Picking a garage door can be a bit of a process, given how many choices and styles are available. The fact is, the garage door represents the largest separate front piece of a house. So the type of door chosen makes a statement of impression about the rest of the house, or it at least gives a certain appearance from the outside.
Tips to Consider
There are number of tips to think about when choosing a door, some being practical and others being aesthetic. All help a buyer choose the right door for his needs and home. These include:
1. Choosing the type of door (stock, semi-custom or custom) – Stock doors involve pre-fabricated units that are essentially ready to install. The most basic of these is a pre-stamped or paneled aluminum garage door that simply fits a standard garage door cavity in a house. The hardware is predetermined as well, so the entire assembly bolts into place when delivered and installed. While these doors are the cheapest, they are also the most plain, with little in the way of decor or features.
Semi-custom doors are still reliant on pre-assembled parts and hardware, but they come with added features that a buyer can choose from. These may include high side window panels to let light into a garage, reinforced door framing for strength, and even alternatives for opening and closing aside from the standard up-and-over approach that comes with stock door systems.
Custom garage doors are exactly that. These garage doors are built to suit and often incorporate designs and features from older architecture, such as rounded door shapes, split door opening, stained wood paneling features with reinforced metal decorative strapping, and more. Because of the customization involved, this garage door category tends to be the most expensive and often requires unique installation methods as well, which also add to the cost.
2. The elements matter – Keep in mind that choosing the right garage door is also often influenced by the weather and conditions of where the door will be installed. In dry, arid locations, wood doors can do quite well, just requiring a regular oiling annually or every two years. In wet locations or those that see a lot of snow seasonally, wood will eventually wear down and disintegrate over time, and metal fixtures will rust. Pests can also have an impact. While a custom wood door may seem like a great idea, some conditions dictate that an aluminum-based door will last longer without repair, providing the same entry protection.
3. Measure to match – Some style doors won’t match the cavity designed for the garage door in general. In these instances the house or structure will need to be modified, significantly adding to the cost of the installation for a non-standard garage door. Planning ahead of time can avoid this costly mistake cropping up at the last second right before installation. At a minimum a buyer should be measuring the door size and hardware with the cavity available in the home or structure the door will go into.
4. Pay attention to the hardware included – Garage doors that are top-loaded utilize heavy-duty springs to act as a counterweight to the door’s weight. This effect makes it easy to lift the garage door when opening and closing. Buyers should make sure that there are at least two counterweight springs included in the hardware. If only one, the owner runs the risk that in time the single spring will break, in which case the door weight will slam down due to gravity. A second spring can hold the door without risk to life or property. It’s well worth the extra $100 for the additional spring.
5. HOA issues can be a pain – Many neighborhoods are established within a homeowner’s association, or HOA. These organizations are designed to protect a general look of the neighborhood, including how homes appear. Before deciding on a given garage door, a buyer should definitely read his applicable HOA rules for structure changes and appearance. Otherwise, the given HOA could sue the homeowner to remove the violating new garage door and replace it with an acceptable one. All the costs would be borne by the buyer since he agreed to the HOA rules when he bought the house in the first place.
6. Watch out for property taxes – In most jurisdictions, property tax for real estate is based on the last sale price of the property. However, a county assessor can update the tax base if the property is significantly improved. If a garage door will require a change to a home or structure, the work will often require building permits. That in turn triggers the assessors attention to come out and reassess the property value. If the new assessment is bigger, that means the homeowner will permanently pay more in property taxes each year in the future thanks to the changes. In this regard, going with a standard size door can be the long-term cheaper approach.
7. Decorations are nice, but security matters more – A good garage door needs to be a solid barrier from entry as well as a protection. There’s not much point to having a garage door if it can simple be pried open with little effort. Most modern doors are made with this principle in mind, but buyers should still check to make sure the materials and construction involved will provide a level of barrier, strength and protection. Thieves and burglars will often look for the weakest point in a design to get into a garage so, aside from the door being left open, any aspect that makes it easy to open or disassemble the door should be suspect.
