Everything Homeowners Need to Know About Garage Doors
Garages are convenient for homeowners as a place to keep cars out of the elements, as well as extra storage for other possessions. The accessibility of the space often hinges on the garage door. With a two-car attached garage fast becoming the standard in modern houses, the garage door may be the most-used entry point in the home. Homeowners and residents might open and close the door several times a day, or tens of thousands of times over its lifespan.
Although garage doors have been a prominent feature of households for decades, manufacturers are continuing to upgrade the door's makeup and technology. Today's garage doors are lighter, easier to use, and longer-lasting than models from even 10-20 years ago. The fact so many homes have and need garage doors means there is a wide variety of materials and styles homeowners can select from, in order to meet their needs and suit their style.
Most manufacturers rate garage doors to last 15-30 years, although homeowners may get more time out of one with a wise purchase and good upkeep. Understanding how to choose a garage door and the best ways to maintain it can help people make a practical choice they will not regret a few years down the road. With this guide, homeowners will know what is inside a garage door, how it works, options available, the way it needs to be installed, tips to select and operate a garage door opener, as well as what to do if it breaks down.
Table of Contents
- Anatomy of a Garage Door
- Choosing a Garage Door
- Garage Door Openers
- Garage Door Installation
- How to Maintain a Garage Door
- How to Fix Common Garage Door Issues
- Final Thoughts
Anatomy of a Garage Door
A garage door has several components. When homeowners know the various parts of the door itself, they can get a better understanding of how it works. Most garage doors contain:
- door material, usually steel but might also be wood, vinyl or something else
- insulation in the door to help maintain a higher degree of energy-efficiency for the garage
- hinges to allow the door to open and close, or between individual panels
- hardware that aids in opening and closing
Garage doors may be solid or hollow, depending on the material. A solid wood door is going to weigh much more than one made of aluminum or vinyl.
Many aspects relate to the kind of door that homeowners choose. Most people go for a sectional door with hinged panels, which rolls up and down. This type of door has the following elements:
- tracks on either side to keep the door in alignment during opening and closing
- rollers attached to the bottom of the door, which move along the track
- spring and bar to keep the door in an open or closed position
- cables and brackets to use with the spring for the door's movement
- weather-stripping at the bottom and sides to keep drafts out
- a lock bar to keep the door from opening spontaneously when closed
These parts relate only to a manually operated garage door. A garage door opening system will have its own tracks and an operator, which requires electric power to function. It may also have other parts, like a chain, belt, or screw to move the door.
Choosing a Garage Door
When homeowners start considering options for a garage door, they may realize there are hundreds of possible combinations. Choosing the right one depends on an evaluation of:
- color and style
Since garage doors can cost as little as $1,000 and as much as $10,000, people should set a budget and select the best options for their homes. While the average garage door lasts 15-30 years, this depends on material choice and upkeep. Homeowners should keep these factors in mind before they make a purchase.
Types of Garage Doors
The type of garage door that people choose depends on how they want to open and close it, and the look they are aiming for. Someone who wants simple use may prefer a style easier to set to a motor. Homeowners should keep in mind the way the door opens will take up space in a unique way. For example, a sectional door needs extra room at the top and a few inches on the sides for the track. A door that swings out will need plenty of clearance in front of the door so it can open.
A sectional garage door is the most popular and the most modern style. With this type, the garage door is made up of several horizontal sections attached to each other via a metal track installed on each side. Homeowners can set the door to a motor so they can push a button to open and close, or install a handle for manual operation. A sectional garage door needs almost a foot of extra room on top to make room for the track and the door when it is open. However, it may require less space overall than other types.
A swing-out garage door is often referred to as a carriage-house style. This is in reference to the double doors popular in carriage houses and stables where people kept horses many decades ago. This type is connected to the door opening by hinges on the side, which swing fully open. Homeowners should choose doors taller than they are wide, to prevent putting too much weight on the hinges. They are not ideal for areas with heavy winters, as snow or ice can prevent the doors from opening. Since they operate much like a larger exterior door, they can be made with reasonable insulation and guarantees against drafts or leaks.
