Examining garage door tracks

Your garage door is mechanically simple, but because of its size and weight, simple things that go wrong can mean big headaches. Garage door track damage is one of these things. It takes a little bit of skill to identify track problems, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

You should first simply compare both tracks and see if there are any salient differences. Sometimes something may be obstructing the proper operation of the track; fragments, rust or other debris can work its way into the track though it may be difficult to see. You will first need to close the door slowly and observe how the door behaves. If it hangs on one side then debris is likely. You will need a ladder and a flashlight to get a good look so. Usually a screw driver can unwedge the offending particle and free the track. But be careful to not damage the track further.

Sometimes the mounting brackets become loose and thus become unaligned, in which case  yo can tighten them.

Remember! Don’t mess with any of the springs. They are dangerous and can lead to permanent disability.

Garage doors and home value

Replacing your garage door can be costly depending on which one you buy. But if you are thinking about putting your home up for sale, you will want to get the most bang for your buck. Most people don’t think about the garage door when it comes time to sell the home, but if you consider it for a moment, your garage door is the largest architectural element on the front of your home. Here are few things you can think about if you’re thinking about making the jump to buy a new garage door.


  • Metal doors like aluminum are the cheapest and the least difficult to care for, but they’re not always the nicest looking.
  • Wood doors are easily the most sought after because the natural materials simply look nicer. They do however require more maintenance.
  • There is another sort called wood composite which is made of wood chips and by products mixed with some binding material. It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s really very durable and requires far less maintenance that regular wood, and looks-wise it comes pretty close to the real thing.
  • Vinyl garage doors are extremely durable, and the most expensive, but require almost no non-mechanical maintenance.

Relative value of garage door features

Materials and aesthetics aside, certain types of doors are deemed more valuable than others.  For instance, if you live in a hurricane zone, a hurricane door will be viewed well. If you live in a cold part of the country, an insulated door is much sought after.

Enhancing home value

The great thing about buying a new garage door for enhancing  home value is that the added value of the door always exceeds the cost . On average every $1000 spend on the garage door returns about $1400 in home value increase. (Only new siding exceeds investment to such a great degree. ) So if you’re thinking about selling  your home, start thinking about your garage door.

Troubleshooting Garage Door Openers

The benefits that an automatic garage door offer don’t  have to be explained. People forget how much of a pain in the neck it was getting out of your car when it was cold or raining. Well, when your garage door opener breaks down, you will be reminded of those days. But to avoid that from happening, here are some troubleshooting tips you can conduct if your garage door opener stops working.

  • If the door simply doesn’t do anything when you press the button, the first thing you should look for is a dead battery.
  • If that doesn’t work, try opening it with the wall switch. If that doesn’t work there is probably something wrong with power getting to the unit. Check to make sure it’s plugged in and whether any fuses have been thrown.
  • Just because it’s electric doesn’t mean you can’t open it manually. There will usually be a chain on the ceiling that you can pull that will release the door, then manually open or close the door. If the door cannot be raised or closed, there is something mechanical wrong. Probably a spring.

How long do garage door springs last?

broken-garage-door-springWhen a garage door spring breaks, everyone in the house will hear it because it’ll make a great big crack sound, but you won’t know what it is until you try to open your door. The average garage door spring or torsion spring has between 75000 and 100000 cycles, which is opening and closings. This is typically 7 years or so, but some people go through springs every 3 or 4 years, and some of them last decades! It’s essential to get the springs that are right for the door, though. Some companies will install undersized springs knowing that they will break prematurely, and sometimes they just install cheap ones.

Keeping the springs lubricated or oiled can help by eliminating friction where the coils of the spring rub against each other. If the springs begin to rust the will make a scraping sound.

It is advisable to get both springs changed when one breaks, because it’s only a matter of time before the other one goes.

Color coordinating you garage door color with the rest of the house

colorful-garage-doorWhen people want to sell their home, they usually spruce it up with a new coat of paint. Many color conscious people ask whether the front door and the garage door should match. This seems like a good idea but coordination is not the only factor. For instance, if you have a front door that is a bold color like red, painting your garage door read will make it look conspicuous and probably draw attention away from the other architectural features that you will want to accent. It  might be OK if the garage door is on the side of the house. Most homes come in a three color scheme, one color for the outdoor wall, one for the trim and another for shutters if it has them. it would be advised to limit  the garage door color to one of the more subdued colors in the scheme.

