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Top Five Signs Your Garage Door Needs Maintenance Work

shutterstock_85743676The garage door is one of the most expensive parts of a house and yet, it’s also one of the most neglected. A homeowner usually deals with their garage doors when it’s already too late and the repair already involves several hundreds of dollars—if the door can be salvaged at all. Imagine amounts of money going as much as almost two thousand dollars down the drain because of negligence!

This is the reason why it is important to know the telltale signs of a garage door that already needs some much needed repair work before the garage door gives way and needs to be replaced.

Here are some signs to be vigilant about when it comes to caring for one’s garage door:

Leaks during cold and wet seasons 

Does your garage turn into a swimming pool when the rains come around or a winter wonderland once the snow season arrive? This simply means that there are leaks inside due to a garage door that is not properly aligned.

Because of this, there are gaps between the door and its hinges which lead to water and snow coming in. This should be resolved immediately as it will become the cause of bigger problems later on, not to mention the damage that it will affect the quality of your stuff inside the garage.

Higher electricity bills 

One of the biggest signs of a faulty garage door is your electricity bill. Due to the gaps, heat or cold may seep out, leading the need for higher or lower temperatures on your thermostat or your air conditioner.

Noise when opening or closing the garage door

Great working garage doors are not noisy at all. The reason for this may be with the springs or the opener. One of the causes of the noise may also be the presence of rust which is much harder to solve in the long run. Rust also happens when the paint starts to crack and some parts of the door are exposed inadvertently to the elements.

Slower or faster garage door operation

What used to be a fast closing garage door or what used to be stopped mid-closing is a garage door that is already encountering problems with alignment. It can also be because the tracks are already filthy and are in need of professional cleaning services.

Aside from that, the rollers may also be in need of proper and ample lubrication.

The remote control is no longer working

The garage door and its remote control are made to work perfectly with each other. However, when the garage door stops responding to the control intuitively, there is already something wrong with the workings of that door.

Presence of dents or other hits 

As a door that’s very much exposed to the elements and other human errors, it can experience a lot of accidents. In general, once it is hit or has a dent, it should be fixed immediately as it affects the mechanical integrity of the material.

Smart homeowners know better than to ignore these signs before a need for a bigger investment is needed to purchase another garage door.

 

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A Quick Guide on Choosing Garage Doors

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

When an innovative caveman first came up with the idea of a door, little did he know that he will change human society forever.  The invention of the door hails the birth of privacy and security.  Thousands of years later, humans still protect everything with doors especially their homes and beloved cars. If left unprotected, cars can fall victim to vandals and other threats. Garage doors vary in style and functionality. When choosing a garage door, a person has to consider whether he has a long or short driveway.

For Short Driveways

If space is an issue, roller garage doors would be more suitable since they don’t need much area to work on.  This garage door is made up of aluminum attached to one another horizontally to form a metallic curtain attached to a horizontal drum overhead. When the drum begins turning around, the garage door opens. It closes when the drum turns in the opposite direction.

Another choice for garage with short driveways is the overhead sectional garage door. This garage door is made up of panels attached to each other, and opens by sliding the panels up and to the garage ceiling space. Unlike the roller garage door, this type can be made from different materials. This gives sectional overhead garage more style and strength.

For More Spacious Driveways

The up and over garage door is best for people with roomy driveways. This type can be made of different materials like wood, steel or fiberglass. However, it needs more space because the door opens by swinging outside first before going up and settling on the garage ceiling. The owner has to make sure his car is in a safe distance before he opens the door or else it will hit his car.

Materials

Garage doors are made of up various materials and each has its own benefits. Choosing the right material for a garage door requires serious thinking. Each material varies in strength and in aesthetic beauty.

Wood would be a good choice for the stylish.  It is versatile and can be designed in different ways. A person can have a garage door sculpted with his image if he so chooses. This does not mean that wood is not strong. In fact, depending on the kind of wood, it can be stronger than steel. But wood should not be exposed to water.

Those who prioritize safety over beauty would more likely to choose steel garage door. Not only is steel a very strong material, it also deters most people who have plans of breaking through a garage. When people see steel they immediately think of strength and would usually just give up.

Fiberglass is considered one of the strongest materials around. But unlike steel it can be made to look just as stylish as wood. It can be expensive though so not everyone can afford it.

There is no question that garage doors are important in keeping a person’s home and car safe. Choosing the right type and material for it needs quite some thinking. But with the right information, it doesn’t take a genius to find the right one for the right home.

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Top Five Tips for Maintaining Your Garage Door

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Very rarely does a garage door form any sort of a priority in people’s minds—up until the point that they stop working and leave you out in the cold or heat. That’s because we tend to use our garage doors with a single-minded sense of automation that it hardly passes our consciousness. The problem there is that, more often than not, when they do happen to break down, it usually is pretty serious and causes a terrible hassle when you can’t get in or out of your home. The trick here is that it’s actually really simple to maintain your garage doors.

1.Lubricate

Often times, the reason that a garage door will break down is that over time, the lubrication dries up and friction starts to wear down the more vulnerable, small parts like rollers, hinges, tracks, hinges, latches, and others. A good squirt from penetrating solvents like WD-40 is enough to keep you going. If any rust builds up and locks the torsion spring, a little oil applied will get it up and working again.

