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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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DIY Guide to Garage Door Track Adjustment

dog_garageUnless you have carriage style doors on your garage, which are hinged like any regular door, your garage door will open and close by rolling up and down. The rollers that your door runs on are guided by two tracks which run from floor to ceiling and continue horizontally parallel to the garage ceiling. You will notice that there is one garage door track on each side of the doorway.

It’s not uncommon for these tracks to wind up out of alignment. This can happen if your garage door receives an impact. It can also happen as a result of the securing hardware working loose over time. The problem with a misaligned garage door track is that it can cause problems with the operation of your door. The most common issues caused when a garage door track is out of alignment are as follows:

  • The garage door may bind, making it hard to open and close
  • The door can rub against the stop molding
  • A large gap may appear between the door and the stop molding

If you notice any of these problems and discover that a track has become misaligned, you can quite easily realign it yourself. Sometimes you may have to realign both of the tracks. This guide will help you with some simple steps to get the job done.

If Your Garage Door is Binding

Here are the steps to follow if your garage door is binding:

1. Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws which hold the tracks in the garage door frame.

2. Now you can align the track so it is perfectly vertical by tapping it at the bottom with a rubber mallet. Use a spirit level to identify when the track is back in vertical alignment.

3. Retighten the screws and repeat the process for the opposite garage door track if necessary.

If Your Garage Door is Rubbing or Has a Gap

If you notice your door rubbing against the stop molding or that a big gap has appeared between the door and the molding, follow these steps to realign the tracks:

1. First you will need to loosen the bolts securing each track to its lower track brackets. Be sure to loosen the bolts on both tracks before proceeding with the next steps.

2.  Now you will need to move one of the tracks right or left until there is a uniform gap of around a quarter of an inch between the door and the stop molding.

3. Go to the opposite track and repeat the process in step 2.

4. Finally, retighten the track bolts, making sure you get them nice and tight. At the same time, be careful not to over-tighten them.

You should now find that your garage door is running freely and not rubbing or binding. If you should suffer any complications while trying to align either garage door track, you can always call in a professional garage door maintenance provider to resolve the problem.

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A Secret Tip to Fix a Dented Aluminum Garage Door

double_garage_door_1An aluminum garage door can generally be counted on to require little maintenance – until that is, it gets a ding from the kids’ basketball or similar projectile. So when your offspring approach you with that guilty “there’s something we must tell you” look, it could be that they’ve just put a dent in your otherwise pristine aluminum garage door.

If this should happen to you, don’t despair. A new aluminum garage door is not on the cards just yet. There is actually a rather ingenious way that you can remove the dent in your door, as long as it’s not too large. You’ll need a few tools and items in order to carry out this fix, which uses a process of heat and cold to pop the dent out like a charm.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Here are the items you’ll need to perform your aluminum door dent removal:

  • A medium bucket
  • Water and dishwashing detergent
  • A sponge
  • Some good quality aluminum foil
  • A heat gun, hairdryer, lighter or similar source of heat
  • An air compressor or a can of compressed air

Performing the Magic

Now you have your materials to hand, follow the next seven steps to remove the dent in your aluminum garage door.

1. Fill the bucket with water and add some dishwashing detergent.

2. Use the sponge with the water and detergent to wash the dented area of the door thoroughly.

3. Dry the washed area of the door.

4. Take a sheet of foil which covers an area slightly larger than the dent. Hold the foil sheet against the dent. You only need to secure the foil by holding it at one corner.

5. Using your heat source, apply heat to the foil over the dent. Moving the heat source uniformly over the dented area keep heat applied for about one minute.

6. Now remove the foil and quickly begin to blast the dent with compressed air from your can or compressor. Keep the compressed air trained on the dented area for at least 30 seconds.

7. At some point while you are applying the compressed air, the dent should suddenly pop out, returning your aluminum garage door to the same good condition it was in before the basketball or similar accident occurred.

There is a Less Scientific Way

The other way to remove a small dent from your garage door is a little less scientific. You can use a rubber mallet, or a hammer with a block of wood to transfer the force. Just tap away at the dent from the inside of the door.

