Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Cost vs. Value

When replacing a garage door, most homeowners are cost-conscious (i.e. they’re worried about the upfront cost of materials and labor).

This focus on price is understandable. After all, garage door replacements are usually an unexpected expense. One day the door is working fine, and the next day, it isn’t.

However, as with most home improvement projects, you should be value-conscious.

Be prepared to pay a little extra for quality and experience. The higher price is well worth the added expense, since a properly installed garage door essentially pays for itself.

According to Remodeling Magazine, the average return-on-investment (ROI) of an upgraded garage door is a whopping 83.7 percent, ranking it among the top four home improvement projects of 2014. But the true returns don’t stop there:

  • Given their size and exposure to the elements, garages often result in excessive heating charges in the winter and exorbitant cooling expenses in the summertime. By installing an insulated door, you can dramatically cut down on your monthly utility bill, helping to speed up the payback period of your investment.
  • Garages also represent a major security risk. A well-fortified garage door can reduce the likelihood of theft.

You can further boost these gains with regular maintenance — especially during the winter months when garage doors undergo the most wear and tear. For some simple guidelines, click here.

How Much Should You Budget for Garage Door Repair?

So value (and not price) should be your primary focus. Fair enough. But how much should you actually budget when replacing a standard residential garage door?

Costs vary considerably. The exact price depends on any number of factors, including:

  • Materials. Garage doors come in all shapes and sizes, using a wide range of different materials. A basic, un-insulated steel door costs less than a higher-end, custom wood door.
  • Workmanship. It’s possible to replace a garage door on your own (as a weekend project). However, DIY garage door replacements often end up costing more in the long run (check out these articles here and here to learn why). You’re almost always better off hiring a professional to complete the job. Ask about what warranties are available.
  • Location. Prices also vary by region. This makes a lot of sense given the major differences in architectural styles and climate that exist throughout the country. A typical stone home in Vermont has very different requirements than a stucco home in Arizona. To get a better idea of pricing ranges, type your ZIP code into this free search tool in the footer below.

Value is more important than cost. But if you’re still worried about budget, the best tip of all is to keep your garage door in optimal condition for as long as possible. In addition to the winter maintenance tips mentioned above, you can also conduct an annual DIY checklist. At the first sign of trouble, you may be able to make minor fixes on your own before the problem requires professional intervention.

Garage door materials largely come down to personal preference, although there are some practical considerations. You must look at such factors as maintenance, long-term costs and flexibility. Below is a comparison of three of the most common garage door materials.



  • Look. Steel garage doors are a modern, sleek-looking option, and they are comparatively easy to keep clean and looking nice.
  • Options. You have countless options for a steel garage door, including appearance, size and so on.
  • Low maintenance. Steel garage doors are easy to maintain. They aren’t damaged by hot or cold temperatures, and they won’t split, splinter or peel with time.


  • Dents. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, but steel doors can be dinged up fairly easily.
  • Insulation. While steel itself is not the best insulator, steel garage doors are easily fitted to have insulation features.




  • Attractiveness. One of the primary reasons to go with a wooden garage door is aesthetics. The grain of a wooden garage door is a classy touch for some homes, and wood often matches the style of older homes looking to recreate a retro feel.
  • Flexibility. Wood is very customizable. It can be made into virtually any garage shape or size.
  • Toughness. Unlike steel doors, wood can take a hit or two without much damage. It won’t dent like steel.


  • Damage. While it won’t dent like steel, wood will split and crack if not properly maintained.
  • Maintenance. Wooden garage doors require fairly frequent repainting, and bolts must be tightened often. In a humid or rainy environment, or one where water might pool at the base of the door, swelling can be a major issue.
  • Insulation. Wood is not an excellent insulator by any means, and unlike a steel door, it’s not so simple to modify a wooden door for insulation.
  • Cost. Wooden garage doors tend to cost more. Additionally, they may require a stronger opener.




  • Cost. Vinyl is one of the most long-term affordable materials for a garage door.
  • Maintenance. They require less frequent paint touch-ups because the entire door is a composite made of one color material. Similarly, vinyl resists rust.
  • Durability. This material is generally strong and can resist dents. And unlike wood, it won’t split. From a weather standpoint, vinyl doors are highly resistant to humidity-related warping or swelling, and coatings can make them resistant to color fading that comes from sun exposure.


  • Insulation. Like steel doors, vinyl doors can be purchased with built-in insulation. However, a vinyl garage door on its own will do little to insulate your garage.
  • Color permanence. A drawback of a vinyl garage door is the inability to change the color once everything is in place. Rather than attempt a shoddy paint job, many homeowners are forced to change out the door entirely if they want a new look.

Changes that you make in your garage can save energy and improve your home’s environmental profile. Attached garages serve as conduits for heating and cooling losses in the home, and fumes can leak from the garage into living areas. Hazardous materials often collect in garages where they get spilled or forgotten, and can harm pets or pose health threats. Many household pests make homes in cluttered garages, and the best way of preventing infestations on your property is to control garage areas with preventive measures, regular cleaning and environmentally safe pest-control products.

