How To Build A Garage Door Under a Budget: Expert Guide

How To Build A Garage Door

The average cost of having basic carriage garage doors installed for you is around $1732.75. That’s quite high if you’re on a tight budget, isn’t it?

Well, tell you what? With just around $350, you can build yourself a nice wooden swing out garage door without professional carpentry skills.

Let’s go through the guide. 

Step 1: Your Options

The first that you need to do is decide what type of garage door you’re going to build. You could go for a roll-up door, but this one will need your garage to have lots of height. There’s also the option of a swing out design, which works for pretty much everyone as it doesn’t require too much space. Of course, there are other options, such as swing away, which we will not discuss here.

In our illustration, we will center on the swing out design as that’s what suits most people.

Step 2: The plan

Depending on the size of the opening to your garage, you might need to divide it into two or four sections.

If you’re going to divide it into four sections, you will have two sections joined on each side, and when you open up the door, each pair will be able to fold out. You can keep one pair shut, depending on how much space you need.

If on the other hand, you will have just two sections, there won’t be any folding.

Basically, the plan is to build a frame from 2x4s. You’re going to cut these into smaller boards so the frame is sturdy.

On the bottom boards, that’s where you will place the rollers.

You will then fasten panel boards onto the frame using screws, and then you will fasten the hinges onto the frame.

Lastly, you will install the gate handles.

That’s it; all done.

Step 3: Get the materials

Visit a lumber store (physical or online) as that’s where you will find the materials needed for the job. It is unlikely that you will find a carriage garage door building kit on offer, so you’re going to pick the items you need one by one.

Here are the items needed:

  • 2×4 lumber
  • Door hinges
  • Screws
  • 4×8 panels
  • Support brackets
  • Gate handles
  • Mortise Locks

We hope you’re aware that you’ll also need a few tools:

  • Woodcutter – for cutting the lumber
  • Hammer – for driving/removing nails
  • Drill – for driving screws
  • Tape measure – for taking the measurements
  • Pencil – for marking out the measurements

If you don’t already own these, you can hire them for a small fee from a hardware store.

Step 4: The allowances

While taking the measurements (height and width) and planning the frame, leave spaces for the door sections to swing freely. Between the upper studs and the frame, there should be a space of around 1/4 inch while the space between the lower studs and the ground should be around 1/2 inch.

Note: if the outdoor concrete is not leveled very well, you will need to leave a bigger space so the door swings unrestricted.

Be sure to leave an allowance of 1/4 inch on the hinge side and the same space for the center (the part where the right and left sections meet.

Step 5: install the doorposts

Assuming the garage opening doesn’t have doorposts, you will need to build some, and they will need to go all around, except at the bottom. If you have concrete surrounding the opening, consider drilling holes into the wall where the screws supporting the posts will go.

Step 6: Create the doorposts

Use the tape measure to take the measurements of the garage opening and cut studs of appropriate size from the lumber.

Fasten the support brackets on the horizontal studs first, making sure you’re leaving a space of 3.5 inches from the edge. The space is where the vertical studs will go.

On the frames, mark out the spots where the hinges will be installed.

Then, install the bottom and the top hinge on the frames. Leave the middle hinge for now.

The frame should fit well into the opening if you did everything right. But, if something went wrong, and the door doesn’t fit properly, just take it out and make the necessary adjustments.

Step 7: Attaching the boards

This is the fun part as it is super straightforward.

To attach the panels, take off the doors and place them on the ground, then nail or screw the panels onto them. Try fastening the panels onto the frame using as many nails or screws as possible (but don’t overdo it) to create a sturdy door. You can use a good quality nail gun for this job. 

Step 8: Attach the doors to the posts

Almost there now.

Well, moving on, position the door near the doorpost and place a ½-inch scrap under it so the door is slightly lifted off the ground.

With the door open to an angle of 90°, screw in the hinges.

Step 9: Some decoration

This step is not a must; it’s just for decorative purposes but for those with an eye for elegance, it’s quite vital.

Get some trims and nail them vertically on the doors, with the shorter trims connecting the vertical trims at various heights.

Before you call it a day, remember to screw on the handles.

And, you’re all done!

Final Word

As you might have realized, that’s a task that you can handle with little to no carpentry skills. If you were just going through the guide to get a sense of how you will make and install your own garage door, get out there and grab the materials. If we could do it, then you too can do it.

You might make some mistakes through the exercise, but if you’re determined to do it, then you will have your very own stunning DIY garage door.

Good luck!


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