How to Remove a Garage Door

Removing a garage door is a project that homeowners may need to undertake for a variety of reasons. The process involves carefully disassembling the various components of the door system in the proper order. With the right tools, safety precautions, and step-by-step process, you can successfully remove a garage door on your own.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Removing a garage door requires having the proper tools ready. Here are the tools and materials we recommend gathering before starting:

  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Socket set and/or wrenches
  • Stepladder
  • Support pieces – 2x4s or jack stands
  • Duct tape
  • WD-40 lubricant
  • Shop vacuum

Make sure you have all of these items on hand before beginning the garage door removal process. Having the right tools will make the job much easier and safer.

Disconnect the Electricity

Before doing anything else, you need to disconnect the electric power running to the garage door opener. This prevents the risk of electrocution from coming into contact with live wires while removing components.

Here are the steps to safely disconnect the power:

  1. Locate the wall switch or outlet where the garage door opener is plugged in.
  2. Unplug the garage door opener from the outlet.
  3. Flip the circuit breaker powering the garage door to the OFF position. Double check that the opener no longer has power by pressing the remote or interior control switch – the door should not move at all.

With the power disconnected, you can now safely work on removing the door without risk of electric shocks.

Take Apart the Door Sections

With the power disconnected, you can start disassembling the individual door sections:

  1. Fully open the garage door to access the jamb and track areas. Use the emergency release cord to disengage the opener if need be.
  2. Place support pieces or jack stands underneath the door to hold it in place once you begin removal. Position these just under the door sections near the tracks.
  3. Apply duct tape over the vertical seams where each door section meets. This keeps the rollers from coming out prematurely when separating the sections.
  4. Use WD-40 to lubricate the rollers and any rusted screws or hardware to make disassembly easier.
  5. Remove any curved horizontal bolts or clevis pins connecting the vertical door sections using a hammer or pry bar.
  6. Undo any remaining long shaft bolts, screws, or fasteners joining sections using the proper screwdriver or socket wrench.
  7. Carefully pry apart the door sections, starting from the middle and working towards the sides. Maintain control over the sections as you separate them so they do not fall.
  8. Remove the end hinges attaching the sections to the track and jamb and set the sections aside.
  9. Repeat the process until all door sections are fully disassembled and detached from the opening.

Take care when handling each section as they can be heavy and unwieldy. Have someone assist if needed to safely lower detached sections down.

Detach the Tracks and Hardware

With all the panels removed, you can now work on taking off the tracks and hardware:

  1. Clean out the interior tracks using a shop vacuum to remove dust, debris and loose hardware.
  2. Remove any track brackets or support pieces mounted to the ceiling using the proper screwdriver or sockets.
  3. Undo the lag screws or bolts that hold the vertical tracks to the side jambs. Slide the tracks off the jambs.
  4. Take down the curved horizontal tracks above the opening using screwdrivers or wrenches to detach any bolts or clamps.
  5. Carefully lower the disassembled tracks down and set them aside with the other detached hardware.
  6. Remove any remaining track hangers or hardware from the ceiling using the appropriate tools.
  7. Inspect the now vacant opening, jambs, and ceiling area thoroughly. Clean up any remaining debris or unsightly holes.

With the rails and hardware taken down, the garage door assembly is now fully detached from the opening.

Take Down the Electric Opener

If your garage door has an automatic electric opener unit, that will also need to be dismantled:

  1. Unplug the electric operator from its outlet again as a precaution.
  2. Locate where the opener rail attaches to the power unit. Remove any bolts, screws, or clamps.
  3. Carefully bring down the opener rail and set it aside out of the way.
  4. Remove the attachment arm that connects the rail to the top door section.
  5. Undo any remaining fasteners or anchors securing the power unit to the ceiling.
  6. Disconnect any wiring connectors or couplers. Remove any rail guides or mounts along the ceiling.
  7. Fully detach the drive unit and bring it down using an adequate ladder or lift. Use care as openers can be quite heavy.
  8. Patch over any holes or damage left on the ceiling from the removal process.

With the electric operator fully taken apart, the garage door removal process is now complete. Thoroughly clean up any leftover debris before installing a replacement door or closing off the opening.

Remove the Garage Door Carefully

When tackling a garage door removal, keeping safety in mind is crucial:

  • Wear protective glasses and gloves at all times during the work. Debris and sharp edges present hazards.
  • Use the proper, well-maintained tools for each task to prevent injuries or accidents.
  • Have someone assist you with handling the door sections which can be heavy and unwieldy. Do not attempt removal alone.
  • Work slowly and maintain control over the door parts so nothing swings freely or falls unexpectedly.
  • Put up warning signs or cones so no one operates the door accidentally while dismantled.
  • Dispose of all old hardware properly once removed. Recycle materials when possible.

