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Replacing the Panels on a Garage Door

Can this door be saved?

Ask This Old House Crew
Photo by Matt Kalinowski

My overhead garage door, which is about 40 years old, seems to be in good condition except for two of the hardboard panels, which have developed a distinct bow. Is there any way to straighten them?
— Jerry, Philadelphia, PA


Tom Silva replies: No, unfortunately. Most of the time, I've found, deteriorating garage door panels means that the door's stiles and rails are also iffy. Bottom line: Your door might not be as healthy as you think.
Wood garage doors are typically built like any panel door in your home: The panels fit into grooves cut into the stiles and rails of each section. You can either try to cut out a damaged panel or replace the entire horizontal section if you can locate the door manufacturer, but these fixes can be quite involved. It's generally more cost-effective to replace the entire door.
The good news is that this would allow you to install a more weather-resistant material than hardboard and incorporate modern safety features, such as pinch-resistant doors and an automatic reversing mechanism.


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