Make Your Own Carriage-House Garage Door For A Fraction Of The Retail Price

When you're looking for a traditional carriage-house garage door, you may experience sticker shock. These types of garage doors are among the most expensive of them all, with prices reaching close to $2,000. But, you don't need to put yourself in the poor house just to get a new garage door. Instead, follow these instructions to learn how to make a new door for a fraction of the retail price tag:

Tools & Supplies For This Project

  • Hardboard garage door (You may need to special order this item.)

  • ¼x4x8 cedar tongue and groove

  • 1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 1×12 cedar boards

  • Miter saw

  • Air hose

  • Air compressor

  • Brad nail gun

  • Jigsaw

  • Drill

  • Paintable silicone chalk

  • Snap chalk lines

  • Drywall screws

  • 1×3 cleats

  • Sand paper

  • Heavy duty construction adhesive

  • Exterior primer and paint in the color of your choice

  • Safety glasses

1. Create a plan.

Grab some graph paper and sketch out what you'd like your new carriage-house garage door to look like. Make this drawing to scale, using the proper measurements of your garage door opening and the garage door itself. Traditionally, this type of garage door has arches at the top and rails, stiles, and slats on the rest of the space. Now put on your safety glasses and get ready to work.

2. Draw directly onto the new doors.

First, lay down your new garage door panels in the right order. They should be marked top, middle, and bottom, to make it easier for you. Overlap the edge grooves and then temporarily secure the panels together with drywall screws and 1×3 cleats. Use a pencil to transfer your graph paper plan, keeping the measurements, directly onto the panels. Use snap chalk lines to indicate where the rails and stiles will be placed. Make sure the spaces between the stiles are identical.

3. Install the bottom rail.

Use heavy-duty construction adhesive and silicone caulk to place the bottom rail into position. When applying the caulk bead, make sure it's "kissing" the bottom of the chalk line so some will squish out and create a watertight seal along the top of the board. The rail should be glued to the garage door with the rough side up. Drive a nail into the rail every 12 inches for extra security.

4. Install the stiles.

Using the same method described above, install the edge, center, and intermediate stiles onto the door with construction adhesive and caulk. The ends of the stiles should be even with the door panel seams. Use the caulk lines for guides. At the top of the third panel, place the 1×6 rails.

5. Create the arch.

Take the 1×12 top rails and draw arches on them. A screw is a great tool to use as a center point and a tape measure makes a fantastic giant compass, which will give you a perfect arch. Use a jigsaw to cut the arch, and then sand the edges. Glue the arches to the top of the garage door by using construction adhesive and silicone caulk, just like you did to install the rails and stiles.

6. Prepare the tongue-and-groove slats.

Measure the height of the first garage door panel, and mark a slat to that length. Install a "bump block" on the miter saw so all the slats will be this same length. Then, cut 12 slates all this same length. Lay the slats down on the ground, side-by-side, to create a test panel. Mark each end slat to make centering easier during the garage door installation.

7. Install the slats.

Rip the first tongue-and-groove to the appropriate width as indicated by your mark. Then, put it into position with the tongue facing out. Install the remaining slats. When you get to the last one, rip it to the proper width so it will butt tightly against the other stile. When you're done with the first panel, install the slats on the second and third panels the same way.

8. Finishing the garage door.

With all the slats now installed, put more silicone caulk where the stiles and rails meet to make the door water-tight. Remove the cleats that are holding the door panels together. Paint the panels first with a stain-blocking primer. After that has dried, apply two coats of exterior paint in the color of your choice. When that is dry, you can install your new garage door, or hire a professional to install it for you.

Special Considerations

  • You may need over-sized jamb brackets to install your new door because you are adding ¾ inch of thickness to the existing door. Also, the tracks may need to be set back an extra ¾ of an inch.

  • Your door is going to be about 60 pounds heavier after you're done, so make sure the springs and garage door opener can handle that additional weight. If not, buy ones that can handle the load. Ask garage door repair specialists for more information.

  • Using heavy-duty horizontal reinforcement bars on the back of the garage door panels will prevent bowing. They should be installed after your new door is hung.