The garage is the sacred room where everyone’s valuable junk belongs. It means something different to every home in the world. For some, it’s a safe place for the finest mechanical engineering on the roads, while for others, it’s where they keep spares for decades.
And, when that fateful day comes that you want to take your beauty out for a spin in the scorching heat with the top down, there’s nothing more frustrating than when you can’t get it up. Suppose your door gets stuck shut. That’s your weekend gone!
If your garage door is on its way out, we’ll walk you through understanding your garage door and how it works. That way, we’ll make sure you’re well-equipped with all the knowledge required to make your garage door repair or replacement as stress-free as possible.
What Are the Main Types of Garage Doors?
Despite the traditional features of a garage door, there are various types of garage doors. The most popular ones seen in America today are:
Roller garage doors roll vertically with one or two-track systems that rely on friction to move despite gravity. They have metal gaskets that make the door move up and down with the easy push of a button. Roller garage doors are most popular on single garage homes.
Roller garage doors are good because they’re quiet, keep out water/cold/heat, and are easy to open and close. They’re also versatile with different styles and finishes. This type of garage door is for those who want to keep their garage rooms light and airy.
However, there are also a lot of downsides to this type of garage door. It’s great for insulation, but it’s not so great when it comes to security. They’re also tricky and time-consuming to adjust if not well-maintained.
Sectional garage doors consist of panels that slide up and down along tracks. They’re good if you want to be able to see what’s in your garage or want to have a clear view of the side of your house.
The main downside with this type is that they’re quite noisy in most cases and aren’t as insulated as roller garage doors. Sectional garage doors are the most popular choice for many homeowners because they offer style, versatility, and flexibility.
Tilt garage doors don’t have tracks, but a mechanism that tilts the door then pulls it into the garage roof. These are commonly found in residential garages and have been around for decades. Although they may be heavy, they’re easy to operate.
They’re the most affordable type of garage door and are the easiest to repair as the door itself is made of one piece. However, these doors also lack insulation compared to other types of garage doors.
Similar to a roller but sideways, side-slide garage doors roll on a horizontal mechanism into the garage walls. Although they are similar to rollers, they’re unique in that they don’t have tracks.
That makes them popular and attractive to many homeowners. However, they also lack insulation due to their horizontal design. That makes it more difficult to create a seal.
Although these types are not very popular, they’re great for cars that park on the side of the home. The main drawback of this type is that they lack security features. That’s because, while most track systems keep the door from moving once it’s open, a side-slide garage door will only keep it open for you to get in and out.
These doors can be either manual or automatic. They’re ideal for garages with less foot traffic, like the ones found in a residential area. These doors are usually less expensive than other types and provide more privacy.
They’re also safe to use because they’re harder to break through. Part of their security is because installation happens from the inside of your garage. That helps keep intruders out and ensures that only you and your car can access your garage.
The side-hinged garage door is a classic style door that’s the same as your typical house front door. Hinged at the side, it’s more suitable for low-headroom garages that need vertical space rather than width.
Advantages of side-hinged doors include their ability to hide away when open and provide a better weather seal than horizontal doors. The main disadvantage is that they require more space when opening and closing the door as they open outwards.
That’s why they’re more common in industrial settings than residential, where garages require weatherproofing and security more than convenience.
Here’s How Garage Doors Work
No matter which type of garage door you have, the basic function is pretty much the same. The emergency release switch, which may vary depending on the type of garage door you have, sends a signal that activates a spring to open a section of your garage door on its track.
Electric Garage Doors
In recent times, there has been an insurgence in the popularity of electric garage doors. Unlike other parts of the home, much of the garage door mechanism remains the same, whether manual or electric.
Therefore, the purpose of an electric garage door is to replicate the human steps and force required in unlocking and opening the garage door, or vice versa. They do this by using a coil spring that provides a torsional force when in operation.
A garage door opener is often known as a DC motor, which is the most common kind of motor used. The garage door opener also has a sensor that detects the door’s position.
The sensor tells the motor when to turn on and off, which allows it to keep the door at its desired position. The DC motor also has a gearbox, which transforms the rotational force of the motor into a force that drives the door upwards when it is open.
Manual Garage Doors
Aside from this, these two devices are very different. For example, a manual garage door doesn’t connect to an electric outlet.
