garage door maintenance tips & Repairs & Safety

The hardware of your garage door should be kept in good conditions, especially the hinges, rollers, weatherstrips and most of all the springs - the most critical element in a sectional roll-up garage door. Periodic inspections and basic cleaning (and annual or bi-annual repainting and staining, in the case of wood garage doors) are also part of door maintenance programs.

Garage doors are complex devices with moving parts subject to wear. So, the better you maintain and clean your garage door the better it will operate and the longer it will last.

Basic Maintenance Garage Door Cleaning Tips

Consider cleaning your garage door regularly, to reduce build up of corrosive elements. You may use a mild detergent and a soft car brush.

Keep the area under the door free of obstructions; dirt, leaves, or ice will prevent a solid seal and may affect the alignment and weight distribution…

Wood Garage Doors Maintenance

Maintaining a wood garage door is a much harder task than maintaining most other types of garage doors.

Even the best wood garage doors are too prone to warp and damage. Besides regular lubrication and other basic hardware maintenance, common to other types of doors, there are other issues to take into account.

- Depending on the climate and wear, you may need to paint or stain the door yearly or so; pay attention to signs of flaking or peeling. You may have to sand and clean the door before any work begins. Use a quality product designed for outdoor use.

- Like with steel and other types of garage doors, check all the working parts of your wooden door at least once a year. That includes the springs, hinges and rollers, as well as other “moving” parts. Make sure that they are well lubricated and that they allow a smooth movement.

- Also check for loose screws, bolts and nuts at least once a year. Look over the entire door. That’s critical to avoid damage and expensive repairs.

-  Inspect the garage door tracks. They should be correctly lined up with the rollers. Alignment is critical to get a smooth movement and avoid expensive damage. Simple un-alignment can be corrected by 1) loosening gently the bolts, 2) hammering them gently into their correct position and 3) re-tightening them back again.

- Large single-piece garage doors may start to sag in their middle after some years of use. If it is your case, try a metal support rod on the inside of the door, to reinforce it; just attach in on the inside.

- Up and over wood garage doors may become stiff and difficult to lift after some years of use, typically because of spring tension issues. Also typically, as with other spring tension issues, it’s better to call in a professional.

simple Garage Door DIY lubrication

Preventive maintenance - for all types of garage doors: steel, wood, fiberglass garage doors. - involves roller and hinge lubrication.

Do it according to the manufacturer's instructions, one or two times a year:

- Lubricate all the pivot points.
- Apply spray oil to the moving parts of the garage door.
- Garage door springs should be oiled at least once a year (torsion springs).
- Allow the oil to drip down and coat the cables.

Torsion springs lubrication is important to reduce the friction (extension springs don't need lubrication). Lubrication prevents premature breakage and contributes to a longer lifespan.

Lubricate the springs one/two times a year by spraying a gel lubricant or proper oil across them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Apply the oil across the top of the springs.

Pay special care to the anti-drop devices of your sectional garage door (a restraining cable or other similar device installed on the extension spring of the door).

Checking the garage door hardware

While lubricating, check the garage door hardware for signs of wear: springs, pulleys, rollers, cables...  Some parts may start to loosen with use. Loose nuts, screws and bolts should be tighten.

Do-it-yourself vs. professional Garage Door Repair services

Do not try to repair what’s not easy, even if sometimes it seems so. Do not try to adjust and replace door springs and tracks, unless you are very skillful and knowledgeable.

You can look online for videos providing a detailed instructional on issues such as how how to properly lubricate a garage door. But have a qualified technician to make more complicated repairs and maintenance. Contact a local garage door services company, or a manufacturer representative. Be careful with online videos and "how-to" repair garage door online advices.

Take special care with door springs. Torsion and extension springs (and the cables, brackets and other hardware attached to them) are under high tension, and should be handled properly to avoid serious injury.

Videos on how to Maintain, inspect and test wood, steel and other garage doors from Professional associations

Videos on how to maintain, inspect and test your garage door:
DASMA/IDA garage door inspection guide, Part 1
DASMA/IDA garage door inspection guide, Part 2
Lowe's How to maintain a garage door.

Certified garage door Technicians, installers and dealers

If your are searching for a Certified Garage Door Technician, in the USA and Canada, take a look at Door Education Find a Technician, or search an accredited dealer at Door Education Find Dealer.

Garage door maintenance and Repair advicing

Introduction to garage door maintenance and safety:

For garage door associations, see:
International Door Association (IDA): Garage Door Dealers Association.
DASMA: North-American trade association of garage door manufacturers
IDEA: Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation.

For more resources see the NWDA Industry Resources; and also the National Fenestration Rating Council Helpful Links.

tests for Garage door Maintenance and safety improvement

There are several garage door tests that should be carried out regularly, namely the balance door test and the reversing door test.

Balance door test: disconnect the door from the opener and check its operation; operate the door by hand, lifting it… If the door doesn't operate smoothly enough, or if it falls back down, something may be wrong and springs may have to be adjusted… Once left to itself, the door should stay open 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) above the floor. If it doesn't, have it adjusted by a technician.

Reversing test of the door opener (if the opener hasn't this feature, replace it; that's required by new standards): with the door open, place a thick object (say, a large piece of wood) on the floor, near the center of door, and push the wall button, to close the door. The door should reverse when it strikes the object. If it doesn't, call a technician. The problem should be repaired.

Force Setting Test: this safety test also intends to assess the reverse operation function of the door. Hold the bottom of the door as it closes: if it doesn't reverse readily, it may need adjusting.

Garage doors are heavy devices, responsible for many severe personal injury cases and property damages. New features like the anti-drop safety device can greatly reduce the risks, but maintenance and regular inspections and safety tests are also critical.

Safety devices to lower risks

New safety standards for automatic garage-door openers include...

» electronic-eye systems to lift the door upward if the system detects people or objects in its closing path;

» the automatic door reverse function, to automatically reverse the closing direction of the door when it makes contact with something;

» specially designed joints to push fingers out of the cracks;

» the anti-drop device, to prevent the door from free-fall in case of cable failure (even high quality steel springs will eventually wear out and break).

safety and Maintenance precautions

Garage door safety and maintenance requires basic precautions: do not stand or walk under a closing door; keep the children away; do not allow them to play with the transmitter or the remote control; do not install the push button wall control at their reach; teach the children not to touch a moving door and the hardware. The section gaps of a moving door are particularly dangerous.





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