Garage Door Hinge Repair: Replacing Hinges By Gauge, Size, Number and Position

Garage Door Hinges

Garage door hinges are used to secure the various sections of your overhead door together. Hinges are fastened to the interior stiles of each door panel.

They are made out of steel and come a variety of types, gauges, sizes and numbers. Each hinge is designed to be installed on a specific part of your overhead door.


1. What do the hinge numbers mean?

All hinges are assigned a special stamped number that identifies both the roller carrier height and where they are to be installed on your garage door.

Sectional garage door hinges are identified by numbers 1 through 12. Residential hinges are available in numbers 1-5 while commercial hinges are available in 1-12.  Residential hinges can accommodate up to 12ft tall doors (6 panels) in height. For doors over 12ft tall commercial gauge hinges must be used.

Although garage door sections are stacked vertically one on top of the other in the opening, the vertical door track is not perfectly straight up and down. It actually angles back away from the opening to help the door move smoothly through the curved radius.

The bottom of your vertical tracks are closer to the wood jambs than the top,  creating a slight angle away from the opening. This is done with jamb brackets that increase in height and requires hinges to match that angle.

Low hinge numbers like the #1 hinge have a low height, while higher hinge numbers like the #4,#5 and #6 have a relatively higher height. The height of the hinge is measured from the base to the roller carrier opening. The height of the hinge is designed to match the angle of the track.

Most garage doors start with the number one hinges being installed on the bottom section of the door at each end. The next section up requires #2 hinges at each end with #1 hinges in the middle and so on. The hinges in the middle of each section (not ends) are always number one hinges.


2. How do I know if my garage door hinges are bad?

Signs of garage door hinges that have worn out include squeaky noises, bent roller carriers, cracks, rust discoloration, corrosion and loose screws. 

Like all metallic moving parts on a garage door, hinges wear out over time. Frequent use and poor maintenance mean your hinges will wear out more quickly.

Damage to the door panels can also result in broken hinges. When bottom sections of the garage door are backed into the hinges will bend and eventually break.

Hinges are also prone to corrosion and cracking over time. Using a thicker gauge steel hinge can help prolong the lifespan. Heavier duty 11-gauge hinges last longer than 14-gauge or 18-gauge hinges all things equal.

If your door is use in high volume, upgrading your hinges to 14ga or 11 ga steel makes a lot of sense. However, if your door is light weight and used for storage with infrequent use 18 gauge hinges work just fine. The thickness of your hinge should match the volume of use and weight of the garage door.

Sometimes a combination of different hinge gauges can be used on the same door. Outside end hinges should typically be the strongest in 14 gauge and 11 gauge. Interior hinges can sometimes be 16 gauge or 18 gauge.


3. Garage Door Hinge Gauges

Garage door hinge gauges are counter-intuitive: the smaller the hinge gauge number, the thicker the steel on that hinge. For example 11-gauge hinges are thicker than 18-gauge. Steel thickness matters – thicker steel equals increased strength and durability.

The most common gauges of steel garage door hinges are 11-ga, 14-ga and 16-ga. 

Residential garage doors require 14-gauge wide bodied hinges while commercial garage doors need a heavier duty 11-gauge wide bodied hinge.

Numerical hinge size is counter-intuitive since lower gauge numbers are actually thicker than higher numbered hinges. For residential doors 14-gauge is most common although 18-gauge can also be used on lightweight doors. Commercial doors usually require 11-gauge hinges for their added strength.

Although you may save money in the short term purchasing thinner hinges, your garage door performance and durability may suffer in the long term. Thin hinges often wear out quickly, leading to bent or broken hinges which need to be replaced.

Narrow bodied hinges are 18-gauge and range from one through five in stamped numbers. These hinges are extremely thin and should only be used for lightweight residential door applications. Heavier gauge hinges cost more, but have a longer life giving them a significant cost advantage. When you purchase a garage door for your house make sure you are getting 14-gauge wide bodied hinges.

    • 11 gauge (standard commercial_
    • 13 gauge (uncommon – light duty commerical)
    • 14 gauge (standard residential / light duty commercial)
    • 16 gauge (uncommon – residential)
    • 18 gauge (light weight residential)

Hinges are made by a variety of manufacturers, but all hinges are designed for a specific part of your garage door. Most hinges display a stamped number that identifies what part of the garage door it should be installed on. Hinge numbers for residential applications range from one through five.

Commercial garage doors are usually larger than residential doors , requiring an increased number of hinges. Because of the increased height of commercial doors, 11-gauge hinges run from six through twelve. H

Hinges that are installed higher up on a garage door must be a thicker gauge to account for the increased amount of total door weight. While some hinges (#1-Hinges) have the sole purpose of connecting garage door sections together, end hinges (#2-#12 Hinges) have the dual purpose of supporting garage door rollers.

