Monthly Archives: February 2010

Hot or Cold Garage?

Garage Door insulation can greatly benefit your home, if it is needed.

Not all garages will need to have insulation. It is important that you know when it is a good idea to insulate your garage door and when it is not necessary at all. There are several factors to consider before deciding if garage door insulation is right for your home.

The direction your garage door faces will greatly determine what type and how much insulation needs to be used. A garage door that is shaded by large trees, or faces away from direct sunlight will likely need a high quality insulation material. If the door faces or receives direct sunlight, the garage may stay more temperate than others. The orientation of the garage and how much weather the door needs to withstand is another consideration. Not only will you need to think about insulation, but weatherproofing may also be necessary.

If you use your garage as something more than a garage, like say a workshop or even a spare bedroom, then yes, you will definitely want to consider insulation for your garage door. A lot of people will convert the entire garage into a bedroom, if this is the case then you will definitely want to get the garage door as insulated as possible to keep it comfortable for the person sleeping in there. Even if the garage is used as a workshop, you will still want to try to remain comfortable.

Even if your garage is used as a garage but you keep items in it that need to be kept at a comfortable temperature, then insulation of the garage door is something that you may want to consider. However, if all you keep in your garage is your cars, then insulation is probably something that you will not have to worry about.

One of the biggest things to consider is the weather. Do you happen to live in an area that has difficult weather conditions? If the winters or summers, or both, are severe, then you will need to definitely consider insulation for the garage door.

If your garage door is older, a kit can be purchased to help keep the garage comfortable. Older doors that swing open, like those found on barns, will likely need to be insulated if it hasn’t been done already. Overhead garage doors will usually only need insulation around the base of the door since these tend to be newer.

When you insulate the garage door, your garage as a whole is kept cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This can help to keep your garage and whatever happens to stay in it much more comfortable during the more uncomfortable times of the year.

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Garage Door Humor

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Be D.O.O.R. Safe

Most folks take their garage doors for granted. Until the day the garage door doesn’t work., a website sponsored by the International Door Association (IDA), can help homeowners learn about garage door safety and maintenance. IDA is the world’s largest trade association of professional garage door and access system dealers and installers.

One page of the website is devoted to children and garage door safety. A special learning tool entitled “D.O.O.R. Safe” contains four brief messages to help parents teach young children the dos and don’ts of garage doors. These messages are:

  •  Doors are heavy – never stand, run or play under or near any garage door, especially when the door is open or moving.
  • Openers are for adults – never play with the button on the wall that opens and closes the garage door.
  • Ouch! – never touch any part of a moving garage door. Your fingers and hands can get hurt!
  • Remotes are for adults – never play with the remote control in the car or on Mom and Dad’s keychain.

 “We encourage parents to teach their children that the garage door and garage door opener aren’t toys,” says IDA Managing Director Chris Long. “Whether a child is at home or at the house of a friend or relative, it’s important they understand that they should never play near or underneath a garage door. It’s also important that they learn not to play with garage door opener remotes or button controls.”

When it comes to maintenance, the website can help homeowners learn about maintenance checkups they can perform themselves, but it also provides helpful guidance about when it’s best to call in a pro.

Homeowners should consider using a garage door professional when it comes to repairs. A garage door system is comprised of many components, including springs and cables that are under high tension and can cause severe injury or even death if broken, tampered with or mishandled.

The site also provides a handy zip code search function that allows consumers to locate the nearest garage door professional if they prefer the help of a seasoned expert for annual or semi-annual checkups, or for maintenance and repair issues.

SOURCE International Door Association

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Lazy Man’s Automatic Car Cover

Okay, this blog is dedicated to the world of garage doors, however, this is a story that is very much related to garage door openers. So we thought we’d post this story about a very inventive DIY project that satisfies the couch potato in all of us.

It’s so easy to go out and spend $100 or $200 for a decent car cover to keep your vehicle clean and safe in the garage. Once you’ve made the purchase, however, you still have to put the cover on (preferably with a little help) and take it off every time you want to head out for a drive.

Now this guy got tired of that routine, so he designed an automatic car cover to protect his 2002 Corvette. Sounds expensive, right?