2. Kerosene clean.

Rollers and hinges also tend to get stuck up after some time. Because they’re critical to operations, this can be a big hassle. What surprisingly works well on them is kerosene! All you need is a small cloth or better yet, a toothbrush to get the kerosene in. If there is any rust build-up, you can use steel wool to rub them all away. One the process is done, then you go back to step one which is pretty basic: lubricate again.

3. Re-strip if needed.

If you live in the US where storms or snow fall are a reality, then your garage door is bound to have weather stripping installed. While rare, this does tend to crimp along the edges of doors that it covers and eventually jams the sides of your garage doors. Make sure to always check these strips and adjust them as often as needed. Should they be worn and jamming more, then it becomes a good idea to replace them as well.

4. Check the chain.

Common garage door operating mechanisms involve a long chain that drives the motion of the door. There are two things that you need to do in this regard: one is to check the physical condition of the chain. Is there any wearing down or potential breakage along the length? The second is whether or not it is properly lubricated that it operates smoothly. If you can hear something wrong with the chain, it’s best to act fast before it breaks apart and sends your door careening shut.

5. Take care of the surface.

Lastly, it’s equally important to check on and attend to the surface of the doors themselves. If made out of wood, it’s important to make sure it’s coated with weather-proof paints and even free of pests. If it’s made from metal, then make sure that there is no rust forming. Just stick to these tips and you should be worry free for a long time.

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Six Safety Tips for Garage Door Installation

bigstock-Girl-Opens-Old-Garage-21316331To stay safe when installing garage doors, here are six safety tips to keep in mind:

Check the springs and change them when necessary.

There are two types of springs to check: the torsion springs and extension springs. If there are squeaky sounds or quirky movements when raising and lowering the garage door, it may be due to some problem with either spring. Have the springs checked as frequently as needed and replace it when necessary.

Examine your cables.

Garage door cables prevent the springs from flinching and allow a broken spring to fall safely. Check the cables. Fully open the garage door and place a couple of c-clamps below the door’s lowest wheel to prevent the door from sliding down. Then, carefully unhook the springs, change the cable and hook up the springs again. Do not unhook the cables if the tension springs have not been released yet.

Careful with your fingers!

Most DIY-ers injure their fingers by pulling down the garage door with their fingers in between the panels. Avoid doing this. Instead, use special handles or gripping points (if you don’t have pinch-resistant joints) on the inside and outside of the garage door if your door has an opener. If you have a manual garage door, use the handles or the gripping points for safety. Again, never place your fingers in between the door panels.

Keep those controls away from children.

Kids normally play around the house and they love to experiment with things. They can go to the garage and innocently reachfor the controls that open and close your garage door. This is dangerous for your children and also for your cars and other valuables inside your garage. To avoid accidents, make sure that the garage door opener or control button is kept out of reach of small children.

Always Refer to Manual

Always have your installation manual ready. If you need to do repair work, refer to instructions for quick troubleshooting. Also, make sure that your tools are complete. The manual usually lists the things you need for garage door installation.

 

Contact a garage door technician.

If you don’t have the technical know-how or the training to install garage doors, it is best to call the experts for installation. It’s not only thesafer option, but it’s also more cost-efficient. Yes, you’ll pay for the service fees but you’ll save more in the long run because you’ll get quality installation and require less back jobs. There’s no risk for injuries on your part and these professionals can install or repair your garage doors quickly—without ever damaging your property.

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3 Benefits of a Garage Door Repair Service

bigstock-Carpenter-Drilling-Hole-47760583Most people use their garages to store more than just the car. In fact many families don’t keep their cars in the garage at all, but instead use the space to store just about everything else. Whether you fall into that category or not, there’s a good chance you use your garage to store items that would be attractive to the less honest members of a society. For that reason it’s important to keep your garage door in the best possible shape – Your home security depends on it.

If your garage door should need some attention, to prevent it from being a weak point in your home security, you have two choices. You can work on the door yourself or you can call in the experts. Often the latter choice can be the most prudent. In fact here are three good reasons to engage a garage door repair service to resolve any problems you come across.

#1: No Need to go Shopping

Because garage door repair companies work with a wide range of brands, they can easily source any replacement parts necessary to repair your door. The technician will typically arrive with all the parts necessary to carry out any repair that your garage door may need. If replacements are not immediately available though, he or she is likely to source them very quickly and then return to complete the job. This saves you the trouble of hunting around hardware stores trying to find the right parts for your garage door repair.

#2: Door Repair Technicians Do it Safer

There are some garage door repairs which are just not suitable for DIY. For example, if the problem is related to the door springs, or the springs must be removed to affect a repair, a professional will be able to fix the issue safely. Many people have been injured while trying to work on garage door springs, which are fitted under an incredible amount of tension. It’s really better to be safe than sorry and leave jobs like this to the experts.

#3: Knowledge at their Fingertips

A technician from a reliable garage door repair provider will be able to perform any repair, whatever your garage door brand, type or style. He or she will have specialized tools and equipment, access to technical documents for all brands of door and automatic opener and a wealth of training and knowledge to employ in making sure your garage door is back to working order in no time.

There are many more reasons to trust your garage door repairs to a professional company. Even if you enjoy DIY, a problem can crop up at any time and you may not be in a position to deal with it immediately. For example, trying to source parts to repair a stuck garage door in the middle of the night isn’t the easiest task. Most repair companies offer 24 hour call-out services and although it will cost you a few dollars more than a DIY job, a professional repair saves you time, effort and unnecessary inconvenience.

 

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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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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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