Resist turning your garage into a storage facility, because most people accumulate junk that they will never use. Garages become physical hazards to health, and finding useful items becomes nearly impossible when things aren’t labeled and stored properly. Making your garage green is one of the easiest ways to lower energy and utility usage, reduce your carbon footprint and ensure safety in the home. Here are six tips for greener garages:

1. Change Light Bulbs or Fixtures

Incandescent lights consume more energy than most people think, but you can replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting or CFLs. If you use your garage as a workshop, consider installing task lighting to reduce energy costs while providing enough light to work safely.

2. Green the Doors in Your Garage

Most garage doors are relatively flimsy, so garage-door insulation becomes important for conserving energy and preventing outdoor air from leaking into garages and attached homes. Energy Star recommends using well-insulated garage doors with R-values between 13 and 17.5 percent. These types of doors come with built-in insulation while most garage doors use polystyrene materials that only have R-values in the 5 to 7 range. Other energy-saving ideas for your garage doors include the following green practices:

– Seal cracks and install weather-stripping to prevent hot and cool air from getting in or out of your garage.
– Choose doors made from recycled content to promote the responsible use of resources.
– Keep automatic garage doors in good working order to reduce the time that doors remain open, which prevents heat or cool air from escaping.
– Caulk around any doors from the garage to your home or yard, and check for leaks in windows and doors.

3. Install a Ventilation Fan

An exhaust or ventilation fan prevents stale garage interiors, circulates air more efficiently and helps to disperse dangerous fumes in garages caused by petroleum products, cleaners and chemicals.

4. Handle Hazardous Materials Safely

Many people store hazardous materials in their garages that they never use, which pose a risk of spills, off-gassing, and poisoning pets and children. Paints, chemical solvents and petroleum-based products are among the top hazards to healthy living, according to the DIY Network. Pesticides, auto fluids, paints and other chemicals can leak, pose fire hazards, generate toxic fumes, and cause burns and respiratory problems. Eco-friendly chemical storage practices in the garage include the following habits:

– Road salt and ice-melting compounds can cause pets to develop diarrhea and vomiting, so keep these products secure.
– Antifreeze smells sweet, and as little as one tablespoon can kill a cat, so wipe spills immediately.
– Consider transferring chemicals to a shed set aside for that purpose.
– Keep your garage clean and uncluttered by recycling materials, organizing tools and work areas, and making sure that chemicals don’t filter into the ground or air.

5. Building, Decorating and Insulating Materials

Use energy-efficient building materials for garage structures, doors and windows. Learn how to insulate your garage in an eco-friendly way:

– Insulate pipes, water heaters and ductwork to make garages weather-tight.
– Caulk between floors and garage walls.
– Insulate garage walls and ceilings with the right R-value insulation.
– Replace older windows with Energy Star-certified versions.
– Consider installing solar panels to make your garage self-heating.
– Use eco-friendly paint to avoid the volatile organic compounds found in regular paint.
– Hose down garage floors regularly to remove road salt, slip hazards, stains and auto fluids.
– Monitor garage walls and foundations for cracks, moisture, mold and discoloration.

6. Conserve Water for Washing Vehicles

You can collect rainwater from your garage roof to wash vehicles, clean the garage and even water your lawn. Simply channel water from the roof into a rain barrel, and use the water for any number of purposes around the house, such as washing pets and cleaning sidewalks and patios.

You can reduce energy usage, increase comfort, protect your family and prevent environmental damage by making your garage greener. Most people don’t think about the garage when looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, but garages provide many opportunities for practicing green habits.

Spring is finally here, and with it comes the desire to get things clean. Over the winter your garage has taken a beating. The Christmas lights may be piled up in the corner, while leaves and salt have cluttered up the floor. Now that the temperatures are warming, it’s time to start thinking about garage maintenance. Here are the steps to take to get your garage in great shape again and ready for summer cookouts and family fun.

Tackle the Clutter

The garage is a place where things tend to accumulate and stay, unused, for years. On a warm morning, remove everything from the garage. Analyze each item and determine if it has been used in the last three years. If not, toss it or slate it for a garage sale in the future. Keep in mind that toxic items, like old paint or batteries, must be disposed of safely.

Clean the Floor

Proper garage maintenance means you’ll spend some time on your floor, which is likely pretty grimy after winter. While you have the garage empty, sweep and wash the floor. The winter brought in a lot of gunk, and this is the time to get it out.

Check the Door

Before you start reloading the garage, give the door and the opening system a visual inspection. Look for any obvious signs of wear and tear, such as worn springs or rails. Open the garage a couple of times and watch the system work to ensure it is functioning as it should be.

Test the safety features by placing something on the floor, out of the line of the photo eye sensor, to ensure that the door reverses when blocked. Then, place something in the way of the photo eye sensor to ensure that the door will not engage.

Spring cleaning is an excellent time to lubricate the moving parts on the door. Apply a spray lubricant to tracks, rollers and hinges to keep it functioning well. This garage maintenance step should be performed a couple of times per year.

