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Caring for Your Garage Door During Winter

iStock_000002832183_SmallDuring winter, a home’s garage door is probably the most vulnerable part of the house. Exposed to the elements, garage doors take a beating during winter compared to most seasons with the combined powers of nature of providing cold, gusty winds and pouring snow.

As a homeowner, it pays to care for garage doors as it not just keeps important belongings safe from burglars and destruction, but a working garage door also keeps the home warm and toasty as it keeps the cold at bay and maximizes the heat. After all, one great sign of a garage door that’s ridden with problems is one’s electric bill.

Garage doors also care for another very expensive item a homeowner has – the family car. Imagine it being outside on a snowy night. It would take a miracle and a lot of shoving to get it started, or to even find it under all that snow, after a continuous pour.

Winter should not be a death sentence to any garage door to the owner that cares enough for it. How to help it survive the cold chill? Let’s count the ways:

If possible, opt for a metal garage door 

Garage doors made of thick, heirloom wood is beautiful—no doubt about it. But if the location of one’s home is right smack in the middle of snowstorms on a yearly basis such as upstate New York, it’s time to re-think beauty to something more economical.

Wooden garage doors are a nightmare to maintain during winter as the wood reacts to the season. It’s basically soaking the door in water that slowly melts and small cracks on the door may lead to flooding inside the garage. This type also is prone to hardwood flies that may eat into it especially those coming from firewood for the fireplace.

Metal garage doors are also much cheaper to maintain in the long run versus the regular polishing and alignment of knobs involved in a wooden garage door.

Lubricate just right 

One key problem during winter for garage doors is lubrication. Having more or less of it makes the knobs and tracks misalign.

To avoid this, first start with a thorough cleaning of the grease. Make sure that old and hardened oil is not the culprit of garage doors that would not close. After this, switch to a silicone-based lubricant as silicone handles the cooler weather better as its contents are not as easy to harden or be affected by the temperature.

Metal also reacts to the weather by contracting or shrinking. One way to resolve this is by making sure that all metal and moving parts have ample lubrication or are not affected by rust.

It’s good to have them replaced by professionals before the temperature further drops in the middle of the season.

Check the rollers 

Sometimes, rollers are the problem and can be extremely misaligned during winter. Garage door professionals can take care of this through replacements or simple repairs.

Have a professional ready 

Always have a 24/7 garage door repair service number ready and on standby. As the weather worsens, garage doors can go from bad to worse – and the worse it gets, the harder it is to maintain.

And the last thing any homeowner wants is to have all their Christmas bonus go into buying a new garage door for the coming year.

Stay safe by keeping that garage door working!

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How to Make Your Automatic Garage Door Last a Long Time by Tuning

Yellow hardhat and leather glovesThough they look sturdy, garage doors are the implements in people’s house that are most often subjected to wear and tear. Unlike the other doors in the house, garage doors are opened and closed often, using delicate mechanisms that can get broken after frequent use. For this reason, garage owners should keep their doors well maintained to avoid the cost of repair. Garage door owners can do part of the maintenance work by themselves. All they need are the right tools and some free time.

Safety instructions when doing garage door maintenance:

  • Always  unplug the automatic door opener to avoid accidental activation
  • To keep the door open while you work, make sure to clamp locking pliers onto the roller tract under the rollers.
  • When the door spring is in tension, leave the lift cable alone, never remove it to avoid injury because the spring can snap and injure.
  • Don’t replace the tension spring. Only garage door professionals should handle that.

Inspect your garage door

Check for loose nuts and bolts and tighten them. Since the garage door is always moving, nuts and bolts specially those bolts keeping the rails to the support bracket.  Checking and tightening the roller brackets is also necessary to keep the door working properly.   The reason garage door hardware loosens is the constant motion of the door when opened and closed.

Also, inspect the rollers and lift cable for wear and tear but because those parts are under high tension, leave the replacing and repairing to professional garage repair people.

Lubricate the chain or the screw of the opener

To keep the garage door operating smoothly and quietly, the opener screw or chain should be lubricated with white lithium grease once a year or as often as needed.  Because lubricants help lower the friction on the opener chain and screw whenever the garage door is opened, lubrication will also help protect the parts from wear and tear. There are spray-on versions for the lithium grease lubricant that are easier to use.

