Garage Door FAQs
Below are the most frequently asked questions. Choosing a Garage Door that fits your needs is not nearly as important as hiring the right company to install it.
Q. How long do garage door springs last?
A. Garage door springs have a long life but like any other part of your garage door, they will need to be replaced sooner or later. Most garage door springs have a lifespan of 10,000 open/close cycles. If you only open and close your garage door once a day, that’s approximately 14 years. Opening and closing your garage door twice a day drops the lifespan to around 6 years. Using it more often drastically reduces the lifespan of your springs.
If you use your garage door frequently and it is approaching 6 years of age, it’s time to have them inspected to ensure they are still in good condition. If your springs are failing, the door will make a loud banging sound when operating and you will see large gaps between the springs. Eventually, the door will stop operating altogether.
If your garage door springs are broken or you suspect they may be failing, contact us for spring repair or replacement.
Q. How do I test my garage door safety reverse mechanism?
A. All you need to do it place an obstruction such as a piece of lumber or a box or anything solid in the center between the two garage door sensors. If the garage door does not reverse before contact with the object, you should have a trained professional fix the problem as soon as possible.
Q. What regular maintenance should I be doing on my garage door?
A. Yes, once a year you should inspect all garage door hardware such as the springs, cables, pulleys, rollers, and hinges for signs of wear. Lubricate all of these moving parts at least 3 to 4 times a year. Safety is always a concern, most garage door repairs should be performed by a qualified technician.
Q. One of the springs on my garage door broke, do I need to replace them both?
A. It is usually a good idea to replace both springs if one of them has failed. Actually it is highly recommended to replace both of your headlights in your car or vehicle when one goes out. When one spring breaks the other often follows. Isn’t it better to save yourself the inconvenience and cost of another garage service call and have both of them replaced. It is also a good idea to replace both springs because if you only replace one spring, the garage door can become off balance if one spring is worn.
Q. How do I know if the garage door is balanced properly?
A. You should be able to lift your door up to every section and it should remain in place without falling to the ground.
Q. How much do garage doors typically cost?
A. Garage doors come in many different styles and sizes. Considering it is the largest moving object on your home it would seem as if they were thousands of dollars. We carry a complete line of Amaar garage doors that fit any style home and any budget.
The most reasonably priced doors are constructed of a roll formed steel with a raised short or long panel design, it is labeled the Stratford 1000. These doors are a single layer of steel and come in a variety of colors. Pricing for these doors ranges from $450 to $1000 depending on the size.
The next step up would be the Stratford 2000. It is the same Stratford 1000 with a styrofoam insulation fit into the backside of the panels. These doors offer an insulation rating of 6.8 and help with the ambient temperatures in the garage. Well worth the minimal up charge usually adding anywhere from $75 to $180 more than the Stratford 1000.
The most of expensive of the three would be the Stratford 3000 steel back insulated door. This door is triple layer construction consisting of an outer layer of steel, middle layer of styrofoam insulation, and another inner layer of steel. This sandwich type of construction adds rigidity and inside protection to the insulated panels. The added protection does come with an added cost of about $650 to $1500 depending on the size.
Windows are available for any of the door models and will usually add anywhere from $65-$250 depending on the size and style.
The recent popularity in the new Carriage House doors have really brought the pricing down to affordable. Amarr offers several styles of inexpensive carriage doors for almost every budget. The Oak Summit and Classica collections are constructed the same as the Stratford series in a 1,2, and 3000 model. Most models are only a few hundred dollars more than a standard raised panel garage door depending on the size. Contact us today for a free pricing quote!
Q. What type of garage door openers do you install?
A. There are two different types of garage door operating devices. The most common is a standard drawbar operator that has a chain, belt, or screw drive mechanism. Motor sizes are available in 1/3, 1/2, and 3/4 HP. All three work great and have about the same lifespan but some do have added benefits over the other. We will discuss all three and let you decide which is best for you.
Chain driven operators have been around the longest and are still very much in use today. These openers use a standard bicycle style chain that will need to be lubricated and tightened on a regular basis. A lot of people have the misconception that they are very noisy but if adjusted properly can be very quiet and trouble free. The chain drive is usually the least expensive and a great option for detached garages or homes with only storage above the garage. We carry all chain drive operators manufactured by LiftMaster and Linear.