8. Not all local suppliers carry a desired garage door – Buyers shopping around will quickly find that garage door sellers are often limited to just their brand or type of door. This is often the case with custom and semi-custom doors. A full custom fabrication is often built on site versus pre-fabricated, but manufactured doors are only available to the extent a dealer carries them. Otherwise a buyer can be facing a hefty cost to have a unit shipped from a manufacturer, adding to the expense considerably.
9. Check for insulation qualities – One of the biggest areas of heat and cold entering a home is through the garage door itself. By simply thickening or insulating the door with a layer of foam panels or buying a door with insulation, the stable temperature in the garage can reduce strain on the house HVAC system having to compensate. Doors with an R-value above 10 will do well in colder climate areas. Even basic aluminum panel doors can be insulated after the fact with foam cut panels available at most big hardware stores for little cost.
10. Make sure to include a warranty – Because of the mechanical nature of a garage door, most reputable brands include a warranty with their product. Buyers should be on the lookout for such protections because it will help with repair if something goes wrong with the design of the door, especially when new.
Picking a garage door can put the finishing touch on a home’s front appearance, but buyers still need to do their homework to find the right product. The above tips can help tremendously in avoiding unexpected mistakes.
Automatic garage doors are a true convenience when they work properly, but when they don’t, they become a frustrating hassle. Like all mechanical devices, garage doors and their openers are prone to faults that can prevent them from opening and closing like they’re supposed to. Here are some of the reasons why this might happen.
Lack of Lubrication
Your garage door’s track and the opener’s chain both require sufficient lubrication in order to do their jobs. If either one is under-lubed, the door can become stuck when opening or closing. To fix this problem, you will need to add more lubrication to both parts. You can use a standard machine oil either in a spray can or a bottle. However, the spray option will be much simpler to use, especially at odd angles.
Damage to the Track
Most garage doors sit in a track made from aluminum, which is highly susceptible to warping and bending. Impacts from tools, ladders, cars or other objects can bend the track in such a way that the door is unable to open or close fully. Similarly, the freezing and thawing process of winter weather can cause the frame to become distorted and make the door jam. Depending on the location and severity of the damage, you may be able to repair the track without professional assistance or a new installation. Try using a hammer to pop out any dents.
All modern electric garage door openers are required by law to come equipped with sensors for safety purposes. These are typically located on either side of the garage door near the ground. If something gets in the way, like a child or a pet, the sensors will prevent the door from opening or closing. While this feature is indisputably beneficial, it is unable discriminate between living things and inanimate objects. If your door is becoming stuck, make sure that there are no leaves or other debris piled in front of the sensors and keep the items stored in your garage clear of them.
Faulty Sensor Alignment
In order to work as intended, the sensors on either side of your garage door must be properly aligned. If the infrared beams fail to make contact with one another, the door will refuse to budge. However, it can be very tricky to tell whether or not they are aligned correctly. If you suspect that this is your problem, it is strongly recommended that you have a professional garage door technician determine if it is the case and make adjustments as necessary.
Most homeowners never pay much attention to the garage door until a repair is needed. With regular maintenance, you can avoid the need for expensive or emergency repairs. You can perform an annual inspection and tune up for your garage door and opener by following these simple steps:
- Begin with the appearance of the garage door. If the door is made of wood, carefully inspect any areas or joints that may have water damage; these will need immediate repair. Note any areas of peeling paint; this will need to be scraped, sanded and repainted. For steel doors, note any rust spots; these need to be sanded, primed and painted. Once all repairs have been made, wash the door with the appropriate cleaner. An all-purpose cleaner made for metal, vinyl or wood is advisable. Thoroughly rinse and allow the door to dry.
- The rollers that allow the door to open and close should be inspected. Any damaged or cracked rollers should be replaced. Lubricate the rollers with the appropriate lubricant; WD-40 works well on metal rollers but will damage rubber or vinyl ones.
- Inspect the hinges and tighten any loose bolts. Inspect the bolts on the roller hinges as well. You can clean the bearings inside the hinges by soaking the item in mineral spirits. Clean one at a time to avoid problems with the door.
- Inspect the tracks and use a level to ensure they are plumb or straight up and down. If they are not, you can adjust them by following the manufacturerâ€™s instructions or find them online. Do not adjust the tracks more than a half inch; let a professional take care of this as it will affect the other door components.