Lubricate the spring

To keep the spring from corroding, garage door owners can spray them with a lubricant/cleaner, which can be bought from hardware stores.  If corrosion is already eating the metal, it is best to call professionals to replace it.  Again, non-professionals should not try to remove or replace the garage door spring.

Check the garage door seals and replace if necessary

The weather stripping or astragal of the garage door keeps cold and small insects from entering the garage, but they can easily wear and can also get damaged by mice. Replacing them is easy and not dangerous.  Garage door owners should make sure that the materials used are the right size for their garage door. They can also measure the damaged weather seal and take the measurements to the shop to ensure they get the right one.  Many companies offering garage door repair also sell these parts.

Only experienced professionals can perform complete maintenance of garage doors, repairs and replacements. However, as owners,it is your responsibility to do basic care for your garage door to prolong its lifespan and maximize your investment.

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Three Reasons Why Doing Your Own Garage Repair Is Not Advisable

bigstock-Girl-Opens-Old-Garage-21316331Broken garage doors are a source of great stress to their owner. Some of the symptoms of a malfunctioning garage doors are weird sounds produced while opening and closing them. Sometimes, they fail to open completely, if at all. It is human nature for owners to fix their broken garage doors themselves. However, experts contend that this is not a good idea.

When garage doors begin to show signs of malfunctioning, it is more advisable to let garage repair specialists take care of the problem. Here are three reasons why.

Save your money

The garage door has complicated mechanisms. If you lose one gear, the whole mechanism fails.  Garage door repair specialists have the proper know-how in repairing a failing door. They know what they are doing, so they don’t end damaging the door more. Owners do not necessarily have that knowledge. If a garage owner tries to fix his garage door, he may unintentionally cause more damage. By the time he decides to contact a person to repair his garage door, the damage he caused may cost him ten times more than if he called a technician right away. In addition, if the garage owner gets injured trying to fix his own garage door, it will also cost him money for hospital bills.

Save yourself from injury

Not only are garage door mechanisms complicated, tinkering with them without the right skills and knowledge could lead to serious injury. Take for example the garage door spring. When that powerful metallic spring snaps and hits someone’s face, it could crack skulls. This unfortunate incident could be easily averted if the owner does not try to repair the garage door himself. As has already been previously mentioned, only professional garage, door technicians are qualified to make repairs for a garage door. They know how it works so they can avoid accidents.

Save time

When they try to fix their own door, it usually takes garage door owners days, week, or even months to finish it—sometimes it won’t get fixed at all. They would be wasting a lot of time that they could spend with their loved ones. Garage door specialists can fix garage doors in a day or two because they are knowledgeable in that field. Once they are done, the door can function again flawlessly.  Time saved!

Although it is tempting for owners to fix their broken garage doors by themselves, it is always advisable to let professionals solve that problem. They are better equipped with knowledge and the right tools to repair garage door in a safe and efficient manner. By choosing to call them right away at early signs of garage door problems, homeowners could save money, time, and most importantly themselves.

When a person is sick the best person to call the doctor. When a building is wobbly, call a carpenter. When a garage door is having problems, the best action is to call a garage door professional.

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Advice to Homeowners:Four Ways to Keep Your Garage Secure

Protect your houseA garage keeps its contents safe, from cars to power tools and other valuable stuff. Aside from that, many garages also lead directly to the interior of a person’s home. Garage protects its owners, but who is protecting the garage?

Garage owners should take the responsibility of making their garage safe from vandals and burglar who might want to damage it. There are many ways to keep the garage secure, they may cost some money, but that cost pales in comparison to the advantages of having a well-protected garage. After all, safety is priceless.

Keep the area well-lit

The simplest way to give a garage the security it deserves is by keeping it well lit. It will not cost too much for the owner to install a fluorescent lamp or two in his garage. Keeping the place bright is a good deterrent against burglars and vandals.

The reason vandals and burglar don’t like a well-lighted place is that it is easy to spot them if someone investigates. Psychologically, darkness makes doing bad things seem safe. Evil people are also more comfortable in environments as dark as their souls.

