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A lot of older homes have smaller garage doors than a typical modern house has today. For many people, making a garage door taller is a great option that opens you up to owning larger cars, storing boats, and generally making access in and out a lot easier.
You can make a garage door taller in several ways. Fitting an extra panel on the garage door, repositioning the tracks for a larger opening, and installing a completely new door are all decent options depending on your budget and the way your house was built.
Each option comes with a different level of complexity which will help you decide whether it’s a project you want to take on yourself or something that you would rather hire out to a professional.
In the end, making changes to something like a garage door can be an expensive proposition.
Here are some things you should know before you decide whether it’s something you want to do and how you should tackle the project.
Installing a New Garage Door
Installing a new garage door is possibly the best way to go about making your garage door taller. You get a new door that looks great and won’t cause any maintenance issues that can happen when you try to adjust an older door.
It’s not too hard, either. But it does take experience and some specialized tools, so it’s probably something that’s best left to a professional garage door team.
What usually happens is they have to tear apart some of the frames around the garage door to accommodate the larger door.
Don’t worry, though, they’ll put it back in place and frame it around the new door once it’s installed. You won’t have to worry about matching panel colors or any other concern tied to making an older door taller.
Adding Another Panel to Your Garage Door
If you’ve got the space, then adding another panel is a fast, cost-effective solution to making your garage door taller. Odds are that your current garage door was installed with dimensions specific to your house, but there may be a chance you can get by with an extra panel in there.
The main thing you need to be aware of is whether the current garage door setup can handle the weight of a new panel. It might look ok at first, but in a few months or years, the system can break down from the added weight and cause you more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re curious, you can always ask a professional if adding a new panel is a realistic option and hear what they have to say. You may also want a new operating system like an opener, etc., that is equipped to handle the heavier door now.
Adjusting Tracks or Installing New Tracks to Make the Door Taller
Where your tracks are installed and the angle at which they operate has a lot to do with how tall your door can be. Sometimes, moving the tracks up or changing the angle can make room for that extra panel to go on.
Changing garage door tracks is a tough job because there are a lot of moving parts, so unless you have some friends and family who can help, you may want to hire this project out.
It will save you money from having to buy a completely new door though, and it will make room for what you want to fit in your garage.
Checking for Space Above Your Garage Door
If there is just framing and sheetrock above your garage door opening, then your chances of making your garage door taller improve.
A good crew, or if you’re handy enough yourself, can cut through any wood frames and drywall and increase the opening without too much trouble.
If the walls around your garage door are brick or some other hard material, or if there is simply no space, then your choice becomes more complicated.
Now you’re getting into complex remodeling territory, so you’re going to have to ask yourself whether having a taller garage door is worth the money you’ll spend opening the space.
Again, talking to a garage door installer or an experienced contractor will give you a good idea of how much it will cost.
Anytime you’re changing anything on your garage door, you should worry about weight.
Garage doors are heavy, and built with springs and balancing that have a specific weight in mind. It’s great if you can just add a panel on your existing garage door to make it taller, but is the opener equipped to handle the extra weight?
The last thing you want is to have a spring snap or something else cause structural damage to your garage door that renders it useless. Then you’ll be spending money on a brand new garage door on top of what you’ve already spent.
When garage doors break, there’s obviously the inconvenience factor, but it’s a safety concern as well. If it’s stuck in the open position, then you’ll be worried about your house being exposed until it’s fixed.
On the off chance someone is right there when the door breaks, they could get hurt as well.
Finding a Good Professional Garage Door Contractor
The best garage door installation companies will send someone to you to talk about your project and take a look at what you’re dealing with for free.
They’ll give you an estimate of what any renovations will cost and a timeline that works for you. Even if you’re planning on doing the adjustments yourself, it’s a good idea to have someone come out and take a look.
Usually, they’ll give you some helpful advice and maybe point out something you hadn’t thought of that will save you a lot of trouble.
In general, the older the house, the harder it is to make the garage door taller.
Newer homes are typically more flexible, and making renovations is a lot easier because you’re dealing with plywood and other materials easy to cut and replace.