Brick Garage Exterior Painted with Warning Message 'Just Don't...'

In case you haven’t noticed, selling and buying used goods is a time-honored American tradition. It likely began with the first settlers from England in the late 16th century but picked up steam hundreds of years later and became a way of life. In fact, when the Salvation Army's "salvation brigade" kicked off in 1897, the era of the “thrift store” came about.

Things have changed in 2020 with COVID-19 and the global pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of eBay, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Nextdoor, Etsy, Pinterest, Amazon, Craigslist, and other online and offline companies from dipping their toes into the “used goods” feeding frenzy. As you might expect, you can buy just about anything that’s been used or pre-owned: automobiles, houses, clothing, furniture, appliances, holiday decorations, and all manner of kitschy items. Some are even useful and worth the money. Others – like used garage doors – not so much.

Avoid Buying a Used Garage Door

In all cases, we’d recommend that you avoid buying a used garage door as a replacement for your existing door. The idea that you’ll save money compared to something brand new doesn’t cut it, and no amount of “crunching the numbers” or rifling through online classifieds should change your mind.

Why Not Buy a Used Garage Door?

Consulting with a garage door specialist is always the best way to learn about the benefits of buying a new garage door, but a conversation with an expert with also inform your decision-making process and teach you what to avoid.

Beware of Wood Garage Doors

A real wood door looks amazing when first bought and can maintain its appearance with regular upkeep, but how do you know the previous owner was diligent with painting or re-finishing as needed? Are you sure the wood isn’t warped? What about dry rot? Wood garage doors that are constantly exposed to the elements without being maintained run the risk of damage from the weather, insects, and small animals.

Ask About the Garage Door Springs

If you find a used garage door for sale, chances are it’s being sold as a “complete package” with all the hardware, including rails and springs. But used springs are problematic and potentially dangerous. Garage door springs operate under a lot of tension. Now you need to ask yourself: Are these the original springs? Have they been maintained? Because garage doors can weigh hundreds of pounds, a worn spring that breaks could result in serious injury or worse. If the door falls because of a faulty spring, you, your vehicle, personal property, or a loved one or pet could suffer as a result.

Outdated or Missing Insulation

If you’re considering buying a used garage door because you’re short on cash and the seller’s promised you it’s only a few years old and contains the newest insulation – think again. How can you be sure? Insulation is sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of the door, and it’s nearly impossible to prove otherwise without disassembling it. Without the proper insulation, your garage could be susceptible to uncomfortable environmental conditions like hot or cold air and high humidity, potentially damaging any personal items stored inside, like your automobile, expensive Persian rugs, furniture, family photos, or anything else.

Who Will Install It?

Regardless of what you read on DIY sites or reality television shows, installing garage doors is hard, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous – a task better left to a professional installer. If you’ve purchased a used garage door, you’ll never find a reputable professional to install it, mostly because of the danger and liability involved. Installing a garage door also requires expertise and specialized equipment, neither of which you can buy with a used garage door.

How Old is the Door?

This is a great question to ask. If the door appears old or worn, the answer is obvious: It’s too old. Garage doors made of any material – wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or something else – can wear down over time, and that’s a direct consequence of its age. But what if you find a “pre-owned” door for sale that’s still shrink-wrapped and includes manufacturer documentation? A related question to then ask is: why wasn’t it installed? It could be defective.

Warranty Issues

If you buy a garage door from A Better Garage Door, not only will you receive a warranty on the installation, but also a guarantee from the manufacturer protecting you from failed materials and faulty hardware. In other words, you’ll be protected in the event something goes wrong. But if you buy a used garage door, there are no guarantees. All used garage doors are sold “as-is” and with all that implies.

Tips for Buying a New Garage Door

Before deciding to buy a new garage door, follow some common-sense advice to make your purchase a little less painful. Get a quote from 2-3 retailers if possible. Don’t be afraid to ask a family member, friend, or a neighbor for a garage door recommendation, but always arrange for an in-person quote.

Upgrade insulation as well as the door. Go for polyurethane insulation which has at least an R-18 value. The higher the better. Choose torsion springs with a higher cycle lifetime. Standard torsion springs are good for about 10,000 open-and-close cycles in about five years, but springs rated for 20,000 cycles are worth the extra cost.

Buy a new garage door opener at the same time and find a model that meets your needs. Don’t forget to ask your retailer about the newest garage door opener technology, which now includes models that can be opened via Wi-Fi and smartphone apps.

Call an expert at A Better Garage Door today at (303) 920-2267 for more information!