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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Pros and Cons of a Wood Garage Door

Garage DoorWhen matched appropriately with your home, nothing adds more curb appeal than a beautifully designed wood garage door. If you’re thinking about adding a garage door constructed from wood to beautify your frontage, it’s worth knowing all the pros and cons before committing to the purchase. To help you in finalizing your decision, here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of installing a wood garage door.

Wood Garage Door Pros

Uniquely Customizable:Perhaps one of the most notable advantages of a wood garage door is the fact that you can choose to purchase one which is completely customized to suit your home. If you choose to buy a customized door you will need a fairly hefty budget. If you can afford the expense though, your door can be built from scratch to match the aesthetics of your home exterior. Another point in favor of a customized wood garage door is that if your garage floor isn’t quite level, the door can be made to fit perfectly.

Choice of Material: A wood garage door can be made from many different types of timber, which is an important point if you are planning to have your door custom built. You can choose to have your door made in the same wood as used for your sidings, front door and window frames. Some of the most popular types of wood for garage doors are alder, fir, redwood and cedar.

Hard Wearing: If you have kids, a wood garage door will mean you don’t have to worry about it being dented or cracked by a basketball or bicycle wheel. Unlike doors made of vinyl, steel or aluminum, timber doors are very tough and hard wearing.

Wood Garage Door Cons

Maintenance: Compared with other garage doors made from other materials, wooden doors are high-maintenance. You will need to ensure your door is protected with an appropriate weatherproof coating. This will need to be reapplied every so often. You will also need to regularly inspect your door for signs of rotting.

Lack of Insulation: A wood garage door may not be your best option if you are concerned about energy efficiency. Although timber does provide a degree of insulation, other materials offer more since a layer of insulation can be sandwiched between the inner and outer door skin. Wooden doors are solid, so there is no way to add extra insulation.

Need Heavy-Duty Fixtures: Because wood doors are solid, they are extremely heavy. As well as being more expensive than other door types, you will also have the extra expense of heavy duty springs to keep your garage door balanced. If you want to automate the opening and closing of your door, you will also need a heavy-duty door opener.

Wood garage doors are no different than those made from other materials, in that they have their drawbacks as well as their advantages. If you have the budget and don’t mind giving your door some regular TLC to protect it from the elements, you are sure to enjoy the visual impact and curb appeal that a wood garage door can add to your home.

 

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How to Get a Return on Investment from Your New Garage Door

garage 1Having a new garage door installed is a relatively inexpensive way to add curb appeal to your home, particularly if your garage is at the front of your property and can be seen from the sidewalk or the road. Even so, if you are going to spend money on a new garage door, choosing wisely will help you to ensure that you see a return on the investment you are making – In other words, your new door will pay for itself in the value it adds to your home.

This short guide suggests a few things worth considering if you want to get the best ROI on your new garage door.

Maximize Energy Saving Potential

Apart from improving the aesthetic appeal of your home, there is another way in which a new garage door can pay for itself – By delivering energy cost savings. Whatever type or design you choose, ensuring your new garage door is insulated is the surest way to recoup the cost of purchase and installation. By reducing the amount of heat (or cool air if you are in a warm climate and use air conditioning) that escapes your home by way of your garage, an insulated door will make a difference, however small, to your heating energy costs.

Match the Style to Your Home

It’s surprising how often people choose a new garage door for the way it looks in photographs or in a showroom, without considering if it fits the style of their homes. For a new garage door to do your home justice and add maximum value, its style must be in keeping with the rest of your house. For example, if you have a very modern, contemporary style of home, carriage house garage doors won’t make the most suitable choice, however nice they look in themselves.

It’s All in the Overlay

Once you’ve decided upon the style of garage door which most suits your home, the hardest part of the selection process begins. Garage doors are comprised of sections which more often than not, are covered with some form of overlay to provide a certain visual effect for the door finish. The only doors which don’t have an overlay are the cheapest products made from steel. These inexpensive garage doors have a design embossed or pressed into the steel sections, typically mimicking the effect of wood grain.

While a garage door with an overlay is going to be more expensive, you will be able to choose from the widest range of designs and effects, which of course is important if you are to maximize the curb appeal of your home. You can choose from overlays made from real wood, cellular PVC or wood composite materials. Real wood overlays are the most expensive, while a door with wood composite overlays can be had for little more than the price of an embossed steel door.

Hopefully this guide will help a little when you choose a new garage door with ROI in mind. If you select a door with a nice overlay, in a style that matches your home and with insulation built-in, you should see the payback over the door’s lifetime or within the price you receive for your home if you sell.

