the track is even and can run the garage door rollers smoothly.

Shaft System

You’ll need to use either supported and unsupported end bearing plates for the shaft. Once the shaft is in place, you will need to add the garage door springs or garage door torsion springs which provide lift and support for the garage door, making it easier to move up and down. Be careful when installing the springs because the tension may cause them to slip or even break if installed incorrectly.

Plus, you will need to add lift cable drums to both ends of the tube which provide balance that keeps the garage door even. The cables themselves run around the drums and are the length of the garage door plus 18” to ensure proper clearance.

Once set, all that remains is to tighten the bolts and leveling the tension between both cables so that the garage door raises and lowers evenly. Once achieved, you can level the garage door and adjust the drums on both sides so that they are even and ready to operate. The springs will need steal bearing or nylon bushing (depends on the garage door’s weight) and to be wound up so that they are ready to go. Then you can proceed with testing the garage door to ensure that it functions properly. Please note that inappropriate garage door installation will cause an expensive and unnecessary garage door repair in the future.

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