Garage side doors are really useful to have. If you are unsure whether it is worth getting one, I will talk you through my experience of recently having one installed.
Garage Side Door
After moving house the other year, one of the first things I agreed with my wife we would do is install a garage side door. The reason for this was that the garage sat at the bottom of the garden and run right alongside it with our driveway also being at the back of the garden.
This might sound ideal but the problem was that there was an 8ft wall separating the two. Up until now, every time I have wanted to store something in the garage, I have had to walk out the front door, walk around the front of the house, then go in to the next road, walk down the side of my house, then walk up the drive, open the garage door – assuming the car is not too far back.
For anyone with a wife or that is a wife, will know that the man gets requested to go out to the garage quite often, and when it’s in the snow or rain (of which we get a lot of here in England), I decided to push forward with the agreement we made.
1) Getting a quote
So the first thing I did was start phoning around local builders. However, I quickly found that builders are under high demand and I didn’t fancy waiting 6 months. I then found a garage door installation company that also installed side doors (also known as personnel doors here in the UK). After that, I phoned around several more garage door specialists and got the best ones to come out for a quote.
Now depending on your garage, it may be a simple task. The side of the garage I wanted the door on was a single bricklayer. The first company that came around to quote told me that a single layer of brick could be risky if the door slammed and recommend that I install a soft close and they do an extra bricklayer around the entrance to support it. I’m not an expert in this field but it did sound like they were up selling for the sake of it.
The other thing highlighted was the brickwork goes right to the top of the garage roof which was pitched quite high (45 degree angle – which looks nice I must say). This means they need to install a lintel above where the side door will go to support the brickwork from crushing the door and anyone walking through it.
After I had a few more quotes, it became apparent I did not need the second layer of brick, this was reinforced by my neighbor who already had the side door on the back of his garage.
Next, I selected my door of choice. Most garage specialists will give you a nice range to choose from. However if you are going down the builder route you can either buy from a DY shop such as Wickes or B&Q, or try and find one on Amazon. If you do order your own, make sure you ask the builder the exact dimensions for the door and whether you need to buy the frame for the door also.
Once the door was picked and ordered, I was ready to book in the date for work to start.
2) Preparing your garage
It is always worth asking what they need you to do beforehand to ensure everything goes to plan on the day. Whilst the garage specialists had the door made to order, I had to make sure the garage was ready for the installation stage.
I didn’t bother emptying the garage completely. Instead, I moved everything I could down to the back half of the garage. I used towels and a big plastic sheet to try and protect as much as possible from the dust.
One thing that did surprise me was that my electric sockets needed to be moved, and the garage specialists said they were unable to do this part. I would either need to call an electrician or have one subcontracted.
I decided to move the socket myself as it was literally moving it from one side of the light switch to the other so it didn’t obstruct where they needed to cut the hole for the door.
For my installation, that was all I needed to do. However, if you ask the specialists whether there is anything you need to do in advance of them turning up it will make your experience a lot easier and save any surprises.
3) having the door installed
Now if you have done everything correctly, installation day should be as simple as sitting back and watching the work being carried out.
My installation day got moved back by 4 weeks due to builders being on holiday. In fairness, I did push for an ambitious date. I also had some issues outside of the installation. I had planned to work from home that day to keep a check on things. But the internet wasn’t letting me connect to work and the car was playing up so I ended up having to go to work that day. Thankfully I parents were there to advise.
The only thing that didn’t go to plan was the slow close. I had requested for one to be installed after the scaremongering from a different quote. This apparently is something they only install on industrial doors.
For home use, they use something called a restrictor. This stops the door from going past 90 degrees and slamming on the wall. There is no slow-close functionality but this worked out okay in the end.
You can watch the full video of my installation day. It covers the frustrations I was facing in the morning, the installation and my inspection of the door at the end of the day.
4) Finishing results
All in all, I am very happy with my door. It has made my life a lot more convenient and I am unlikely to open the main garage door any time soon.
Are you ready?
If you have followed the steps above, then there is no reason you shouldn’t end up with a nice looking garage side door like mine.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have already had one installed I would love to hear how your experience went.
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