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What to Do When an Automatic Garage Door Won’t Open

shutterstock_1589767When your automatic garage door won’t open, there’s a high likelihood that the problem is electrical rather than mechanical. Mechanical problems tend to give you some warning signs before the door stops working completely. There are a number of possible reasons for an automatic garage door to suddenly refuse to open. If you should find yourself stuck outside your garage with an impotent remote in your hand, try the following checks before calling in the repair guys.

1: Check Vacation Mode

Someone may have inadvertently switched your automatic door opener into “lock” or “vacation” mode. If so, your door will not open in response to the remote. If the door is not in lock or vacation mode, move on to the next check.

2: Test the Remote Battery

If the battery in your remote control is getting low, the automatic garage door opener unit may not receive a signal from the remote. Go into your garage (via the internal door from your home) and check for a red blinking light on the garage door opener housing. If the light is blinking, press the “open” button on your remote control. If the door opens, move further from the control unit and press the “close” button. If there is no response from the door, you know your battery is getting low and is only sending a weak signal. Replace the battery and your door should open and close just fine from outside.

If the door doesn’t open or close even when you are close to the control unit or the red light is not blinking, replace your remote battery and then test the door again. If the door still won’t respond to the remote control after you have replaced the battery, move on to the next check.

3: Test the Wiring

If you look closely, you will see that there are two fine wires running from the garage door control unit to the internal switch, which is normally located near to your internal garage door. There will be two more wires running from the control unit to each of the electric eyes at either side of your garage door, near the bottom.

You will need to test all the connection points, do this by wiggling one wire at a time while pressing the “open” button on your remote control. In total you will be testing two wires at the wall switch, four wires at the control unit and two wires at each of the electric eyes. If the door opens while you are wiggling any of the wires and pressing the “open” button, you will know that the wire you are wiggling is loose.

Shut off the power to your automatic garage door. Use a screwdriver to tighten the loose wire at its connection terminal and then turn the power back on. You should find your door will now open when you operate the remote control.

If you still can’t get your garage door to respond to your remote control after following all the above checks, it might just be time to call in a local garage door installation/repair service. The technician will be able to identify any more complex problem with your automatic garage door and get it back in working order for you.

 

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What Puts the Go into Your Garage Door Opener?

shutterstock_99749666Like many convenience gadgets in your home it’s easy to take your automatic garage door opener for granted. You just press the little button on the remote and your door opens or closes.  However, the system which enables your garage door to open automatically has some clever engineering packed into it.

Even your electrical supply is used in a smart way to deliver the oomph necessary to get that heavy door moving, especially when you are opening it. Perhaps the most important component putting the go into your garage door opener is an item called a capacitor.

The Role of the Capacitor in a Garage Door Opener

A capacitor(sometimes known as a condenser) is an electrical component built into your garage door opener. Its purpose is to build up a store of electricity from your mains power to deliver in a fast burst. This is what gives your garage door opener the extra energy required to overcome inertia and get your door moving.

More accurately called a “start” or “electrolytic” capacitor, this small component quickly builds up an electrical charge when you operate the switch to power your door opener. After sufficient power has built up, the capacitor discharges.  This gives the opener mechanism a jolt of power.

When Good Capacitors Go Bad

Garage door opener capacitors can fail. The symptoms of a faulty capacitor include a failure of the door to move when you press the opener’s start button. Although the door won’t open you will probably hear a humming or buzzing sound coming from the opener unit. In some cases, the door may begin to move but stop after opening or closing partially. A few garage door opener models have a system of warning lights which will flash when the capacitor fails.

Replacing Your Garage Door Opener Capacitor

If the capacitor in your garage door opener gives up the ghost, it’s a simple task to replace it with a new one. Of course the most important point is never to try and work on your door opener without first isolating it from the power by unplugging the cable from the wall or ceiling outlet.

If you remove the cover from your door opener unit, you should be able to locate the capacitor clamped to the side of the housing. A capacitor normally has the appearance of a large black cylinder. Replacing the capacitor is simply a case of unclipping the wires from the terminals on the component, unscrewing the clamp which holds it in place and then fitting a new capacitor in place of the faulty one. After reconnecting the wires, just replace the cover on your opener, plug the unit back in and you should be good to go.

If you prefer not to mess with your garage door opener or you don’t like working with electrical systems, just call on your local garage door installation and repair service. They will be happy to send a technician to replace the capacitor for you.

 

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