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“There’s poetry in being the band that can sell out Wembley but also makes a record in a garage. I don’t like doing what people expect me to do.” – Dave Grohl

Based on the quotation mentioned above by Dave Grohl, the garage can, and should, be considered a foundational part of a traditional free-standing home. Its uses include a motor vehicle house, a storage unit, and a place where new and innovative dreams are birthed and brought to fruition. Many a vinyl record, CD, DVD, or EP (Extended Player) recording has had its origins in one of the band member’s garage.

It is also a well-known fact that the Search Engine brand, Google, was started in a garage in California in 1998. According to Tom Huddleston Jr, in his article titled “Google Started in this Garage Office in California 1998 – take a look inside,” in 2018, the twentieth anniversary of Google, the company was worth over $800 billion. And, it started as a “fledging internet company, consisting of its two founders, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, working out of a garage.”

Consequently, it makes sense that there is most often valuable equipment stored in a garage, and it needs to be protected by a reliable, well-designed, and maintained garage door.

Thus, let’s look at how garage doors are constructed and maintained. And, let’s consider common garage door issues, and how to prevent them. In summary, let us discuss everything there is to know about garage doors, how to maintain them, and how to avoid major problems from occurring and reoccurring, especially issues that will reduce the door’s expected life span.

History of the Garage

Residential Garage Door

A well-constructed garage door should last for decades.

As part of the well-rounded approach to “everything garage door,” it is a good idea to devote ourselves to discussing a concise history of the rise of the garage from its humble origins as a dilapidated shack to a vital, integrated part of the modern home. The phrase “ramshackle shack” is probably an overstatement in that not all garages had poor construction. However, it provides a sense of the sentiment of the day. Consequently, we shall leave the comment as it is.

In our post-modern world, the website, thisoldhouse.com, notes that the garage door has become a preferred entrance to the typical American home. As stated above, and confirmed by the author, Jim Gorman, in his article titled “All About Garage Doors,” about fifty years ago, the garage was a detached structure situated at the end of the driveway. It was a structure built for a single-car that was not very well maintained. Hence, the reason for the earlier description of the fifty-year-old garage as a dilapidated shack.

Fifty years on, and the garage is now attached to the main house. And, it plays a vital role in the day-to-day movements of the homeowner and his/her family. Furthermore, its design and construction ensure that between two and three cars can fit easily into the garage. And, it provides the residents with the ability to remotely open and close the garage door without exiting the vehicle, drive into the garage, and walk straight into the kitchen or other living space via a door situated between these two areas.

Definition of a well-constructed garage door

It stands to reason that, because of the high-value items stored in the modern garage, and the ease of access to the main living areas, it is imperative that a well-constructed, secure door covers the garage. This door is typically operated by a remote so that the homeowner can manually open the door, drive-in, and close the door before walking into the house. Two presses of a remote-control button open and close the garage door, respectively.

It is essential to note that the need for added security is playing a more significant role in our global world. In some countries, it is not safe to get out of the car and manually open the garage door before driving in. The risk of being attacked or highjacked is too high. Thus, the garage door needs to be a defensible barrier between alleged criminal elements and the homeowner’s family.

Thus, the definition of the modern garage door is a door that is solid, secure, and impenetrable. It must protect or form a defensible barrier between the outside and the garage and home contents. Additionally, as previously noted, it must act as a security door between the outside world and the residents within the house. Consequently, it is vital the garage door functions optimally all of the time.

Jim Gorman once again supplies us with a perspective on the garage door. He notes in his website article, thisoldhouse.com, that even though the primary focus of, or raison d’etre for, the door was to protect the high-value contents housed in the garage. As well as allowing the garage to act as a secure extension of the main living area, garage door designs were still either “blank slabs of stamped steel or painted plywood.”

Circa ten years ago, architects and garage door designers and manufacturers started adding custom features such as X-shaped panels and decorative hardware like door handles and hinges. Soon after this design revolution, garage door manufacturers started producing decorative garage doors out of fiberglass, solid wood, steel, glass, and vinyl. The garage door designers now aim to design the garage door so that it matches the rest of the home’s architectural style.

Maintenance tips for the garage door

Now that we have looked at a brief history and definition of the ideal garage door let’s consider the garage door components. In summary, a garage door includes the physical door, hinges, torsion springs, tracks that the door’s rollers run in, rollers, lock bar, and weather-stripping.

Thus, it is safe to assume that many parts need to be regularly maintained to ensure optimal functioning over a long period. Otherwise, a manual breakdown could cost a lot of money to repair or replace.