Wrong. The “automatic” part of the deal is supplied by his garage door opener. Mike simply bought three queen-sized sheets at Kmart, which his wife sewed together. Then he rigged the sheet with pulleys, rope and some other hardware to allow it to be easily raised and lowered by one person.

His total project cost? About $65. Check out this Web page for more photos and video.

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A Check of Bolts and Screws, a Bit of Cleaning, and a Touch of Lubrication for Your Garage Door

Installing an attractive, custom built garage door adds beauty and value to your home, though at times it feels as though it’s draining your bank account.

Luckily, garage doors are not intended to be disposable. They remain functioning for years- meaning, they are more of an investment than an expense. Investments must be protected, and this takes a little work. Garage doors and openers should be maintained annually to ensure continued, safe, and reliable function. Generally, this little bit of annual attention is easily done by the homeowner. However, if you come across something questionable during the process, it is important to call a garage door professional. Safety is a definite consideration where garage door openers are concerned, and if you are unsure of something it is best to have a professional check and make necessary repairs.

To avoid needing repairs begin the maintenance routine by cleaning out the tracks that the garage door sits in with a clean cloth. Use a bristle brush and degreaser to remove built-up dirt and debris. Often, these tracks become greasy and filled with dirt over the course of a year.  Once you have cleaned out the tracks and around the rollers, pulleys, springs, and other moving parts well, lubricate all the moving parts with garage door lubricant or lubricating oil. Don’t forget hinges, pins, axles, and wheel bearings. Now the mechanical parts are clean of dirt and debris and newly lubricated, you will likely notice quieter operation.

To help keep it quiet, check all the bolts that hold it all together, and make sure they are all appropriately tightened. Pay careful attention to the bolts and screws that hold the tracks to the walls. If these bolts come loose, from either the wall or the track, it can throw the entire operation off balance and pose a safety risk. This is a good time to consider calling in an expert.

A simple check of bolts and screws, a bit of cleaning, and a touch of lubrication a couple times a year is a small task to ensure optimized operation of your garage doors and openers and make the mechanical parts operate much more quietly and efficiently.

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Did You Remember To Close the Garage Door?


Ever left your garage door open overnight? In addition to being a terrible energy waster, all the tools, bikes, and other stuff are available to thieves – who might even enter your home via the door from your garage to your living quarters.

If you’ve got a garage, you’ve probably asked yourself that question many times—in some cases, maybe several times a day. I probably do a double-check on my garage door a couple of times a week, which isn’t difficult since my garage is right off my kitchen.

But if you have to climb down some stairs to see if the door is closed, or if you are prone to fussing about the answer after climbing into bed at night, you might want to look into installing a garage door monitor.

The Chamberlain Garage Door Monitor is a snap to install. Just mount the sensor on the garage door with Velcro strips and set the monitor wherever you want in the house. When the door opens, the sensor sends a wireless signal to the monitor, providing a visual clue that the door is open. When the door is closed, the monitor lets you know.

No tools are required for installation. The monitor must be plugged in with the included AC adapter, while the sensor is powered by a long-lasting 3-volt lithium battery. It’s a pretty low-cost, low-tech means to some peace of mind.

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No Electricity? Garage Door Won’t Open?

Ever worry about the electricity cutting out and not having a way to open your garage door? No worries here. Just bust thru it!

Kidding! There are a couple of easy solutions!

1.  The first option is to purchase an opener that provides an “emergency release latch”.  The latch allows you to manually open the garage door by hand.  Thankfully, all automatic openers provide an emergency release mechanism.

Lifting up a garage door is a trivial action for the majority of us; nonetheless, utilizing the emergency release latch can turn out to be a daunting task for the elderly or the young.  There is an alternative…

2. A battery-operated power backup is a proven and effective solution.  Essentially, the battery backup kicks in automatically when the electricity kicks out. Due to the fact that it is battery operated, it has a limited amount of use before recharging is required – an important note for those prolonged power outages.

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Smartphone Garage Door Opener

Why can you do almost anything with your mobile phone, but when it comes to your garage door, you have to resort to another remote control entirely.

Why can’t you control it with a BlackBerry?