4. Why do garage door hinges break?

Hinges wear out over time like all metallic moving parts. Steel hinges can corrode and weaken over years and thousands of door cycles. Improperly installed and damaged door sections can also cause problems.

A bent door panel can put heavy stress on certain hinge positions. This is often the case with doors that have been backed into and have bent panels out of alignment.

If a door has been backed into chances are the hinges are damaged beyond repair. Hinges cannot simply be bent back into place.

Examine your hinges annually for bent or cracked pieces. Always check the roller carrier and the self drilling fasteners in the hinge.

5. How long do garage door hinges last?

The average lifespan of a garage door hinge is 15-25 years or about 30,000 cycles. Volume of use, gauge of steel, door weight and maintenance play a factor in the lifespan of overhead door hinges.

If you garage door is used frequently hinges will wear out faster. Overhead door hinge installed on a storage garage don’t get used much so they will obviously last longer.

The hinge gauge you decide to install on your garage door matters. Heavy duty 11 gauge and 14 gauge hinges will last longer on residential doors compared to thinner 18 gauge hinges. Installing 18-ga or 14-ga hinges on a commercial door is a mismatch. All commercial size doors and heavy weight doors should use 11 gauge hinges.

Generally speaking you should match your hinge thickness to the door weight and volume of use. Using commercial grade 11 gauge hinges on a light weight door is overkill, but won’t cause any hard to the door. Just keep in mind 16-ga and 18 gauge hinges are often narrow body 2 1/4″ width compared to 14-ga and 11-ga wide body 3 1/4″ width. The stiles on the interior of your door should be compatible with the width of your hinges.

  • 18-gauge <150 lbs
  • 16-gauge 150-250 lbs
  • 14-gauge 200-400 lbs
  • 11-gauge 400+


6. Garage Door Hinge Size Chart

Standard sectional garage doors have interior stile widths that are designed to accommodate wide body or narrow body hinges – sometimes they can accommodate both.

Always use the engraved number on the hinge for identification purposes. If the number has worn off you can attempt to match the height of your existing hinge to the corresponding match off the hinge charts. The height of the hinge matches a specific hinge number.

Wide body hinges 14 gauge, 13 gauge and 11 gauge are 3″ wide. Narrow body hinges that are 18 gauge and 16 gauge are always 2 1/4″ wide.


Wide Body 14 Gauge Hinge Size Chart

Hinge NumberDistance To CenterWidthLengthHeight
#13/4″3″7 1/4″2″
#27/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#31 3/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#41 3/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#51 11/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#61 7/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#72 3/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#82 7/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#92 5/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#102 7/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#113 1/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#123 1/2″3″7 1/4″2″

Narrow Body 18 Gauge Hinge Size Chart

Hinge NumberDistance To CenterWidthLengthHeight
#13/4″3″7 1/4″2″
#27/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#31 3/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#41 3/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#51 11/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#61 7/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#72 3/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#82 7/16″3″7 1/4″2″
#92 5/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#102 7/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#113 1/8″3″7 1/4″2″
#123 1/2″3″7 1/4″2″


7. Types of Garage Door Hinges

Residential Hinges (14-gauge, 16-gauge, 18-gauge)  These hinges can be either wide or narrow body in 14 gauge, 16 gauge or 18 gauge. The numbers on these hinges run from 1-5 to account for up to 5 door sections, for a 10 ft tall door.


Commercial Hinges (11-gauge) Commercial hinges are always wide body and 11 gauge. The added thickness increases the strength and durability. These hinges don’t have the same shiny metallic zinc finish as residential hinges. They are instead have a dull steel finish.


Full Vision Hinges (Half Hinges) Since the sections on a full vision glass door have small stiles around large glass panes these hinges are half the size of normal hinges. The decreased height allows them to securely fasten to the door without overlapping onto the glass.


Truck Door Hinges These hinges are usually black in color and are much more flat than typical overhead door hinges. These hinges are found on Whiting and Todco style box truck doors.


Narrow Body Hinges (18-gauge) These hinges are for small lightweight doors that don’t require heavy duty hardware. These hinges are about 2 1/4″ width compared to the standard 3 1/4″ wide body hinges. This allows them to fasten to the narrow interior stiles


8. Hinge Pilot Hole Measurements

Garage Door Hinge Pilot Guide Holes
Garage Door Hinge Pilot Guide Holes

Modern garage doors have pre stamped pilot holes on the interior stiles. Pilot holes on new garage doors often line up with the guide holes on hinges. This makes securing the hinge with fasteners much easier.

Older garage doors will rarely have existing holes that line up with the holes on new hinges. This is perfectly normal and should be expected. Start new holes in a secure position on the hinge and consider using a thicker diameter self drilling screw.