Instead, it has torsion springs (a helical spring that acts like a giant clock spring). These springs attach to the door and come equipped with cables.
After the door is opened, tensioned by the springs, these cables pull it up and down. The spring tension forces it into its best possible position. When the door closes again, it returns to its original position against these cables.
Types of Electric Garage Door Openers
There are many types of electric garage door openers, from remote control to GPS to alarm features. But, there are a couple of mechanisms that make them distinct. These are:
Chain Drive Opener
Chain-drive openers are the most common for electric garage doors. They comprise a motor that runs on a chain along with an opener arm. The advantage of this type is that if the chain breaks, it’s easy to replace.
To drive your door, you just attach the opener to the edge of the garage door and release it. It causes a torsion spring to be tensioned, which closes the door. When the door opens, there is no need for you to release the door when it’s at ground level.
Screw Drive Opener
A screw drive opener has a motor activated by a drive shaft attached to a crank that turns the track. It doesn’t use torsion springs. Yet, it does require manual effort to push the door.
Although it needs more force than a chain drive, this type is quieter than its electronic counterpart. They’re also cheaper and less complicated to install.
However, they do wear out faster. These openers often exist on manual doors.
Belt Drive Opener
A belt drive opener is similar to a chain drive opener in controlling the garage door. However, it’s different in that it uses a belt. Instead of a torsion spring, a belt drive is tensioned but with the tensioning belts.
They’re also quieter than chain drives. However, they’re less convenient to use and can be more susceptible to wear and tear depending on the belt type.
Control Panel Embellishments
Many things can be different between electric garage doors, such as lighting, temperature control, and speed control. You can enhance these features by adding a control panel design to your garage door.
The control panel placed on your garage door is largely dependent on the type of garage door opener system you have. When installed by itself, it can be attached to the garage door or located in the home. You may even hide it inside the garage.
When avoiding any obstruction, the control panel can be mounted on its own or integrated with the garage door opening mechanism. You may also hang it from underneath the door.
Which Controls Suit Which Use Cases?
If you have a small or medium door, a remote control may be less expensive and easier to use than a combination control panel. With this feature, you can make the most out of your convenience features.
If you have a very large door, however, a remote control may not be as effective. You may want something that works no matter where you are in the yard. With a control panel attached to the door, you can use a keypad to open and close the garage door.
Lastly, You may use some options instead of a keypad. These include fingerprint or retina scanners, key fobs, and phone apps to control the garage door. While these are convenient, they can be costly and complex to install.
What Are the Main Garage Door Problems?
Garage doors last a long time if well looked after. That said, they do also have reliability issues as they get older. Here are some of the main garage door problems.
If a spring breaks or an opener jams, you may need to replace it. If the springs are fine, but your garage door is still not working, you probably have an alignment problem that needs to be corrected.
A malfunctioning switch can be an exasperating problem. But it’s easy to fix if you know what needs to be done and where they are located.
I’m sure you’ve noticed this. Garage doors tend to get bent, but this is an easily fixable problem by replacing tracks or bending the tracks back into shape.
If your door is not aligned with its track, it can bang into the opening of your garage. That isn’t very pleasant.
These problems usually cause excessive wear and tear on both your garage door and the opener. And that can be expensive to fix.
These can become damaged by different things, including abrasive debris. Usually, it’s only aesthetic, but the door may need replacing if it compromises the security.
Garage Door Lock
A broken hinge or deadbolt can be annoying. You can always replace the lock with a new one if you want to.
Although it’s not a problem with your garage door, it’s still worth mentioning. That’s because this type of damage can affect the entire structure of your garage door.
Faulty Control Box
If you have a wall-mounted system, this is the place where your light or temperature regulator will be. You can check any other parts of your garage door, too, such as track sensors and safety sensors.
If your garage door remote is not working, chances are the remote needs a new battery or has died. Check to make sure it’s charged and that you’re pointing it at the right spot. You can also try replacing the batteries to see if that fixes the problem.
Other Electrical Issues
Have you noticed that the lights on your garage door opener are flickering? Or is there no power going to your door at all? If it’s not an issue with your control box, it could be an issue with the wiring from your fusebox in your house.
Why Fix Your Garage Door?
The simple answer is safety. Garage doors are heavy and can cause serious injury if not operated correctly.
