There is an inevitable question we all face with many mechanized items – is maintenance or repair enough, or is it time to replace the entire unit? Garage doors and automatic openers qualify for this question, and there are many factors to consider, from the foremost concerns of safety and security to the less urgent – but still important – matters of appearance, ease of use, and energy efficiency. This guide will help you examine, point by point, the most important things to inspect and evaluate.
Garage door parts can be purchased through many sources, and there are occasions, if you have the proper tools and the door’s installation manual (many can be acquired from the manufacturer online), you may well be able to handle them yourself. It is always a good idea to check the warranty for your garage door and opener; your repair may be covered. Parts may eventually wear out with heavy use or are damaged through accident or misuse. When you discover a faulty or broken part, the prudent course is to tend to it quickly rather than let it go and risk more extensive damage or increased safety risk. Nearly any component of a garage door can be replaced.
- Rollers and Bottom Seals
- Lift Handles
- Windows and Inserts
There are garage door parts that, for a variety of reasons, should be replaced or repaired by professional services. The biggest factor, again, is your safety. Springs are especially dangerous to work with because of the great tension they are under. Other repairs are too complicated or ungainly for most homeowners to undertake.
- Garage Door Torsion Springs
- Garage Door Sections
- Garage Door Track
- Garage Door Openers
What Signs Should I Look for to Determine If It’s Time to Replace My Garage Door?
While some choose to replace their garage door for aesthetic reasons or to upgrade the look and efficiency of their home, or because they are converting their garage to other uses, the trigger most people respond to is clear evidence that their door is ready to be retired. Some things to watch for and consider:
Peeling or Cracked Paint is Evidence of Weather Damage to Wood Garage Doors
San Diego is world-famous for its temperate weather virtually year-round. Even here, wood garage doors in San Diego, especially those that have not been properly sealed, painted, and maintained, are vulnerable to serious weather damage from rain, sun, and other environmental conditions. Cracked, rotted, and even faded (UV-damaged) doors may be at the point of partial or complete replacement. Wood doors are susceptible to termite infestation, a big concern in San Diego. The condition of the paint or finish is often the surface evidence of deeper problems and should not be ignored. Physical damage, such as holes or gashes, can be points where water damage can spread, or “wick up” from the base of the door. ADS Automatic Door Specialists can evaluate the condition of your wood garage door and help you make an informed decision on repairing or replacing it.
Sagging, Bent, or Bowed Wood Garage Door Sections
Gravity takes a toll over the years – and wood doors are not immune. If you see gaps under the ends of your wood door, or if it visibly sags or scrapes, we recommend replacing it. This kind of damage can lead to problems with the door opener and even contribute to structural failure. Wood door sections that have not been properly reinforced can be bowed or warped over time by the pull of an automatic opener.
Dents, Dings, or Dimples in Steel Garage Doors
Steel garage doors, especially those constructed with thinner gauge steel, can accumulate an assortment of dings, pits, dents, and gashes over time. These hurt the appearance of the door but can point to structural damage as well. The best way to limit this kind of damage, of course, is to start with a superior quality door: A dual-layer steel door with two 27-gauge steel skins and a bonded insulating core is the benchmark for a door that will wear well and look good, potentially for decades. They have the added advantage of far superior insulation, which translates into lower energy bills. Surface imperfections can be gently hammered out from the inside in non-insulated doors, but that is not an ideal solution. Individual door sections may be replaced, and for many, that is the best way to go. You may, however, want to look at upgrading your door to minimize this kind of damage and gain a much better warranty.
Keep an Eye on Your Energy Bills – Your Garage Door May Be a Hole in Your Pocket!
Garage doors older than 15 years or so, or cheaper “basic” doors in some new homes, will not have the newest foam core insulation and full perimeter weatherstripping that seal out the cold, heat, and wind that drive up energy bills. If you have living space in or adjacent to your garage, an insulated, well-sealed door is a direct energy (and cost), saver. ADS Automatic Door Specialists offers a full range of insulated steel garage doors with R-values as high as 17.2 (The R-value is a measurement of the thermal efficiency of a door, or how well it insulates. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation). Do you know your garage door’s R-value? ADS Automatic Door Specialists can tell you, and help you make the best selection for your energy use and home comfort. And remember, insulation helps keep a garage quieter as well.
Your Garage Door Should Not Be Hard to Open or Close – Or Wake Up the Dead
Automated garage doors are surprisingly complicated pieces of machinery with a lot of moving parts. If your door gets heavy use, those parts will wear out over time. Broken or improperly tensioned springs compromise your safety and risk complete mechanical failure for your door. Even minor torsion spring damage or wear puts undue stress on your garage door opener, San Diego, leading to malfunction or worse. Here is a checklist you should walk through periodically:
- Torsion Springs (Single or Dual): You can quickly test the spring tension of your door. If you have an automatic opener, fully close your door and disconnect the opener by pulling the manual operation cord (it will have a red handle). Then manually open the door halfway. If it does not stay in place, your spring(s) need adjustment or replacement. Contact ADS Automatic Door Specialists for this service – Never Attempt to Repair a Torsion Spring on Your Own.
- Cables: Frayed, loose, or dangling cables indicate a high risk of cable failure – and the real possibility of injury or property damage. This is something for the pros – call ADS Automatic Door Specialists for prompt inspection and repair.
- Steel Wood or Glass Sections: The sections of garage doors that roll up along a track must be in excellent alignment with sound structural integrity to work correctly. If even one is bad, it can lead to greater problems for the whole garage door system.
- Track: Bent or twisted tracks are a serious warning sign, sometimes indicating loose bolts or attachments, and leading to other problems if left unattended.
- Rollers: Noisy or bumpy rollers usually require lubrication or replacement. High-quality nylon rollers are best for the smoothest, quietest operation – and are best installed by ADS Automatic Door Specialists.
- Hinges: Bent, broken, or misaligned hinges should be replaced.
- Caution: The bottom brackets on all garage doors must never be removed while the door is under tension. ADS Automatic Door Specialists has the expertise and tools to properly replace the brackets and make any other necessary repairs.
Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Your New Garage Door
Painting and Staining: An annual inspection of your wood garage door will give you a chance to address any cracking, peeling, or fading of paint or finish before it leads to wood damage. Painting or staining/sealing on both sides and any other exposed wood surfaces before installation is required for maximum protection and refinishing every few years (depending on the conditions in your area) is strongly advised. Steel or aluminum garage doors, or composite doors with painted elements, do not need to be repainted unless you want to change the color or have damage to the paint finish.
Reduce the Friction – and Wear – with Proper Lubrication: Metal moving parts will need annual lubrication with a light household 3-in-1 oil. Lubricate door hinges, rollers (metal, not nylon), sheave bearings, torsion springs, and the lift cables at the bottom corners of the door. This pays dividends over the years and will help prevent or certainly delay more costly replacement or repair.