What maintenance does a garage door need?
The garage is an important feature of any home. It is extra storage space, a workshop, a hobby room, a lawn equipment room, or a place to keep your vehicle. That is just the inside. Just like your home, the outer appearance of your garage, like an aged and worn look or a damaged garage door, can affect your home’s curb appeal.
A garage door normal wear and tear can make the door look abused and old, but there are ways to avoid this. It is to this note, we are going to discuss garage door damage, garage door wear, and tear, and why keeping your garage door maintained is just as important as the rest of your home.
Even though most days we enter the garage several times, most don’t think about the maintenance of the garage door, until there is garage door damage. Like many other aspects of a home, garage door maintenance should be a routine, once or twice a year. Why? Because it is used so much.
Especially one with an automatic garage door opener because of all the stress it goes through each time it is opened and closed. An inspection can take about an hour to ninety minutes, well worth the money you’ll save by not having to replace it or pay a professional to repair garage door damage.
If you choose to do the inspection yourself, here is a 10-step routine to follow that a professional contractor will typically follow:
- The Tracks: Inspect the tracks and clear out any debris and rust. Make sure they are plumb with each other and make any adjustments needed. Jammed or rusted tracks are often the culprit behind garage door damage.
- The Hardware: An average garage door is opened and closed hundreds, even thousands of times every year, the motion and the vibration can loosen any hardware on the door or track. Inspect the door track brackets on the ceiling, wall, and the fasteners that anchor the garage door opener to the frame. Tighten any loose bolts as necessary. A loose bolt in any of these areas can cause severe garage door damage, damage your car, or severely injure anyone.
- The Rollers: The rollers are located along the garage door edge and do a lot of work. They should be inspected annually and replaced every five years. During the inspection, look for any chips, cracks, or worn looking rollers. Replacing them is simple and can be done by the homeowner except for the bottom roller bracket. This is under tremendous tension and should only be replaced by a professional garage door contractor. A lot of garage door damage could be avoided if a regular inspection had been performed on the rollers.
- The Cables and Pulleys: The lift cables and pulleys are attached to the bottom roller brackets and connect the springs and door to help raise and lower the door. When these are broken or worn, garage door damage and possible injury are possible. There are extension springs and tension springs, both are under extreme tension and should only be repaired or replaced by an experienced garage door contractor.
- Clean and Paint or Stain: As you inspect the garage door system, examine the door itself. If it is a metal door that is steel, look for rusted spots. These should be sanded, primed, and the door repainted. If you’re looking to improve the looks of the door, you can find videos online that will show you ways for staining garage door to look like wood. This look will add to the curb appeal of your home.
- Apply Lubrication: All moving parts of the garage door should be kept lubricated to reduce stress and extend the life of your garage door and to prevent any garage door damage. You can purchase a high-quality spray white lithium grease and apply it twice a year to keep your garage door moving easily. This should be applied to the extension-spring opener pulleys, the torsion-spring opener bearings, and if your garage door has a metal chain or any screws, apply the grease on them. DO NOT GREASE the belt-drive opener.
- Door Balance: A garage door that isn’t perfectly balanced has to work harder, shortening its lifespan and possibly causing garage door damage. It shouldn’t take more than a few pounds to raise a door and you can test this on an automatic opener by pulling the release handle, then open the door manually. Once open, the door should stay with no help. If it doesn’t, this indicates the door is off balance and the springs should be replaced. Because of the intense pressure garage door springs are under, this should only be done by a professional garage door contractor.
- Auto-Reverse Feature: There is an auto-reverse to every automatic garage door opener that stops it from closing if the sensors detect something is in the path. They have designed this to save lives and prevent car and garage door damage. This can be tested by placing a 2×4 board where the garage door will come down, then push the button to shut the door. If it does not raise back up once it touches that board, then the sensors need cleaning or replacing.
- The Weatherstripping: Garage doors have rubber weatherstripping placed along the bottom of the door to keep cold, dirt, dust, and water out. Twice a year check this stripping and replace it if broken, cracked, or missing. This is an easy replacement for a homeowner, and you can find the weatherstripping at any home improvement store.
- If the garage doors are fiberglass, you can clean them with any all-purpose cleaner and a water hose. You can find videos online to upgrade the look of fiberglass doors too.
- If your garage has wood doors, check for water damage and warping. If the door has been painted, you’ll want to sand off any chipped or peeling paint the repaint. Or consider garage door staining instead of painting.
- Staining a garage door can bring out the architecture style of your home and increase the value of your home. There are instructional videos online to show you how to stain a garage door. After all of this is done, make sure there is weatherstripping along the bottom once the paint or stain is dry.
What is included in a garage door tune up?
A garage door system is complex and intricate, and when the inexperienced is working with them, they are dangerous to that person (s) and the possibilities of garage door damage are possible. For the safety of everyone involved, we always recommend you have your garage door serviced by an experienced contractor. A tune-up for a garage door will include the following:
- A diagnostic inspection of the counterbalance, door sections, hinges, rollers, track, and weather seals.
- Inspect and tighten bolts and screws
- Rebalance door if necessary
- Inspect and adjust garage door travel and safety settings
- Lubricate chains and sprocket
- Test down force pressure
- Check electronic sensors are aligned and working
How often should you replace a garage door?
This can all depend on the frequency you enter and exit the garage, but the typical lifespan average is 10 to 12 years. If your garage door is still in working order after 12 years, it should be replaced by the 15th year. How do you know if you should repair any garage door damage, repaint, or stain it or replace the door other than the age of the door? The following is a guideline to follow:
- Fifteen years old – replace the garage door.
- Severe Garage Door damage – Any of the garage door panels are bent, broken, even missing, replacing the door is recommended.
- Frequent repairs – replace the garage door.
- A dirty, rusted metal door – sand and repaint if the mechanisms are working.
- A bent, warped metal door – replace it.
- The wooden door that is warped or has split wood – if sanding, repairing split wood and repainting or re-staining won’t improve the appearance, replace the door.
Keep in mind, the garage door is as much a part of your home’s curb appeal as the front door to the house. Keeping it looking good and in proper working order after any garage door damage is sustained will add value to your home. Need staining to get your damaged garage door looking its best? Call (817) 506-7722 today.