Why Is My Garage Door so Heavy? (How to Fix It, Cost)


Garage doors are opened many times a day usually. You maybe use it as the front entrance when you come and go. This constant use wears all the components little by little. If your garage door is heavy to lift manually, something is wrong.

Usually, garage door springs need to be adjusted or replaced. Garage door springs offset the weight of the door. A problem with the spring tension could cause the door to open or close unevenly, improperly, or at the wrong speed.

Garage doors are the heaviest moving object in your house and can weigh 80-400+ pounds.

Garage door openers can lift hundreds of pounds. But they are designed to only lift properly balanced and working doors.

Springs do most of the heavy lifting. This counterbalancing effect makes it possible for your automatic opener to lift the door over the long term without wearing out too soon. If your door is cumbersome to raise by hand or your opener seems to be struggling, there is a good chance one of your springs is broken or needs to be adjusted.

Let’s look at all the components that can make the garage door heavy or hard to open/close.

Garage Door Torsion Spring

Lighter and smaller doors may only have a single torsion spring. In comparison, larger and heavier doors may have two springs, with one located on either side of the central plate.

Torsion springs are mounted above the door and run along a metal shaft that’s parallel with the door’s top. Aluminum drums are placed on either end of the metal shaft, and the springs are wound to a specific torsion.

They can be standard, early-set, steel rolling-door, or torque-master springs. They are also oil-tempered, galvanized or powder coater variety.

  • Standard is usually in residential garage doors.
  • Early set torsion springs are mounted in the middle of the torsion shaft.
  • Steel rolling-door springs are used in commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Torque master springs are enclosed in a torsion shaft.
  • Oil-Tempered – Long lifespan, low maintenance, most common, quiet, cheap. dark and oily look.
  • Galvanized – zinc coating prevents metal form rusting. Good for very humid areas. Requires annual adjusting.
  • Powder-coated – Coated with electrically bonded paint with many colors. Long lifespans and rust resistant. Non-oily.

Torsion spring replacement costs anywhere from $75 to $150 per spring, including materials and labor. The springs alone run $30 to $100 each. You’ll almost always have two springs per door, and you should replace both at the same time.

A properly balanced and adjusted torsion spring will counterbalance about 90% of the weight of your garage door. That means a typical double car garage door weighing 200 lbs will only require 20 lbs of force to move.

Garage Door Extension Spring

These are side Mounted and run above and parallel to the door tracks.

Credit

Extension springs store energy by extending or stretching when the door is moved. They also have pulleys and cables. The cable, which holds the spring, attaches to hooks in the track hanger assembly. There are two springs: one above each track on either side of the garage door.

They can be open-looped, double-looped, or clipped-end.

  • Open looped is the weakest
  • Double looped is stronger
  • Clipped end extension springs are the most durable

Extension springs cost $50 to $100 per spring to replace, including both labor and materials. The springs alone run $15 to $45. They’re easier to install and cost a bit less than torsion types.

Extension springs need to be fitted with safety cables. If spring breaks, the safety cable will hold it in place, preventing them from causing damage.

Garage Door Tracks and Rollers

Signs of track issues are gaps between rollers and the rail, a rubbing or strange noise, or stiff or broken wheels. Rollers can fall out of tracks causing the door to grind. This is particularly true for the rollers on the bottom left and right sides of the door.

Rollers can fall out of the tracks from the internal bearings going bad due to old age. They can also fall out when one of your garage door hinges or brackets comes loose.

Check out common garage door problems here.

Symptoms of Worn Out Garage Door Springs

Garage Door Becomes Heavy

A properly balanced garage door should only weigh about 5-20 pounds and is easy to lift by hand. If you feel like you cannot lift your garage door, or it is heavier than usual, get the springs checked.

Garage Door Goes Down Quickly

Spring is beginning to fail.

Door Won’t Open All The Way

If your door is only opening a little bit. Springs need to be replaced.

Loose Door Cables

If the cables are loose or slack, there is usually an issue with springs.

Gap In Torsion Springs

The torsion system is made up of two tightly wound springs located right over your garage door. When these springs break, they unwind, leaving a noticeable gap.

Garage Door Makes Strange Sound When Opening or Closing

A balanced garage door should be relatively quiet when traveling up or down the door tracks. The added strain on the opener can cause an unbalanced door to be noisy as it travels on tracks.

The Door Looks Uneven While Opening or Closing

This is another tell-tale sign of spring wear. If your garage door is crooked in any way, your extension springs need to be checked. They are located on either side of the door, and each pulls the door independently.

If one of these springs is broken, that specific side of the door will not be adequately pulled, causing it to not close properly and look uneven. If this problem persists, the door may get stuck on its tracks.

Loud Noise From The Garage

The spring immediately unwinds after it breaks. The sound is loud and startling. Torsion springs almost always fail with the door closed.

Door Has Become Hard to Operate Over Time

Jerky motion is likely due to a broken spring on one side of the door. The remaining functioning spring must compensate for the lack of help.

