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9 Steps to a Clean Garage Door

9 Steps to a Clean Garage DoorYour garage door represents a large part of your home’s frontage. In most cases, the garage is visible to anyone walking or driving past your home. Perhaps more importantly though, your garage door is the first thing you see when you pull your car onto the drive, or even when you enter your home on foot. A clean, new looking garage door will add to the feel good factor when you come home from a busy day at work or from a few days away.

It’s Easy to Clean Your Garage Door

Giving your garage door an occasional clean therefore, is a quick and easy way to maintain your home’s curb appeal and present the impression of a welcome haven when you enter your property. Here then, is a nine-step guide to getting your garage door clean:

1) Grab yourself a hose, a bucket, some gentle detergent and a scrubbing brush or cloth.

2) Wet the entire outer surface of your garage door using the hose.

3) After filling the bucket with some warm water and detergent, use this solution with your rag or scrubbing brush to gently scrub the door down. If your door is marked with oil stains, or something more stubborn than regular dirt, use a diluted solution of bleach to scrub it with, rather than detergent.

4) Spray the garage door down with your hose to rinse it off.

5) If your door is constructed from metal, apply a coat of wax polish to restore its luster.

6) Repeat steps 1 through 5 on the inside surface of your garage door. While the inside is not so visible, keeping it clean is important to keep dirt from getting into the door tracks and mechanism.

7) Now, use a broom to remove any dirt and dust from the tracks that your garage door runs on. For any clods of mud or harder to remove dirt, use water and a rag to get inside the track and really clean it out. Keeping the tracks clean is important to prevent your door from getting derailed or jammed in the future.

8) Now that the tracks are clean, lubricate them along with the wheels on your door, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

9) Finally, organize and clean up the area around the garage door. If possible, keep this area clear of anything that could fall and obstruct the opening and closing of the door.

Check the General Condition of the Garage Door

That’s really all there is to it. If your garage door is painted, once clean you will be able to see any damaged or flaking paintwork or areas where bare metal is showing. To avoid corrosion problems, it’s a good idea to sand these areas down and give them a fresh coat of paint.

By giving your garage door an occasional cleaning, following the nine steps above, you can keep it looking like new. It’s also the perfect opportunity to check for any maintenance tasks that need completing on your garage door or its mechanism.

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Tips for Buying a Wooden Garage Door

Garage DoorThere’s nothing quite like the look of an elegant and warm-looking wood garage door to set off the front of your home. In terms of curb appeal, timber has it in spades. There are hundreds of designs to choose from and if you have the budget, you can get a completely unique, custom-designed door. If you are thinking about investing in a wooden door, there are a few important things to consider before you buy.

Choosing the Wood Species

One of the most important factors in your choice of wooden garage door should be the species of wood used in its construction. Popular species used in garage door construction are Hemlock, Cedar and Redwood. You can also get doors constructed from oak, fir and walnut. Cedar and Redwood garage doors are a sensible choice if you live in a rainy or damp climate. These materials also look great if you already have Cedar or Redwood siding on your home exterior. Matching the siding with a garage door of the same material is a great way to add a cohesive appearance to your home.

Make sure you find out about any specific building code requirements in your locality. For example, in some coastal locations, garage doors over 10 feet in width must be constructed with Hemlock stiles and rails. Hemlock is a good choice of material if you plan to stain your garage door. If you intend to paint your door instead, wood garage doors with MDF or MDO panels make it easier to get the best finish, without any roughness or flaws.

Initial and Ongoing Maintenance

Garage doors constructed of wood do require a bit more maintenance than other materials. It’s important to bear that in mind. However if you’re prepared to put in just a little effort, the beautiful appearance of natural wood makes the small amount of work worthwhile. Just remember that if you neglect this maintenance, your door won’t look so attractive after two or three years and may even develop problems with opening and closing.

