We have noisy garage doors. We just ignored it until recently. Our twins room is right above the garage, so when one of us leaves early in the morning or comes home late, the loud garage door wakes up the girls.
So, I had to call in a professional to see what could be done to fix my noisy garage doors.
He shared some invaluable insights on replacing the steel rollers, cleaning the seals, and lubricating the hinges and pulleys. Here’s an in-depth look at what I learned.
His estimate for doing the things in the blog post plus fixing a spring was over $1,000. I did it myself in a few hours for under $100. He taught me what to do before he left, and shared great tips.
Table of Contents
Why Replace Steel Rollers?
The professional informed me that the main culprit behind most noisy garage doors is typically the old steel rollers. Over time, they wear out and start creating a racket.
The solution? Replace them with nylon rollers.
Nylon is much quieter than steel and requires less maintenance, making it an excellent choice for reducing noise and upkeep efforts.
This significantly reduced garage door noise, making it a top choice for us.
How to Replace Your Rollers – Step by Step Guide
Replacing your rollers might seem daunting, but with these steps, you’ll have it done in no time:
- Buy Nylon Rollers: These are the ones we bought.
- Safety First: Disconnect your garage door opener and disengage it from the door to avoid any accidents.
- Open Your Garage Door: Manually open your garage door. Use a C-clamp to keep it open.
- Avoid Prying the Rail: Instead of prying the rails (which can damage your door), twist the rail slightly in-between the mounts. This area has the most give. This is the secret to success. Other sources say to pry the rail open, but then you damage the rail. The pros don’t pry the rail, they twist it.
- Use A Hammer: Take the claw end of a hammer with one hand to pry the old roller out while using the other hand to twist the rail slightly.
- Install New Roller: Replace the old steel roller with the new nylon one using the same twisting motion on the rail in between the mounts. Tap it with a hammer if needed.
- Repeat: Continue this process for each roller. You don’t need to close the bo the door to reach the bottom ones, since you are doing this with the garage door clamped open.
- Take this opportunity to inspect the other hardware like the hinges and pulleys for any signs of wear or damage.
How Long Does It Take To Replace Garage Door Rollers
Replacing steel rollers with nylon ones on your garage door can be a relatively simple task, but the time it takes can vary greatly depending on your familiarity with the process and your level of DIY skills.
An experienced professional repairman I consulted told me that it usually takes him about 5-10 minutes per door.
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This is because they have extensive experience and familiarity with the task at hand, allowing them to replace the rollers quickly and efficiently.
But what if you’re not a professional? Well, when I decided to replace the steel rollers on my own garage door with nylon ones, the process took me a bit longer – about an hour, in fact.
If you’re new to this or don’t do it very often, it’s natural for the process to take a bit longer. The important thing isn’t speed, but ensuring the job is done correctly.
Replacing your steel rollers with nylon ones can significantly reduce the noise your garage door makes when operating, and it’s definitely worth spending an hour or so to achieve this.
Don’t be daunted by the task of replacing your garage door rollers.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional who can do it in 10 minutes, or a DIY enthusiast who takes a little longer, the end result is what truly matters: a quieter, smoother-operating garage door.
Cleaning the Seals
The professional pointed out that the seals of my garage door were covered in gunk. This grime acts almost like glue, making it harder for the door to open and close smoothly. He sees this issue all day long!
To clean the seals, he recommended using either vinegar or WD-40. Both are excellent at breaking down the gunk without damaging the seal itself.
Cleaning the Seals – Step by Step Guide
As mentioned earlier, the seals on your garage door can accumulate grime over time. This can cause the door to stick, especially after sitting overnight or during the hot summer months.
The heat can make the gunk more sticky, causing even more resistance.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean the seals:
- Gather Your Materials: You’ll need either vinegar or WD-40, a cloth or sponge, and warm water.
- Apply Cleaning Solution: If you’re using vinegar, mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water in a bowl. If you’re using WD-40, you can apply it directly to the cloth or sponge.
- Clean the Seals: Start by wiping down the seals with your cleaning solution. Be sure to scrub any areas where you see visible grime.
