It's actually quite easy to make a dent in a garage door. Homeowners do it all the time. Either they pull out of the garage without looking and knock into the closed garage open, or they simply bump into the garage door by parking too close to it. It happens far more often than you might think.
Additionally, garage door panels can be damaged from fallen debris, hail storms, wind storms, and a number of natural events. Provided the damage to the garage door panel is minor, you shouldn't need to call in a professional just to fix a bent garage door.
In most cases, fixing a bent garage door is quite simple and quick.
Hammering Out the Bend or Dent
In a bent garage door, more often than not, the damage is limited to 1 panel. In these cases - or even if the bend extends to 3 or 4 panels - the necessary repair can be made with a simple hammer.
You don't want to strike the bent garage door directly with the hammer, however - that could cause scratches and even further bending. Instead, you will want to place a block of wood on the dent - it doesn't need to be thick - and hammer the block, using it as a buffer or shock absorber for the taps of your hammer.
Be careful not to hammer the side of the door the bend originated from. In other words, place the block of wood where the bend or dent protrudes outward. If the damage was caused when you hit your garage door from the inside, you will want to place the block of wood on the outside of the bent garage door.
Make sure to hold the block of wood tight against the bent garage door. You'll want to make sure the block doesn't move or scrape against the garage door panel. The function of the block is to keep the garage door from being scratched or further damaged, but strategically placed strikes of the hammer against the block of wood should get the bent garage door back into shape.
You shouldn't need to apply much force when hammering the bent panel back into its original form. Start with soft taps and only increase the force as needed.
Filling In the Dent
If the dent or bend in the garage door isn't preventing the garage door from opening and closing properly but you wish to repair it for aesthetic purposes, you could try filling in the dent. This will restore the smooth appearance of the garage door panel.
First, you will want to begin by sanding down the dented area. This will prevent any jagged fragments - as tiny as they may be - from causing potential fissures or cracks in your repair job down the line.
Once you've sanded down the dented area, use auto body filler to fill in the dented space. Some auto body fillers need to be mixed with a hardening agent. Check out this website for a list of auto body fillers and select the one that best meets your needs in conjunction with the material your garage door panel is made from.
Apply the auto body filler and smooth it down as best you can. Then, once it has dried, sand it down and apply a coat of paint so that it matches the color of your garage door panel. You may want to paint the entire door to ensure an even color and keep the dent completely hidden from sight.
Replacing the Damaged Garage Door Panel
If you're unable to fix a bent garage door by simply hammering out the dent or filling it in, you will need to replace the damaged panel.
If the bent panel is the bottom panel, check out this thorough article on how to replace a garage door bottom panel. If the bend or dent is located in any other panel, the repair process is a little bit different. But it is not too complicated. If you have basic DIY skills, you should be able to replace a garage door panel easily.
Beyond the cost of the replacement panel itself, you may need to borrow, rent or purchase some tools. When you calculate the cost, you are likely to find that even if you need to purchase the tools, the DIY repair job will come out as more cost-effective than hiring a professional, which will cost you anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for the labor.
Tools Needed to Replace a Garage Door Panel
2 pairs of vise grips
A come-along (or hand-operated winch or ratchet lever hoist)
An impact drill (or suitable wrenches to remove the hinges on the garage door)
How to Remove a Garage Door Panel
Start by raising the garage door 4 - 5 inches off the ground.
Then, fasten a pair of vise-grips under a set of rollers to keep your garage door at the adjusted height. You will need to fasten vice-grips onto both sides of the garage door.
Next, you will attach the come-along to the garage door cable. It makes no difference whether you attach the come-along to the cable on the right side or left side of the garage door. Crank the come-along to create a little bit of tension so that there is a bit of slack in the cable.
The next step is to remove the hinges that are situated above the panel you plan to remove. Then proceed to remove the hinges that are on the bottom of the panel you want to remove.
Once the hinges are removed, crank the come-along to lower the panel enough for you to safely and easily remove it. You shouldn't need more than 2 or 3 inches of separation between panels. With this separation, you will be able to lift the damaged panel right out easily.
You will be able to slide the replacement panel into the vacated space easily. Then reverse the above steps - relieve the tension in the come-along, put the hinges back into place, and you should be good to go.
Inspect Your Garage Door Rollers
While you are removing hinges and replacing a damaged garage door panel, this is an opportunity for you to get a good look at the garage door rollers. Depending on how often you use your garage door and depending on the quality of the rollers, you should replace your garage door rollers every 6 - 12 years.
If, while replacing your garage door panel, you see that the rollers need to be replaced, don't worry. Garage door rollers are not expensive. You can find replacement rollers here and a video tutorial on how to install them here.
How to Fix a Bent Garage Door Yourself
As you could see from our short tutorial, you shouldn't need to hire a professional to fix a bent garage door. You can either hammer out the dent or fill it in, sand it down and paint over it, or - worst case scenario - you can replace the damaged panel.
If you want to save money on spare parts, check out the Garage Door Nation catalog of replacement garage door parts.
And for more tips on DIY garage door repair, check out our YouTube channel.