Therefore, here are several tips to help you maintain your garage door.

Garage door opener maintenance

It is essential to test the efficiency of your garage door opener to avoid serious problems.

Lubricate the moving parts

The moving parts, including the hinges, door rollers, and torsion springs, need to be lubricated at least once a year. And, it is essential to use the correct lubricants; otherwise, the grease will clog up the moving parts and cause more damage. Thus, white lithium grease and a spray lubricant should be used to oil these parts. It should only take about thirty minutes a year to grease these parts. And, it will result in years of smooth, efficient functioning.

Check the weather-stripping regularly

The weather-stripping is the rubber weather seal installed on the bottom of the garage door, designed to keep elements out of your garage and home. This rubber strip will eventually crack; thereby, losing its ability to keep the weather like rain and snow out of your garage.

Rainwater and melted snow can cause substantial damage to your garage contents and your home. Therefore, it is essential to check the weather-stripping regularly for cracks and wear and tear. And, replace it as soon as it starts cracking.

Inspect the door’s rollers

The rollers run in the tracks, and they are a vital part of the core components that facilitate the door’s movements. These rollers are either nylon or steel. And, they need regularly inspected to ensure that they continue to function optimally.

Both these nylon and steel rollers will wear out. And, if not timeously replaced, this can result in a door getting stuck in its tracks, refusing to move up or down. Consequently, preventing you from entering or exiting the garage, resulting in a considerable waste of time.

Therefore, it’s best to replace these rollers once they start wearing out; otherwise, you will end up with a door that is stuck in its tracks and will not open or close properly.

Weatherproof the door

It is vital to maintain the door regularly; otherwise, the external weather-resistant coating will wear off, resulting in damage to the door.

For example, a wooden door needs to be varnished or treated routinely with an outdoor varnish or weatherproof coating. That is especially true for a door that faces the hot summer sun for most of the day or is subject to extreme cold, rain, and snow during the winter months.

If the protective coating is not periodically applied, then the wood will crack and allow the elements to leak through the door into the garage.

Preventing garage door common issues

Common garage door issues

Professional garage door services are required to repair most of the common problems homeowners face.

The garage door is the largest single item in your home. It opens and closes multiple times per day, week, month, and year. And, its moving parts are expensive to replace if the related issues are not taken care of immediately. The door itself is also costly to buy, but the moving parts and the remote-controlled motor are more likely to break than the actual door itself.

Thus, potential mechanical breakdowns are a normal consequence of having a door used so often. So it is vital to keep an eye out for issues and prevent them from breaking down before they result in severe consequences like the need to replace the door or any one of its moving parts.

Here are some guidelines to ensure that common garage door malfunction issues do not occur. If you find wear and tear on one or more of the moving parts or the garage door motor itself, it is better to call a professional garage door maintenance and services company to repair or replace the damaged or malfunctioning components.

It is also critical to note that the cheaper the parts, the sooner these components will wear out and need replacing. Therefore, garage door maintenance is a balance between cost and longevity. The ideal is to aim for cost-effectiveness when maintaining and replacing parts. In other words, the new part’s value needs comparing against the part’s expected lifespan.

Here is a list of ways to determine whether an issue is about to occur or not.

Pay consistent attention to the door and its moving parts

As described above, a garage door has many moving parts that are required to synchronize with each other for the door to function optimally. And, as discussed above, moving parts tend to wear out.

Additionally, it is possible to listen to the noise a garage door makes when opening and closing to determine whether there are issues or not. Should you hear something that sounds out of sync, it is crucial to ascertain what is wrong with the door before there is a mechanical breakdown.

Test the safety measures

A garage door motor, when designed and installed correctly, should reverse direction when it hits an object before it is fully open or closed. Secondly, be sure to install photoelectric beams on the walls on either side of the tracks. That will ensure the door reverses direction when closing if an object passes through the photoelectric beams.

The way to test both of these is as follows:

  • To check the door’s ability to reverse directions, open the door, place an object like a brick on the ground in the door’s path, and then close the door. The door should stop and start opening once it hits the object.
  • Secondly, to test the photoelectric beams’ functionality, open the garage door, close it and while it is closing, move an object like your leg through the door’s opening. The door should stop and reverse back up into the open position.

Final thoughts

Now that we have discussed everything to do with the modern garage door, including how to maintain the door’s mechanisms and to prevent common issues from causing irreparable damage, the only thing left to ask is whether you have any questions or not? In other words: Talk to an expert.