Each hinge should have 3 screws on the top and bottom side of the roller carrier for a total of 6 per hinge. For extremely liight weight doors with 18 gauge hinges you can sometimes get by with 2 and 2 for a total of 4 per hinge.

Always refer to your specific owners manual for detailed instructions on the fasteners that should be used to secure your garage door hinges.

9. Securing Hinges To Steel & Wood Garage Doors

Garage door hinges are fastened to modern steel doors by hex serrated washer head drill-tap screws. These screws are designed to be used with impact drills self drill into interior door stiles.

Hex Serrated Washer Head Self Drilling Tap Screws
Hex Serrated Washer Head Self Drilling Tap Screws

Pilot holes are located on both garage door hinges and the stiles. Although pilot holes make fastening hinges to the door easier, it is not required that the pilot holes on the door stiles and hinge align perfectly.

Often new holes have to be started when the existing pilot holes don’t line up. If you have an older door its very unlikely that your existing holes will line up with the pilot holes on new hinges.

Wood Garage Door Fasteners - Carriage Bolts Nuts Lags
Wood Garage Door Fasteners – Carriage Bolts Nuts Lags


If you have a wood garage door carriage bolts and nuts must be used to fasten steel hinges. The weight of wood garage doors and the threads on self drilling screws aren’t enough to anchor into.

Do not use self drilling (metal to metal) sheet metal screws for (steel to wood) wood door installations. It will cause the wood to strip or split causing damage to the wood door.

The carriage bolts anchoring to wood doors must have pre-drilled holes and must be through bolted. The carriage bolt is fastened and then secured with a lock-washer and nut.

Tightening the nut against the washer (or lock-washer) will pull the square carriage bolt shoulder into the wood preventing it from spinning.



10. What type of garage door hinges do I need?

The first thing to consider with door hinges is the weight of the door. Light weight residential doors under 200 lbs can use 16 ga or 18 gauge hinges. These hinges are often found on light weight Clopay doors with narrower interior stiles. Heavier doors should look to a heavier gauge like 14 ga or 11 ga.

Next you should consider the width of the interior stiles. Narrow body hinges measure about 2 1/4″ across compared to the wide body offerings. Some stiles measure about 2 1/2″ widths allowing these hinges to fit perfectly. Using a wide body hinge causes overlap across the stiles.

Always replace your hinges with the same size and gauge you used in the past. There is no practical reason to use 11 gauge wide body hinges on an extremely light weight residential door.  Likewise, never use 18-gauge hinges on a heavy wood door or commercial door.

What type of door are your hinges being installed on. Truck doors require a special flat piano stile hinge. Full view glass doors require a special half hinge.

If you aren’t sure what is needed take pictures for proper identification.

  • Weight of the garage door
  • Width of interior stiles
  • Volume of use
  • Type of Overhead Door


11. Garage Door Hinge Maintenance

Well maintained hinges will keep your garage door operating smoothly and extend the life of your door. When you inspect your garage door seasonally be sure to give your hinges some attention.

Preventative maintenance is far less expensive than fixing the door after it breaks down. Here are some simple things you can do to maintain your overhead door hinges.

Lubricate your hinges at last semi-annually. If you live in a cold northern state make sure lubrication is applied before winter. Lubrication will cut down on the noise and help prevent rust build up.

We recommend using non silicone based 400-HD National Door Lubricant to cut down on dirt,dust and debris. Never use dirt attractants like WD-40, oil, grease or lithium on garage door hardware.

Clean the hinges seasonally to remove dirt and debris. If hinges aren’t cleaned seasonally dirt can build up inside the roller carriers. This results in noisy door operation and corrosion.

Secure loose fasteners by inspecting each door hinge and tightening screws as needed. Self drilling screws can come loose over time after years of door operation – especially on wood doors.

Check for rust on all of your garage door hinges – especially the hinges on the bottom door section. Hinges closer to the ground are especially vulnerable to corrosion.

Replace bent hinges in the event that your garage door panels are hit by a vehicle. Bent door panels often means the hinges on those panels are also bent. Hinges that are bent will eventually break causing further damage to the door.


12. Replacing Damaged Hinges

The price of hinges varies by gauge, number and the style. Standard residential and commercial hinges retail for between $3.00-$10.00. Heavier gauge hinges are more expensive since more steel is used. Higher numbered hinges are also slightly more expensive due to the design and size.

In the event you would like a color match between your garage door and hinges powder coating is available. Custom powder coated hinges cost several times as much as standard galvanized steel hinges.

Although per-unit prices don’t represent a huge cost burden it is important to keep in mind that a typical two-car garage door requires at least fifteen hinges.

Garage Door Guide Cal
Hello, I’m Cal – owner of Garage Door Guide LLC    

I write tutorials about garage door repair, installation and maintenance. With over a decade of experience in the overhead door industry I’ve learned a lot and I’d like to share my knowledge with you.

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