The most important thing is to protect your wood garage door from moisture. Before installation, your garage door should be primed and painted, or stained. The stain or paint should be of a high quality and should repel water. It should also be mold, mildew and UV light resistant. The extra investment in a good quality finish for your door will prevent any warping, rotting, cracking or fading. If you prefer not to finish the door yourself, you should be able to purchase one that’s sealed, stained and ready to go from a good garage door supplier.This initial protection represents the bulk of maintenance work you will need to do. After that it’s just a case of repainting or staining your wood garage door every three or four years.

For enhancing the curb appeal of your home, wood is a practical and attractive option which will last for years if you protect it. If you have a garage door opening that is not of a standard size, wood is probably your best choice as it’s possible to customize the door construction. Customizable, adaptable and attractive, what’s not to love about wooden garage doors?

 

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Garage Door Materials: Know Your Options

garage doorA new garage door is a long term investment, meaning you only get one chance to get it right. Among the things you should consider when choosing a new door for your garage is the material from which it’s made. With developments in manufacturing technology, the range of available materials seems to grow ever wider. Which of the following materials will you select for your new garage door?

Wood

Wooden timber has been used for door construction since before coach houses became garages. Wood is still a very popular choice for modern garage doors and with good reason. A well-painted or stained garage door looks beautiful and wears well. You can also change a wooden garage door’s appearance when you fancy a change of scene. All you have to do is sand it down and apply a new finish.

As with any timber-constructed object, the only disadvantage is susceptibility to pests and water damage. Of course with the right treatment and a little maintenance you can protect a wood garage door against wildlife and the elements.

Steel

Low maintenance, durability and price make steel garage doors probably the nation’s most popular choice. You can paint your steel garage door any color or even make it look like wood. Be careful not to go too cheap when choosing a steel door though. Paying a little more is worthwhile if you don’t want your kids putting dents in the door with their basketball. Also, if you live in a coastal region, remember that steel can corrode.

Aluminum

Garage doors constructed wholly of aluminum are not cheap. However their life expectancy is greater than doors made of other materials. With laminated panels and a heavy duty frame, an aluminum garage door will stand up to plenty of punishment and will not rust. At the same time, aluminum is light in weight, so your door won’t put too much stress on your automatic door opener.

At the other end of the price spectrum, you can get a garage door with an aluminum frame, but with panels constructed from high-density polyethylene. This type of garage door will cost you a lot less and still has low weight and high durability.

Fiberglass

A fiberglass garage door is usually constructed with a steel frame. Two fiberglass layers are normally bonded to the frame with insulation packed between them. Rust will never be a problem with a fiberglass garage door, so this might be a good choice of material if you live near the ocean. Fiberglass doors don’t dent. They can be broken under hard impact though, so remember to open your garage door before reversing your car in.

Vinyl

For the ultimate in low maintenance garage doors, you might like to try kid-proof vinyl. A relatively new option for garage door construction, vinyl panels are generally affixed to a steel frame. Extremely damage resistant: Be sure about your choice of color when you buy though, you can’t change the color of a vinyl garage door.

From beautifully finished timber, to virtually indestructible vinyl, you will find a garage door material to meet your needs and budget. A local garage door installer will be able to help you if you need more advice relating to your environment and climate.

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How to Choose Garage Door Insulation Material

Big garage with gray doors, brick wall and asphalt drivewayAn insulated garage door makes the temperature in your garage more comfortable, acts as a buffer against street noise and can help reduce energy bills. If your garage door isn’t insulated, you might be happy to know you can actually insulate it yourself. Installing garage door insulation isn’t difficult and doesn’t take long. Before you install though, you need to decide which material you want to use.

There are essentially three types of garage door insulation you can use:

  • Reflective foil
  • Polystyrene foam
  • A Fiberglass or foam DIY Panel Kit

As with everything, each type of insulation has its pros and cons. The toughest part of your DIY project will probably be choosing the material. To help you make the decision, here’s a brief overview of the three options.

