Monthly Archives: September 2008

Homeowner’s Largest Return on Investment

What would be the most inexpensive project for a home owner to raise the value, bringing the largest Return On Investment? Homeowners can bank on “Curb Appeal” to increase values.


Maybe the home lacks character. Or, perhaps its past personality was stripped away by an ill-advised renovation. It’s possible to add or restore “curb appeal” to practically any home. “Curb appeal” is the impression a home projects when you first come up to it. It also helps increase the valuation of the home. It’s all about identifying the spectacular and dramatic architectural details that enhance the home.


On average, the square footage of the garage door is one-third of the elevation of the home. You can’t discount the characteristics of a garage door’s large horizontal mass. No curb appeal product can more effectively enhance the diversity and value of a home, especially in a time when capturing every single asset to build a homes value is paramount.


Since garage doors are often a home’s most prominent feature, adding a distinctive carriage house style garage door can add a unique embellishment, which equates to greater home value. These types of garage doors are attractive and durable. Plus, they can be customized with various window designs, arched top sections, and decorative hardware to fit each home’s qualities.

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Evolving Door Styles for Garages

Some things do come back in style if you wait long enough. Think hip-hugger pants, shag carpeting and, yes, even wood garage doors. The wood garage doors of the 1970s are back in a big way. It’s one of many design trends that have come and gone.

The first revolution in garage door materials happened in the 1980s, when raised panel steel doors replaced wood ones. They continue to dominate the market today, mainly because they’re economical and low-maintenance. But for certain homes — especially custom homes or those with an Old World look — a big expanse of cold steel just won’t do. Frequently the garage door is a major part of the front of a home and people are finding that they can do something more interesting.


The character of wood, the strength of steel!

The character of wood, the strength of steel!


For this reason, wood has become the most popular option. But these aren’t the humble wood doors of two decades ago. Wood doors are available in carriage-house styles that have an old-fashioned craftsman look. First United Door Technologies’ Woodie Plank garage door is made of the finest wood, offering a much richer appearance.

Just as wood is beginning to catch on, the next wave of garage doors is already approaching. If you have a steel garage door, there are ways to ramp up its curb appeal. You can select different patterns or textures and install windows; and there’s always the do-it-yourselfer’s best tool: paint. But if you want your garage door to be a focal point rather than something to disguise, wood may just be worth its price tag.

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Reduce noise on your garage door opening cycles

Every time the garage door opens and closes, a loud rumble comes right through your bedroom floor making things particularly unpleasant for you or friends, relatives occupying your guest bedroom that is probably just above the garage. Can’t stand it? Here’s some advice to help you reduce noise generated by the up and down movement of your garage door.


1. An insulated garage door can significantly reduce the intrusion of street noise into the home – especially important when there are bedroom or other living areas above or adjacent to the garage. If your door isn’t already insulated, the insulation can be installed by professional installers for a minimal charge, but it is not difficult to mount the insulation yourself and kits are available at your local home improvement retailer. It is important to consider having your springs recalculated because of additional weight to the door.


2. Have the steel rollers on your garage door changed to nylon. With nylon rollers, you will obtain almost silent running on the tracks and there is no need for lubrication.


3. Another point to look at is your electric operator. Any belt-driven model is best because the motor of this model is insulated from the metal case and will cut vibrations. The rubber belt is also quieter than the steel chain.


4. A noise isolator system (semi-rigid rubber 6 mm) can be effective. The supports that hold up the horizontal tracks can be insulated with a piece of rubber to cut the vibrations. On a wood frame, do not fix directly under the beams, place a piece of wood perpendicular under which you will have installed a rubber insulator. If you have a bedroom or living space above your garage and intend to add hardwood flooring, it is recommended to sound proof it by installing carpet and under carpet.


5. A good lifting system (springs) can also contribute to noise reduction. ”Torsion” type springs (instead of ”Extension” springs) is ideal because they allow precise balancing of the door and avoid friction of cables and springs on the horizontal tracks.


6. Concerning the tracks, it is best to choose tracks with the largest radius possible. In fact, the larger the radius the smoother the door action will be. The standard radius is 10 inches (”extension” spring) and 12 or 15 inches (”torsion” spring). Opt for the largest radius possible if you have a big clear space above the door.


7. Finally, regular lubrication (twice a year) of rollers and track is important.


With the above advice, it should easier to reduce noise problems from your garage door. Do not hesitate to call a garage door dealer. They are trained to offer you top quality work and service and in the end, peace of mind.

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A good time for cleaning and some preventative garage door maintenance

On a busy day your garage door may open and close 20 times, so routine maintenance is a must to keep it in good working order. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular garage door cleaning and maintenance will guarantee a great look and longer life of your door.


