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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
Q:

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

A:

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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