Garage doors are created to make your life easier. Simply press a button or enter a code, and it opens (or closes), allowing you and your vehicle access to the home. Aside from operating the door four times per day, however, the average homeowner doesn’t understand how that garage door works. Are you one of them? Not anymore! The following information is designed to give you a basic understanding of how a garage door works.
This article includes information on:
Types of Garage DoorsGarage doors have come a long way in recent years. Taking advantage of modern engineering, today’s doors are built for longevity – assuming routine maintenance is completed, using materials designed to naturally boost your home’s curb appeal.
Garage doors come in two basic types: They are either sectional with panels, usually four, that retract (roll up) along the ceiling of the garage; or resembling a barn door, they swing out. Almost all garage doors sold in the U.S. are sectional.
These doors can be manufactured in your choice of steel, composite, fiberglass, aluminum or wood. Additionally, for more modern or contemporary homes, there are full-view doors. These doors are made from glass with extruded aluminum frames.
Options for Garage DoorsMost types of garage doors can be designed to include window inserts. Window options include arched or rectangular, frosted or clear, and eye-level or high enough to still allow natural light in without jeopardizing privacy.
Polystyrene or polyurethane insulation is another available option to consider. Thermal resistance varies from R-6 to R-18. Because of its sandwich construction, an insulated door is more durable, and the enclosed garage space up-to 20˚F warmer or cooler year-round.
Vital Garage Door ComponentsThe springs. Garage door springs counterbalance the weight of the door, which makes them the single, most important component to consider. The two types of springs in use today are torsion and extension.
Torsion springs twist and are mounted above the door. Extension springs fully extend and are mounted above the horizontal track on both sides of the door. Standard torsion springs generally last between 15,000 and 20,000 cycles. Extension springs last up to 10,000 cycles.
To put this in perspective; if you open and close the door four times a day, the life expectancy of a 10,000-cycle spring would be about seven years. Obviously, the more the door is used, the sooner the springs will need to be replaced by a garage door professional. You should never attempt to replace the springs yourself!
Rollers. Steel, nylon, and reinforced nylon comprise the available options for rollers. The best rollers in our expert opinion are 13-ball nylon. These offer the quietest operation and last two to three times longer than standard rollers.
Tracks. Vertical and horizontal tracks guide the door as it opens and closes. The thicker the steel, the less chance the tracks will twist, bend or tilt under the weight of the door. Maintaining these tracks is essential for ensuring the safe functioning of your door.
Safety Eyes. The photoelectric sensors are a huge component for safety. Located on both sides of the door, they send a beam of light to one another, and instruct the door to automatically reverse direction if that beam is broken. Safety eyes have been required on all doors since January 1, 1993.
Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping applied to the door’s frame, bottom, and between sections helps prevent drafts and cut energy costs. It also prevents unwanted visitors – of the rodent and insect variety. You should inspect your door’s weatherstripping at least once a year. Replacement weatherstripping can be purchased at local home improvement stores.
Automatic Garage Door OpenersYou need an opener to operate the door. That is where brands, such as LiftMaster, and Craftsman come in. There are three drive types for openers, including belt, chain and screw. Before purchasing a garage door opener, consider your door’s weight, style and material. Automatic garage door openers typically provide 10-15 years of reliable service.
The three main types of drive mechanisms are:
Belt. Among the quietest drive option, this opener features a steel-reinforced rubber belt, which is molded into nubby teeth on one side. These rotate through a gear to pull the trolley. While generally more expensive than other types of openers, belt drives are a good choice for homes with attached garages.
Chain. Budget-friendly and reliable, this opener uses a thick, bike-like chain to pull or push the trolley. The chain sits slightly slack when the door is open. The downside to these openers is that they the nosiest option. If you have an attached garage, you may want to consider a different model.
Screw. Screw drives feature a continuous threaded shaft that connects the operator to the trolley. Its arm reaches towards the door. Providing optimal, quiet performance, these openers are perfect for heavier garage doors, such as insulated steel, full-view glass, and solid wood.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.