Winter Maintenance for Garage Doors

A broken garage door is more than an inconvenience because it leaves the home open to harsh winter elements. That is why it is necessary to maintain garage doors when the weather turns cold.

Here are a few tips:

Wipe down weather stripping and check for cracks

The weather strip might get frozen to the pavement. If this happens, you will face trouble opening the door, especially if there are cracks in the stripping. Dry your weather stripping to avoid this issue altogether. If you notice cracks, they have to be fixed right away.

Clean dirt from the door, track, and rollers

As you use your garage door, dirt and grime builds up on it, as well as on the track, and rollers. It might not seem like a big deal now, but you have to clean the dirt before winter sets in. If you neglect this problem, the dirt traps in moisture, which freezes and causes difficulty while opening the door.

Lubricate all moving parts

All moving components have to be lubricated thoroughly, as they tend to get cold and stuck during winter. Lubrication ensures smooth operation at all times. Don’t overdo – wipe off excess lubricant.

Tighten the hardware

Garage doors move up and down thousands of times a year. When you do the same thing day after day, the garage door wears out after some time. Parts become loose, so they have to be tightened periodically, or they might fall off. Go in with a socket wrench whenever you get the chance and tighten up any brackets and bolts.

Test door balance

When the garage door balance is off, the opener is forced to work harder, so it might have to be replaced sooner. Disconnect the opener by pulling the release handle so the door moves about halfway up. If it doesn’t stay in place then there is a problem with your balance and you have to get it fixed professionally.

Inspect and replace your rollers

No matter what material your rollers are made out of they need to be inspected at least twice a year and replaced after seven. These numbers go up if you rely on your garage door a lot. If you notice the rollers are cracked or chipped, replace them without further delay. Remove and reinstall any roller brackets that aren’t attached to the cable system. Lastly, listen for any unusual sounds made by the garage door when it is being opened or closed, as these noises usually indicate faulty mechanisms.

What are the Most Common Materials Used for Garage Doors?

Choosing a garage door that meets all requirements and doesn’t stand out like sore thumb when it comes to the exterior of your home isn’t an easy task at all. Remember, a front-facing garage door takes up almost 20% of the front façade. A worn-out, beat-up garage door can damage curb appeal, which creates problems if you put up the property for sale.

Take a look at the most common garage door materials:

Wood

Wood offers a charm and authenticity that other materials merely mimic. Wood doors can be made locally in whatever size you need, and they stand up well to bumps from basketballs. The downside is that they require frequent repainting or refinishing, especially if you live in a damp climate.

Wood doors can range from being moderately priced to expensive, depending on whether they consist of a lightweight wooden frame filled with foam insulation and wrapped in a plywood or hardboard skin (the cheapest) or are true frame-and-panel doors made of durable mahogany, redwood, or cedar. Wood doors usually carry a short warranty, perhaps only one year. 

Steel

Metal is a better choice than wood if you don’t want to spend much on maintenance. Steel leads the pack because it is relatively inexpensive yet tough. Bare steel rusts and gets dented, so you need to touch up scratches promptly, and get them fixed respectively. Minimize this risk by choosing doors with sturdy 24- or 25-gauge panels rather than 27- or 28-gauge (the higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal). You can also opt for a steel door with a fiberglass overlay, which resists dents and doesn’t rust. Fiberglass will need periodic repainting or re-staining, though, because the color fades over time.

High-quality steel doors may have lifetime warranties on the hardware, laminations between the steel and any insulation, and factory-applied paint. Budget doors tend to have shorter warranties on some components, such as paint and springs.

Aluminum

Inexpensive aluminum doors, once common, have largely been replaced by sturdy counterparts with heavy-duty extruded frames and dent-resistant laminated panels. Rugged and rust-proof, these are a wonderful choice if you are willing to spend $10,000 or more on a garage door.

Less expensive aluminum doors have aluminum frames and panels made of other materials, such as high-density polyethylene. Due to its light weight, aluminum is a good choice if you have an extra-wide double door; it won’t put as much strain on the operating mechanism.

Study the pros and cons of each material so you can make an informed decision about the proper garage door for your home!