I Have a One-Piece Door Now. Can I Replace It with a Sectional Door?

For many years, the standard of quality was the one-piece wooden swing-out garage door. Particularly popular in homes built in the 1960’s and 70’s, they have become outdated and need to be replaced. The good news is that replacing most one-piece doors with a modern sectional door is straightforward.

There are some inherent problems with a one-piece door that most homeowners have experienced. The first and most noticeable problem in the Minneapolis area is the fact that these doors do not seal out the elements well. If you look at the design of the door and the way it swings out when raised, it is virtually impossible to create a good, long-lasting weather seal.

Another issue with the swing-out door is the fact that it swings out. There is always the possibility that the door may hit something in front of it (like your car) when it’s opened. Also, in our area, a few inches of snow in the driveway will cause an issue with the door opening.

Swing-out doors are hefty as compared to a modern steel sectional door. Some wooden swing-out doors sometimes weigh more than 300 pounds while a new sectional door will be in the 100 – 200-pound range, depending on the size. The mechanism used to help raise a one piece swing-out door consists of two very large and powerful coil springs on either side of the door. These attach to the door and counterbalance the weight of the door so it can be opened, by hand or with an opener.

Over time, the metal in these springs becomes fatigued, having two possible results: weakened springs, which make the door harder to open — this can damage the opener or your shoulders, depending on how you open the door. The other result is much more dangerous — if the spring breaks, pieces of it could become a projectile and cause some serious damage or injury.

Finally, the maintenance is also a problem with these doors. Since they are wooden, they need consistent protection against the elements (not an easy chore in Minneapolis). And if your door ever needs professional repair, there are very few companies that will service these doors.

The benefits of a new sectional door make replacing the one-piece door an easy decision. Steel sectional doors are available with different levels of insulation and construction design. If you have an attached garage, a well-insulated door would be a smart choice for you while a detached garage may be able to use a less insulated door. The level of insulation is a personal choice, and a qualified garage door installer would be able to advise you on the best solution.

Along with foam insulation, the doors are fitted with weather-stripping that will keep out air, dust, dirt, water and snow. The bulb weather-stripping on the door bottom is designed to conform to any minor irregularities in the surface of the driveway and make a tight seal. The lapped joints of each section fit tightly together when closed and prevent any infiltration. There is also vinyl weather-stripping on the three sides of the door where it meets the frame.

Maintenance is significantly reduced or eliminated. In-stock steel sectional doors come pre-finished in some basic colors, and there are other custom color and texture options available. Of course, if you want to paint the door to match or complement your home, that is always an option as well.

The mechanism used to assist opening and closing the sectional door is much safer and more efficient than the old-style coil springs. A torsion spring system housed on a steel shaft is mounted over the door. These torsion springs are infinitely adjustable to allow for the perfect counterbalance. Torsion springs reduce stress on the garage door opener (or you) by minimizing the effort required to open or close the door. Shaft mounted torsion springs are safer than coil springs — if one should ever break there is no danger of broken spring pieces flying around the garage.

With the convenience, energy savings and ease of operation of a sectional door, there is no reason to fight with an older one-piece door. Please contact us for a free on-site evaluation.