Garage door panels can easily sustain damage during the door’s life. Whether you accidentally reverse into the door when distracted or your kid treats the door as a goal post and repeatedly bashes it with a football, you may end up having to fix one or more panels.
The good news is that minor damage can easily be fixed as a DIY project, and you won’t need to call in a professional garage door repair technician. Most garage doors are made from steel, aluminum, or wood, so you have a few options at your disposal if repairs are needed. In addition, you won’t need any special tools for minor panel repairs.
Read on to learn more about how to repair a garage door panel.
Common Causes of Garage Door Panel Damage
Dents are often caused by homeowners reversing or driving into the garage door. If the door is bumped gently, you will end up with a small dent or crease in the panel. Hitting the door harder will cause more damage and the panel is more likely to need replacing.
Storm debris can also cause minor damage to garage door panels. For example, if a tree branch is blown into the door, it might dent one or more panels.
Kids playing sports are another likely cause of dents in your garage door panels. However, unless you catch them in the act, this one is hard to prove!
Making Minor Repairs to a Garage Door Panel
Using filler to smooth off a dented panel is very effective on timber garage doors. It’s a quick fix if the damage is minor and you are ready to repaint the door. Use sandpaper to smooth the surface of the affected panel and fill in the dent with wood filler. Once the filler is dry, sand the surface and paint the panel. The same process will also work with metal garage doors, but instead of wood filler, use auto body filler.
On a steel or aluminum garage door, small dents and imperfections can be hammered out. To do this, you need a rubber mallet and a short piece of 2” x 4”. Hold the wood over the dent and hammer the panel from the other side until the area is flat. If any small wrinkles remain, smooth them out using auto body filler. If you use filler, you will need to repaint the door to camouflage the repair.
Fixing Panels on the Outer Edge of the Door
A dent in a central garage door panel is unlikely to affect the opening mechanism, but if a panel on the edge of the door is damaged, it could impede the door opening and closing. Try to manually close the door if you spot a damaged panel and the auto closer mechanism is not working. To do this, pull the emergency release cord inside the garage. This releases the door from the closer mechanism and from there you can pull it shut. Make sure you disconnect the power before you do this.
If the damage to the panel is such that you can’t close the door manually, don’t try to use brute force, as this could cause irreparable damage to the opening and closing mechanism. Instead, call a professional garage door technician.
When Should a Panel Be Replaced?
Minor dents and wrinkles can easily be fixed using filler and a rubber mallet, but if you have tried this and the final result is still imperfect, it could be time to replace the panel instead. The downside here is that on an older garage door, it might not be possible to find a replacement panel. It could also be an issue if you have a bespoke garage door.
For a newer garage door, call the company that installed the door to see if they can replace a damaged panel. If that fails, call a professional garage door repair company and ask them to quote for a new panel. Have your garage door model number handy, as they will ask for this to check whether a replacement panel is available.
When It Isn’t Worth Repairing and Replacing a Panel
Sometimes, the most sensible option is to replace the entire door rather than repairing or replacing a single panel. Naturally, this will depend on your budget, but if the garage door is old, it has several damaged panels, and other parts need replacing, upgrading to a new door might be a more cost-effective option.
A poorly repaired garage door won’t be very attractive, and if you plan to sell the property soon, it will hurt your home’s curb appeal. Replacing the door is also a good opportunity to upgrade to a more contemporary design.
Need assistance with a garage door panel repair? Call the professionals for a quote and explore your options.