Monthly Archives: October 2010

Friday’s Funny

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Programming a Universal Garage Door Opener

The garage door opener is a modern miracle that has saved the fortunes of countless families who have lost the universal remote control that came with their garage door opener.

It also comes in handy when you need to get a new garage door opener but prefer to customize the shape of the buttons and, in some cases, their function. Universal garage door openers also come in handy when you have to manage multiple garage doors, like the one at your home and the one at your beach chateau.

Programming a universal garage door opener is simple. When you buy the device, there will be a list of codes associated with the brands and models of common garage door openers. Some brands claim to open and close 80 percent of garage door openers on the market. That means that you shouldn’t waste time hunting for the one that handles your garage door or garage doors-unless you bought your model from Eastern Europe or on the grey market.

Find the code that corresponds to the brand and model of your garage door opener or openers. Program that code into the universal garage door opener, press enter and test. Your garage door should open and close with ease.

You aren’t done yet. Never throw away the code manual for your universal garage door opener. Without it, you will not be able to reprogram the device when you have to replace the batteries. Keeping the manual will also come in handy if you need to add a new garage door opener to your remote.

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Think Garage Door Smart

Garage doors aren’t something that people usually think about on a regular basis, but they’re actually a pretty important part of most homes. If you’re just building a home, or you have a home that only has a carport and you’re thinking of adding more, then you want to make sure that you make the right decision when it comes to the room that will house your cars. And that includes the door.

Choosing What Works for You

When you’re shopping for garage doors, consider what you want. Most people opt for mechanical doors with a remote, and it’s true that they can be a lot more convenient. If you only plan on using that room for storage or as a place to play ping-pong or foosball, however, then a mechanical door may not really be needed. When shopping, consider things such as what would be most convenient for you, and what would fit into your budget.

Smart Shopping

Believe it or not, you have several options when it comes to buying your garage door. There are four types of garage doors out on the market, each of these four have various other forms and different looks but mainly there are four types. These doors roll up and are ideal for those with short drive ways who are limited for space as they do not swing outwards but roll up around a drum above the opening. Usually these types of doors are automated. This is a great feature as you do not have to leave your car, with the push of a button the garage door will open. This is convenient for the elderly and during bad weather.

You want to make sure, however, that you buy from a reputable dealer who offers a good selection. Selection isn’t the only thing that you want to consider, however. More than likely you don’t want to install this bulky apparatus yourself, so you want to deal with a company that will also do the installation, and preferably include it in the overall price! Look for quality, affordability, and a good warranty.

Protecting Your Door

Garage doors often get a lot of use, and sometime some abuse. If you buy a mechanical one, be sure to keep all the parts in good shape by following manufacturer recommendations for maintenance. It also doesn’t hurt to install some kind of bumper on the front of the door to guard against dents or cracks caused by such things as cars and outside toys. Simple common sense care can go a long way.

Garage doors aren’t the most exciting things to be looking for, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put some careful thought into the purchase of one. Hopefully, the one you buy will be lasting you for many years, so you want to be happy with it. Decide what would work best for you, find the right dealer, and take care and protect your purchase, and you shouldn’t have to think about it again for a long time.

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That Door was Pretty Old Anyway

The damage isn’t too bad; it’s mostly just an unsightly dent. However, you soon notice that the impact has caused a gap between the bottom of the door and the asphalt. And you dread to think of all of the little critters that would love to scurry under that gap to live in your nice, climate controlled garage. You begin to think to yourself, “Well, that door was pretty old anyway; I could probably stand to purchase a new one.” But there are a few things you may want to consider before just hopping down to the hardware store and choosing any one.

When it comes to choosing a garage door, there are a number of different options. As far as material, you will likely choose between a wooden door, an aluminum door, or a fiberglass door. Before you go about choosing from those styles, there are a number of questions you might ask yourself. First, what type of material was your old garage door made from, and were you satisfied with it? Next, you might want to consider which material is going to be most aesthetically pleasing in comparison to the rest of your house. And finally (and this is the ugly one), how much money are you willing to spend.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about your personal and financial preference. There is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing from the variety of garage doors made available to consumers.

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Friday Funny!

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Helpful Tips for Replacing a Garage Door

What Kind of Garage Door should I buy?

When looking for a garage door, you notice that there are two major designs: tilt-up doors and sectional roll-up doors. Sectional roll-up doors are more expensive than tilt-up doors, but the extra cost is well worth it.

Tilt-up doors consist of a single panel of material. To open the door, you have to pull it out and pivot it up to slide it along the roof of your garage. Sectional roll-up doors, on the other hand, are made of a number of horizontal sections. Each section is hinged to the next section, allowing the door a certain degree of flexibility. Because the door is mounted on rollers, to open a sectional roll-up door you just have to lift the door and it will roll into place along the roof of your garage.

Sectional roll-up doors are superior to tilt-up doors. From a purely practical point they take up less room. Because you don’t have to pull the door out, there will be more room in front of your garage door for things like your car. The door will also take up less room in the garage, since it can be placed higher up than a tilt-up door.

What should my Garage Door be made of?

Garage doors, both tilt-ups and sectional roll-ups, are primarily made from wood or steel. Of these two materials, wood is the cheaper and – arguably – more attraction option. If you decided to get a wooden door please keep in mind that just like your deck, a wooden garage door will be more easily damaged by the weather than a steel door. If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, you may find yourself with a warped or damaged garage door.

