Garage Door Installation Safety Tips

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An older double garage door can weigh anywhere from 250 to 450 lbs. This weight, coupled with deteriorating hardware, makes older garage doors a frequent scene of home accidents. Yet many of us enter and exit our homes through the garage door far more often than we do through the formal entry door.

Seven Key to a Safe Door System

Garage door installation is a process that requires you to be careful and stay safe from injury. There are a few things that you must keep in mind at the time of garage door installation to avoid any accident or mishap.


Insulated double steel doors, even the heaviest ones, usually weigh 150 to 200 lbs., less than half the weight of the wood or hardboard doors they replace. And although weight isn’t an issue if the springs are properly tensioned, all springs eventually weaken and break.

Pinch Resistance

The most common garage door injury is a finger that gets smashed, or even amputated when it’s caught between sections as the door moves. To help prevent these accidents, look for a door that offers pinch-resistant section designs.

garage door installation safety tips

Containment Cables

When old extension springs break, the springs and cables become heavy whips that damage cars and even injure people. To solve the whipping problem, manufacturers now offer containment cables that run through the center of side-mounted extension springs. If you have extension springs and don’t plan to replace your door, make sure the springs have these containment cables or have a professional install them.

Safe Automatic Door Openers

All automatic openers must now have an auto-reversing mechanism and photoelectric eyes located near the floor on both sides of the door (see photo). If the door is closing and the beam between the eyes is interrupted, the door will automatically reverse. If the eyes aren’t connected, the door won’t operate. For instructions on how to install a new garage door opener, see How to Install a Garage Door Opener.

Securely Mounted Hardware and Rails

Torsion spring brackets should be firmly mounted to the wooden header above the door. Roller track support brackets and the opener should be securely bolted to the rafters.

Annual Maintenance

Make an annual check of all nuts and bolts on rails and rollers to make sure they’re firmly tightened. Check the condition of all cables to make sure they’re not worn or frayed. Lubricate rollers and springs with a garage-door lubricant (see How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door for maintenance and problem-solving tips). The door should operate smoothly and be properly balanced. Check the balance by disconnecting the opener and lowering the door halfway- the door should hold its position. If it doesn’t, adjust the spring tension or replace the springs.

Opener Switch Location

Children like to play with automatic door openers. To prevent them from doing this, mount any opener switches at least 5 ft. above the floor.

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