Make sure to keep hitting different areas of the dent and gradually the aluminum material will flatten back to the same level as the rest of the door. Don’t use a heavy impact, fairly gentle taps will suffice. Never use a regular hammer without a block of wood – You’re more likely to create further dents than to fix the problem.

Finally, if the dent is very large or you just don’t feel comfortable trying to remove it yourself, a garage door installation and repair service will be able to do the job for you, for a fee, of course.


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How to Repaint Your Sectional Garage Door

GreenGarageDoorA tired paint job can be depressing to look at and doesn’t do a great job at keeping your sectional garage door protected from the elements. The good news is that repainting your garage door can be a quick and easy DIY project. The following guidance will help you to repaint your door the right way, making it a painless task and saving you from a paint-splashed driveway.

Tools and Materials

You will need the following items to repaint your sectional garage door:

  • Paint can opener (or a 5-in-1 tool)
  • A step stool
  • A drop cloth
  • Some rags
  • An old paintbrush for dusting
  • Sanding block
  • A stick for paint stirring
  • A 3-inch latex brush
  • Appropriate paint for the material of your garage door
  • Clean work bucket of 1 gallon capacity

Step by Step Repainting Guide

If you have an automatic door opener, disengage the door opener so you can open and close your door manually. Once you have done that, just follow the next steps.

1) First get rid of any oxidized paint, cobwebs, dust and dirt from your overhead garage door. The quickest way to do this is to go over the whole door with a sanding block. After giving the door a light sanding, use your old paintbrush or a rag to remove any loose dust from the door surfaces.

2) With the door partially raised, place the drop cloth on the ground across the threshold to protect your garage floor and driveway from paint splashes.

3) Open the can of paint and use the stick to give it a thorough stir. Then pour around a quart of paint into your work bucket.

4) Begin painting the door at the bottom. Apply the paint to the bottom most section only and don’t paint the gasket on the bottom of the door unless it has been previously painted. Paint this section with the door partially raised so you don’t have to stoop down.

5) Paint as far into the extreme ends of the door section as you can. You will get paint onto the surrounding door trim but that doesn’t matter, since you will be painting the trim later. It will be easier to paint the extreme panel ends if you raise the section all the way to the top of the door opening and use a step stool to stand on. This is where the tracks force the section back from the door edges to you have more space to get your brush in and paint.

6) While you have the door section at the top of the opening, the top edge of the panel you have painted and the bottom edge of the next section will be exposed. Now is the time to paint these edges.

7) After completing the bottom section, repeat the process for the rest of the panels. You will need to use your step stool for the higher sections. After you finish painting the top section, check the entire door for any paint runs or drips.

8) Finally, paint the trim around the top and side door edges. You can choose to paint this trim the same color as the door or use a different color if you prefer.

If you think your sectional garage door needs a second coat of paint you can apply it the same day once the first coat is thoroughly dry. Alternatively just wait for the next day with good weather for outside painting.

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All About Garage Door Lubrication

garage_door_safetyMost householders are aware of the need to keep garage doors and door openers lubricated. However all too often the poor garage door gets a dose of the wrong lubrication, or is over or under-lubricated. Garage door lubrication isn’t an art form, but there are ways to get it right and of course to get it wrong. If you really want to extend the life of your garage door and door opener, follow this simple guidance and learn how to lubricate your door and opener effectively.

WD 40 Is a No-No

If there is one golden rule to follow when it comes to garage door lubrication, it’s this – Keep away from the WD-40. While some people like to believe WD-40 can cure all ills and is the perfect cleaning agent and lubricant for every application, that’s really not the case. WD-40 is actually a solvent and when you apply it to the moving parts of your garage door and opener, it will break down any good grease that’s already present and then it will dry out, creating more friction than existed before it was applied. Furthermore, once applied, WD-40 actually attracts dust and dirt.

Heavy-duty silicone spay is a far better product if you really want to use a general lubricant for all parts of your door and opener: The thicker the better. Thicker silicone spray lubricants remain effective for a long time once applied. You can use this type of lubricant on your garage door and opener every six months if your door sees a lot of use; otherwise once a year will be fine.