Reflective Foil

Reflective foil insulation is sold on rolls. The total thickness of the material is around an inch and a half. You can purchase either single foil or double foil insulation for your garage door. The material consists of a layer of polyethylene foam sandwiched between two layers of aluminum foil. Double foil insulation has two layers of foam. This material insulates well, it’s only drawback being that it’s not very attractive visually.

Polystyrene Foam

Polystyrene foam insulation is sold in large sheets which will need to be cut to fit in the panels of your garage door. It’s a little tougher to work with than foil because of its rigidity. It is however, a better insulator than reflective foil.

Panel Kits

These kits come with about 8 pre-cut panels which fit inside the channels of your garage door frame. The panels can either be made of fiberglass or plastic laminated polystyrene. Of the two materials, polystyrene offers the higher insulation. Fiberglass panels are more resistant to water and mold. Both types of panels look good and installation is easy and fast. You should be able to insulate your garage door with a panel kit in around an hour. This is probably the best option if aesthetics are important to you.

Things to Consider When Choosing

There are a few things you should think about when deciding upon garage door insulation material. In particular, the weight of insulation is something to be mindful of. The extra weight may affect the operation of your garage door. You may need to contact a garage door technician to rebalance the springs after you install the insulation.

Another thing to consider is something called R-value. This is the rating given to a material according to its insulating effectiveness. Ideally you should obtain material of the highest R-value that you can fit inside your garage door panels.

Under no circumstances should you use spray-in insulation or fiberglass batt insulation. Neither of these insulating materials is suitable for use in garage doors. Also, don’t try to place insulation over the springs of your garage door. Doing so may affect your ability to open or close the door.

Once you have decided upon the right insulation material, the remainder of your garage door installation project should be a piece of cake. After an hour or so of labor, you’ll have a cozier, more energy efficient garage to show for your efforts.

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How to Cure a Noisy Garage Door

New two-storied beige stone cottage with garage in front of it.Does your garage door make a racket when you open and close it? If so, you can probably cure it yourself and have it opening and closing quiet as you like within an hour. Follow this simple, step-by-step guide to find the source of noise and put an end to it.

Tools and Materials

Naturally you will need a few tools and materials. If you choose not to buy all the materials up-front, the job might take a bit more than an hour. Just add the amount of time you think you’ll need to rush to the hardware store. Here’s the list:

Tools: Socket set, assorted screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, wrench set, stepladder.

Materials: Replacement hinges, nylon rollers, garage door lube.

5 Steps to a Quiet Garage Door

1) Tighten all the nuts and bolts on the garage door and the track hardware. Use a socket and ratchet for this and be careful: Over-tightening can strip the bolt threads or pull the bolt heads through the door skin.

2) Check all the garage door rollers for wear and identify any that need replacement.

3) Replace the rollers one at a time. To do so, unbolt the hinge and tilt the roller out of the track in which it runs. While the hinge is off, check it for wear. Metal filings or gray dust around the hinge pin are sure signs of wear. If you see an oblong shaped hole where the tubular hinge pin and the hinge bracket mate, you should definitely replace the hinge. Replace the worn roller with a new nylon one and then re-install the hinge or fit a new replacement.

Warning – If your garage door is mounted on torsion springs (most of them are), do not try and replace the rollers on the bottom-most hinge brackets. These are under tension and can seriously injure you if you unbolt them. Call in the professionals if the bottom rollers need changing.

4) If your garage door has an automatic opener with a chain mechanism, check the chain for tightness. A loose chain creates a lot of noise. If the chain is loose, follow the opener manufacturer’s manual for the correct way to tighten the chain.

4.1) If you have an opener with a track drive, use some grease to lubricate the track. Squeeze a large amount of grease onto your hand (wear gloves), then wipe it onto the track. Operate the opener a number of times to spread the grease onto the trolley and along the track.

4.2) If you have a screw-drive garage door opener, grease the threads of the screw thoroughly.

