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Old 01-31-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


My house was built in the early 1990s. There are two wood 8x7 side-by-side garage doors with Craftsman 1/2 HP chain drive openers. The wood is getting a little ratty on the bottom of the doors, probably from water. Also, one of the openers is a little quirky and the other one is starting to get that way. One of the doors was "knocked" and it is slightly out of alignment (long story). I had a local garage door repair company come out last year to check out the one door. They wanted to charge me $400-500+ to rebuild the door and opener. I went to Lowes yesterday to price out garage doors and openers. I priced out mid range stuff at just over $2,000. I may be better off going to a local garage door company to get it done. Anyway, if I get both doors and openers rebuilt, we are talking $800-1000+ and atleast double to have the stuff replaced. Insulated doors would qualify for the Energy Tax Credit, so that would reduce my bottom line a little bit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-31-2010, 10:54 AM   #2
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


The following opinion is worth at least as much as you'll be paying for it.....

IMO, the openers should be replaced, but do it one at a time if money is an issue. Replace the bad one now, and the other one when it goes bad.

As for the doors, for me it would depend on what "rebuilding" a garage door means. If it means replacing rotted material with rot-proof material, then I'd go for it. If you're just replacing rotted wood with more wood that will rot, forget it.

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Old 01-31-2010, 11:19 AM   #3
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


I have found that rain and snow over time will rot out the bottom of wood doors, so I like to get rid of them if I have the opprotunity. I would not put any money into repairing the doors. While replacing the doors do the operators at the same time and be done with garage door issues for a long.

As for DIY installation - I have found I can usually get a garage door company to do a complete deal including installation, including hauling away the old doors, that makes it not worth your while to DIY.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


I can't seem to find the estimate, but from what I remember, the rebuilding of the doors consists of new hardware (rollers, hinges, etc), re-aligning everything and also new springs and cables. NOT new doors.

No question that the openers to be replaced, or atleast one of them. If I replace both doors, I might as well replace both openers.

Forget replacing the wood doors with new wood doors. I was going to get a traditional insulated steel door (triple layer: steel+insulation+steel). I want something low maintenance.

Money is not an issue, but I wanted to look at repairing everything first. The doors I priced out at Lowes are $789 each with installation. I would get a 30% tax credit on the doors and not the installation costs. In the long run, I am probably better off replacing the doors and openers. I plan on calling a garage door company that was recommended to me and compare the price to Lowes.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:02 PM   #5
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Call a couple of local garage door companies and get estimates from each. Forget rebuilding the old wood doors. You're just prolonging the agony. I wouldn't recommend the sears openers. Years ago they weren't bad. Nowadays they are specced so cheaply. Even though Liftmaster makes the openers for sears, they are not a liftmaster. The LM's that are only available through garage door companies are different than the units you get at the big box stores. The arms that the trolley rides on are one piece, not three or four. Not sure where you are located, but Clopay is a national door company. They sell a cheaper door through the box stores, don't get it. Most local garage door companies should be able to supply you with a better quality door at a cheaper price.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:14 AM   #6
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Thanks for the advice Mike. I am better off using a local garage door company because if there are ever problems after installation, I can call them directly and not the box store or installer. Lowes carries ReliaBilt doors and Chamberlain openers. At my old house, I had a local garage door company replace springs on the garage. I'll start with them first and report back.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


I contacted three local garage door companies. Two are in the mid $2,000 range and one is in the low $2,000 range for installation of 2 doors and 2 openers. They all use a mid-price ranged 3-layer steel construction door with a fairly high R value and 1/2 HP openers.

-Company A uses Raynor doors and Raynor belt drive openers-quoted $2,521 total
-Company B uses Amarr doors and LiftMaster chain drive openers (upgrade to belt drive opener, add $15 each)-$2,070
-Company C uses Advantage doors and LiftMaster belt drive openers (owner claims to use upgraded hardware)-$2,648

Company B uses a standard 1 3/8" thick door. The guy said that the other probably use a 2" thick door. I did not think to ask the other two companies what thickness door they use. The guy just came out and said they use an industry standard 1 3/8" thick door. Belt drive or chain drive openers? Anything else that I should be looking out for?
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Quote:
Originally Posted by walds11 View Post
I contacted three local garage door companies. Two are in the mid $2,000 range and one is in the low $2,000 range for installation of 2 doors and 2 openers. They all use a mid-price ranged 3-layer steel construction door with a fairly high R value and 1/2 HP openers.