Sliding doors may take up the most space on the wall of the garage, but often work better in some areas than a swing-out style. With a sliding garage door, homeowners push the door to one side or the other to open it, and slide it closed. The doors are hung from the top, which is why this type is often called a barn door style. Like a sectional door, sliding garage doors are easier to use with a motor. However, they tend to be less energy efficient, since there is a gap at the bottom.
A bifold door opens and closes like many closet doors. Each door has vertical panels, which fold a little like an accordion. This means they do not take up as much space horizontally when open, unlike a swing-out style. Since they do open out, they also may not be the best choice for regions with heavy weather. The design means homeowners have to operate them manually, as there is no track to allow a motor to open and close them.
Size and Style
The right size for the garage door depends on several factors. Although homeowners can get a ballpark simply based on the number of cars the garage door can accommodate, these are not always accurate estimates. People who own homes with an older or custom garage may need a door of a different size.
Homeowners can often save time by measuring the dimensions of the existing door. This only applies if they are buying the same type of door, as the different types need to be unique sizes. As a general rule, the average single garage door is 7-8 feet high and 8-9 feet wide. A door for a double garage measures 16 feet by 7 to 8 feet tall. A tall garage door meant to accommodate a recreational vehicle will probably be more like 10 feet high. Since the dimensions of the door must be precise for ideal insulation and energy efficiency, as well as preventing rodents or insects from taking over the space, people should plan to measure at least twice to be sure.
Most homeowners prefer to choose a color that suits the rest of the home's exterior. They should research what will happen to the color over time. Some products, especially those containing plastic resins, have color mixed into the manufacturing process. This means it will not fade over time. A painted or stained door will need touching up at least once a year. The darkest and the lightest shades are more likely to show dirt or stains.
Windows built into the garage door are an ideal way to complement the home's style and add more natural light. The glass used for the windows is built to be relatively durable, which means it can work with almost any door type or material. Glass does add to the maintenance, as it is not as simple to spray clean with a hose. The ability to look out the window from the garage, or enjoy the sunlight while working in the garage, may be a fair exchange.
Once homeowners have selected a door type and color, they should also consider whether they want added features on the door. For example, some doors have rustic or elegant hardware to match hardware on the other exterior doors of the home. Recessed panels give a sense of depth, and can also be built to match the home's front door. Additional elements often cost more, but may be worth it by improving the home's curb appeal.
The ability to set the door to a motor offers a level of convenience many homeowners expect. Although sectional doors are the easiest to set on a track with a motor to open and close, most styles can be adapted to suit this feature. This can add hundreds of dollars to the total cost, so people should keep this in mind as they make a choice. Motorization usually involves a garage door opener, which can be used from inside the garage, or from the car via a remote control.
The material used to make the door presents the most significant part of its cost and upkeep. For example, wood will have unique needs and benefits compared to vinyl or steel. Homeowners should compare the various materials available and choose the one that suits their home style as well as the climate.
Steel or Aluminum
Metal is one of the most popular garage door materials because of its durability. Steel and aluminum are fairly easy to clean and less likely to dent or crack than other materials. People who live near the ocean may want to make a different choice because metal can rust or corrode with heavy water and salt. Aluminum is a great choice for a lightweight but strong door, but it tends to cost the most.
Wood is the most traditional choice for garage doors, but it comes at a cost. In exchange for a higher average price tag, homeowners also get a greater amount of required upkeep. Wood panels need treatment and regular repainting or re-staining. People should ask if the door is made out of solid or engineered wood, as this will affect its maintenance. They may not be ideal in areas with a lot of rain, since the wood can rot.
For homeowners who want the rich look of wood without the work or the cost, composite offers a fair alternative. Composite garage doors are made out of wood fibers combined with plastic resins. The result is highly durable, easy to spray or wipe clean, and less likely to break down than metal or wood.