Clean your garage door regularly with mild soap (like dishwashing detergent) and a soft bristle brush. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and very strong liquid cleaners which could damage the paint or cause delaminating. If you have a steel garage door, you can revive its luster by applying a car wax as it will protect against acid rain and dust. It is best to avoid waxing in direct sunlight to achieve better results. If there’s exposed wood, be sure to paint it.

Exterior Weather-Stripping

Clean the weather stripping around the frame and bottom edge with a good all-purpose cleaner. Lubricate it every 2 or 3 months with a Silicone-based lubricant to keep the stripping pliable. Never use a petroleum-based lubricant on weather-stripping as it will dry up and crack. Don’t forget the weather-strip between your door panels. It is important to let your weather-strip hang 1/2″ below the door base when you readjust your perimeter weather-stripping. If the weather-stripping is too tight, the door will not function properly. So if your weather-stripping has lost its flexibility, it is best to replace it.


Final Advice

Consider your garage door as an important part of your home. With appropriate annual maintenance, it will door will provide carefree convenience for many years to come. Ask a qualified garage door installer, to lubricate and adjust your garage door at least yearly. In a 10 step check-up, he will lubricate all the above mentioned parts and perform any required repairs.

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Don’t Neglect Your Door

Perhaps no other part of your home experiences as much wear and tear as your overhead garage door. The average garage door will go up and down more than a thousand times a year. When kept in good working order, it provides convenience and security. But a neglected door can not only become as noisy as a locomotive but also pose a significant safety risk to your family, especially your kids. The annual inspection and maintenance of your automatic overhead door for reliable, quiet operation and safety is important.


Taking Care of Your Garage Door


Perform routine maintenance steps once a month. Review your owner’s manual for the garage door. If you don’t have a manual, look for the model number on the back of the door, or check the lock handle, hinges, or other hardware for the manufacturer’s name and request a manual from the manufacturer.


Visual Inspection


Look at the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys, and other door hardware for signs of wear. If you suspect problems, have a qualified garage door dealer make repairs.

WARNING – Springs are under high tension. Only a qualified garage door professional should adjust them.


Garage door springs, cables, brackets, and other hardware attached to the springs are under very high tension and, if handled improperly, can cause serious injury. Only a qualified garage door professional should adjust them. The torsion springs (the springs above the door) should also only be adjusted by a professional. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself. A restraining cable or other device should be installed on the extension spring (the spring along the side of the door) to help contain the spring if it breaks.


WARNING – Never remove, adjust, or loosen the screws on the bottom brackets of the door. These brackets are connected to the spring by the lift cable and are under extreme tension.


LubricationRegularly lubricate the moving parts of the door. However, do not lubricate plastic idler bearings. Consult the door owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.


Door Balance – Periodically test the balance of your door.
1. Start with the door closed.
2. If you have a garage door opener, use the release mechanism so you can operate the door by hand when doing this test.
3. You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three or four feet above the floor. If it does not, it is out of adjustment. Have it adjusted by a qualified garage door professional.

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Bigger, Bolder Garage Doors

Unlike the drab and purely functional spaces of yesteryear, today’s garages are becoming as elaborate and versatile as any finished living area in the home. Along with the tendency toward greater square footage, garages represent more things to more people: a recreation room, a fitness center, a home theater, and a convenient place to park the car or motor home.

Now that the once-humble garage has become an expression of the homeowner’s personality and style of the house, it’s time to give it the face it deserves: a stylish, beautiful door. Not only will it provide all-essential curb appeal, a better door can generally pay for itself by increasing a builder’s profit margin and, in the case of spec homes, attracting more buyer attention.
The most striking innovation in this arena is the steel carriage-style door. All-steel carriage doors are taking hold of the public imagination.


Unique styling options are available to make even the most ordinary steel garage door an attractive, well-integrated element of a home’s exterior. The range of possibilities in styles now provides homeowners with more flexibility than ever before in coordinating exteriors by architectural design. One thing is certain. The garage door will never again be the boring, blank canvas it once was.

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A Guide to Garage Door Openers

These days, garage door openers are provided with various accessories to make opening easier. No matter how heavy the garage door, it can be fitted with the right kind of opener. These openers ensure utmost safety and security for garages under any conditions. They are also provided with several options and in various designs to suit the exact requirements of the user. The best thing is, they can be installed within 3-5 hours. A professional can install a garage door opener in one hour!

Garage Door Opener

Garage Door Opener


The main step in purchasing a garage door opener is to determine the actual drive system. Garage door openers are of three kinds depending on the drive system: belt driven, chain driven and direct drive. The most important points to be considered in a garage opener system are the kind of motor and the horsepower. Garage door openers differ in speed also. The average speed is 7 inches lift/drop per second. There are openers that operate at even double this speed.


