How to Install a Garage Door: Step-by-Step Instructions

By: Contributors  | 
Man with eyeglasses closing and opening garage door with remote controller
Installing a new garage door can be tricky, so make sure you know what you're getting into before taking on the challenge. SBDIGIT / Getty Images

Installing a garage door isn't as simple as installing a regular door. Not only can it be difficult, but it can also be dangerous. But if you're handy, you may want to know how to install a garage door yourself.

Installing a manual door is much easier than installing an automatic one because a manual one is so much lighter and doesn't require a motor or cables. But if you find a solid wood door, or another heavy one that you really love, it's going to have to be automatic.


Manual vs. Automatic Garage Doors

Aside from being easier to install, manual garage doors are easier to fix (because they don't have many parts), and they're often more secure. Automatic garage doors have radio-operated motors, which anyone can hijack with an inexpensive device that "sniffs" out the door motor's frequency.

An automatic door will stop closing and remain open if something blocks its path. This safety feature means someone can put something in the door's path to keep it from closing, making it easier for them to enter your home.


Finally, manual garage doors require key entry, which can make them difficult to break into. Automatic garage doors, however, offer convenience for drivers who may need to enter and exit their garage multiple times a day.

DIY Garage Door Installation

Your new garage door should come with an instruction manual. Every garage door is a little different, so the best way to safely install your new door is to follow the installation process outlined by the manufacturer.

Read the manual once through before starting, and refer to it throughout the installation process. Check online to see if your manufacturer has videos showing the different steps.


Here is an overview of the basic steps of a typical garage door installation.

  1. Remove the old garage door. With the old door removed, you can measure the door opening to ensure the new door panels are the right width. As you take apart your existing garage door, you'll also get a sense of how a garage door works. Keep in mind that removing a torsion spring can be dangerous and may require professional support.
  2. Identify the bottom panel. It will have rubber weather stripping at one end; if all your garage door panels are the same, you may need to install weather stripping on one end.
  3. Lay the bottom panel exterior-side-down on a workbench, sawhorses, cardboard or blanket. Slide the bottom brackets onto the bottom of the first panel, over the weather stripping, then install the brackets with lag screws.
  4. Ask an assistant to help you hold the bottom panel in the center of the door opening. Ensure the panel is level. Screw the hinges into the top left and right corners of the panel using lag screws.
  5. Slide the rollers into the holes on the brackets and hinges.
  6. Slide the roller track onto the rollers of one side of the panel, then line the roller track up with the doorframe. Use lag screws to attach the roller track to the bottom of the door frame.
  7. Place the next garage door panel on your work surface exterior-side-down. Working on the side of the panel that corresponds to the side of the door opening with a roller track, install hinges on the top and bottom of the panel.
  8. Have your assistant help you place the second panel on top of the first. Connect the two door sections using the hinges. With the hinges connected, install the rollers so that they fit inside the roller track.
  9. Now that you have two panels in place, attach the remainder of the vertical track to the doorframe using brackets. Attach the horizontal track (or tracks) to the vertical tracks at the curved section.
  10. Attach the rear track hangers to the ceiling. The method and materials may differ, depending on your specific door.
  11. Install the remaining panels. When you get to the final panel (the top panel), install the last hinges partway up the panel (instead of at the top of the panel), so that the roller rests in the curved portion of the track.
  12. Install the spring system. Your door may have torsion springs or tension springs. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing garage door springs.
  13. Attach the pulley wheel to the spring assembly according to manufacturer directions and lubricate the spring using garage door lubricant (not WD-40).
  14. Install the garage door opener according to manufacturer instructions.

If you're not experienced with do-it-yourself projects, the installation of a garage door is probably best left to a professional.


How to Install an Automatic Garage Door Opener

There are several types of automatic garage door openers, including belt drive, chain drive and screw drive. Each uses a different mechanism to attach the motor to the garage door. Each garage door opener is slightly different, so follow your manufacturer's directions.

Here are the basic steps to installing a belt or chain drive garage door opener:


  1. Ensure you have a power source. Your garage door opener will be powered by electricity, so you'll need to have an electrical outlet close to where you plan to install the power unit.
  2. Assemble and mount the carriage tube. This is the rail that the carriage will travel along to open the door. The carriage tube will mount to the power unit.
  3. Slide the carriage onto the carriage tube.
  4. Install the garage door opener mounting bracket above the center of the garage door. Attach the front of the carriage tube to the mounting bracket and mount the power unit (at the back of the carriage tube) on the ceiling.
  5. Install the connecting bracket, which connects the garage door to the carriage.
  6. Install the safety system. This usually consists of sensors that detect objects in the door's path.