- Inspect the cables and door springs, if your door has them. Never attempt to adjust overhead door springs yourself; the high amount of tension is dangerous. If the metal appears stressed, rusted or pitted, call for service. You can lightly lubricate it by spraying it with a silicone-based spray.
- Lift the garage door all the way up and inspect the weather stripping to ensure it is in good shape. If it is not, or the door does not have stripping, measure the width and length of the door. Purchase the appropriate sized weather stripping at your local Overhead Door Company.
- Lift the garage door halfway and let it go. It should stay at that level; if it continues to rise or falls to the ground, you need to call for service. Adjusting the springs and cables of a garage door should only be performed by a trained professional.
Your garage door requires regular maintenance to keep it working smoothly. This spring, add it to your list of items that must be accomplished. Performing maintenance on a garage door is not overly difficult. It just takes a few steps.
The first step is to visually inspect the door on both sides. Note any sign of wear and tear that needs attention. Missing or loose nuts or bolts should also be listed. Peeling paint, fraying cables and other items that need repair should be placed on the list. If you do not know how to replace cables, springs or other items, a garage repair company can accomplish that for you. You can perform the rest of the maintenance yourself.
Clean the outside of the garage door with a detergent, sponge and water. Be sure to remove any stuck on tree sap, leaves or other debris. For removing stains, check your garage door manufacturer’s recommendations. Removing stains from the paint on steel doors, vinyl or wood may be different depending on the stain. Not all stain removers are usable on all materials. Rinse with a garden hose.
Open and close the door; if the door sticks, a roller is out of place or you hear straining, popping or other noises, contact your local Overhead Door Company for a tune-up.
Use a socket wrench to retighten any loose nuts or bolts on the tracks or hinges. Locate any bolts or nuts that are painted red or have warning tags on them; do not attempt to tighten or loosen these bolts. Only a garage door technician should adjust them.
To check the doors balance, unplug the garage door, disengage the door opener by pulling the lever handle and raise the door to waist level and then let it go. If the door lowers to the floor or rises up by itself, it is out of balance and needs maintenance to avoid problems in the future.
With proper maintenance, your garage door will serve you faithfully for many years to come.
Garage door openers make homeowner’s life much easier. These devices allow the garage door to operate automatically without posing risks to the safety of the household members, pets, and valuable belongings.
Garage door openers eliminate the struggle and back pain that most homeowners experience from constantly opening and closing their heavy garage doors. These devices are designed to perform these heavy lifting and pulling tasks. These devices are available in three different types: chain, belt, and screw drive system. When choosing a new garage door opener, below are important factors that need to be considered:
- Budget and Functionality. If your budget is limited, you might find the chain most attractive. This style is most affordable amongst the three options. It comes with a chain attached to the rail, which is responsible in moving the door up and down. The screw drive system type is regarded as the strongest and the most suitable choice for those who own a heavier garage door. The rubber belt style is the quietest of the three.
- Power and Speed. Choose an opener that comes with a power that is sufficient enough to operate the lifting and pulling tasks of the garage door. Also, choose a system that requires less waiting time for the door to close or open.
- Safety and Security. Safety and security are also important factors to consider when choosing a garage door opener especially if you have children or pets around your home. To ensure better security for your home, choose a garage door opener structure that comes with a rolling security code. This code is used to either open or close the garage door. Opening systems have automatic reverse sensors and infrared beams, which stops the garage door from closing down should anything that gets in the way during the closing of the door.
- Door Size. The size of the garage door opener of your choice should coincide with the size of your garage door. The height of your door will influence the size of the boom required, while the weight of your door will suggest the model of opener.
- Remote Control. A garage door opener that is operated by a remote control is an ideal choice for many home owners. While some garage door opener remotes have a single button that opens and closes a single door, other remotes come with multiple buttons and can operate multiple doors.
Your garage can be used for much more than just parking your car. The team at GarageDoorRepair.com has created the infographic below that lists ideas to transform your garage space for professional or recreational usage. Alternative garage space ideas include a greenhouse, office, sunroom, playroom or workout area.