Garage door openers are provided with different kinds of warranties. Safety is another important aspect while choosing the right garage door opener. It is mandatory that all automatic door openers should be equipped with a non-contact invisible beam system that can sense the approach of a person and make the door to reverse back to the open position. Other mandatory features of garage openers are: automatic lights, a timed reversing feature, a manual emergency release cord and a force adjustment feature.

Garage door openers are usually noisy but some advanced models are being designed to be really quiet. Proper maintenance and lubrication would also lessen the noise made by garage door openers. On the whole, garage door openers should be weather resistant, safe, and should have the least wire exposure for long life.

Garage doors can also be operated by a remote control. This is especially useful for people who have homes with multiple garages. However, it is better to have a rolling radio signal code for the control as it is easy for thieves to capture the code from thin air. Garage door openers can also have an automatic light, remote control and a wall operator, as well as the option of single/two/three button transmitters.

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Replacing your garage door is a valuable home repair

If you have an older home one of the first things you may consider changing are the garage doors. The good news, however, is that new garage doors have many great features that older ones do not, so you will get a lot of benefit from this project. The newer garage doors are insulated for both temperature and sound. You might find this handy if your son has started a rock group in the garage.

Today’s garage doors are much more secure than older ones and since we keep a lot more “stuff” in our garages than just cars, this is an important consideration. Last but not least, new garage doors and lovely to look at and are just about maintenance free.

Years ago, only wood was used for garage doors, but today you have a choice between steel, fiberglass and synthetics. You can have any look you want to suit the exterior of your home. New models are constructed with a fitted tongue and groove panels that are just as impervious to wind ran or snow as your front door is. Most of the garage doors sold today have safety features so that they cannot close if they hit an object, so that accidents such as closing the doors on your car or a child or pet cannot happen. They may even have a feature where the object is pushed away from the panels so fingers can’t be caught.

The newer doors offer light panels, but still afford security since they are made of unbreakable plastic. There are even models that send a different code each time your garage door is opened, so thieves who steal codes are stymied. All of these features are great, but because of their complexity, they make installing your own garage doors difficult. These doors are heavy and therefore difficult and dangerous to install, the springs are very strong and if not handled well can cause serious injury. Even maintenance should be left to experts, and someone less handy should only stick to the easy tasks of oiling the wheels, hinges and tracks.

Installing garage doors is a big job and you should consider hiring a professional because of all of the risks that this installation entails. Manufactureres usually have recommended installing dealers on their website or you can go to the International Door Association to find a directory of professional garage door installing dealers.


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Garage Doors Can Have Character Too

Whether you’re planning to build a new home or are doing a remodel, it’s unlikely you think much about your garage door. Still, it’s the largest moving part in your home and the broadest piece of curb appeal on display. Today’s best garage doors are detailed to blend into the aesthetics of the home’s design. Their architectural frame occupies a major portion of the front landscape and has a major impact on the street perception of the home.


Garage doors can have character too. In many homes, the garage doors often incorporate carriage house motifs that greatly enhance the architectural character of the home and the neighborhood. The latest garage doors offer increased style and function that can enhance the aesthetics of any home. And they are safer to use than ever before.


Decorative options are helping homeowners differentiate their doors adding a dynamic architectural accentuation to their home with a selection of glass inserts and new styles of hardware. Homeowners and builders alike are expressing increased interest in carriage-style garage doors, designed to fool the eye and mimic old-style sliding or swing-up doors. These are drawing the most attention due to their distinctive architectural styling and for traditionally styled homes this is a handcrafted looking door that is best suited.


To fashion a striking first impression, taking metal garage doors and painting them with a steel staining or custom faux-paint treatment, gives them a deeply embossed wood-grain pattern, that will result in a richly, dramatic effect. For a contemporary house, the garage door’s character may show through in its panel design, incorporating detailing from different architectural styles. On the other hand, a garage door with clean lines and a smooth finish may be more appropriate.


Adore Your Door. Your garage door is one of the most visible aspects of your home, so it makes sense to have one with character.

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Return on Investment from a Garage Door?

Here’s an eye- and garage-opening fact: Replacing your garage door with a new upscale door can boost the resale value of your home. A recent online survey revealed that 71 percent of homeowners who recently replaced their garage door with an attractive new design believe it definitely increased the value of their home.


Fortunately, garage door manufacturers have hundreds of new designs to add flair and personality to any home. First United Door Technologies website,, shows you many ways to increase your home’s curb appeal-and, potentially, its resale value-by replacing your old garage door with a stylish new door.


If you’re a builder or architect and it’s diversity in design that you looking for to incorporate into your new project, hundreds of choices are accessible.

The Web site features a variety of doors, along with before-and-after photos of homes that have received a dramatic new look. Best of all, an on-line “Design-A-Door” feature allows you to select the characteristics of the door you want and see the finished creation.


Garage doors as a viable investment towards your home? Absolutely.

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