Repairing concrete under teh door

A client called about having to repair a section of concrete between the sidewalk and the garage. The concrete area was about three feet wide and truly in bad shape. The problem is easy enough, but to do so you need to leave the garage door open for at least one day. But the the client had personal reasons for not wanting to leave the door open, I didn’t really understand them, but he was adamant so I had to cave.

We don’t pour concrete but we get a few jobs for things pertaining to it so we have a contractor whom we work with regularly. I told  him that the best thing to do would be to lay the concrete early in the morning so it can bake all day and have him lay a plank of wood across the area being fixed. Barring that the only thing he would have been able to do is lay down a film of plastic over the concrete while it set, otherwise he will need a very thing board


Cables becoming tangled on roller drums

One DIY client called my up and told me he had replaces a wooden garage door with a metal one, but that when he tried to open it, the cables got all tangled up on the roller drums. Now the door doesn’t hang right.

Usually there is one major culprit in a case like this.

Sounds stupid, but some people put the drums on the wrong end or the drums otherwise not being installed properly

We ended up going out to the guy’s house and discovered that the track was too close to the wall and it was making the door hang up. the fellow had rolled the cable the wrong way. It was a simple job but really unnecessary.

What should i do if I have gaps at the bottom of my door?

Gaps appear on garage doors between the door and just about anywhere else around the door. They can be caused by any number of things.

If you have a wood paneled door, sometimes the the panels can sag. In a case like this you will need to call a professional. Another very common reason for garage door gaps is caused when the slab at the bottom of the door sinks or moves. If the gap is not too big, you can pad it with weather stripping. If you have a gap that is, say , larger than three quarters of an inch, you can tack a piece of wood to close the distance.

If your gap is larger than three quarters of an inch, and we have seen some as large as 2 inches. In that case you will need to take some radical steps. You might try injecting concrete under the slab, but it will require a professional and it will be expensive.

My garage door makes too much noise.

Sometimes garage doors, even brand new ones, make a lot of noise. What can you do?

  • First you can take some grease and lubricate the hinges. Use a silicon spray, as opposed to WD-40
  • Have a look at the springs and make sure they are tight enough. It is not uncommon for garage door installers to overlook some of these things.
  • Spray the chain and glide bar with lubricant.
  • Examine the rollers. Metal rollers are sturdy, but they make more noise they ones made of synthetic materials.
  • In some cases a noise cannot be avoided. For instance, if your living areas are above the garage, the garage door opener vibrating on the garage door/ your floor can make a hellacious noise. You will need to buy and install some thick rubber dampers, which can be bought anywhere. They are not only for garage doors.
  • If none of the above works, you might have to encase the motor in a sound dampening box. Refrigerators use them because the motor can vibrate the entire appliance. They can also be used for garage door opener motors.


How to measure for a garage door

Say you’re in the market for a new garage door and you want to go to a dealer and talk to him about it. The first thing he will want to know is how big your current door is. But there is more to measuring a garage door than height and width. Here are some of the things you will need to measure:

  • The first thing you should measure is the width of the door.
  • Then measure the width
  • You will then need to measure the amount of space on either side of the door, from the edge of the door to the perpendicular wall, or whatever structure you have there, including pipes, beams etc.
  • Then measure the space between the top of the door and the ceiling.
  • Finally measure the ceiling from the garage door to the back of the garage.

Taking these measurements properly will allow the garage door dealer to make more accurate calculations as to spring installation and track placement, and will help calculate garage door clearance. For some of these measurements, you will want a helper. Not only for safety reasons, but because some of the measurements are difficult to take accurately by one person, especially the ceiling and above door measurements.

Warm weather brings garage theft threats from open garage doors

It’s almost summer and that means that the temperature will be rising and homeowners will be opening windows doors, and, yes, their garage doors. And it is precisely now that you have to keep a lookout for the criminal elements who want to capitalize on everyone’s new found openness.

Police warn that it is at this time of year that many types of common theft are on the rise. Since many people are leaving their garage doors open, the rise in car thefts has risen proportionally. It might mean the theft of cars or theft of things left inside cars, or even thing sitting around in the garage. Most thieves grab what they can from an open garage door. Maybe they take a bike or power tools. Sometimes people leave the wallets on the front seat of their car, and some even leave their car keys the ignition! An unsecured garage also allows for an easier home invasion.