- Scrape If Necessary: Our seal was especially bad so we had to scrape the paint, caulk, and grime off using a painter’s multitool.
- Rinse and Dry: Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the seals, rinse them with warm water. Make sure all the cleaning solution is removed to avoid any potential damage. Then, dry the seals thoroughly using a clean cloth.
- Inspect the Seals: After cleaning, check the seals for any signs of damage. If you notice any cracks or tears, it may be time to replace them.
- Regular Maintenance: To prevent future build-up, aim to clean your garage door seals every few months or whenever you notice it starting to stick.
The repairman also said he often sees people who painted their garage door call him out and say the garage door is loud. It’s because the seal is sticking to the paint.
Lubricating Hinges and Pulleys
For lubrication, the professional advised against using WD-40. It’s actually a water-displacing spray, not a true lubricant, and can attract dust and grime over time.
Here’s the process:
- Apply the ZEP penetrating oil to the hinges and pulleys, then wipe away any excess oil and dirt.
- Follow up with the White Lightning spray for long-lasting lubrication.
- Don’t forget to lubricate the new nylon rollers as well, even though they don’t require as much maintenance as the steel ones.
Preventive Maintenance Tips For Noisy Garage Doors
Preventive maintenance is key to keeping your garage door operating smoothly and quietly. Here are some tips:
- Regular Inspections: Check your garage door and its components regularly for any signs of wear or damage. Look out for frayed cables, broken springs, loose bolts, or worn rollers.
- Cleaning: Keep the tracks clean and free from debris. Use a damp cloth to wipe them down and prevent build-up.
- Lubrication: Regularly lubricate all moving parts of your garage door. This includes the rollers, hinges, and pulleys.
- Weatherstripping: Check the weatherstripping at the bottom of your door. If it’s cracked or brittle, replace it to protect your garage from elements.
- Seek Professional Help: If you notice anything out of the ordinary during your inspections, don’t hesitate to call a professional for advice or service.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Apart from noise, garage doors can present other common issues. Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot them:
- Jerky Movements: This could be due to lack of lubrication or debris in the tracks. Clean the tracks and lubricate the moving parts.
- Slow Response Time: If your garage door is slow to respond, it may be a problem with your remote control or opener. Try changing the batteries first, and if that doesn’t work, consult with a professional.
- Door Not Closing Fully: This could be due to misaligned sensors. Ensure the two sensors on either side of the door are aligned properly, and clean them regularly to keep them working correctly.
Safety should never be overlooked when performing DIY tasks. Here are some safety tips:
- Wear Protective Gear: Always wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from flying debris or accidental slips of tools.
- Avoid Placing Fingers Between Door Sections: To prevent injury, never place your fingers between the door sections when performing any maintenance or repairs.
- Disconnect Power: Always disconnect the power to the garage door opener before starting work to prevent accidental activation.
Estimated Costs To Fix Noisy Garage Doors
Costs can vary depending on the specific products you choose and whether you opt for professional installation. Here are some rough estimates:
- Nylon Rollers: A pack of nylon rollers can cost between $15-$30.
- Lubricants: A can of penetrating oil or lubricating spray typically costs around $10.
- Professional Service: The cost for professional garage door maintenance can range from $100-$200, depending on your location and the complexity of the job.
Product Recommendations For Noisy Garage Doors
Here are some product recommendations based on user reviews and popularity:
- Nylon Rollers: DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life MAX 2″ Sealed Nylon Garage Door Roller is a highly-rated option. It is also what we use.
- Penetrating Oil: ZEP’s penetrating oil has been recommended by professionals for garage door maintenance.
- Lubricating Spray: White Lightning was the garage door repairman’s choice for a lubricating spray.
Avoid using WD-40. A penetrating oil followed by a proper lubricating spray is the way to go.
Conclusion: Our Garage Doors Are Quiet
After taking on the task of replacing steel rollers with nylon ones and investing an hour, our garage doors are now significantly quieter.
The process was simple and easy.
We also took the time to lubricate the hinges and pulleys and clean the door seal, further enhancing the door’s operation. This upgrade is a worthwhile DIY project that can bring peace and quiet to your home.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.