Reload the Garage

When you put your things back in the garage, do it in zones. Put similar items together in logical places. The broom, for example, should be by the kitchen door. Invest in peg boards, shelving and cabinets to keep tools organized. Any items in boxes or tubs that cannot be seen should have labels.

If over the course of your spring cleaning you notice that your garage door needs help, is ready to be at your service. Contact us today to find a qualified garage door repair professional in your area who can provide the service you need.

In many instances, the garage door is the single largest moving part in a home. Garage doors require proper maintenance to ensure their continued functionality and convenience. While major repairs should be left to the experts, such a spring replacements, every homeowner should conduct regular basic maintenance and inspections to spot problems before they become serious. The following maintenance tasks are well within the reach of the average homeowner, and should be performed regularly.

1. Lubricating the Moving Parts

In efforts to extending the lifespan of your garage door system, be sure to keep the rollers, hinges, and other moving parts well lubricated. This will help limit the stress on the door and door opener.  Bi-annually, we suggest apply a high-quality spray lubricant, such as white lithium grease spray, on the rollers and hinges. Be sure to clean off any excess. A penetrating solution may be required for any rollers or hinges that seem to be seized up. Once freed, apply the lithium grease.

In addition to the rollers and hinges, its important to lubricate the spring system. This includes the pulleys on extension-spring setups and the bearings on torsion-spring setups. Spay oil across the torsion spring to keep it running smoothly. If your garage door opener utilizes a screw or chain, Lubricate these as well. Do not use lubricant on a belt-drive opener.

2. Inspect the Tracks   

Inspect the tracks on both sides of the door to make sure they are free of debris and rust. Dirt and dust can build up on the track and lead to premature failure of your rollers, springs or bearings. A damp cloth will take care of most of the cleaning needs here. For sticky residue, use a solvent metal cleaner. If you live in a cold climate, snow and ice in the track may also be a concern.  You can also use a level to make sure the tracks are perfectly vertical along their vertical sections. While minor adjustments can be a DIY project, any major track adjustments should be trusted to the professionals.

3. Repair or Replace Weatherstripping

Looking to save energy? Inspect your weatherstripping. The rubber weatherstripping around the door opening and on the bottom of the door helps keep out the cold as well as water, dust, and dirt. There are several ways the seal at the bottom of the door can be attached, dependent on the garage door model. If this is torn, damaged, or missing, look to have it replaced. The weatherseal around the door opening comes in many different colors to match your door and home style.

4. Inspect the Garage Door Opener Safety Features

All residential garage door openers manufactured after 1993 should have an auto-reverse feature that is designed to stop and reverse the direction of the door if it detects an object in the path of the door or it hits an object while the door is closing. This safety feature is activated by a force setting or by a pair of safety eyes on each side of the door. These eyes should be located no higher than 6″ from the floor.

Test the force setting by placing a 2×4 board flat on the ground in the path of the door. When the door comes down and touches the 2×4, it should reverse direction and return to the open position. Test the safety eyes by starting to close the door, then passing your leg in the door’s path. The door should reverse direction and return to the open position. If your garage door opener does not have these features, we suggest replacing it.

5. Test the Door Balance

To ensure the safety and well being of your garage door and garage door opener, regularly inspect the doors balance. If your garage door is not properly balanced, the garage door opener will have to work harder, shortening the lifespan. Test the balance by pulling the release handle on the garage door opener, placing it in manual mode. Then manually place the door halfway open. The door should remain in place. If the door begins to drop or raise, the door is improperly balanced or the springs are beginning to wear out. Trust all spring repairs to a professional.

6. Tighten all Hardware

The vibration and motion caused by the garage door consistently moving up and down can result in loose hardware over an extended period of time. Inspect all of the track brackets and door fasteners to ensure everything is tight. Use a socket wrench to tighten up any loose bolts you find.

Homeowners have a giant task of keeping their homes looking great and free from mechanical breakdowns. Weather plays a big part in how things operate and look around your property. Often, during the winter months is when things will breakdown or stop working altogether.

If you have a garage and the door has stopped working, then you will need to get it repaired right away. To help you understand how cold weather affects your garage door, here are some common problems that people face, and how they have solved the problem.

Common Problems of Garage Doors during the Winter

  • One problem that the cold weather can cause is for the garage door to stick to the ground. Ice and snow can build up around the rubber seal making it rip as the door goes up. Solve this problem by simply keeping the ice and snow away from the door as much as possible.
  • Keep your garage door lubricated. This helps to minimize the friction that is exerted on the moving parts and will allow the door to open better even in the cold winter months.
  • If the motor seems to struggle to lift the door, you might be dealing with a broken spring. Springs play an important role, balancing the door so the operator can lift it easilly. A repair of this type should only be performed by a professional repair person.

Your garage gives you the space to enter and leave your home in a weather free environment. By keeping your garage door working great you can use that space throughout the year. You will also be able to avoid costly repairs by following these simple tips to keeping your garage door working properly.

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