7 Jan

How to Weigh Your Garage Door

Use a simple bathroom scale to weigh your garage door

When you require garage door spring replacement, you can go one of three routes to ascertain which parts you need. First, you can check the specs on your current springs. However, it is likely that you have thrown away the packaging at this point, so you will need to contact the manufacturer directly. Second, you can measure the length of the spring. This can be done on your own, but it is highly technical and possibly dangerous for a layperson. Third, you can weigh your garage door. This is probably the easiest for most people, so this article will discuss how it is done.

Materials You Will Need

WARNING: Working with a garage door, especially its weight, always carries significant risks of bodily injury. Always make sure to take the proper safety precautions beforehand.

In order to weigh your garage door, you will need an analog scale (as opposed to a digital one). Any bathroom scale will do so long as it is analog. The reason for this has to do with timing: digital scales usually track weight within a narrow timeframe, but analog scales are able to adjust dynamically.

You will need a crowbar and a mole wrench (a.k.a. locking pliers or vice-grips). Depending on the material used when installing a garage door, you may also need a slightly different set of tools:

Steel Garage Doors

  • 6 2x4s (1 long, 1 medium, and 4 small)
  • 1 small 4×4

Wood Garage Doors

  • 2 2x4s (1 short and 1 medium)

Step 1: Disengage the Opener

The first step is unplugging the opener and then disengage it from the rail. This is extremely important, as it will result in not only an inaccurate weight reading, but can also damage both you and your garage door.

Step 2: Loosen the Cable

Next, use your mole wrench to loosen the cable or cables so the scale can read the weight accurately. Do this by vise-gripping it to the track brackets, which are located on the side of the door.

Step 3: Weigh Your Garage Door

For this step, the method of weighing your garage door varies by its material:

Steel Garage Doors

To prevent any damage to your door, make sure to pry it open from the bottom fixture (as opposed to the center). This is a two-step process. Use your crowbar to do this:

  1. Pry open your door and hold it in place with a small 2×4 at one end
  2. Repeat the process at the other end

If you need to level the ground (which is necessary for weighing the door), you can use another small piece of wood.

Next, slide the long 2×4 under the door to distribute its weight evenly. Pry the door up with the medium 2×4, using another small 2×4 or a 4×4 as a fulcrum. Slide the scale (and the piece of wood that is leveling it) under the door and SLOWLY lower your garage door. Remove the boards holding the door and record its weight.

Wood Garage Doors

Weighing a wooden garage door is much simpler than weighing a steel one. Follow all the previous instructions, except pry with a crowbar from the center. There is no need to use extra 2x4s to pry the door open at the side.

Step 4: Reverse the Process

Finally, simply follow these instructions in reverse and use the recorded weight to ascertain what kind of garage door springs you need to purchase for replacement.