Install a reliable garage door

A garage without a door is an open invitation to malicious people. A wide-open space with lots of expensive tools inside it is a magnet to thieves. In reality, garage doors are not cheap. Nevertheless, they last a long time and they are effective in keeping bad people out. In the end, garage doors are worth every penny spent in installing them.

Install an alarm system

For those people who live in a place known to have many burglars, it may not be enough just to keep garage will lit. Even a strong garage door will not keep burglars from trying to break in to it.  The solution is an alarm system.

Door sensors protect the garage by making a loud irritating noise when somebody tries to forcibly open the garage door. It’s like the alarm on the car.  The sound it emits could not be mistaken for music. It is a really loud sound that tells everyone that an illegal break-in is happening. Burglars usually run away because of alarms.

Bring the keys to the garage with you

An easy and common–sense way to keep the garage from looting is by taking the garage door wherever the owner goes. Garage keys weigh just as light as a penny or two. It it’s not a burden to carry a few a garage key in the pocket. Some people however choose to leave their key on their cars or on a secret hiding place in their home. Do not underestimate the resourcefulness of burglars. They will try to find the key at home and many of them can easily break into a car and take the keys.  It’s best for garage owners to have it with them all the time.

It is better safe than sorry. Sure, some of the tips presented here do cost some amount of money, but when the safety of the family is concerned money should take a back seat.

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A Basic Guide to Garage Door Care

helpful tipsThe garage door is one of the most important implements in modern houses. Even though the only function it seems to do is close and open, a delicate mechanism makes garage doors do its job. In countries like the United States where everyone is always busy, garage doors are often neglected until it’s too late. There are many simple ways to care for garage doors without taking so much of a person’s time.

Here are basic care tips that owners can do to keep their garage doors in good condition:

Cleaning
It is very important to clean the interior of garage doors, not only to keep them gorgeous, but also to keep them from deteriorating. Airborne dusts have very negative effects on wood and steel doors. To clean garage doors, mix a little detergent with water and scrub gently using a soft cloth. When kids spill sweet stuff on wooden garage doors, make sure to clean it right away before carpenter ants decide to make their residency on the wood. Cleaning the garage door not only keeps it beautiful, it also ensures that it will last a long time.

Lubrication
Garage doors are machines and like most machines, they need lubrication to work properly. The mechanism that makes garage doors close and open are often on top. Only specialized lubricants for garage doors should be used for this. Owners can buy these lubricants online or at their friendly hardware stores. A sign that the garage door opening mechanism needs lubrication is when it makes some weird squeaky noises.

Clean the tracks
Debris can sometime get into the tracks of garage doors, and they will make the garage doors roll up and down unevenly. If this is left uncorrected, it will cause problems that are more serious and costly in the future. Tracks may also slant a little inward in time, so make sure that they are straight and aligned perfectly to the door.

Responsible usage
There are times when the owner of the house or a member of the household may forcefully open and close the garage door, especially when the remote seems to be malfunctioning. This could create problems with its mechanism, specially the small parts. Garage doors are not cheap, and the owner should be careful in using it or else it will not last long.

Make kids understand it’s not a toy
Kids can also wreak havoc on a garage door specially the remote operated ones. Sure,it’s fun to see it close and open with a flick of a finger on the remote, but what kids don’t know is that it could ruin the small machine parts. Parents should tell children that a garage door is expensive and should not be used for their amusement.

A person’s garage door is a strong piece of equipment, but it too is susceptible to being broken if neglected or abused. Checking it occasionally and doing the necessary maintenance and cleaning will help keep it working like new. Also, remember that if you a garage door problem comes up and you can’t solve it on your own, it is always best to get help from a garage door technician to prevent further damage and the risk of injury.

 

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Garage Door Materials: Search for the Right One

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Garage doors protect a person’s car from vandals, thieves, and natural hazards like hail and snow. They also protect homes from burglars who might try to enter houses through the garage. There are times when the only barrier between a family and a dangerous situation is the trusty garage door. This is why garage doors should be made of strong and durable materials. What are the common materials of garage doors and which one is right for a particular home? Read on and find out.
Wood

Wood has been used for centuries for buildings and household furnishings. It is still one of the most favored garage door materials and for good reasons. Wood is attractive and has a rich appearance. It is elegant and has high design flexibility, so it’s customizable according to the owner’s taste. When it comes to aesthetics, wood is a big winner. It is also a better insulator than the other garage door materials.