If your door is broken, you could have a serious accident on your hands. And, it can cause damage to what’s inside the garage as well as you. So make sure everything is working properly before there are any accidents involved.
If you’ve found out about which parts are broken and there’s something seriously wrong with your garage door, you can either repair the garage door or replace it with a new one. Let’s take a closer look at both options and see which is better for your needs.
Repair Your Garage Door
Repair is the first port of call for any issues that look like You can resolve them with minimal effort. It might be a bit more time-consuming, but it can be well worth the trouble.
You can do this yourself if you have the right tools and knowledge or hire someone to help. Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved when repairing a garage door.
How to Repair a Garage Door
Much of the procedure depends on the type of door, the nature of the repair, and the type of garage door and opener you have. Below are some simple tips for repairing a garage door:
1. Look for the Cause of the Problem
If you’re having trouble operating your garage door, you can check to see if it’s something simple, such as a broken or malfunctioning remote.
If it’s opening, try and find the garage door problem, so you know what you’re looking at repairing or replacing. Don’t forget to identify the parts that need fixing by checking the door’s labels, so you end up with the right ones!
2. Prepare the Task Ahead
Before you start fixing your garage door, it’s important to make a plan. Set up the repair area and tools you’ll need.
Your repair area and tools can be anything from a table to a specific type of screwdriver. That will help you make repairs quickly and accurately.
3. Repair the Door
Remove the damaged part. This is usually done by unscrewing it but may require the door to be removed in its entirety.
If you’re conducting your repairs, it’s always advised to have a second person on hand who can support you with moving the door. You’ll also be safer knowing you have someone who can make sure everything is safe.
Replace the damaged part with a new one. You can do this either by ordering a replacement or using spare parts built into the door itself. Put everything back together in reverse order.
4. Test Several Times
Check if the problem has been resolved. If it wasn’t, then repeat the step and check again. And, even if it works, keep checking the door throughout the day.
Various factors such as temperature fluctuations can play a role in the door acting differently every time you go to test that it works. So performing these maintenance checks thoroughly before reusing the garage means that you’re less likely to suffer injury or any issues soon.
Replace Your Garage Door
Sometimes it’s easier to get the whole door replaced. Even if a repair is feasible, it may not be financially viable to conduct the repair due to the age of the door and increased maintenance that comes with a garage door that’s over 20 years old, for example.
But when you’re looking for a replacement garage door, what’s involved? Let’s look at the slight differences that will help you decide the best option for you.
How to Replace a Garage Door
Garage door replacement is similar to an extensive repair in that it’s necessary to dismantle the door and then put a new door on. If the door is a like-for-like exchange, it’s possible only the door needs removing and not the entire mechanism.
In this case, you could argue it’s a repair rather than a replacement, so keep an eye on terminology here regarding warranties supplied with garage doors.
Do-It-Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional
Garage door repair and replacement is usually a DIY job that requires a bit of know-how.
But if you are not the handy person or you haven’t got the time, and you’re looking for someone to help with your garage door repair or replacement, then make sure you do your research.
To help, we’ve provided some pros, cons, and basic guidelines on what to expect.
Do-It-Yourself – Pros
There are many benefits to doing it yourself. Here are some of the pros of repairing your own garage door:
By adopting a hands-on approach, you’ll better understand the garage door and its components. Should anything go wrong in the future, you’re in a better position to solve the issue.
Good for DIYers
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, then you’ll be able to do things by yourself and save some money. For those who love repairing things, the results can be very rewarding!
Knowledge and Experience
If you’re the kind of person who loves to learn how things work, fixing your garage door is a great way to educate yourself on the mechanics and labor skills that are going into repairing or replacing your garage door. For a rare few, it can be an enjoyable, stimulating experience.
When you’re doing it yourself, you’ll be saving money on labor costs and only paying for parts. It’s often the go-to solution for quick fixes or those who are competent but can’t afford the outlay of hiring someone to do it for you.
Do-It-Yourself – Cons
Repairing your own garage door does also have its downsides that You can’t ignore. Here are some examples:
Although you may be a DIY expert, unless you’ve had the proper training and skills required, it’s a risky business doing your work on a garage door.
There’s every chance you might think you’ve returned the door to its “as new” state. That said, you might return to find that when the temperature drops, the effects of heat have caused the door to misalign worse than it was before. Or even worse, seize up completely so you can’t open the door.