Similar to composite in some ways, fiberglass offers another alternative to steel and does not cost as much or call for as much maintenance. Fiberglass is made of glass fibers mixed with plastics. In many cases, garage door manufacturers coat a steel door with a fiberglass layer. This provides added protection, an extra layer of insulation, and an easier-to-clean surface.
Vinyl or High-Density Polyethylene
Some manufacturers treat vinyl and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) as if they are the same thing, but it is important for homeowners to distinguish their qualities. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), often called vinyl for simplicity, is a lightweight and reasonably durable material. People find it in many components of their home, like the siding or plumbing. By comparison, HDPE is harder and generally considered to be stronger. Both offer stylish options that mimic wood or steel at a fraction of the price.
Although glass may seem like it is an unusual choice for a garage door, it is more common than homeowners might expect. This material encourages natural light, making the garage easier to illuminate. Tempered glass provides extra protection against wind or damage from hail. Glass garage doors usually have a frame made out of aluminum to provide support for the panels. Many homeowners choose glass in the form of windows, with the rest of the door made of wood or metal.
Before making a choice, homeowners should consider what they want to do with the garage. The choice of materials and design can significantly affect many activities that people intend to do while in the garage space. For example, many garages are unconditioned, which means they provide little protection from hot summers or cold winters. People who plan to work in the garage or engage in hobbies may want a garage door with better insulation. This way, they are not using as much energy to keep the space warm or cool.
Maintenance and repair should represent a significant part of the decision, as well. Selecting a particular material, style, or even color can create a new list of upkeep tasks homeowners should do at least once a season. People should evaluate how much time they are willing to invest into keeping the door operating ideally and in good condition. Without it, even the most expensive garage door with the finest details can rust, rot, or break down within several years. A door in disrepair also hurts curb appeal, which can affect the home's value.
Ultimately, budget may be the biggest determiner for homeowners. Replacing a steel door for a double garage costs around $3,000-$4,000 on average. People can expect to get most of that back in an increase of the home's value, making this project a viable part of homeownership. When people get a quote, they should ask about motorization or hardware needed to install and operate the door. These may not be included in the initial estimate. Homeowners who want to save money on the door may want to choose a material, like vinyl, which costs the least. Cheaper doors may not last as long, but should function well for several years with good installation and upkeep.
Garage Door Openers
Garage door openers are a popular aspect for entering and leaving the garage, as well as allowing light and air inside. The opener triggers a motor to open, close, or stop the door. Although a motorized system is not available for all types of garage doors, many homeowners find them a necessary aspect of the door. This system can be complicated and confusing, especially when something goes wrong. Learning how to safely operate and perform basic repairs on the garage door opener can improve its function and the lifespan of the door.
Operation, Programming, and Installation
While a garage door has its own system for installation and operation, a garage door opener requires a completely unique set of components. A door for a double garage can weigh hundreds of pounds. The system needed to open and close something this heavy in a seamless and reasonably quiet way takes several different parts. Homeowners can choose from a variety of types with relatively unique modes of operation. Most systems will contain the following components:
- operator with a motor that functions using direct current (DC) power
- a trolley connected to the door, which allows the motor to shift its position
- torsion spring installed near the top of the door opening to provide energy for open and closure
- tracks on each side that move the door
- a track in the center, which moves the trolley back and forth
- emergency release to disconnect the door from the system for immediate manual use
- sensors to detect if something is in the way
- mounting hardware and brackets
Inside the operator, homeowners will find many parts, which allow the system to work. The motor and gears put the rest of the system into action. Many systems have a drive guide to rotate a belt, chain, or screw. The operator converts the household alternating current (AC) power to DC power using an inverter. This may also supply a battery, which can be used during a power outage, depending on the system.
Besides the general function of the operator, homeowners can adjust settings to allow the system to work in a way better suited to their particular garage. Most garage doors need to travel 7-8 feet before they are fully open or closed. People with a taller or shorter garage can adjust the height accordingly. Some systems feature a soft start or stop so they do not close abruptly on the ground.