Buying the right garage door for you

You don’t replace your garage door very often, so when you do, you need to make sure you cover all the bases. If you don’t git right the first, some stuff cannot be added on. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Make sure to test the security features. All garage doors come with modern features like motion sensor. When you buy the door, make sure you test it first.
  • Insulation: most people don’t think about this one. If you live in a cold part of the country, it should be a top priority, even if you don’t spend a lot of time out there. Good insulation will not only make getting into your car less unpleasant, but it will provide a buffer between the outside of your home and the inside, which means lower heating bills.
  • Security: it is unfortunate that the garage door is usually the easiest place for break-in artists to gain entry, and that’s why you have to think about security. If you are getting a remote control opener make sure you get one that is tamper resistant and has a “rolling code”  for added security.
  • Maintenance: some doors are more difficult to maintain than others. Wood doors look great but require regular washing and painting to prevent mold from destroying the paint and causing the door to deteriorate. As you might expect, metal doors are more resilient to that sort of thing.

Garage door safety

Garage doors built in the last 20 years come with some pretty sophisticated security features. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to hedge  your bets even more.

  • Make sure you know where your emergency garage door release switch is, and how to use it. It’s usually a cord that hangs from the ceiling. Your owners manual will show you where it is.
  • When the door is installed, make sure it is out of the reach of children. While you’re at it, why not give them a little instruction on the importance of garage door safety, and don’t let them play with the remote.
  • Don’t try to do any repairs on your garage door when it comes to springs pulleys, cables, or anything that is under tension. You can be seriously injured.
  • Make sure the auto reverse functionality is working by placing something in the path of the closing door.

Why you should consider a new garage door

You don’t buy a garage every day, so when the time comes you will want to make the right choice. The good news is that the garage doors of today are so much better than garage doors made 30 years ago.

Garage doors are more secure than they have ever been and they are better insulated. In general they need a lot less maintenance than they used to. There are more materials to choose from these days. Back in the day the wooden door was considered the “normal” door and aluminum ones were considered “low rent”. But those types of doors are a lot more attractive. They come laminated and in just about any color you can think of.

Garage door as fashion statement

Your garage door is the first thing people see on your home, and architects are designing garage doors with this idea in mind. Thing is most of these garage doors go on homes in housing developments, and there’s only so creative an architect can be in that situation.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own statement. You’re the one who owns the house so you may as well get what you want. People are thinking more and more about how their garage door tells others about their tastes. Additionally, a newer and nicer door can boost the price of your home considerably. These days a lot of people use their garage more than they use their front door, and that’s why you should get exactly what you want. Garage doors are the single most important part of your home’s exterior so you should think about how they integrate into the overall look and usefulness.

Higher end garage doors are the latest thing and in some cases you can design your own.

Replacing your garage door opener

garage door opener installationThere isn’t much to a garage door opener, and as a rule they are made to last. Nevertheless, there may be other factors that go into making the decision to buy a new one.

For one thing, garage door opener crime security has improved quite a bit over the last decade. Older openers had a fixed code and enterprising thieves could rig a remote to exploit vulnerabilities in that code. Nowadays, garage door openers have what is called a rolling code which encrypts the code every time you use it.

One long time problem has been what happens if there is an electrical outage in your area, or you have blown a fuse. Newer garage openers how have a battery pack as a backup for such emergencies.

If you have an old garage door opener, chances are it’s pretty loud. Most of the time this is not a problem, but if someone is trying to sleep in on the weekend, a loud opener can really louse up the day. Older openers were loud because they used a noisy chain as a drive. Newer openers have belts or big screw drives that make almost no noise because they have no moving parts.

Keypads are another feature that is not common on old openers. Keypads are mounted outside the door and allow you to open without a remote, and it can be pretty handy. It is technically possible to buy a pad by itself, but if your door is that old it may be time to upgrade anyway.

Perhaps the most important feature added in the last 20 years is the auto-reversal mechanism that is mandatory for all openers. Essentially if something is in the way of the door closing, the door will reverse itself. You don’t want to be caught underneath a 200 pound garage door.