How to Remove a Garage Door

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If you are converting your garage into living space, removing the garage door is one of the first major jobs you will face. The open space can be filled with a patio door, or you can frame a new wall and add a window. If you're replacing an old garage door, you'll need to remove the door and the spring assemblies, and you can decide whether to keep the old tracks and supports or to replace those as well.

Standard sectional garage doors have four or five sections joined by hinges that pivot as the door is raised and lowered. The doors move on rollers inside of tracks that run up the side of the door and overhead. Removing the door is not difficult, but it does require more than two hands. You must have a strong helper or two for some of the steps.

Disconnect the Garage Door Opener

To remove an electric garage door opener, first, close the garage door all the way, then unplug the motor unit from the electrical outlet. Pull the release cord hanging down from opener track to disengage the opener's trolley. Disconnect the trolley support arm from the door by removing the cotter pin and connecting bolt at the door end of the arm. The door is now separated from the opener, and you can remove the entire opener assembly, if desired, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Remove the Garage Door Springs

Garage doors use springs to carry much of the weight of the door during lifting and lowering. There are two types of spring mechanisms. Extension springs are located above the upper tracks on both sides of the door. Torsion springs are attached to the header directly above the closed door. Torsion springs are always under tension and can be very dangerous to work with if you don't know what you're doing. If you have torsion springs, call a garage door professional to have the springs unwound safely.

To remove extension springs, open the garage door all the way and attach C-clamps or locking pliers to the tracks on both sides to prevent the door from rolling down once the springs are removed. This is important: Garage doors (even thin metal doors) are very heavy and can come down with great force without the springs carrying the bulk of their weight.

Temporarily tape or tie each spring to a door track. Use pliers to remove the lift cable from the bottom bracket on each side of the door. Disassemble the spring and pulley assemblies.

Lower the Door

Set blocks of wood on the floor where the door meets the floor. The blocks will prevent you from pinching your fingers when you lower the door. With one or two helpers supporting the weight of the door in the open position, remove the clamps from the door tracks. Carefully lower the door until it rests on the wood blocks.

Warning: The door may weigh several hundred pounds. Make sure you and your helpers can safely carry the weight of the door while lowering it.

Remove the Door Panels

You will remove the door panels one at a time, working from top to bottom. Start by removing the bolts securing the hinges to the top door panel, using a socket wrench. A standard 16-foot door has two roller hinges (one at each end of the panel) and three regular hinges in between. Remove the bolts only on the top half of each hinge, leaving the bottom halves attached to the lower door panel.

With a helper or two supporting the top of the top panel, remove the roller bracket at each end of the panel. Carefully tilt the panel back and lift it away from the tracks and the rest of the door. Set the panel aside.

Repeat the same process to remove the remaining door panels. If desired, remove the door tracks by unbolting the sections one at a time. The vertical track sections will be fastened to the wall with lag bolts; remove these with a socket wrench.