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.
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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.
Fall is the perfect time to get your garage ready for cooler weather. Here are some ideas to help you winterize your garage.
Maximize Useful Space
The garage is often the most cluttered and poorly utilized space in the house. In fact, it is home to so much stuff – from sports and recreational equipment to seasonal decorations and garden tools – that there’s rarely room to park one car; let alone two in a three-car garage.
This fall, plan to get items off the floor, onto the walls, and into clearly labeled compartments with modular and overhead storage. You can easily purchase everything you need – shelves, cabinets, hooks, pegboards, and ceiling mounted storage racks – at a local home improvement store.
Mix open shelves with cabinets to keep everyday essentials in sight while concealing less-useful items. Store the kids’ sports gear in a bin near the trunk of the car; position surplus paper goods in a cabinet near the door leading into the house; hang hand and power tools on hooks from the pegboard.
With the holidays quickly approaching, move summer items to the back and pull forward any seasonal decorations, and winter sports gear. Move whatever you don’t plan to store in the garage to another location in the house. Make sure to label everything using a handheld label maker, so it all goes back where it belongs.
Inspect and Replace Weatherstripping
Replacing the weatherstripping around your garage door will keep rodents, debris, rain, and dust from getting in. It can also improve energy-efficiency by keeping cold air out – an especially valuable quality in an attached garage. Materials needed for this project include bottom or threshold seals and side and top weatherstripping. Don’t forget to improve weatherstripping on any side entry doors, as well.
Install a Heating Unit in Your Garage
While weatherstripping, along with insulation will help keep cold air out, they’re likely not going to keep you toasty warm when you’ve committed yourself to completing workshop projects during the most frigid times. Installing an electric heating unit is a great way to heat a garage with minimal space requirements and construction costs. Most can easily be mounted on a garage wall or ceiling.
Schedule a Maintenance Appointment
Just like regular maintenance for your car, with proper care and service, you can extend the functional life of your garage door. Further, most manufacturers recommend scheduling preventative garage door maintenance by a licensed garage door repair professional, annually.
A qualified technician can help identify extensive wear and tear, and parts that need repair or replacement, as well as tighten any hardware that may have become loose over time. This service will save you money that you may otherwise have to spend on costly repair or replacement.
While we often spend most of our time and money remodeling a kitchen or investing in smart home technologies, we often neglect the one feature that makes up 40 percent of our home’s frontage; the garage door. We only turn our attention to the garage door when it suddenly stops operating properly.
What most homeowners need to understand is that just like your car the garage door requires routine inspection and maintenance. In fact, performing monthly visual inspections is one of the best things you can do, ensuring it continues to open / close reliably and you don’t encounter these common garage door problems.
The remote won’t work
One of the most common, not to mention, frustrating garage door problems occurs when the remote fails to open the garage door. Oftentimes, a faulty garage door remote is a simple fix, which can be resolved in one of three ways. The first thing you should do is to make sure you’re within range.
If you moved closer, and the remote still won’t open the door, check the antenna. Located on the opener’s motor, it should be hanging down. If it’s not, gently move it back into place. You can also try pushing the garage door button on the wall. if the door opens, try changing the batteries in the remote.
The garage door won’t close
All garage doors manufactured on or after January 1, 1993 have photoelectric sensors, which transmit an invisible beam between each other to detect if anything is in the garage door’s path when it closes. This safety measure is there to prevent the door from closing on top of someone or something.
If your garage door opens normally, but doesn’t make any attempt to close when the remote is pressed, the first thing you should do is visually inspect the photoelectric sensors. Over time, these sensors can become dusty or misaligned, causing their connection to break.
Using a soft cloth, gently wipe away any dirt or residue that has built up on the sensors. Once clean, if the door still doesn’t close, you may want to check their alignment by measuring the height of each sensor from the ground. They should be installed 6″ from the garage floor. Use a level to make sure they’re pointing directly at each other, as well.
If neither of these quick fixes are effective, contact a local garage door repair professional.
The track is not properly aligned
The metal tracks (horizontal and vertical), a component of your garage door, guide the door while opening and closing. With daily use, over time the tracks can be misaligned, causing the door to drag or bind. This can make it hard to open and close your door. Continuing use of the door may cause it to break loose of its tracks. It’s important to have the garage door repaired by a professional.
Arizona’s monsoon season – June 15 through September 30 – brings summer thunderstorms that often strike suddenly and with violent force. High winds, lightning strikes, torrential rain, dust storms, extreme heat, and the occasional microburst are all par for the course during “the monsoon.”
