Fixing Garage Door Panels (Helpful Info, Videos and Cost)


Damage to the garage door can be frustrating. The door looks terrible, and curb value is affected. However, if the damage is minor, it can be easily fixed. Still, more extensive damage can be costly, and sometimes it’s more cost-effective to replace the whole door. 

Garage door panels can be supported with steel struts which fix most bent doors, Dents can be repaired with little elbow grease, and whole door panels can be replaced in some cases. However, cracks in the door mean the door panel or entire door needs to be replaced usually.

Sectional garage doors are made of at least three hinged steel, aluminum, vinyl, glass, or wood panels and come in different sizes and properties. The panels will degrade over the years because of the regular wear, tear, and weather conditions.

This article will look at how to fix the most common problems with garage door panels. 

Can Garage Door Panels Be Repaired?

Garage door panels can be repaired in some cases, depending on the type of damage. For example, minor dents are easy to repair. However, if someone hits the panels with a car and bent badly, you usually have to replace one panel or the whole door. 

Rotten wood and rusted steel cannot be repaired. Cracks are hard to repair, and the fix is usually a temporary one. 

It is possible to replace just one panel. But depending on the age of the door, it can be hard or easy to find a replacement panel. 

The first thing to do is try and find a replacement door panel. Locate the model and manufacturer of the door. There should be a sticker or label located inside the garage door on the panel sides. 

It is not unusual for the manufacturer and model number to be missing, making finding replacement parts impossible.

Wooden door panels are usually easier to find if the panel is available. 

Also, the replacement panel color might not match the old door perfectly. Finally, the paint or other coating will fade over time, especially in the sun. 

Bent doors can also be fixed with metal struts attached to the inside of the door running the entire length of the door. However, the struts affect the door weight, and the springs need to be adjusted or replaced to accommodate the change in load. 

A buckling garage door is caused by the door not being supported across the center of the door. As a result, the 2nd or 3rd panel can start to sag. If the door sags and pops when opening and closing the door. The steel has softened up and needs to be reinforced with a strut.

Steel struts are typically available at local hardware stores and extend across individual panel sections. 

It’s usually more cost-effective to replace the entire door rather than trying to fix the old door. The struts will only work in some cases, and welding the cracks can be an impossible or temporary fix. 

If only one panel is damaged the replacing the panel might be cost-effective. If 2 or more panels are damaged, it’s usually better to replace the entire door. 

Consider the age and quality of your garage door. Then, calculate the expenses of repairing the door vs. replacing the whole door. It’s also worth considering the energy efficiency of the door and get an insulated door. 

How to Fix Bent Garage Door Panel

Bent garage doors can be fixed with steel supports struts, but the aesthetic-based issues usually remain, and the door will not look good from the outside. This depends on the severity of the bend. If the door is hit by a car, then the bent might be massive, and the door panel or whole door needs to be replaced.

If the door is only slightly buckling when opening and closing the door. The struts will work fine. A buckling garage door is caused by the door not being supported across the center of the door. The 2nd or 3rd panel can start to sag.

If the door sags and pops when opening and closing the door, the steel has softened up. And needs to be reinforced with a strut. Steel struts are typically available at local hardware stores and extend across individual panel sections. 

However, the struts affect the door weight, and the springs need to be adjusted or replaced to accommodate the change in load. 

Installing Struts 

  • Measure the width of the door. 
  • Assess the extent of the damage and decide how many door sections need to be strengthened. Horizontal reinforcements can be attached along every panel section. 
  • Purchase the struts and self-drilling screws at a local hardware store.
  • Disconnect your electric door opener.
  • Align the struts and fasten them to the door. Have a buddy to help make sure each piece is level. Use a spirit leveler to measure. 
  • Balance the door springs to the new door weight. (the torsion springs are under tremendous tension and are dangerous. Get an expert to adjust the springs if needed.)

How to Fix Dented Garage Door Panel

Dents in the garage doors can happen for any reason. Maybe someone hits the door with a vehicle or yard tool, or kids play some sports and damage the door. Medium or minor size dents can be fixed DIY with little elbow grease.

Aluminum and steel dents can be repaired in the following ways:

Aluminum Dent Repair

Tools you need:

  • Bucket of water
  • Dish soap and sponge
  • Heat source as a heat gun, heat lamp, lighter, or hairdryer
  • Tinfoil
  • Can of compressed air

The Process:

  • Wash the dented area carefully and let the spot air dry. 
  • Cut the tin foil and place it over the dented area with tape. 
  • Use the heat gun or lighter to apply heat to the tinfoil for one minute, so the heat is applied to the dent.
  • Remove the foil and immediately use a compressed air can upside down to blow cold air to the dent. 
  • The change in the temperature causes the dent to reverse back to its original position. A larger dent may take more than one time. Rinse and repeat.