Screw drive openers at one time were the next best thing in residential garage door openers. They utilize a direct drive from the motor to a long screw that drives a trolley back and forth on the rail. When new these openers are relatively quiet and very efficient. Screw drive openers when older tend to get very noisy and need to be lubricated on a very regular basis. The Genie Company is widely recognized for their screw drive products.
In our opinion belt drive operators are the best way to go when choosing a new garage door opener. These work just like the standard chain drive only they use a kevlar belt. They are very quiet and require very little maintenance. The belt comes with a Lifetime warranty and are very durable. We always suggest a belt drive when there is a bedroom over or near the garage. The most popular belt drive is the LiftMaster 3280 and 3850 DC battery backup.
Direct drive operators are becoming very popular and with the introduction of the LiftMaster 3800 it is a great new way to open doors. The LiftMaster 3800 is a direct drive opener that mounts directly to the spring system to the side of the garage door. This opener is perfect for customers that have a lot of high lift, where the door travels high up into the ceiling rather that straight back overhead. We can retrofit any garage door to allow the use of this opener and it installs in very tight spaces.
Our technicians are familiar with all brands and we would be glad to install an operator if it has already been purchased by you. We are an authorized Sear installer for their Craftsman line of garage door openers.
Q. Do you carry wood garage doors?
A. Garage doors come in many different shapes and sizes. The very first garage doors were constructed of wood and in most areas of the Triangle are still in use today. These doors have an outer wood frame with a flat masonite panel. Wood doors are very durable and hold up very well to the occasional accident. If taken care of these doors can last forever.
Some of the disadvantages of the original style wood doors are rotting, sagging, and the on going task of keeping them painted. Over the years they sometimes tend to hold water and make the already heavy wood door even heavier. This extra weight adds wear and tear to the moving door parts as well as the garage door opener. Like anything else that is made of wood it will require regular painting to ensure a long lifespan.
The most common problem with wood garage doors is a rotted bottom section. This usually happens when water hits the ground and splashes on the section. Another problem with the larger 18′ wide wood doors is sagging. Another problem is the constant tension pulling upward on the bottom fixtures and the long span of the door cause it to sag or “smile” as it is sometimes referred. Replacing the bottom section will usually take the majority of the sag out of a large smiling door. If it still has gaps on each end, or if the floor is not quite level we can scribe the bottom of the door and cut the section for a perfect seal to the concrete.
We can get exact match replacement sections if the remaining sections are in good condition. Single wood doors usually have four square panels across the front and a standard double door can have up to ten square panels. Our wood replacement sections are constructed with one piece top and bottom rails without finger joints. Finger joints are one of the main causes for sagging doors.
On the other hand these original style wood doors are very durable. A lot of our homeowners like they way they look and feel the new metal doors are not an option for the overall style of their home. We always offer our best opinion on whether a wood door is worth the effort and expense of trying to save over a replacement metal door. Often times it is not cost effective to try and repair an older wood door compared to a replacement. As always we would be glad to come and offer our opinion on what is best for your home.
Q. Do you carry low headroom garage doors?
A. Homes come in many different shapes and sizes, so do the garages that are a part of them. Some have standard ceilings and the garage doors have standard radius tracks. Some have really tall ceilings with entry door obstructions, they get additional track extensions called high lift track.
Then there are the basement garages with very low ceilings and minimal headroom. Or that garage with the air duct, plumbing pipes, or beams that take away usable space needed to fit the garage door spring system above the door. Headroom is considered as the amount of space above the top of the garage door opening. With standard garage door tracks it takes about 12′-15′ of headroom for it to clear the ceiling and allow all of the garage door hardware to clear.
It is possible to fit garage doors in with less than the 12′ if you use what is called double track low headroom or DTLH for short. With DTLH it is possible to fit a door without a garage door opener in an opening with as little as 6′ of headroom, if a standard above the door drawbar operator is used it will need about 9′-10′ of headroom.
What makes the DTLH different is the horizontal pieces of track. Instead of a single track it has two tracks, one on top of the other. The top roller on the top garage door section runs in the upper track and the remaining rollers follow track directly under the upper track. This allows the garage door to come straight back when opening rather than going up several inches and then turning back. We usually try not to use low headroom tracks if possible because they really do not run as smooth as a standard door, sometimes we just do not have a choice.
There are a few other ways to solve a low ceiling problem with special top fixtures called quick turn brackets or sleds. These are a lot less expensive and run a lot smoother. They will work in between the 9′-12′ of headroom situations.