Since 1995, these weather patterns have resulted in tens of millions of dollars of damage each year, according to www.monsoonsafety.org. Taking the following precautionary actions can help ensure an unremarkable monsoon season for you and your family, as well as minimize potential property losses.
Check Your Garage Door
The durability of your garage door is vital. Not taking your garage door’s wind resistance into consideration could spell big trouble. Garage doors are rated for their ability to withstand various wind speeds. You should consider these ratings when shopping for a new garage door. It’s also important to make sure the door is operational. If it’s malfunctioning or damaged, contact a local garage door repair professional.
Make Room in the Garage
If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time clear out that over-stuffed garage, making room for your vehicles. Parking your car in the garage provides much needed peace-of-mind during a storm. This also allows you the opportunity to get any personal belongings off the floor, out of carboard boxes and stored safely on shelving units so that if any water penetrates the garage, they’re protected.
Clean Out Rain Gutters
You’ve heard the message a thousand times, but there’s good reason – gutters direct water away from the perimeter of your home. Clogged gutters or downspouts can result in damage to your home’s paint, siding, and roofing. Additionally, over time, water can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Don’t wait until it’s too late to clean your gutters. Clear out debris once in the fall and again in the spring.
Prepare Your Landscaping
Trim any large trees that are near your home. Branches should be kept 10 feet away from your roof to prevent damage. Stake down any young, immature trees to protect them from damaging winds and water logged soil. Take care to bring anything that can cause more damage (e.g., toys, container plants, lawn furniture, wind chimes, bird feeders, grills, etc.) inside.
A noisy garage door is a real problem. It creates discomfort, interferes with an individual’s peace of mind and if there are living quarters directly above or adjacent the door, can disrupt sleep.
Wearing earplugs is one way to deal with the noise. Locating the culprit, and fixing the problem is another. The latter is a long-term solution and one we think you’ll like better than having to remember to put in earplugs before crawling into bed at night.
Here are a few simple ways to quiet a noisy garage door.
Test the Door’s Balance
One of the first, and most important things you should do when rulling out the culprit of your noisy garage door is to check the door’s balance. An unbalanced door can cause a lot of noise. The International Door Association (IDA) recommends testing the door’s balance once a month as part of a preventative maintenance program.
To test the door:
Tighten Up the Hardware
Over time, it’s only natural for hardware to loosen, especially considering the number of times the door is opened and closed (four times a day on average). Using a basic wrench and socket set, tighten all the nuts and bolts on the door, including those that hold the tracks to the support brackets. Be careful not to over tighten them.
Replace the Rollers
It’s not uncommon for old or worn rollers to make a lot of noise as they roll up and down the metal track. To correct this situation, replace them with nylon or steel covered in rigid nylon rollers, which are quieter and don’t require regular lubrication. This is a job for a garage door repair professional only.
Replace the Hinges
Another potential source of noise are the hinges that hold the door panels together. Hinges should be regularly lubricated. Broken hinges, however, should be immediately replaced since they can cause serious damage to the door itself. Replace with heavy steel which should last 10-15 years of normal use.
Upgrade the Garage Door Opener
Chain drive openers are the most common units available. As their name implies, these openers rely on a bicycle-like chain to push the trolley connected to the J-arm, which understandably results in a noticeable amount of noise. If your sleeping quarters are directly above or adjacent the garage, consider a belt drive unit.
What You’ll Need:
The exterior of your garage door can certainly take a beating. From the constant exposure to sunlight and weather to the normal everyday wear and tear that comes from being operated four times a day (on average), it may not take long before it’s time for a makeover. If you would like to update the appearance of your door, leaving it looking like the day it was first installed, then this garage door staining guide is a must read!
How To Gel Stain the Door
Step 1: Select a Stain
Visit any local home improvement, hardware or paint supply store, and you’re sure to find a gel stain rated for exterior use in your choice of color. Choose a tone that compliments your home’s exterior. Purchase stains in a matte finish. This product goes on easy and won’t hide your door’s natural grain. For inspiration, visit Pinterest.
Step 2: Prep the Door
Depending on the current condition of your garage door, you may want to do a little sanding to remove any superficial rust, scratches or peeling paint. Next, you’ll want to thoroughly spray the door down with a degreaser, cleaning off any lingering debris using a clean sponge or rag. Rinse the door using a pressure washer or garden variety hose. Once dry, use painter’s tape to mask any decorative handles, trim or windows.