Following safe practices carefully makes removing a garage door much more smooth and hazard-free. Never compromise safety to try and get the job done quicker.

Prepare the Opening for a New Door

Once the old door is taken down completely, you’ll want to prep the garage opening for installing a replacement:

  • Thoroughly clean the opening, jambs, walls, and ceiling using a shop vac. Remove all debris, cobwebs, dust and dirt.
  • Seal up any holes, cracks or damage left over from removing hardware using caulk and drywall patching compounds.
  • Paint or prime the ceiling and interior jambs to give a fresh applied look.
  • Inspect the torsion springs, shafts, and side cables. Replace them if worn out or damaged.
  • Ensure the new door will fit the opening size properly before purchasing and installing.
  • Organize the tools, hardware, and accessories needed for the new install.

Preparing the garage opening correctly ensures a smooth and successful installation when the time comes to fit the replacement door.

How to Remove Common Garage Door Components

When taking apart a garage door, you’ll need to tackle removing a variety of components:


  • Support the door panel weight while undoing any hinge bolts.
  • Use WD-40 if hinge pins are stuck and won’t detach easily.
  • Remove top hinge pins first before lower ones.


  • Lubricate roller stems with WD-40 and then detach any brackets or clips holding them in place.
  • Protect roller bearings from damage as you remove door sections.


  • Always maintain tension on cables as you detach them from pulleys and brackets.
  • Avoid kinking or tangling cables. Coil them neatly for reuse later.


  • Securely fasten winding bars into spring ends before loosening tension.
  • Keep bars firmly grasped as you unwind extension springs slowly.
  • With torsion springs, contain coils as you unwind counterweights.

Follow specific instructions closely for your door’s make and model when handling these components. Safety should always come first.

DIY vs. Professional Removal

Is it better to DIY a garage door removal or hire a professional? Here are some key considerations:

DIY Pros:

  • Less expensive than hiring a pro
  • Useful skills learned
  • Convenient project timing

DIY Cons:

  • Physically demanding work
  • Higher safety risks
  • Improper removal techniques
  • Longer overall process

Professional Pros:

  • Expertise for quicker, safer process
  • Proper tools and equipment
  • Removed and disposed of properly
  • Any issues can be fixed

Professional Cons:

  • More expensive than DIY
  • Need to schedule company in advance
  • Removal costs aside from service fees

Evaluate your skills, budget, and safety concerns. Professionals are ideal for complicated door systems, but DIY is doable for straightforward basic doors.

FAQs About Removing Garage Doors

Here are some frequently asked questions about removing an existing garage door unit:

Does the garage door have to be fully removed to replace it?

No, the door can be left in place and replaced panel by panel. But fully removing the existing door makes the replacement process easier.

Can I sell or repurpose components from my old garage door?

Possibly. Old metal doors or hardware may be reused or sold as scrap. However most modern garage door parts are designed only for that door.

What should I do with the old garage door after removing it?

Most municipalities allow old doors to be disposed of in normal waste pickup if broken down into pieces. Metal parts can often be recycled.

What if my garage door has asbestos?

Have it inspected by an asbestos professional. If confirmed, hire an abatement company to remove and dispose of it safely. Do not do this yourself.

How are heavy garage doors lowered safely when removing them?

Use pulleys, lift equipment, and multiple people to gently lower unattached door sections to the ground. Do not just let go of sections.

Can I remove an electric garage door opener myself?

Yes, with proper care. The steps are essentially just reversing the original installation. Unplug power first and use caution bringing down the heavy motor unit.

How can I ensure garage door components don’t break as I disassemble them?

Work slowly and carefully. Support sections as you detach them. Use WD-40 and plastic sheeting to protect parts. Have helpers manage heavy pieces.

What preparations need to be made before removing the door?

Gather tools, disconnect power, set up work lights, put down protective covers, secure ladder or scaffolding, and clear the area around the door.

Is it easier to remove garage doors in warmer or colder weather?

Warmer weather. Cold temperatures can make disassembly more difficult and metal parts more prone to breaking when forced.


Removing an existing garage door takes time, preparation, and care. Follow safety precautions closely every step of the way. Ensure you have the proper tools and helpers on hand. Work slowly when dismantling components and use care in handling heavy sections. Prep the garage opening thoroughly once the old door is taken out. For complicated removal jobs, hiring a professional may be the best option. With the right amount of patience, effort, and research on your specific door type, you can successfully tackle a DIY garage door removal project. Just focus on safety and precision each step of the process.