Homeowners use the system by pushing a button, which is usually located elsewhere in the garage or in a remote control. Although people may have read about thieves copying a signal and using it to gain entry to the garage, most modern systems are built to avoid this. Experts suggest homeowners simply place the remote control out of sight, if they keep it in the car. This can reduce the likelihood of theft, since it is unlikely a burglar could replicate the code connecting the remote to the operator.
There are several types of garage door openers. The right one for homeowners depends on how much they want to spend and whether they want extra features like quiet or smooth operation. Installation requirements relate heavily to the type, and some have complicated systems that may call for expertise to install properly. These five types represent most openers available on the market, and all are designed to work with a sectional garage door.
A chain drive garage door opener tends to be the most affordable option. Its operation is a little like a bicycle chain. The motor uses the chain to move the trolley up or down. Since these are both metal components, it tends to be louder when moving than many other types. This setup is one of the least complicated, which explains the lower price.
A belt drive garage door opener works similarly to a chain drive style, but with one important difference. Instead of a metal chain, it uses a rubber belt with grooves, which rotate the door open or closed and provides for a much quieter experience. In exchange for less noise, homeowners will pay more for a belt drive than a chain drive.
A screw drive system for a garage door is quite unique from other, more common designs. With a screw drive garage door opener, the trolley attaches to a screw inside a steel rod. The motor turns the screw and moves the door up and down. Because the screw and the rod are both metal, this type also tends to be much louder than other styles.
A garage door opener with a jackshaft drive is a completely different system. This style relies on pulleys and cables. Instead of running something along a track, the motor moves the torsion bar to raise or lower the door. The motor installs on the wall of the garage instead of the ceiling. This type is less likely to transmit vibrations during opening or closing.
Homeowners who want the quietest garage door opener may want to select a direct drive style. The design for this type does not have a motor moving a chain or other components. Instead, the motor itself moves along the track. This provides fewer moving parts, which decreases the noise and complication of the system.
Besides effective operation, the fundamental concern homeowners have with a garage door opener is safety. Anything running on a motor may continue running unless it is turned off. In decades past, older garage door opening systems did not have the technology to stop moving until it was fully open or closed. This meant many doors closed on children or pets, in a moment when homeowners were not close enough to get them out of the way.
Modern garage door openers have features to make safety easier to guarantee. These usually include sensors to locate something in the path of the door and stop the motor's operation. In most cases, the system can automatically reverse the door's operation so it returns to a fully open position. Some systems also offer diagnostics to alert people of problems with the opener.
Any garage door opener made in recent years should have an emergency release pull-cord, which homeowners can tug to allow them to operate the garage door manually. California's state government passed a law in 2018 requiring manufacturers to provide a battery backup in case of power loss. This allows people to operate the garage door opener in an emergency, even if the house has no functioning electricity.
Even when these features are in fine form and operating well, homeowners should still try to avoid putting themselves, their pets, or children at risk. Following these tips can reduce the likelihood of injury:
- Confirm the door is hung properly before installing the opener
- Install the opener's activation keypad out of reach of children
- Keep children and pets away from the garage door
- Avoid keeping the door partially open or closed
- Make sure the emergency release is easy to locate and reach
- Keep the remote control in a safe place where it cannot be accessed by children or strangers
- Consider a system alerting homeowners to a garage door left open
Homeowners should keep in mind many of the safety features built into the garage door opener presume a professional installation and ideal upkeep. If the system starts to malfunction, it may not stop or retreat if the sensor notices something in the way. A broken sensor may make the motor continue running, even if someone or something is in the door's path. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are a requirement to ensure the opener continues safe operation.
Since a garage door opener relies on a complex system of parts connected to an electronic operator, there are many things that might go wrong. In some cases, homeowners can identify the issue and resolve it without having to wait for a technician or pay for repairs. In other cases, there are bigger problems, which might require repair or replacement of part of the system. These tips help people figure out what they can do when the garage door opener is not working properly.
