There are many factors that can contribute to garage door sheet metal tears. One of the most important is the type of metal used in the door. Aluminum doors are more susceptible to damage than steel doors. Another factor is the size of the door. A smaller door is more likely to be damaged by high winds than a larger one. Finally, the age of the door also matters. An older door is more likely to be weakened by years of use and weathering.
Once you have determined the severity of the damage, you can assess how urgently it needs to be repaired. If the tear is small and does not appear to be growing, it can probably wait a few days or weeks for a repair. However, if the tear is large or appears to be spreading, it should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage. In either case, it is always best to consult with a professional garage door repair company to ensure that the repair is done correctly and that your door will function properly after the repair.
How to Assess the Urgency of Garage Door Sheet Metal Tears
Between storms, vehicles, visitors, and accidents, garage doors take a beating. Often, small dents can become warped metal. Eventually, warped metal tears—and this should never be a DIY repair job. Whether you’re in need of residential garage door installation or garage door repair, an expert’s handiwork is more reliable. In fact, we’ve written an entire garage door company blog on why you should never DIY a variety of repairs!
That being said, if you’re looking to assess the urgency of the situation, there are a number of steps you can take to do so on your own. Below, Door Power, your preferred Norwood experts in all things garage doors, discusses them, alongside what to do for longer-term fixes.
Step One: Check for More Distortions
Even if you’re looking at a finger-sized rip, you should still check for distorted metal. Feel around the area, and look for rippled material. Getting bent a smidgen out of shape is nothing to panic about; you’ll just need to contact a professional quickly. If the entire area is warped, however, this is a more urgent issue. Usually, tears will occur quickly after the metal becomes warped—so, ideally, you should get this seen the same day.
Step Two: Are Wind and Rain Entering?
A/C loss is a hefty expense, and so is mold growth. Not only is the latter pricey to fix, but it can also cause health issues. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.” Though your family might not exactly hang out in the garage, mold sure does love to spread.
If you’re facing unwanted showers inside the garage, don’t hesitate to address the issue. Call a repair person. Moisture accumulates over time, resulting in mold growth. Plus, if you’re facing wind problems, you might be allowing unwanted humidity into your home, which can have similar consequences.
Step Three: Are the Edges Sharp?
That’s almost a rhetorical question; any cut metal should be remedied by professionals. Warped metal is sharp, and installed sheet metal is equally so. Even if you manage to avoid the pointy bits, installing sheet metal over the area may remedy the problem temporarily, but left alone it can cause more damage in the long run. Regardless of how the edges appear or feel: a professional garage door repair specialist is your best bet.
What to Do for a Short-Term Fix
If you need to repair a torn garage door immediately, and you know your way around power tools and sharp objects, you can rig up a temporary fix. Lay a slab of sheet metal atop the damaged area, and apply caulk between the door’s surface and the patch. Then, apply pop-rivets to secure the sheet metal in place.
While this solution can provide immediate defense against harsh weather and the like, we don’t recommend using it long-term. As we said, the work of a professional in residential and commercial garage door installation is always more reliable.
What if I Don’t Have the Materials?
We get it: not everyone has a drill lying around with the strength to manipulate sheet metal. Nor may you have that sheet metal accessible in the first place. Running to the store in severe weather to get it, let alone completing the process, might be impossible—so what do you do in this situation?
First: don’t compromise your safety. No matter what’s going on outside, you and your family are the top priority. Only venture out to get at the damage once the skies have calmed and you’re in a rational frame of mind. Then, if you can’t possibly obtain the materials, call for same-day or next-day emergency garage door service. Time is of the essence.
Why Same-Day or Next-Day Garage Door Repair Is a Necessity
Of course, it’s a requirement for your peace of mind—who wants to have a home repair need hanging over their head?—but even if you can stomach the stress and the thought of heightened energy bills, you still need fast garage door repair in the case of a tear for one key reason: mold.
According to FEMA, mold can begin to grow on a surface within 24 to 48 hours. While all species of mold are different and the timeline will vary depending on environmental circumstances, its colonization is not something you want to risk, given all the health problems it can cause.