Cost vs. Value
When replacing a garage door, most homeowners are cost-conscious (i.e. they’re worried about the upfront cost of materials and labor). This focus on price is understandable. After all, garage door repair services are usually an unexpected expense. One day the door is working fine, and the next day, it isn’t. However, as with most home improvement projects, you should be value-conscious. But, be prepared to pay a little extra for quality and experience – the higher price is well worth the added expense, since a properly installed garage door essentially pays for itself.
According to Remodeling Magazine, the average return-on-investment (ROI) of an upgraded garage door is a whopping 83.7 percent, ranking it among the top four home improvement projects of 2014. But the true returns don’t stop there:
- Given their size and exposure to the elements, garages often result in excessive heating charges in the winter and exorbitant cooling expenses in the summertime. By installing an insulated door, you can dramatically cut down on your monthly utility bill, helping to speed up the payback period of your investment.
- Garages also represent a major security risk. A well-fortified garage door can reduce the likelihood of theft.
You can further boost these gains with regular maintenance — especially during the winter months when garage doors undergo the most wear and tear.
How Much Should You Budget for Garage Door Repair?
So value (and not price) should be your primary focus. Fair enough. But how much should you actually budget when replacing a standard residential garage door?
Costs vary considerably. The exact price depends on any number of factors, including:
- Materials. Garage doors come in all shapes and sizes, using a wide range of different materials. A basic, un-insulated steel door costs less than a higher-end, custom wood door.
- Workmanship. It’s possible to replace a garage door on your own (as a weekend project). However, DIY garage door repairs often end up costing more in the long run. You’re almost always better off hiring a professional to complete the job. Ask about what warranties are available.
- Location. Prices also vary by region. This makes a lot of sense given the major differences in architectural styles and climate that exist throughout the country. A typical stone home in Vermont has very different requirements than a stucco home in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Value is more important than cost. But if you’re still worried about budget, the best tip of all is to keep your garage door in optimal condition for as long as possible. In addition to the winter maintenance tips mentioned above, you can also conduct an annual DIY checklist. At the first sign of trouble, you may be able to make minor fixes on your own before the problem requires professional intervention.