Garage Door Weight

Your average garage door weighs around 80300 pounds (a single door garage), depending on the material, thickness, etc. Ones on the heavier side can easily top at around 350 pounds, if not more. Most contemporary all-glass doors weigh an average of 400+ pounds. Insulation also adds some weight.

TypeWeightWidthHeight
25-gauge metal75-90 lbs87 to 8 feet
25-gauge metal150-180 lbs167 to 8 feet
Heavy Wood130-300+ lbs87 to 8 feet
double door with windows and an all-glass double doorover 400 lbs167 to 8 feet

Read all about garage doors here.

How Much Weight Can a Garage Door Opener Lift?

DoorDoor WeightRecommended Lifting Force
Single DoorsUp to 150 lbs1/4 HP or 1/3 HP
Single and DoubleUp to 350 lbs1/2 HP
DoubleUp to 600 lbs3/4 HP
SpecialUp to 750 lbs1 HP
CommercialOver 750 lbs1 1/4 HP
 A properly balanced garage door weighs about 10 to 20 pounds, which can easily be lifted with one hand.  To be able to raise and lower garage doors manually, they are equipped with a counterweight system, made of torsion or extension springs.

1/2 horsepower garage door opener can lift approximately 350 pounds. A one-horsepower opener can easily lift approximately 750 pounds. But they are not designed to lift mass like those all the time. Hence the Spring balancing system.

Read all about garage door openers here.

How Heavy Should Garage Door Feel?

A properly balanced garage door should only weigh about 5-20 pounds and should be easy to lift by hand.

Check Your Garage Spring System Once or Twice a Year

You can perform a balance test yourself.

  • Insert a piece of wood or similar under the door, so you can get space for your hands if the door doesn’t have handles for opening.
  • Close the door
  • Detach the door from the garage door opener if you have one.
  • Pull the red emergency release cord on your door opener. This disengages the opener trolley.
  • Gently lift your garage door. A properly balanced garage door weighs about 5 to 20 pounds.
  • The door should move freely without sticking or being too heavy at any point.
  • Lift the door to the halfway point and release it. The door should remain in place, supported by the springs. If it slams shut or open. The springs are out of balance.

Can You Replace Garage Door Springs Yourself?

Yes, extension springs are easier to replace, but torsion springs should be left to the experts.

How Much It Cost to Replace or Repair Garage Door Springs?

The average cost to repair or replace garage door springs is between $50 and $290 depending on the type of springs. If your garage uses torsion springs, you are looking at a $200 to $290 cost to repair or replace. With extension springs that stretch and then compress costs much less at between $50 to $95 to replace. (source homeguide.com)

Garage door spring replacement costs $120 to $350 on average, depending on the type. A torsion spring replacement costs $140 to $350, while an extension spring replacement runs $120 to $200. The spring parts alone cost $20 to $70 each, and labor runs $100 to $200. (source homeguide.com)

Garage door spring repair costs an average of $250 for both materials and labor with a typical range between $150 and $350 which includes replacing two springs. For multi-door garages or installs needing other components replaced, you might pay up to $500. (source homeadvisor.com)

Repair almost always means a replacement, but you might only need to balance the door and lubricate the springs, which only costs $50 to $100. Materials alone (springs, brackets, and hardware) run $30 to $200 for a set of two springs with labor running $75 to $150. (source homeadvisor.com)

Most doors include two springs, both of which you can’t repair but only replace once they fail. You probably won’t notice the first spring break until the second one goes. Even if only one fails in any way, you should replace both at the same time to maintain door balance. Besides, if one failed, it’s only a matter of time until the other one does. It’s usually cheaper to replace both during the same visit. (source homeadvisor.com)

The type of garage door you have can also affect your spring repair cost. To fix the springs in a tilt-up door expect to pay $150 to $200, whereas a roll-up door will cost $200 to $250 to repair for a 2 car garage door. (source homeguide.com)

  • Torsion springs are mounted horizontally over the garage door opening. As the door lowers, the torsion springs twist (storing energy), and as the door goes up, that energy is released. Garage door coil repair will cost $200 to $290 to replace two torsion springs, and this cost includes labor and materials.
  • Extension springs stretch and then compress. They are the most common springs found on garage doors today and cost about $50 to $95 to replace. (source homeguide.com)

A spring replacement is the most common garage door repair needed. Springs have a limited lifespan and will need to be replaced or repaired at some point in the life of your garage door. Springs have a lifespan of 10,000 cycles—raising and lowering the door one time. (source homeguide.com)

How Do I Know the Garage Door Spring Is Broken?