This is the question that Unify4Life, a company based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, is answering with it’s new device: the Garage|Shadow.

Using Bluetooth Technology, this device turns a BlackBerry into a garage door opener. It is easy to install and use, and now the user doesn’t have to worry about losing their remotes any more. Here’s a video to see how the application works.

Unify4Life™ is dedicated to providing cost effective solutions that enable your home devices to be controlled by a smartphone. By leveraging the power of the devices in your home together with your BlackBerry® smartphone, they provide simple to use, easy to setup and most of all convenient solutions.

Visit the Unify4Life website for more information.

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Wood Garage Door Care

If you have a wood garage door, you’re probably pleased with the natural look it gives your home.

To keep it looking nice, you need to maintain it. This ensures that you won’t have to replace it anytime soon or pay for major repairs, as regular maintenance can keep it looking nice and functioning properly.

To keep your product looking its best, you should make sure it is sealed to protect it from UV rays and extreme weather. If it has panels, you will need to apply acrylic latex caulking to the insides. This should be done before applying the sealant, and before painting or staining it. If you do decide to add color, you will probably need to reapply the paint or stain about every two years; otherwise the color will appear faded.

The maintenance does not just apply to the door’s appearance. You will need to inspect the rollers, springs, hinges, and other parts annually. This will ensure it works properly. If everything is not balanced or in proper working order, your wood garage door will need to be repaired or replaced much earlier than if you had checked its working parts every year. You will know it is not balanced if it is difficult to open by hand, or leans to one side when halfway open.

A common ailment for doors is for them to warp or sag, and extreme cold or hot weather only helps this along. You can prevent such damage by providing proper ventilation in the garage.

If you don’t think you will have the time to keep up the required maintenance for your wooden covering, consider buying a steel carriage style door. It offers the same classic appearance, but needs much less upkeep than the real product.

However, if you commonly take part in home improvement projects, and do not mind working outside, a real wooden door might be for you. As long as you continually keep up maintenance on your wooden covering, you should not have to make large repairs for years, which is why many homeowners are happy with their wood garage door.

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Too Big to Ignore

It might be the largest moving object in your home, but if it’s off the track, or dysfunctional in any way, an 80- to 200-pound garage door could inflict serious damage to your car, your belongings or worse still, a person.

Combine all that with the fact that an old door probably isn’t energy efficient and requires stripping and painting.

Local garage-door dealers and home-improvement experts say that if your door isn’t working properly or if maintenance is way too high, it might be time to replace that door.

There are a few things to weigh when deciding whether replace your garage door. Homeowners should first consider the condition and age of the door. If it’s a wood door that’s been painted many times or is 15 or 20 years old or more it’s time to change it. Use the analogy of an old car. If you’re dumping hundreds of dollars to repair and maintain the door over a period of years, it might actually save money to get a new one.

The majority of today’s doors are made of steel, which is virtually maintenance-free. Steel doors can be embossed with a wood grain so they get the look of wood without the hassle. They are made from galvanized steel that won’t rust. And steel doors are durable. Steel doors will hold up till someone drives into it.

Steel doors also are available with various grades of insulation. Garage doors are a major source of home-energy loss. You should especially consider an insulated door if the rest of the garage is insulated or you heat your garage. Doors come with either polyurethane or polystyrene insulation of various levels, depending on how much it costs.

It also makes the door operate more quietly. Insulation makes the door lighter, easier to operate and there’s less of a chance it will warp over time. People aren’t taking advantage of the amount of installation or energy conservation with a garage door and should now that it qualifies for a government tax credit.

Beyond just the practical benefits of a new door, consider the overall look of the door and what it will add to the home’s curb appeal. A lot of it depends on where the garage is facing but if your garage is facing forward, the garage is a focal point. It takes up a major percentage of your house. A garage door is one great way to make over the outside look of a home for a relatively low cost.

The garage is the cheapest thing to change and gives you the most dramatic return on how much money you spend. Steel doors can come in a variety of styles and colors. Windows also can add a decorative twist to an ordinary door. In addition it brings light into your garage. Garage doors offer a variety of window styles and configurations to suit any taste.

It’s all a matter of what the homeowner wants to spend and what look they want to achieve.

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