Experts recommend starting by evaluating the door's operation independently of the motorized garage door opener. Homeowners can do this by pulling on the emergency release while the door is closed. This action disconnects the door from the opener for manual operation. Once they have done this, people can try to open and close the door to see how it works. If it gets stuck or will not budge, it may be a problem with the door, not the opener.
If the garage door will not move when people push the keypad or a button on the remote control, there are a few possible issues in play. This problem can be caused by:
- a motor that has been disconnected for some reason
- a circuit tripping, which may affect power to other parts of the house as well
- a wire disconnected from the keypad
- a dead motor that no longer operates
- the remote control being too far from the operator
- a broken or misplaced antenna on the operator
Homeowners can test for these conditions by checking the circuit breaker to confirm it is in the on position, and the operator is plugged into power. If they move the antenna to a position below the operator and none of these actions makes a difference, they may need to call a professional for repairs.
If the operator is running but the door is not opening or closing properly, there may be issues with the track or other components. For example, a faulty sensor may give the operator a false positive, making the door able to open but impossible to close. Replacing the sensor should fix this problem. When the door appears to be getting stuck on one side, it may be time to lubricate or replace the mechanism that moves the trolley. For safety, these maintenance or repair steps should always be done after turning off power to the operator, to avoid accidental operation during the process.
Garage Door Installation
Since installation can be a significant part of a garage door's cost, many homeowners consider the possibility of installing it themselves. This depends on a person's time, strength, and knowledge of how to install the type of door they choose. There are some elements that people may choose to hire a professional to do, and other elements they might feel more comfortable doing themselves. For example, they may have a professional installer put in the door, but purchase and install the garage door opener themselves. These considerations help people make a decision.
For most homeowners, installing a garage door themselves is not going to be a practical choice. This means they will need to hire a professional to do it for them. Garage doors are heavy. If they are improperly installed, they will not open or close correctly. Even slight faults in placement may cause components of the door to wear down prematurely. This may cut several years off the lifespan of the door.
The biggest factors against DIY installation is weight and size. Garage doors vary in weight depending on size and materials. However, most doors weigh at least a couple-hundred pounds. This may be beyond the average homeowner's ability to maneuver themselves. In addition, the size of the door dictates that this is a project for at least two people. Homeowners who are unwilling or unable to get another adult to help them install the door may need to hire a professional for this reason alone.
By hiring a professional, homeowners get a reasonable guarantee the work will be done to their specifications and the door will operate as it should for many years to come. In most cases, having a professional do the work takes less time. Many installers provide guarantees on the service, so homeowners do not have to pay extra for them to fix it if something goes wrong with the installation. For the warranties on the garage door opener, homeowners may need to first establish it was installed properly. Professional installation will often provide assurance to the manufacturer.
In addition, people who hire a professional have someone who may be able to provide emergency service or repairs on the door. This depends on the company offering the service.
To find a good professional garage door installer, homeowners should be prepared to get at least a few quotes from local businesses. When they make a call or request a consultation, they should:
- provide as much detail as possible about their budget and expectations for the door
- ask the installer about their experience installing doors of the same type and material
- read reviews of the company on social media sites or the Better Business Bureau
- get an estimate in writing, with detailed pricing for each part of the installation process
Given the size of the job, garage door installation may require a license and insurance. Homeowners should ask for these when they get a quote.
Installation may cost hundreds of dollars in addition to the price of the garage door, leading many people to consider a DIY install. Depending on the type of system, homeowners must be ready to invest at least a few hours to the work. In most cases, people need to have at least two adults available to do the work. Even panels made from a light material like vinyl can be large and unwieldy. Many steps of the installation process call for work on both sides of the door, which can be difficult to do with only one person.
In order to install a garage door, homeowners will need the following tools and materials:
- power drill with tips
- ladders, one for each side of the door
- personal protective gear, particularly for hands and eyes
- hardware that comes with the door
- door components
When people buy the door, they should open it and verify they have all the right hardware. Inspecting each panel and track pieces for signs of damage in advance can help ensure the door will work correctly. Even slight dents or scratches can prevent the door from moving. Homeowners can go to the place where they bought it or contact the manufacturer for replacement parts, if needed.