Steel Dent Repair

Tools you need:

The Process:

  • Wash the dented area carefully and let the spot air dry. 
  • Sand the dent till all the paint is gone and wipe the dust away. 
  • Apply the auto body filler compound with a putty knife to the dent.
  • Let the compound dry. 
  • Sand the area carefully with 2 different grit sandpapers till the area is smooth.
  • Prime and paint the area.  

Bigger steel and aluminum dents (Does Not Apply to Insulated Doors)

Tools you need:

  • Rubber mallet
  • A block of wood

The Process:

Place to block of wood to the inside of the door if the dent formed outside. Use the rubber mallet to tap the dent carefully. You can also try to place the woodblock over the dent and then tap it with the mallet. It should straighten out. Finish the area with auto body filler if necessary.

Suction Cups

Similar to dented cars, some dents in steel or aluminum doors can be fixed with suction cups. Check this article out for suction cup fixes. 

How to Fix Cracked Garage Door Panel

Cracked doors can be hard to repair. The welding might be impossible or not hold due to the gauge of the material. Cracks can be supported with the help of an 8-18 ft long reinforcement brace called a strut. The strut will not fix the crack, but it will reinforce the door and prevent further cracking.

However, the struts affect the door weight, and the garage door springs need to be replaced or adjusted. 

Cracks usually occur on the top panel where the electric door opener attaches to the door or the second panel on the ground. 

How to Fix Wooden Garage Door Panel

Wooden garage doors look great but need regular maintenance. The panels need to be stained or painted. And if the door has been neglected, the wood starts to rot. If the wood is cracked or there are holes in it, it’s time to replace the panel or whole door. 

How to Replace Garage Door Panels 

If the garage door is new, the manufacturer may offer replacement panels. But for older models, it might be hard or impossible to find replacement panels. 

Try to find the model and manufacturer of the door. There should be a sticker or label located inside the garage door on the panel sides. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for the manufacturer and model number to be missing, making finding replacement parts impossible.

If only one panel is damaged the replacing the panel might be cost-effective. If 2 or more panels are damaged, it’s usually better to replace the entire door. 

Consider the age and quality of your garage door. Then, calculate the expenses of repairing the door vs. replacing the whole door. 

Also, the replacement panel color might not match the old door perfectly. The paint or other coating will fade over time, especially in the sun. 

How to Fix Garage Door Panel Hinges

Hinges(paid link) are easy to replace. Watch the following video.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace or Repair Garage Door Panels?

Garage door repairs cost $243 on average, ranging from $148 and $342. But, again, this depends on the type and the problem. Minor fixes with inexpensive replacement parts may run under $100. However, solving significant damage to a solid wood style could take up to $1,500.

The cost to replace a garage door panel ranges from $150 to $1,000, not including labor. You’ll pay an additional $200 to $500 for the service.

Panel replacement assumes the pro can find one to match what you have. In some cases, it may be more practical to pay the price to install a new garage door, which is $750 to $1,500.

Broken glass in the door: Glass is relatively inexpensive, so the major cost of this repair is the labor it takes to replace it. Figure on about an hour of labor for a garage door professional at about $75 to $150, with a cost of $15 to $50 for the glass itself.

Garage door dent repair costs $100 to $300 for manageable dents. This job works best for ones made of steel or aluminum.

Some materials can’t be repaired easily, like composite or wood. In these instances, you may need to replace the panel.

(Source homeadvisor.com) 

The panel can be replaced with newer garage doors for $250 to $800, depending on the style and job complexity. With older garage doors, the panels may no longer be available. 

Overhead garage door prices are $300 to $1,200, which is more cost-efficient than replacing a panel.

You may be able to repair the damaged panel, which can cost

  • Wood – Repairing a damaged panel will cost $400 for a wood garage door.
  • Aluminum – Replacing the panel for an aluminum garage door costs $170 to $289.
  • Fiberglass – Expect to spend $200 for a fiberglass garage door panel replacement.

If your garage door is past the repair stage and must be replaced, expect to spend $878 to $1,420 on a new garage door installation

You can spend many thousands of dollars on a new state-of-the-art garage door or custom-built door or a few hundred on a simple, builder-grade door.

(Source homeguide.com)

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