Garage door installers often work alone to take down old doors, install new ones, and wire automatic openers. The many steps and tools for this job require attention to safety.
Wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes from falling or flying debris. Work gloves provide a good grip on doors while they protect you from sharp metal edges. Coveralls protect your body from accidental cuts and scrapes. Work boots protect your feet from dropped tools and materials while adding a good grip for climbing ladders.
Have the proper tools before arriving at the job site. Hammers, screwdrivers, and vise grips should be sturdy and in good working order. Battery-powered drills, etc. need a full charge. Bring long, indoor/outdoor extension cords with a ground plug if you will be using electric tools.
Before disassembling an old door, assess its condition inside and out, including the structure, railings, and spring. Be cautious about removing the spring tension; an unexpected rebound can lead to serious injury. Disconnect the door from the railings, but secure it with clamps.
Old doors can be bulky and heavy, so consider a rope and/or pulley to lower the door. Don’t try to move a large door by yourself; the weight and awkward size could lead to strains and sprains. A saw can cut the door into smaller, manageable pieces for you to carry. If the old door is paneled, disassemble the panels one at a time to break up the load you will have to carry. Lift with your legs while keeping your back straight and your head looking forward.
When you install the rail system and hardware, avoid long overhead reaches by using a ladder or stepstool. Stay below the top two rungs and move the ladder close to your work. Do not lean to the side on the ladder. Make sure that the weight of you, plus your tools and job materials does not exceed the ladder’s rated capacity.
To install panel hardware, use a sawhorse to position the work to a comfortable height. Kneeling on your knees and/or bending to the ground can lead to strains and sprains. When tracking the door, hook the panels one side at a time securely so they don’t come loose as the door is raised.
Spring winding can be extremely dangerous. Only use the proper winding bars to wind the spring. Never use vise grips, pipe wrenches, socket extensions, screwdrivers, rebar, or other tools. Do not touch any spring set screw without a winding bar in place. Never stand in front of the springs when winding. Stand on the ladder off to the side so that if a bar slips or a casting breaks, the spinning spring won’t force the bar into you.
Use a ladder to install the automatic opener and ceiling brackets. Falls from ladders are often caused by electric shock. Ensure that the electricity is off before you add the electric outlet or directly wire the opener.