To install the garage door, homeowners should follow these steps:
- Arrange to have another adult ready to help
- Read the directions and keep a copy nearby during installation
- Verify all components for the door are present and intact
- Confirm the door fits the opening
- Get tools ready
- Lay out the sections in order
- Attach hinges, if they are not already installed
- Install vertical track according to manufacturer directions
- Place panels, attaching hinges to each section
- Install horizontal tracks
- Install and test torsion spring system
- Test the door for proper operation
If people want to install a garage door opener as well, they will need to follow the manufacturer directions related to the product they buy.
Besides monetary savings, the benefit of DIY is homeowners will understand how the door works in much better detail than a person who hires a professional to do it for them. This may make it easier for them to perform maintenance and basic repairs. The effort invested in putting it together may also inspire homeowners to perform maintenance more regularly. This can make the door more useful for a longer period of time.
Installing a garage door safely and correctly is a big decision for people. It costs money to have someone else do it, but it can be dangerous if installed by someone without the necessary knowledge and experience. Homeowners who are not skilled in safe installation of various systems in the home may want to avoid putting in their own garage doors. Hundreds of people are injured each year trying to DIY this project, on top of those who might get hurt from an installation done incorrectly. Homeowners may be able to avoid injury by wearing the right gear during the installation process, and avoiding standing under any component of the door or its opening apparatus.
This risk extends to maintenance and repair for the system, as well. Certain components of the garage door are more likely to break down than others. Fixing, testing, or replacing them requires extra care to avoid damaging the system or causing pieces to respond with force. These include:
- torsion spring
- brackets at the bottom of the garage door
- cables connecting the spring to the brackets
- vertical and horizontal tracks
The torsion spring exerts pressure when opening or closing the door and is located just above the door opening. Fixing or replacing it can cause it to fall on someone standing underneath it. Since the spring creates tension in the cables and brackets, which allow the door to open or close, they should only be adjusted by someone trained to do so. Old tracks often do not work with new doors, even if they seem to fit. Trying to save money on hardware can put unnecessary stress on the door, making the entire opening and closing system more likely to fail.
Following the manufacturer's instructions for installing the garage door or garage door opener is paramount. Homeowners who have difficulty understanding what each step is telling them to do may want to bypass the stress and hire a professional. Some manufacturers also offer installation guides online, with video tutorials. People should plan to read the instructions and look through these guides at least twice before starting, to confirm they understand what they are supposed to do. This can help reduce the risk of injury, as well as increase the chances of a successful installation.
How to Maintain a Garage Door
Garage door maintenance is the best way for homeowners to get the maximum lifespan out of their garage door and spot problems before they stop the door from working properly. At least once a month, homeowners should open and close the garage door and pay attention to its operation. Most people use garage doors while they are focused on other tasks, which means they might miss minor problems until they become a big issue requiring repair. They should look for the following issues:
- slow or jerky opening
- sections that get stuck at points on the track
- sounds of grinding or scraping as the door moves
- imbalanced doors
- obvious gaps on the sides or bottom of the door
- cracked or missing weatherstripping
At least once a year, homeowners who have a motorized garage door opener should test the sensors and reversing feature. There may be sensors on both sides depending on the system, and each one needs testing. This process can confirm that it will trigger the reverse when an object is placed in the path of the door.
Testing a half-open door can help reveal issues with balance, as well as the function of the spring mechanism. To do this, homeowners should release the door and pull it to a half-open position. They must keep everyone away from the doorway, since the door could drop closed unexpectedly. Using a level, people can determine whether the door is balanced. If the door will not stay half open, there may be issues with the torsion spring system.
On the door itself, homeowners should inspect for signs of damage. People may think a dented, chipped, or cracked door is merely a cosmetic issue. However, it can lower the durability of the door's material or make it difficult to open and close. On a regular basis, homeowners need to spray or wipe the door clean. Once a year, they should touch up paint or restain. If the material is cracked, it may need professional repairs or replacement.
