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How to Install a Steel Insulated Garage Door

Kevin O’Connor lends a hand to the garage door expert with his crew installing a steel insulated door.

Garage door expert Russell Madden, Jr., along with his crew and Kevin O’Connor of This Old House, is installing a steel garage door that is 16’ wide by 7.6’ high with a black, carriage-style overlay, a design that matches the architecture of the house. This extra-wide door features an added bonus—it is insulated which will help keep the garage temperate during colder months.

Given the width of the garage door, it’s large enough for two cars to enter and exit side-by-side, but because it’s made of steel, it is extraordinarily heavy compared to other common garage door materials like aluminum, wood composite, or fiberglass.

It weighs a whopping 450 pounds so the crew plans to install torsion springs with a three-quarter horse belt-driven motor to open and close the door. They opted for a belt-driven motor, rather than a standard chain-driven one because it’s smoother and quieter while in operation—eliminating potential noise issues for anyone sleeping in the renovated space above the garage.

Steps for Installing a Steel Insulated Garage Door

  1. Prep the bottom panel by attaching any necessary rollers and hinges.
  2. Center the bottom panel door in the garage door opening and align the vertical tracks with the rollers.
  3. Attach lag screws into the brackets to hold the tracks in place. Don’t make them too tight in case you need to make adjustments later.
  4. Continue to prep the other panels with rollers and hinges, adding each panel to the garage opening.
  5. Once the three sections are together, level the third row.
  6. Install the horizontal track, making sure it is level in the back.
  7. From the front of the garage, make sure the alignment is even, making any necessary adjustments. Tighten all the screws.
  8. Install the torsion spring and bar evenly across the header. This spring absorbs the weight of the door when it’s going up and down. Use a set screw to hold it in place.
  9. Install the garage door motor.
  10. Open and close the door to test its functionality.

Parts & Materials for Installation