The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garage Door Maintenance & Repairs

One of the most overlooked components of your home is the garage door. It usually operates flawlessly several times a day but when it gets neglected and sub sequentially fails it can interrupt your daily routine.
Because a garage door is a very large, heavy, moving part, it’s prone to fall out of adjustment with daily use. When this happens, the door becomes harder and harder to lift and lower.

A garage door looks rather simple but it has many moving parts that need yearly attention to keep it in great working order. The best way to prevent a failure and high repair costs is to inspect it every year for loose or worn hinges, springs, and other hardware and, when you notice a problem, address it immediately before it has a chance to deteriorate.

Then lubricate the moving parts. Apply penetrating oil to all rollers and hinges at least once a year. If you notice any loose screws, bolts, or nuts, tighten them so parts won’t fall out of adjustment.

The most common garage door problem is that the door becomes difficult to lift and lower. This may be something that can be resolved with a few simple adjustments and basic maintenance, or it may be more serious. If the door is connected to an opener, determine if the problem is with the door or the opener. The first step is to disconnect the opener mechanism from the door by pulling the release cord or lever. If the door works fine manually, the problem is with the electric opener.

A door that seems unusually heavy to lift may have a problem with spring tension. Garage door springs are under extreme tension because of the loads they must lift, and this makes them dangerous to adjust. If your door’s springs are out of adjustment, do not attempt to work on them yourself. Call in a professional. If the door seems to bind in the tracks an adjustment and maintenance may be all that is needed. If it sags in the middle when opening or once it is fully open it may need a few bracing members.

With proper care and maintenance a quality garage door should last 30-40 years. The key to this longevity and lowest cost benefit is to spend about an hour a year on the maintenance if you can do it yourself or $100-$130 to have a professional service it. Again, spend hundred$ now in maintenance or thou$and$ later in repairs (or replacement). An average mid-grade replacement double wide door will run around $1800-$2700 installed.