Tips for Greasing a Garage Door Opener Rail

When you come to grease the opener rail of your garage door, there is a second golden rule to follow. You actually just need to remember one word – Moderation. If you over-grease the rail, you will end up with a streak of grease down the outside of your garage door. Even worse, if you actually use your garage to store your car, the grease will drip onto the vehicle. Over-greasing garage door opener rails is a common mistake, but now you know, it needn’t be one that you make.

All your opener rail really needs is a light greasing from end to end. After greasing, use your controller to open and close the door a few times. As you do this, the opener trolley will plough up the excessive grease, so you’ll need to clean this off the trolley.

Lubricating Your Garage Door Rollers

Another common mistake people make is lubricating the tracks of the garage door. This is entirely unnecessary and does nothing for your garage door. It’s only the stem each door roller that needs some lubrication. Just use a heavy silicone spray lubricant on the roller stems and try to spray it well into the hinges where the roller stems are held. This will keep the rollers turning freely. Greasing the rollers and the track is the equivalent of putting grease on car tires and on the road – A pointless exercise.

That’s really all there is to the art of garage door lubrication. If you remember the word “moderation” and leave the WD 40 in the can, you’ll be able to keep your door running smoothly and noiselessly – Hopefully for decades.


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How to Replace the Sprocket on a Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

Garage_Door_OpenerAlthough a chain drive garage door opener can be a little noisy in operation and some feel it’s more demanding of maintenance than belt or screw drive openers, there is really not that much that can go wrong. If you lubricate the chain every now and again, this type of opener will serve you well for many years.

If the Chain Starts to Jump

At some point though, the sprocket which engages with the chain to raise and lower the door may need replacing. If the chain on your door opener begins to skip or jump when the door is being raised, it’s a sign that the teeth on the sprocket have worn. Fortunately, replacing the sprocket, which is located at the top of the motor, is an easy enough DIY task. Here is a simple, step-by–step guide to explain the process.

10 Steps to Changing the Chain Drive Sprocket

1) Pull down on the manual release cord which disengages the drive trolley from the chain arm. Now you can lower the door manually.

2) After lowering the door, use a stepladder to climb up and disconnectthe power supply to your garage door opener. Do this by unplugging the power cable from the ceiling outlet.

3) You will find a snap on cover where the chain engages with the sprocket atop the motor. Use a screwdriver to remove the cover.

4) Now relocate your stepladder to the end of the chain arm nearest to the garage door. You will see a chain pulley on the top of the chain arm. Loosen the bolts on the pulley and slide it just an inch towards the motor.

5) Move your stepladder back to the motor of your garage door opener. Using a ratchet and socket, undo the machine bolts which hold the sprocket in place and remove them. Save the bolts.

6) Use your screwdriver to pry up the sprocket and then remove it from the motor. Take the chain from the sprocket and lay it over the chain arm.

7) Now use your socket and ratchet and the bolts you saved to install the new sprocket. Fit the chain around the sprocket.

8) Return your stepladder to the end of the chain arm. Climb up and slide the pulley towards the end of the chain arm until the chain is tight, then slide it back toward the motor just enough so the chain touches the top of the chain arm. Now you can tighten the bolts that hold the pulley in place.

9) Now reposition your stepladder to access the motor one last time. Fasten the sprocket cover back in place and plug in the power to the garage door opener.

10) Return to the floor and pull the manual release cord to refit the trolley to the chain arm, putting your door opener back into automatic mode.

Now you should find you can raise your door using the opener without the chain jumping. If replacing the sprocket doesn’t cure the problem or you simply prefer not to tackle this task yourself, you can always call on your local garage door installation and repair service to resolve the problem instead.

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Pros and Cons of the 5 Garage Door Types

new-garage-doorDeciding on the best type of garage door to have installed can sometimes be a challenge. There are five main garage door types and each of them has its advantages and drawbacks for a particular garage installation. If you are in the process of considering a new garage door purchase, perhaps this brief list of pros and cons will help you decide on the right garage door type for your home. The five main types of garage door are:

  • Canopy style up-and-over door
  • Retractable up-and-over door
  • Roller door
  • Sectional door
  • Side-hinged garage door

Side Hinged Garage Doors

The pros:

  • Installed in pairs, so you can work in your garage with just one door open if you want.
  • Simple mechanism, so all you have to maintain is the hinges and the door finish.
  • A good solution if you use your garage as a workshop or store for items other than a car.
  • Easy to open and close manually

The cons:

  • Not well-suited to use with an automatic opener.
  • Less secure than vertically opening garage door types.