Step 3: Staining
Now that everything has been properly prepared, you’re ready to start the staining process. Using your brush, stain the recessed areas, working your way down from the top. If you so desire, you can create a faux woodgrain finish with your brush using a decorative technique called “strie.” For directions, click here. Allow the door to completely dry. Apply additional coats as necessary.
Step 4: Cleanup
Once you’re done staining, it’s a good idea to thoroughly rinse your paintbrushes, rollers, and all other reusable supplies in water until the water runs clear. Store brushes by hanging them upside down on hooks. Carefully remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any stain.
Consider a New Garage Door!There are situations when staining unfortunately isn’t the best option. If your door is damaged, you may want to consider investing in a new garage door. At Phoenician Garage Door and Repair, we offer a wide variety of new garage doors. Give us a call today at (602) 304-1313 to find out what a new garage door can do for you.
Newer model garage door openers offer increased safety, security and convenience, making upgrading a worthwhile expenditure. If you are ready to purchase a new garage door opener, here is what you need to know to help narrow down your choices.
Garage Door Opener Drive Systems
Chain Drive: This opener uses a thick, bicycle-like chain to pull or push a trolley. This moves your door up and down. The downside is that they are the nosiest option available. If you have an attached garage, you may want to consider choosing a different model.
Belt Drive: Featuring an ultra-quiet, steel-reinforced rubber belt, a belt drive garage door opener is a good choice – especially if you have an attached garage with living space directly above or adjacent to it. Belt drive openers do require some maintenance; albeit less than chain drive openers.
Screw Drive: Looking for something powerful but don’t want it to be too loud? Screw drive openers provide optimal, maintenance-free, quiet performance no matter what the climate. These openers are great for wider, heavier doors such as insulated steel, full-view glass or solid wood.
Horsepower: Although a 1/2 horsepower garage door opener should be sufficient to operate all but the largest/heaviest door, higher horsepower (3/4 or 1 1/4) openers can move a door with less strain.
Battery Backup: The best thing about this feature? When, and if the power goes out, the opener has enough power stored in the unit to allow you to operate the door as usual.
Internet Connectivity: Can’t remember if you left the garage door open? If you have a smart garage door opener, you can check the status of your door from anywhere, anytime.
Rolling Code Technology: This technology selects a new, non-repeating access code from about 1 million possible code options every time you click your remote control ensuring your safety and security.
Keyless Entry Keypad: One of the most popular garage accessories, a keyless entry keypad provides convenient access to your home should you or other family members leave your keys behind.
Wall Mount: If the height of your garage doesn’t allow for a traditional, ceiling mounted opener, a wall mounted opener is a great choice. A powerful, 24V DC motor provides ultra-quiet operation.
At Phoenician Garage Door and Repair, our experienced, licensed and insured garage door service technicians are ready to help with garage door opener installation and garage door opener repair, as well as new garage door installation and garage door repair. Contact us at (602) 304-1313 for a free installation estimate.
What better way to welcome spring than with a clean, organized garage, which allows you to both store your stuff and protect your vehicles? Follow the next four steps to obtain a space that is as functional as it is aesthetic.
Step #1: Declutter
The first step of any deep clean is a decluttering session. This requires you to take a good, long look at your belongings, dropping those that no longer serve a useful purpose. To complete the decluttering process, you will need three bags or boxes; 1 for donations, 1 for items to throw away, and another for items that you wish to keep. Deciding whether a certain item stays or goes becomes a question of:
Now, if you pulled it out only to find it covered with layers of dust and cobwebs, then it’s probably past time to drop it. Toss broken and expired items. Donate items that you either have too much of, haven’t used in some time or that simply don’t serve you. Donating to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army helps someone else and provides you with a donation receipt you can use at tax time.
Step #2: Plan and Organize
Once you’ve decluttered, the real fun can begin – organizing. Before going out and buying storage solutions, it’s a good idea to plan how much space your vehicles will take. A good rule to follow is to have at least 13-15 feet of garage width per car. You will also want 22-26 feet of depth. This will make adding storage solutions, such as racks, pegboards, cabinets and workbenches easier.
Consider vertical storage options to optimize space. Hang bicycles and use overhead storage racks for items that only need to be accessed once a year. Tools are best stored on the wall using peg board. It is recommended that you store items in clear boxes with labels for ease of reference down the line. You can label the shelves too. This will free up valuable floor space.