Despite all its merits, wooden garage doors also have its drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage is the weight. Among all garage door materials, wood is probably the heaviest. This means more maintenance is needed for the garage mechanism because weight can wear down machine parts. Not only that, over time, wooden garage doors may need to be stained, painted or sanded to make them look brand new again.

Aluminum

A popular choice for a garage door material today is aluminum. It is a lightweight, rustproof metal, which makes it a good choice for those living in places that are prone to humidity and rain like coastal areas. Its lightweight nature means fewer burdens on the garage opening mechanism, so there is less maintenance. In addition, when there is a power outage, it is easy to manually open aluminum garage doors.
Like wood, aluminum also has its disadvantages. It can easily dent even with not so heavy bumps. Once aluminum is dented, it will be very difficult to fix. Aluminum garage doors may not be a very good choice in places where hail appears frequently.

Steel

Steel is the metal that drives the industrial revolution. Until now, its usefulness is still unsurpassed by any other metal. Steel is also one of the most used materials for garage doors. Steel is a very durable and strong metal as it is not easily dented and has high resistance to force. This means that a steel garage door will continue to look gorgeous even after years of use. Steel garage doors also come in different designs that fit a person’s style.

The disadvantage of choosing steel garage doors is that these have different qualities. The variations in quality also mean differences in price range. Some metal garage doors are thicker and are more durable. When ordering a steel garage door, a person should choose carefully based on his needs and location.

When choosing garage doors, a person should give enough thought on what material the garage door should be. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, which makes it more difficult to decide. However, being well-informed will make this task a lot easier.If undecided about which garage door material to choose, it is always best to consult a garage door professional for recommendations.

 

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Top Tips for Caring for Your Wooden Garage Door

garageWith more homes being built with designs that are being borrowed from homes in the 50’s and 60’s especially in suburban areas, there is starting to become a resurgence of interest in wooden garage doors.

In general, wooden garage doors provide a very homey and polished look to any house, more so for those who follow the Mediterranean style. It gives a sense of warmth due to the earthy and natural feel that only wood can provide. Versus metal garage doors that stick out due to its cold and hard finish, wooden garage doors are more into blending into the house’s design and add a bigger look to the garden.

However, as with anything wooden, homeowners pay for it through maintenance and upkeep. Imagine if appliances made of wood that are already found indoors need utmost care, what more for wooden garage doors that are exposed to the elements day in and day out?

Read up on how to care for those garage doors the right way:

1. Proper ventilation and pest control

Make sure that your garage has proper ventilation to ensure that the door is not kept moist or kept hot for too long. Proper airing also maintains the wood and prevents signs of wear and tear such as sagging or white spots. If there are already molds in your garage, a wet spot is not unlikely so a general cleaning is much needed.

Proper pest control is also needed to make sure that those pesky wood eating bugs especially termites are out of sight and permanently out of your home.

2. Get the right contractor to install

Even if you are going for the natural look with a wooden garage door, it does not mean that it should become an object made from the 19th century with manual pulleys. For it to work and work well for you, it will still rely on hinges and rollers to go up and down automatically, with a sensor and a remote control to ensure your garage’s and your home’s security.

Compared to a metal garage door, it’s a bit trickier to do this with a wooden garage door and it pays to have your trusted contractor handle the details on this. If possible, let your contractor source everything from getting the materials to installation.

As much as it’s more romantic, leave the choosing of the type of wood to the professionals. Some types may be too heavy and will sooner or later affect also the integrity of your own house as it goes up and down on a daily basis, getting so much pressure from your walls.

Let your contractor also do the upkeep, making sure that all hinges are well lubricated on a monthly basis.

3. Paint and seal it

Sealing the garage door is part and parcel of the process. A coat of sealant protects it from direct sunlight and harmful UV rays and at the same time, takes care of it from very cold and wet weather that may seep in. Painting also provides much needed protection and makes sure to do a once-over every time peeling or flaking begins to happen.

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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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