With lots more walkers on the street, there are more chances of being hit by a car theft burglary by someone who looks like they’re “just walking by”. It’s important to make sure that  you take precautions and secure your garage door. You might take solace in the fact that car thefts are among the most easily prevented.

Has your garage door ever opened by itself?

This doesn’t really happen very often, but if it does you will find it very creepy: you come out to your car in the morning and discover that your garage door has opened by itself. The first thing most people think is that someone has broken into their home. The reality may be stranger.

The phenomenon is called a “phantom operation” in the garage door manufacturing industry, and they are well aware of it. Usually it happens after an electrical storm. What happens is power surges can make the garage door opener act in unpredictable ways, namely open the garage door. Incidentally, if your garage door opened during a lightning storm, is is probably damaged and you will have to have a repairman look at it.

Other reason for the phantom operation include

  • other electronic devices that use the same frequencies as your garage door are being used in your area,
  • accidentally pushing the open button when you have it in your pocket.
  • a short circuit in the unit

Resolution to this problem will vary from one situation to the other. Sometimes taking the batteries out of the remote and putting them back in will do the trick. Another thing you might try is to reset the frequency of the remote. One thing you can be pretty sure of is that someone has your code. On newer doors the number of combinations is in the hundreds of millions, so if that was your worry, you can put that one to rest.

Garage door R-value

If you’re a conscientious garage door shopper, you have probably across the term “R-value, ” but what exactly is that. The short answer is that it’s a value that t indicates how well something is insulated, and the higher that value is, the better.

R-value is related to insulation and how the door is made. Any door can be insulated, but if air is allowed inside the panels, that insulation will not work as well. Doors with higher R-value are tighter, therefore allowing the insulation to do its job better. If you are not sure how well your garage is insulated, there are instruments that allow  you to measure the effectiveness of your door or anything else in your house for that matter.

There are times when R-value can play a big role. If, for instance, you have a living space above  your garage. Consciously buying a higher value R-value would help you keep that space warm in winter.

If you live in a cold climate, you should shoot for a door of at least 6, and even in more moderate climates, you should settle for nothing less than a 4. Note that if your garage is not an attached door, an R-value will probably be meaningless, unless you keep your garage door heated with it’s own heating system.

Fiberglass garage doors and their maintenance

Fiberglass is not a particularly common material for garage doors, though they do have their adherents. The biggest advantage of fiberglass is weight.  They are typically framed with aluminum and can come in any number of colors. Fiberglass garage doors are among the favorites of people who live near the ocean because they are resistant to corrosion.

Fiberglass doors are not the best solution for every situation. If security is a major concern, fiberglass should not be your first choice. Additionally, fiberglass doors are not good insulators, though they can be fitted with insulation. That said, they are not recommended for cold weather because they will not hold up well.

Fiberglass garage doors deteriorate over time like anything else. Often they will develop cracks which will not be fixable. You can at least be reassured that they will not dent.

In terms of maintenance, acrylic paint is recommended because it’s durable and easy to work with. Simply washing the door down the panels well. Sanding is not recommended because fiberglass scratches easily, and could even be a health hazard if the powder becomes airborne. Apply a primer first and then the acrylic.

What to do if your garage door is stuck

Your garage will probably get stuck at one point in its lifetime, and sometimes it will be an easy fix and sometimes it will not. Here are a few tricks of the trade that, should you find yourself in the position, you will be able to at least get your car out of the garage. You will still in many cases need to call a garage door repairman, so these tips should be considered temporary fixes.

  • My garage door is starting to sag at the bottom and is becoming increasingly difficult to open. This is a common problem with doors that have seen a lot of use. In this case you will need a tension rod that spans diagonally across the inside of the door and tighten them up slowly so as to not make things worse. This is an inexpensive solution, and will hold up for a while. You might even find that your door already has them.
  • I can’t lock my garage door. If you cannot lock the door, look for horizontal bars on the interior of your door. These bars should fit into holes on the side of the door, which serves as the locking mechanism. Usually you only have to realign them by loosening them and re-tightening. If you are in a real clutch, just put something in the slot to keep it from being opened. You will have to enter and leave through another door until the situation is fixed, of course.
  • The power is out in my garage.  Sometimes a fuse blows at the wrong time leaving your in a lurch. If you can’t fix it on the spot, find the emergency release cord that should be hanging from the ceiling. At least you can get to work.