5) Use the garage door lube to spray the springs, hinges and roller bearings. Also spray any other pivot points on the door or opener. Remember to repeat this lubrication every six months to keep your door running smoothly and quietly.

Your garage door should now open and close quietly. Remember to call in a garage door technician if you need the bottom rollers or hinges replacing.

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How to Choose and Program a New Garage Door Remote Control

bigstock-Garage-Door-Opener-20287970Remote control garage door openers are great until you lose the remote, or your kids flush it down the toilet. Fortunately you can easily purchase a replacement remote controller. There are a few things to consider when purchasing a new garage door remote and once purchased, you will need to program it to work with your door opener. If you have found yourself in a bit of a predicament and need to buy a new remote, this guide will explain the fundamentals of selecting and programming the replacement.

How Garage Door Remote Controllers Work

Older style remote controllers have code switches that you can turn off and on. A matching set of switches will be present in the base controller for your garage door. This older method of operating garage doors is today being replaced by controllers with what’s known as “rolling code” technology. Each time you use the remote, the code is changed. Rolling code controllers have the advantage of being more secure against garage break-ins. Your remote controller uses a radio frequency signal to activate the garage door opener via the base control unit.

Choose the Right Garage Door Remote

There are two things to consider when buying a replacement remote for your garage door. Firstly, you should purchase a remote control by the same manufacturer as your garage door opener. Secondly, you need to make sure you choose the right radio control frequency. Commonly used frequencies are 300 megahertz (MHz), 310 MHz, 315 MHz, 318 MHz and 390 MHz. You should find the frequency used for your door opener printed on the motor. Make sure you buy a controller of the same frequency.

Programming Your Garage Door Controller

The process for programming a garage door remote varies slightly depending on the manufacturer, but as a general guide you can follow these 5 simple steps.

  1. Somewhere on your garage door opener (Overhead unit) you will find a button marked “Learn” or “Learn code”. This button may be found on the bottom of the unit, or on one side.
  2. Press and release the learn button. You should either hear a beep or see a flashing LED indicating that the unit’s learn mode is activated.
  3. While the Led is flashing, or within 30 seconds of hearing the beep, press the button on your remote control.
  4. At this point the LED should stop flashing on the door opener or you will hear another beep to signify that the garage door opener has paired itself with your replacement remote control.
  5. Test your remote by pressing the button and your garage door should respond by opening or closing.

If your garage door opener and replacement remote control have code switches, you must make sure that the switches in the opener and the remote are in the same position.

That’s pretty much all you need to know, in order to buy and set-up your replacement garage door remote control. So now all you need to do is raid your errant child’s piggy bank and get down to your local DIY store or garage door supplier. You will be back to effortless garage door opening in no time.

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6 Advantages of a Roller Garage Door

double_garage_door_1If you’re thinking about shopping for a new garage door, you might be undecided on which type of door you require. All the common types of garage door have their unique advantages and disadvantages and everybody has their own reasons for choosing a particular type. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive solution and especially if space is an issue in your garage or drive, you might consider a roller door. Here are 6 key advantages to this particular type of door, which is becoming a popular alternative to sectional garage doors for space saving situations.

#1 Easy to Open and Close

Roller garage doors have an opening and closing mechanism that provides a smooth, fluid action, making them easy to open manually. To make it even easier, non-automated roller doors are generally fitted with a spring mechanism to aid manual raising and lowering.

#2 Compatible with Automation

Roller garage doors lend themselves well to the addition of automated garage door openers. The relatively low resistance of the opening and closing mechanism means they don’t require a particularly heavy-duty opener. If you prefer not to have to open your garage door by hand, you can have an electrically powered, automated opener installed.

#3 Overhead Space Saving

Because roller doors literally “roll-up” into a tight space above your garage door opening, you don’t have any tracks running along your internal roof space. The rolled-up door fits right above the door aperture, so you also have the advantage of a few extra centimeters headroom. This is particularly welcome if you have a taller vehicle such as a van that you wish to keep in your garage.

