Typical garage door repairs involve the various bits and pieces that help the panels open and close smoothly. Tracks, springs, motors, and other mechanical elements often wear out, forcing you to replace or refurbish these items to keep your garage operating correctly. However, the panels are another critical element that sometimes requires attention.
Understanding the Distinction Between Panels and Doors
Many people assume that a "panel" is the same thing as a "door," but this term is much more granular. Each door consists of numerous panels on hinges, allowing the doors to rotate from a vertical to a horizontal position as they move along the tracks. These doors are known as sectional doors since each door includes many individual sections.
By contrast, single-panel move up and rotate as one piece. This style was more common in older homes, but most newer construction uses a sectional design. Although many people prefer sectional doors for their safety, durability, and relatively low spacing requirements, both approaches have their advantages. One particular advantage of sectional doors is the ability to replace individual panels.
Recognizing Damaged Panels
Panels typically won't wear out over time, but they may be adversely affected by impacts. Depending on your door's material, it may be more or less susceptible to minor bumps and bangs, such as errant softballs or careless bumps when driving. In many cases, you can repair a panel with minor cosmetic issues without replacing it.
On the other hand, structural damage is usually a sure sign that you'll need new panels. Pay special attention to issues when you raise or lower your doors. If you notice one panel buckling, shifting, or otherwise not moving smoothly, then the damage might be significant enough to justify replacement. Once you see this, you should stop using your garage door to avoid causing additional damage.
Fortunately, damaged panels aren't enough to condemn a sectional garage door to the scrapyard. A garage door contractor should be able to identify the damaged sections and replace them individually, saving you plenty of cash over a complete door replacement. They will also evaluate the springs and hinges that keep the panels together for signs of wear or damage.
Replacing Portions of Your Damaged Door
Once you know your door has one or more damaged panels, you should quickly repair them. Continuing to use the door can place additional stresses on the other panels or cause the hardware holding the sections together to fail. Never use your door if you notice two or more panels rubbing or bumping into each other.
In many cases, you should be able to replace your damaged panels with new ones that look identical to the rest of the door. If the manufacturer no longer makes new panels for your door, your contractor will work with you to find equivalent replacements.
For more information about garage door repair, contact a local contractor.