Whether you are outfitting a brand new house or looking to replace an old garage door, one of your primary concerns will certainly involve garage door costs. It is not necessarily an easy chore. Most homeowners don't have much experience buying garage doors and therefore have little idea about garage door costs.
Furthermore, garage door costs vary widely. You can spend as little as a few hundred dollars for a basic new garage door, uninstalled, to thousands of dollars for a high-end garage door that is professionally installed.
One thing that might surprise you is that replacing the garage door may well prove to be a good investment. Remodeling magazine has found that the return on investment in a garage door is better than just about any other home improvement project. (For more information, see Getting the Best Deal on a Garage Door Replacement.)
With that in mind, here are five big questions you need to answer to help get a handle on what your garage door costs might be.
1. Do I Really Need a New Door?
For many, this is a simple question to answer. Wood garage doors rot, metal garage doors get banged up, track hardware falls apart. If that's the situation you face, there's probably not much choice in the matter. You need a new door.
But just because your garage door isn't functioning properly, it doesn't necessarily follow that it needs to be replaced. You can hold down your garage door costs by doing a little maintenance and repair yourself.
If cold air whips around the edges of your garage door, you don't necessarily need to replace it. See What To Look for in Garage Door Seals for information on patching those leaks. Also note that wood and metal garage doors can be transformed with a paint job, which is much less expensive than replacement.
2. What Kind of Garage Door Should I Choose?
One of the biggest variables in garage door costs is in the materials used. For some information on how garage door costs might be reflected in the material you choose, read about choosing the best material for your door.
Your choice of style can also have a big impact on your garage door costs. Read Understanding Garage Door Styles to gain some understanding about what's available and which style is best for you.
3. What Is Included In the Garage Door Cost?
Obviously, garage door costs are going to depend on quite a bit more than just the price of the door. Garage door replacements often also include new tracks (the metal parts in which the rollers move up and down). Find out if the cost you have been quoted includes new tracks.
As with most consumer products, it really pays to shop around and compare garage door costs. Most cities have a large number of contractors who specialize in garage door installations and repairs. Give all of them a call (for information on choosing contractors, see How To Find the Best Garage Door Installers and Repairmen), and find two or three who will give you a written estimate.
You might also want to compare garage door costs offered by Home Depot and Lowes. Both usually carry garage doors, and Home Depot usually offers an installation service as well. Garage door costs at both stores range from about $300 (one-car) to $450 (two-car). Double those figures and you should have a ballpark idea of installed garage door costs.
4. Can I Install the Garage Door Myself?
Home centers sell garage doors that are not particularly difficult to install. Before deciding to reduce your garage door cost by installing it yourself, contact the manufacturer for installation instructions. If the project looks manageable, go for it. As with most home improvement projects, the best way to reduce garage door costs is to do it yourself.
5. Do I Need To Replace the Garage Door Opener, Too?
If your garage door opener is working fine with the current garage door, there's probably no reason to change it. The only exception to this would be if you buy a new garage door that is considerably heavier than the old one and your garage door opener is not strong enough to handle the extra load. Look for a lightweight garage door replacement, however, and you can avoid having to replace the garage door opener.
General advice on garage door opener replacement can be found at Reasons to Replace Your Garage Door Opener. If your current opener is acting up, it could just need some care and feeding. Troubleshooting the Most Common Garage Door Opener Problems is a good place to start diagnosing a problem.