#4 No Kick-Out

If you’ve ever had your shins smacked by the bottom of an up and over door while you or someone else was opening it, you’ll appreciate this particular benefit of a roller garage door. This door type opens vertically, so your shins don’t need to take any punishment.

#5 Save Space in Your driveway

Another benefit of a roller door’s vertical action is that you can park a vehicle very close to the door. Even if the nose of your vehicle is almost kissing the door, you can still raise and lower the door on its roller. This makes a roller garage door very advantageous if you have a short driveway, or if your drive space is regularly taken up by multiple parked vehicles.

#6 Good against the Weather

If maintaining a certain temperature in your garage is important, you can purchase a double-skinned roller garage door with insulating material between the skins. Double-skinned roller doors are very good at isolating a garage interior from external temperature fluctuations. Additionally, roller doors usually come with a rubber seal on the bottom, which forms a tight closure and resists water ingress.

Conclusion

If you need a garage door which provides good weatherproofing, doesn’t take up space and is easy to open, a roller door could be your best solution. In addition to the 6 advantages listed above, roller garage doors also look good and can be supplied in just about any color. If these benefits match your needs, why not take advantage and get your garage door on a roll?

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Why It Pays to Add a Threshold to Your Garage Door

garage 1In our recent article on weather stripping for a garage door, we mentioned that you can add a threshold strip to the bottom of the door as a further barrier against the winter cold. It actually makes a lot of sense to do this if you’ve taken the time and trouble to seal the sides and top of your garage doorframe. If you use your garage as a workshop or for other activities, you can reduce your heating bill further and make the space cozier by sealing up any gap at the foot of the door.

Apart from keeping the cold from your garage interior during winter, there are a number of other advantages provided by a garage door threshold.

Nothing Comes Under Your Garage Door

A threshold strip installation is very simple and for the short time that it takes, delivers a worthwhile pay off. Once installed, your garage cleaning effort will be reduced. It’s frustrating when you have to open your garage door to the elements and sweep out all the leaves, dirt, and snow, which blow in under it. What’s even more frustrating is when you have to do the same again a while later. A threshold strip will defeat Mother Nature’s best efforts to invade your garage.

Installing a threshold is even more important if you suffer a lot of water ingress under your garage door. Most threshold strips create a barrier of around a half inch from the floor up. If your drive slopes toward your garage, this barrier will resist running water from flowing under the door. Rodents, snakes and other small critters will also be thwarted in their attempts to set up home in your car or workshop space.

Take the “in” Out of Winter

Even if you only use your garage for what it’s intended (to store your car), keeping the winter out is desirable. With weather stripping around your garage doorframe and a threshold under the door, your garage will stay warmer inside. This in turn acts as an insulator for your home interior. A warmer home means lower heating bills.

Ice can be another winter garage door frustration. If you live in an area with very cold winters, any moisture that makes it between the floor and the bottom of the door is going to turn to ice. This can have the annoying side effect of sticking your garage door to the ground. A threshold strip will prevent this from happening.

For the Finishing Touch

Who would have thought a simple rubber strip could have so many benefits? Insulation, pest protection, water resistance and if you thought that was all, there’s one more thing. A garage door threshold strip adds a neat and stylish finishing touch to your garage entrance. For the price of a tank of gasoline and a bit of trimming and gluing, you add energy efficiency, comfort, and curb appeal to your home. If you don’t want to fit one yourself, you can always ask your garage door installer to add a threshold for you.

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How to Weather Strip Your Garage Door in 7 Easy Steps

weather stripIf you use your garage as a workshop or hobby room, you won’t need anyone to tell you what a cold space it can be during winter. Of course you can always get a space heater to keep you warm while you’re working. Whether you use a heater or not though, one way to keep some of that winter air out is to apply a weather strip to your garage door frame. It will make a surprising difference and reduce your heating costs too.