Step #3: Clean the Garage Door
When was the last time you cleaned your garage door? A clean, well-maintained garage door can do wonders for optimizing your property’s curb appeal, as well as their values. On that note, grab a wet cloth and get to work on both sides of the door, paying special attention to any built-up grease or dirt. One cup Dawn dish soap to five gallons of warm water is an effective degreaser. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.
Step #4: Hire a Professional
Though these are some simple steps you can take on your own to keep your garage clean and organized, it’s important to have the door routinely inspected and maintained by a professional to ensure it functions safely. A garage door repair professional will adjust springs and cables, lubricate moving parts, tighten all hardware, tracks and hinges, test the safety sensors and reversal, as well as troubleshoot other issues.
1 in 15 garages may lack the latest garage door safety features or may not be operating properly according to LiftMaster®. Is yours one of them? Use our garage door safety checklist to find out. We recommend performing a thorough visual examination of your door monthly in addition to testing the door’s balance and auto-reversal system. If anything seems amiss, visit Phoenician Garage Door and Repair online, or contact us at (602) 304-1313 for same day or 24-hour emergency service.
Safer Garage Doors
As technology has improved, so too has the quality of garage doors and garage door openers, as well as their respective parts. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that all garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993 in the United States have what’s called an external entrapment protection system. This system includes photo eyes, automatic reversal, and a constant contact control button. If your opener was manufactured before this date, you’ll want to have it replaced.
Visually Examine It
Your garage door is quite possibly the hardest working part on your home – opening and closing an average of four times per day. Over time, parts can wear out and break, creating potential safety problems. Inspecting your door on a routine basis, however, often allows you to spot minor problems before they turn into major ones. To inspect your door, run it up and down, noting the movement and the presence of any unusual noises. Also, check the tracks, rollers, springs, and cables to be sure they are securely fastened and working properly.
Check the Photo Eyes
One of the most important tasks you can do is to check to ensure the photo eyes (black devices) are properly installed. They should be mounted on both sides of the door, no higher than six inches off the floor. These devices prevent the door from closing if they see an object obstructing the door without having actual contact with the object. To test, block them with an object over six inches tall, and activate the garage door opener to close. The door should not be operational.
Test the Balance of Your Door
You can easily check if your door is properly balanced. With the door fully closed, disconnect the garage door opener by pulling down on the release mechanism (red cord), so that you can maneuver the door by hand. If the door is balanced properly, you should be able to manually lift the door without much effort, and it should remain open. If it closes, even a little bit, the balance needs adjusting. Because the springs store so much power, you should have their tension corrected by a professional.
Test the Safety Reversal System
A common method of testing this system involves placing a roll of paper towels or a 2×4 piece of wood in the center of the garage floor. If upon contact with the object, the door fails to immediately reverse direction – opening to its highest position, the opener should be disconnected until repairs have been completed by a professional garage door repair company. Additionally, owners of garage door openers are urged to teach their children about garage door safety, and keep transmitter remotes out of the reach of children.
Beautiful homes. They are everywhere. They are depicted with flawless facades, pristine porches and white picket fences on popular television channels, such as HGTV and the DIY Network. While a garage door may not be the stuff of new home fairytales, it is likely the first thing you will see, so why not invest in a new garage door?
A new door will add style, curb appeal, and value to your home. In fact, according to this year’s Cost vs. Value report, replacing your outdated garage door can reap you a 76.9 percent return on investment. If ENERGY STAR rated, you may also be eligible to receive a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the product cost up to $500; not including installation.
Choosing a New Garage Door
Design – With so many aesthetic designs to choose from (e.g., classic, modern, and rustic), you are bound to find a new garage door that compliments both your home and neighborhood architecture, as well as your personal style. In terms of materials, you can choose between wood, steel and composite.
Functionality – When choosing a new garage door, it is important to look beyond practicality, curb appeal and increased property values to technologically advanced features. These features allow you to monitor the status of your door from virtually anywhere in the world thus providing increased peace of mind.
Insulated or non? – This is something you should really consider if your garage is attached. An insulated garage door can help you save on energy costs if you have a room directly adjacent to the garage or you use the space it provides for anything other than protecting your vehicle.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to perform new garage door installation, nor should you. Garage doors are both extremely large and heavy! Oftentimes, this causes them to be quite difficult, not to mention dangerous to maneuver. In order to ensure they are properly and safely installed, always contact a local, professional garage door repair company such as Phoenician Garage Door & Repair at (602) 304-1313. We repair, service, and install all makes and models.
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