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How to Level a Garage Door

A white garage with a door half open and one closed and a dark roof

Your garage door is probably the largest door on your entire home. Yet no matter how big it is, it can still be as good as gone if it's not properly levelled. That's because if your garage door is uneven, it means there can be gaps between it and the floor of your garage. Thus, even when your garage door is closed, it's actually not. Believe it or not, a gap of less than an inch can provide an easy entrance way for many of the things you don't want getting into your garage.

For example, any gap between your garage door and the floor allows water from outside into your garage. Water can cause serious damage to any items you have on the floor or even damage to your foundation over time. Gaps in your garage door also make it easy for dirt, leaves and other debris to be blown inside by the wind, making it more difficult to keep everything in your garage clean. Having an uneven garage door also means there can be room for insects, rodents and other vermin to sneak in and set up their nests inside your garage.

Although installing a garage door threshold seal can be an important step in making sure your garage stays safe and clean, it can only be effective if your garage door is properly balanced to create a proper seal. Homeowners who are concerned about protecting their garages from the elements and keeping them neat need to know how to level a garage door. If you're having trouble with gaps underneath your garage door, follow these instructions to level your door and create a much tighter seal to keep the unwanted out.

A garage flooded with leaves and water

1. Turn Off The Power

For safety purposes, it's essential to cut the power to your garage door opener before making any adjustments to the garage door. Whether you need to switch off the breaker in your garage or simply unplug the opener from the outlet, make sure the power has been cut off completely before proceeding.

2. Make Your Measurements

Before attempting to adjust anything on your garage door, you'll need to know exactly how big the gaps are that you're trying to close. You also will need to measure the diameters of the shaft at the top of the door as well as the drums on either side of the door.

3. Check Your Cables

The most common cause of an uneven garage door is worn out cables that sag, so checks to make sure your cables are still in good condition. If not, you may need to call a professional to replace them.

4. Make Your First Adjustment

On the opposite side of the door from the gap, turn the setscrews on the drum clockwise to tighten them and raise the other side of the door.

5. Mark The Shaft

Move to the other side of the garage door, where the gap is. Climb up to the drum and use a marker to make one mark on the drum and another approximately one-fourth of an inch above the mark on the drum if the gap under the door is 1 inch or more. If the gap is less than an inch, make the marks one-eighth of an inch apart.

6. Make The Second Adjustment

Use vice grips to hold the shaft in place so that it doesn't spin while you make the next adjustment. Slowly turning one setscrew on the drum, watch for the marks you made before to line up.

You will need to tighten the screw again immediately after you see the drum move, or else it may end up spinning out of control. Continue carefully loosening and tightening the setscrew in small increments until the two marks line up completely.

7. Check Your Work

Climb down from the ladder and check to see if the garage door is level. If it is, and the gap has been resolved, you're done. If not, climb back up to the drum and make a new mark on the shaft just above the original mark and repeat the process of lining it up with the mark you made on the drum.

Once you're done levelling the garage door, tighten the setscrews 3/4-turn beyond the point at which they touch the shaft - being careful not to over-tighten them. Remove the vice grips from the shaft, reconnect the opener to the power supply and test the door.

An uneven garage door leaves your garage vulnerable to a host of problems. Before calling a professional, try this process to level your garage door and see if you can fix the problem yourself.

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