Installing a garage door weather strip is ideal for a quick DIY project. You shouldn’t need much more than an hour outside in the winter chill. Here’s an easy 7-step guide to weather stripping your garage door.

Materials and Tools for Applying a Garage Door Weather Strip

You’ll need the following items:

  • A garage door top and side seal kit (consists of neoprene sealing strips and some nails)
  • Hammer
  • Scissors

You can go with nails all the way for fixing your garage door weather strip. If so, the three items listed above are all you need. If you want to spend less time out in the cold, you can add a brad nailer, U-shaped staples and an air compressor to the list. Don’t forget your safety glasses and ear defenders too. The following instructions assume the use of a nailer.

7 Easy Steps to Apply a Garage Door Weather Strip

1. Starting on one side of the door frame (outside), pull the end of the weather strip up to the top of the frame. The strip is right angled with a long side and a short side. You need to have the short side against the door frame and the long side should press lightly against the closed garage door.

2. Fix the strip in place by hammering a single nail through it, into the frame just below the top end of the strip.

3. Switch to the brad nailer. While making sure the strip stays flush against the garage door, start driving staples into the strip, one every few inches. After every fourth staple, hammer a nail in. Continue to the bottom of the door frame and use a nail for the final fixing at the bottom.

4. Trim the weather strip at the bottom of the door frame. Be sure to trim the short side of the strip at a downward angle to leave a slight tail. This will seal any gap at the bottom of the actual frame.

5. Repeat steps one to five above, on the opposite side of the door frame.

6. Now fix a length of strip along the top of the door frame, again using the sequence of one nail, then four staples, then a nail and so on.

7. When you get to the sides with your top strip, trim the strip tight against the side strips. Don’t allow any overlap, as this would create a gap that lets air through.

Now you have a garage door that’s snugly sealed against the elements. For perfect weather-proofing, you can always install a threshold strip along the bottom of the door as well. Then you can retire to your workshop, turn on that space heater and bask in the warm glow of satisfaction.

 

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5 Crucial Things That You Should Know When Shopping For Garage Door Springs

garageGarage door springs are some of the door’s components that need to be kept in good working order since they determine how smoothly a door closes and opens. More importantly, they need to be inspected frequently because the breakage of a garage door can cause the door to come crashing down. This is not only expensive because it can cause irreparable damage to the door necessitating that a new one is installed but can also cause injury to a person if he or she is standing under the door. If you find that your garage door springs have broken or are weak and need replacing, there are five things that you must know when you get to the home depot store.

The Number of Springs

When shopping for garage door springs, you should know how many springs you will need to buy. The number of springs on a door is largely determined by the type of garage door and manufacturer. While it is not common for all springs on a garage door to break on one occasion, it is recommended that you replace springs in pairs. What this means is that if the spring on one side breaks, the best way to keep that garage door working well by being properly balanced is to replace the broken spring and its identical spring on the other side of the door. This allows for the forces to be distributed equally which prolongs the life of the springs.

The Garage Door Height

The door height determines the size of spring that a door uses. If you have an 8 foot door, you should specifically buy springs for an 8 foot door. Using a spring for a 7 foot door on an 8 foot door will cause the springs to stretch more than they are supposed to. This increases the risk for breakage of the springs.

Spring Length

The length of a garage door spring determines how long it can stretch. The size that is quoted on the spring is its size when compressed. Picking out the right spring size can be quite confusing since it is possible to have several spring sizes for a specific garage door. If you find yourself in a situation like this, just keep in mind that the larger springs are for the taller doors.

Garage Door Weight

The weight of the garage door also affects the choice of springs. A heavy door will need springs that are closely wound since it will stretch them more than a lighter door. The weight of the door depends on the material with which the door has been made.

The Spring Ends

Many people don’t realize that garage door springs are color coded. The color coding is used to determine the stretch and tension associated with the spring. To determine what color code to buy, look at your old springs.

With these five pointers, you should be able to you pick the fitting springs for your garage door with ease.

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