Sectional Garage Doors

The pros:

  • Wide range of designs and finishes available – You can even have windows in a sectional door.
  • You can park your car very close to the door and still be able to open and close it.
  • Quiet and smooth in operation.
  • Can be used with an automatic opener.

The cons:

The only potential drawback of a sectional door is that horizontal tracks are required and the door takes up ceiling space in the garage.

Roller Doors

The pros:

  • Roller design is the most space-saving of all garage door types.
  • No swing-out, so cars can be parked close to the door without impeding its operation.
  • Roller doors are normally insulated and have good thermal qualities.
  • Roller doors open and close smoothly and quietly.
  • Very secure in design.
  • Can be used with automatic door openers.

The cons:

The variety of decorative designs for roller doors is limited, since the nature of construction dictates a horizontal format. Roller doors can also be quite expensive compared with other door types.

Canopy Style Up-and-Over Doors

The pros:

  • Well balanced design makes this type of door easy to open and close manually.
  • When opened, the door protrudes from the door opening to afford a degree of shelter.
  • Usually the most inexpensive of the garage door types.

The cons:

  • Manual opening and closing only.
  • The door swings out when opened, so cars must be parked to allow sufficient space.
  • Can be somewhat noisy when opening and closing

Retractable Up-and-Over Doors

The pros:

  • Quieter in operation than canopy style doors, especially when used with an automatic opener.
  • Easy to open and close manually

The cons:

  • Retractable up-and-over doors take up more space internally and externally than other types.
  • Fairly complex mechanism means more can potentially go wrong.

While this breakdown of pros and cons should help you decide which of the garage door types is best for you, it’s always a good idea to try and see examples of each type in operation before you buy.

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How to Prepare for Replacing Garage Door Hinges and Rollers

weather stripEventually the hinges or rollers on your garage door will need replacing as a result of wear and tear. Very occasionally your door might become derailed from its track, in which case the displaced roller/s will need to be relocated. In either case, replacing a roller or a hinge is a relatively straightforward DIY task. The only exception to this is if the bottom rollers or hinges need replacing. Never attempt to replace a bottom roller or hinge yourself as they are installed under tension – That’s strictly a job for the professionals.

The process is pretty much the same whether you are replacing the garage door hinges or the rollers, the only difference being the part that you replace. To safely carry out the replacement task though, there are some important preparation steps you should take for safety and to make the task easier.

Safety First

Garage doors are very heavy, especially if constructed from wood. Working on any heavy object can be dangerous, so it’s important to take effective safety measures before and during any garage door DIY work. It’s also important to remember that garage door springs are under tension most of the time. Don’t attempt to disconnect the springs on your door. If you use the correct approach to replacing rollers and hinges, there should be no need for the springs to be removed or tampered with.

Raise and Support the Garage Door

The most sensible way to work on hinges and rollers is with the door to your garage in the “up” position. While this does mean you need to use a ladder and work at height, the spring tension is at a minimum when the door is up, making the task generally safer. Start by raising the door to the open position using the automatic opener, then disconnecting the power supply to the door opener. By disconnecting the power, you will ensure nobody accidentally lowers the door while you are working on it.

If you don’t have an automatic door opener, just raise the door manually before starting work. As a further safeguard, it’s a good idea to install a C-clamp on the track at either side of the door, just below the bottommost roller. The two C-clamps act as stops, ensuring that the door can’t descend.

When you remove garage door hinges with the door raised, the door is in a horizontal position parallel to your garage ceiling. This means the door panels will sag when you remove the hinges which keep them in the horizontal tracks. Therefore you need to use some form of prop to support the panels. If you don’t support them, the panels may break. One way to support a panel is by clamping two wooden boards together to create a prop of the right height.

Good to Go

Now that you have secured your garage door in the raised position, disconnected the door opener and supported the panels which you will work on, you can go ahead and replace any worn hinges and rollers. The actual replacement takes only a few minutes per hinge and you’ll soon be enjoying a cup of coffee and contemplating a job well done.

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