Each type of garage door springs has a specific way to check if they are broken:

  • Torsion springs will have a gap of a few inches in the coil or the body of the broken spring.
  • Extension springs that are broken will have a missing hook on either of the sides of the springs where the coil broke off.
  • Torquemaster systems typically won’t allow the door to come down again after the spring breaks. This safety lock activates when the spring breaks inside the tube that houses the spring
  • (source homeguide.com)

Garage Door Spring Costs

ProjectAverage Cost
Replace Torsion Springs$140 – $350
Replace Extension Springs$120 – $200
Convert Extension to Torsion System$200 – $500
Replace Springs and Cables$200 – $500
Replace Cables Only$80 – $185
Torsion Spring Parts$30 – $100
Extension Spring Parts$20 – $50
Spring Tune-Up (Winding, Balancing, Lubricating)$40 – $80
(source homeguide.com)

Garage Door Spring Prices

TorsionExtension
ProsMost common
Longer lifespan
Safer to use
Smoother operation
Better for places with less headroom
Cheaper
Less maintenance
ConsMore expensive
More maintenance
Shorter lifespan
Jerky operation
Dangerous when it breaks
Price$30 – $100$20 – $50
Cycles10,000 – 20,0005,000 – 15,000
Lasts7 – 14 Years4 – 10 Years
(source homeguide.com)

Garage Door Spring Replacement Cost

Spring TypeSpringsLaborReplacement Cost
Single Torsion$30 – $70$110 – $200$140 – $270
Double Torsion$50 – $100$150 – $250$200 – $350
Single Extension$20 – $40$100 – $120$120 – $160
Double Extension$30 – $50$130 – $150$160 – $200
(source homeguide.com)

Broken Garage Door Spring Repair Cost

ProblemSymptomsSolutionRepair Cost
Broken SpringDoor won’t open or struggles to move
Springs shows a gap of a few inches
Door crashes down when operating
Door is heavy, hard to lift
Opening motor works, but the door doesn’t move
Loud bang or snapping sound when door moves
Loose, hanging cables
Door becomes crooked
Door opens and closes in a jerky way
Spring Replacement$120-$350
Imbalanced SpringsDifficult to operateSpring Tune-up$40 – $80
Stretched SpringsDoor won’t stay fully open
Moves slower up or down
Spring Replacement$120-$350
Broken CablesDoor becomes uneven
One side becomes heavier
Door will fall down if both cables are broken
Door came off its track
Cable Replacement$85 – $185
Springs Require MaintenanceGarage door makes noise when operatingSpring Tune-up$40 – $80
Wrong Size Spring InstalledDoor moves too quickly or feels too light or heavy to openSpring Replacement$120-$350
(source homeguide.com

How Long Do Garage Door Springs Last?

Daily Cycles10,000 Cycles20,000 Cycles50,000 Cycles
214.0 Years28.0 Years68.5 Years
47.0 Years14.0 Years34.0 Years
64.5 Years9.0 Years23.0 Years
83.5 Years7.0 Years17.0 Years
103.0 Years6.0 Years14.0 Years
(source homeguide.com)

What Is the Average Life of Garage Door Spring?

Most garage door springs are rated at an industry-standard 10,000 cycles. Each cycle includes opening and closing. Most doors get used 3-4 times a day.

Assuming your springs were installed and calibrated correctly, you can reasonably expect them to last an average of 7-12 years. Garage door springs get stretched and re-stretched thousands of times during their life. They eventually lose the ability to hold a “charge” effectively.

Tip

Spending an extra $50 will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles or more.

What Causes Garage Door Springs To Break?

Rust, lack of lubrication and maintenance, installing cheap springs, regular wear and tear, and extreme winter temperatures causes garage door springs to break. The following list are reasons why garage door springs break and ways to extend their life.

  • Rust – Any moisture that contacts the springs makes the coils rust and weaken. Protect the springs from rust by spraying them annually with a silicone-based lubricant or White Lithium Grease(paid link). (avoid regular WD-40)
  • Lack of Maintenance – Check the balance of the springs annually by opening the garage door halfway. If the door stays in the middle, the springs are in good condition. If the door keeps moving up or down, or if one side moves up at a different speed, the springs need maintenance.
  • Cheap Springs – The cheapest springs use lower-quality metal coils that tend to break faster. Investing in higher-quality springs reduces repairs and saves money in the long run.
  • Cold Climates – In extreme winter temperature, the metal springs contract and have a higher chance of breaking. Insulating the garage and keeping the door closed helps shield the springs from the cold.
  • Wear & Tear – The more you open and close your garage door, the faster the springs wear down. Investing in high-cycle springs provide 50,000 cycles, while regular springs only provide 10,000 cycles.
  • (source homeguide.com)

Should I Lubricate or Oil My Garage Door Springs?

You should lubricate all springs, hinges, bearings, and metal rollers twice a year with lithium or silicone-based spray (paid link) Avoid simple car oil (too messy) and don’t use regular WD-40. Lubrication also helps to reduce noise.

Is It Dangerous to Replace Garage Door Springs?

Adjusting or changing springs can be very dangerous because of the incredible tension they’re under and should be done by a professional.

Especially if you don’t have the proper tools, have no experience, or lack a mechanical background.

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