-Company A uses Raynor doors and Raynor belt drive openers-quoted $2,521 total
-Company B uses Amarr doors and LiftMaster chain drive openers (upgrade to belt drive opener, add $15 each)-$2,070
-Company C uses Advantage doors and LiftMaster belt drive openers (owner claims to use upgraded hardware)-$2,648

Company B uses a standard 1 3/8" thick door. The guy said that the other probably use a 2" thick door. I did not think to ask the other two companies what thickness door they use. The guy just came out and said they use an industry standard 1 3/8" thick door. Belt drive or chain drive openers? Anything else that I should be looking out for?
If you are getting doors with windows, see if the glass is insulated. They add nearly $200.00 per door in my area!
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:31 PM   #9
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


These prices are doors without windows. That's what I want.

So, which deal looks good? I am leaning towards Company B, mainly because it's the cheapest and comparable to the others, except their price includes a chain drive opener. Going with a belt drive opener only adds $15 per opener. The chain drive is more heavy-duty, but noisier. The garages are above my master bedroom, but there is no garage door usage when people are sleeping, so noise is not an issue.

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If you are getting doors with windows, see if the glass is insulated. They add nearly $200.00 per door in my area!
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:50 PM   #10
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Walds,
In my area, amarr, wayne dalton, clopay and anderson (local co.) are the doors readily available. I usually hang the anderson doors, sometimes clopay. I have hung a lot of genie promax operators (chain drives). I have started to hang liftmasters since last year and really like their model 3850, which is their top model, belt drive, 3/4hp.
I get 370.00 for each opener installed, 8 x 7, 1 3/8" steel on steel door without windows are 550.00. So that would be 1840.00 for a job like yours. I am probably a bit less than a bigger company would be. The 1 3/8" doors are fine. The 2" doors that have a steel outside and inside are a bit more money, but also a lot heavier. I have hung a bunch of these and now feel it is a bit overkill. Now, there is another 2" door that is very popular here. It is steel outside, insulated, with the inside being the back side of the insulation covered with a vinyl pebble textured surface. These doors weigh about the same as an 1 3/8" steel on steel door.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:52 AM   #11
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Thanks again Mike. I was thinking of just replacing the doors now and openers in the future, but I am probably better off getting everything done at once. Company B charges $335 per chain drive opener installed (add $15 per opener for belt drive) and $700 per 8 x 7, 1 3/8" steel on steel door without windows, total for job = $2,070. I have to dig in to see why the others are $400-500+ higher. All the companies I contacted are small to medium sized, thus probably higher overhead than you.

Should I go with chain or belt drive openers?

I used company B to fix a garage at my old house, so I know a little about them.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:06 AM   #12
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


The last 2 openers I've had (at 2 different houses) over the last 5 years have been belt drive and I couldn't be happier with them. I recently hung an identical opener to the one in my last house, but with a chain, in my father's garage - it's noticibly louder.

When I moved into this house, the first weekend I tore out the existing chain drive opener (didn't come with remotes anyway) and replaced it with a new belt-drive model. You can really tell the difference, especially upstairs. If you have living space above your garage, I'd definitely pay the extra $15 each for the belt drive.

Beyond a little noise when the door is in operation, there's little difference. You don't need to oil the chain, but how often do most people do that anyway?
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:24 AM   #13
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


The guy at Company C suggested chain drive openers because they are more durable, will last longer and require less maintenance. My master bedroom is above the garage, but there is not much usage early morning or late at night when someone is sleeping. If the belt drive openers are just as good as chain drive openers, then I supposed I can't go wrong with belt drive for the extra $15.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:54 PM   #14
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


Walds,
In the liftmaster line, and genie's promax's also, the opener head is the same unit for the belt or chain drive. The only difference is the drive gear vs. drive pulley for the belt. Neither really requires much maintenance. I took a genie promax out of my main garage attached to the house and replaced it with a LM3585 Elite series belt drive. I can't hear the unit from inside the house anymore. And the genie promax chain is a fairly quiet unit. The LM comes with a really cool wall station. It has a motion sensor built in so when you walk into the garage, it turns the light on. It also displays the time and temperature.
You can go to Lm's website and check out the different units they offer.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:40 AM   #15
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Garage doors and openers: repair or replace?


-Company A quoted me $440 for a Raynor Aviator 1/2 HP belt drive opener. They also want to charge me $75 for a keypad.
-Company B quoted me $335 for the LM3265 chain drive and $350 for the LM3280 belt drive. They will throw in a keypad.

These are mid range openers, which is good enough for me. As long as belt drives don't need any more maintenance than chain drives, I'll go for belt drive.

Appointments are already set this week for both companys to come to the house. I will report back. I hope to make a decision soon.

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