There are some things homeowners can do to maintain the door and its opening mechanism without having to wait for a problem. For example, they can test the screws holding the hardware together and confirm they are tight enough. Regular movement of the door can loosen them over time, which may put strain on the track. Once a year, people should lubricate the moving parts like a chain or screw with a grease designed for garage doors. Tracks can pick up dirt or debris during the process of opening and closing. Spraying or wiping the tracks clean while inspecting for damage ensures a smoother movement.
Other elements of the garage door need more care during maintenance, particularly the torsion spring mechanism. The spring, cables, and brackets take on a lot of pressure during opening and closing. Over time, they will wear out. Homeowners may not feel comfortable taking these components apart and replacing them as needed. They can still check for signs of wear in the cables, damaged brackets, or worn-out springs.
How to Fix Common Garage Door Issues
Garage doors can be opened thousands of times per year. Over time, some aspects of the garage door or opener are going to break down. Proper maintenance can help homeowners spot some of these issues before they cause the door to fail completely. Understanding what they can do and when to call in a professional for repair can minimize the time homeowners spend trying to fix the problem.
Homeowners who have a garage door opener should start by testing the door apart from the opening system. In many cases, a door that will not open is not stuck. Instead, it is simply not triggered to open by a fault in the opener. People can test this by pulling on the release cable and opening the door. If everything seems to be in order, they can assume it is the opener and not the door at fault.
A door that seems to be imbalanced or slow to open may have issues with the track. To fix a track out of alignment, homeowners should perform the following tasks:
- Read the manufacturer instructions for proper installation of the tracks
- Set the door in the closed position and turn off the opening mechanism
- Use a level to determine which track is in the wrong position, even if both are incorrect
- Look for signs of damage on the track, like dents or missing screws
- Tighten screws as needed
- Tap tracks into place, if they only need to move a short distance
- Test the door for proper function
Homeowners should use a ladder to reach the vertical or curved parts of the track. Standing next to the track, not underneath it, decreases the likelihood of injury if part of the track falls.
Replacing springs is more complicated and may require a professional. If homeowners have skill in garage door repair, they can replace the springs by following these steps:
- Turn off the opener and use a clamp to ensure the door remains closed
- Use winding bars to hold the spring in place while loosening screws
- Unwind the spring slowly and carefully with the winding bars
- Remove nuts and bolts
- Clamp the tube and remove the springs and cables
- Place the spring according to manufacturer directions
Many garage door problems are beyond the average homeowner's ability to fix. People should consider hiring a professional for repair if:
- they do not know what is wrong
- they are uncomfortable doing the work or worried they will damage the door
- the problem seems to be related to the torsion spring system, which is more complicated and dangerous to fix
Not all garage door installers offer guarantees or repairs once installation is complete. Homeowners should keep the paperwork they receive at the time of purchase and installation for contact information and details about warranties. They may want to start by reaching out to the original installer, and then call the manufacturer for more information if necessary.
Although a garage door is far from the most expensive upgrade in the home, it still takes careful consideration. Homeowners should invest the time to research the best materials and types of garage doors before making a purchase. They need to decide whether they want a garage door opener or to use it manually. Some doors do not work with garage door openers, so people need to verify they can do what they want in advance of buying materials and arranging for installation.
Installation of a garage door is possibly the most important part of the process. With a faulty installation job, even the highest-quality door material will fail in a shorter period of time than its average lifespan. Homeowners must confirm they have the skills to do the work themselves, or else hire a professional to take care of it. They should also make sure they can do the work safely without injuring themselves or others.
The door that gets the most use in the home is also the heaviest, and it can be dangerous to use when it is not working properly. Homeowners should always follow safety procedures when operating, testing, maintaining or repairing the door. Regular maintenance can keep the door running smoothly years longer than expected. If people are willing to invest the time to research how to take care of a garage door and the money into a quality product, they can enjoy a functional garage entry for many years.