Working with large parts can be very dangerous, and if not done properly, it’s easy to make a mistake. Check your local area’s building and safety regulations before undertaking this type of job. The last thing you need is a garage door dropping on someone’s head because you didn’t secure it well enough after repair.
Let’s face it. Chances are you’ve got better things to do with your days off than fixing a garage door. And, it’s not just fixing the door. You have to diagnose the problem, research how to do it, travel to the shops (or wait for delivery), and buy the right tools.
Then you find you’ve bought the wrong size tools, so you have to start again. And then, you’ve put the door back together and ended up with a part in your hand. So you have to dismantle the door again to fit it correctly. Sometimes it’s best left to the pros.
Hiring a Professional – Pros
It’s safe to say that the pros of hiring a professional garage door repairer outweigh the cons. That’s no different from outsourcing any special skill, whether in your home or for your business. Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest advantages of hiring a professional.
Safety is extremely important when dealing with garage doors. Hiring a professional will guarantee that your door has all the safety standards required by law and codes.
Having someone in the house to monitor your garage security can prevent many problems that may have occurred if you had been alone. This is even more important for elderly homeowners or people who are not fully aware of their surroundings. Hire professionals who can offer a same-day service.
Before hiring a professional, always ask about what they will do to protect your home during the repair process. Some can provide a roof and doors for protection against any damage that could occur during the work.
When hiring a professional, you’ll be required to pay upfront for the service. Hiring a pro can also save costs in the long run as repairs tend to be less expensive.
When hiring a professional, you know they’ll use the best materials needed for the job. You can trust that they will use quality tools and replace parts where necessary to ensure the work is done properly.
You can’t deny the knowledge of a professional with years of experience to their name and skill in the industry. They will always be better than learning on the job.
Fixing a garage door can be tiresome. If you lead a busy lifestyle and have other things to do, then hiring a professional will save you a lot of time and stress.
Peace of Mind
It may not sound like something you should care about. But when hiring a professional, you know they will take care of your garage door even when you’re away, relieving those anxieties.
Value for Money
Value is a little different to cost. Even though outsourcing your repair may cost more, you could be spending your time making money by working and not having to take days off. The value of outsourcing work suddenly becomes an investment instead.
Hiring a Professional – Cons
There are some downsides to hiring a professional. But as we’ve discussed, many can be positives with the right outlook. But here are a few downsides to consider:
If you suffer from financial hardship, paying the initial outlay required for a garage door repair can hurt your bank balance. That said, many do offer payment plans, so it’s worth asking to see if they can accommodate your needs.
It’s a sad truth that every industry has its rogue traders. But fortunately, thanks to online reviews and social media, these are becoming few and far between these days.
Make sure you always do your research and due diligence when finding a company in your area. Find one that others have used, have strong work guarantees and excellent reviews to make sure you’re getting the right service.
Garage Door Repair Costs
The cost of repairing or replacing a garage door varies depending on everything we’ve discussed. However, expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $2000 for a full installation service, including parts, labor, and warranty.
For a professional repair, garage door costs can go up to $400, depending on the parts required. Straight away, you can see there’s a tipping point where for many, installing a new garage door might be the preferred option for long-term financial savings.
If you plan on doing it yourself, parts cost anywhere up to $200 per part, depending on what you need. But remember, you won’t have the same guarantees as a professional, nor will you have the same quality of work. Plus, you could lose a day’s wages trying to sort any issues out yourself instead of working.
Hire a Garage Door Company for Installing or Repairing a New Garage Door
If you’re looking to add an element of style to your property or want to add some value, a new garage door is often the way to go. While this isn’t usually a DIY project, it’s still possible if you have the skills and the time.
But it’s always worth checking your warranty on your original door first. Check the warranty is still valid. Then you should go ahead and contact the provider or supplier in the first instance for your free garage door repair.
Then, if out of warranty, the choice depends on what you value most; extending the door’s life or replacing it with intent to add value to your home or make life easier at a cost.
Either way, we’ve no doubts you’ll feel satisfied. You’ll know that you can secure your valuables (or junk) in peace once more!
So if you’ve decided that hiring a professional is the best way (and we agree!), then get in touch with ODG today and let us take on that stress of repairing your garage door!