Steel garage doors are more expensive, but you will not face the same problems that you would encounter with a wood door. If you decide to get a steel door the main thing to check is that it has been properly prepared to prevent rust.

Garage doors are also occasionally made with aluminum or fiberglass. While both of these materials are less expensive than steel doors, you should be careful when using them. Neither material is as strong as steel so they will not hold up to the usual wear and tear of a garage door. And once again depending on your climate, they will not be as energy efficient as a steel door if that is a concern to you.

How do I look after my Garage Door?

Just like any other exterior surface on your house, your garage door will need periodic maintenance to keep it working smoothly and looking as good as the rest of your house. You’d be surprised how the look of your garage door not only affects the overall look of your house, but the perceived value of your house too.

No matter what material your garage door is made of, it should be washed regularly. If you have a wood door, you should repaint the door every other year to ensure that the wood stays protected. If you have a steel door, you can give it a yearly shine with car wax

To prolong the life of the mechanical parts, you should lubricate all moving parts with motor oil whenever the door starts to feel sluggish.

Safety Concerns with Garage Doors

Every year, children are seriously injured from accidents involving garage doors. To avoid these preventable accidents, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you should only use automatic garage door openers if they have an automatic reverse function. This will reverse the closing of the garage door if an obstacle is encountered.

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Garage Features That Help Sell a House

Your home’s square footage doesn’t end at the garage door.

This once neglected, disregarded and, dare I say, abused space is among the largest rooms in the house. For decades it has slid into cluttered oblivion, too jam-packed with “stuff” to even park a car inside. But things are changing. Homeowners are expanding their organizing and remodeling zeal to the garage, which has become an extension of living space that has moved beyond its utilitarian origins. The garage plays an increasingly important role and can be a help or a hindrance when selling your home.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Americans spent $2.5 billion on garage remodels in 2005. The number one garage rule: turn it into a garage. Buyers aren’t interested in garage conversions. If they needed an extra bedroom or family room, they’d look for a bigger house.

You don’t have to turn it into a show garage, but a finished garage will help sell your house. The garage is simply too big and too valuable to let its space go to waste. Function and organization are the key elements of a garage that will be an asset when you sell.

1. Capacity. The two-car garage is outdated. The trend for three-car garages began around 1992 and these days, four-car garages aren’t uncommon. Many home buyers have project cars, classic cars, RVs or boats to store. Some have teenagers who are driving. Others just want the extra storage space. Whatever the need, the added square footage is as important in a garage as it is inside the house.

2. Size. A standard-sized garage measured about 21 ft. x 21 ft. and was about 7 ft. high in the 1980s. Today’s SUVs, oversized pickup trucks, RVs, boats and trailers demand a larger garage. To accommodate bigger vehicles, the dimensions should be at least 22 ft. x 22 ft. by 9 ft. high.

3. Space. When it comes to garages, it’s all about size and space. Extra space is a bonus that can be used for storage, as a workroom or even as a playroom for the kids, especially if the home doesn’t have a basement.

4. Location. The trend for placement has come full-circle, with many garages now being located at the back of the house and even detached garages on an alley. While that creates better curb appeal out front, many home owners don’t want to sacrifice backyard living space. If the lot is wide enough, the side-load garage is still popular and can be easily disguised to look like a wing of the house.

5. Storage. Because storage is always at a premium, the garage offers another opportunity for stashing seldom-used items or tools and items for outdoor use. Organizational products can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000, but are well worth the investment. At the minimum, add wall hooks or pegboard for hanging up garden tools and bicycles. Shelves keep clutter from accumulating on the floor. Closets are great for hiding coats and boots. Cabinets and workbenches are bonus features that can close a sale.

6. Lighting. Replace that single center bulb with an 8-ft. fluorescent light strip. If you have a workbench or bonus space, additional lighting will be necessary and can include LED task lighting, spot lights or more fluorescent strips. Don’t forget outside lighting. Place two fixtures on either side of the garage door and additional fixtures by every outside access door.

7. Flooring. The garage floor should stand up to dirt, oil, salt, paint and other debris. Flooring not only upgrades the look, but also increases resiliency to stains and tires marks and hides imperfections. Choices range from epoxy resin-based paints to rubber mats and tiles. Paints and coatings come in a limitless range of colors and are now available with a gritty element for more grip, less slip. Mats and tiles provide a vapor barrier and cushion your feet. They also reduce the amount of dirt tracked inside and act as insulation and noise reduction.

8. Access. Oversized garages benefit from a walk-through door to the back or side yard, which also increase air circulation or reduce heat loss, depending on the season. Drive-thru garage designs are convenient for moving lawn tractors, trailers and other equipment out of the garage and for families with multiple cars.

9. Doors. Particularly if the garage faces the front of the house, the door should be an attractive complement to the house’s style. Design, color and materials can make this a stylish aspect of the home’s exterior. Doors should be lightweight, secure, functional and should enhance your home’s appearance. The first automatic garage door opener became commercial in 1954. These days, the door opener is practically a must and often considered a standard feature.

10. Finished walls and ceilings. Finishing a garage makes it look clean and “complete” and prepares the space for customization. It’s one less thing a buyer will have to do. Make sure the garage is insulated before you finish it off; that will save on heating and cooling bills. Don’t expect to get 100 percent return on investment with all these garage upgrades, but these amenities are sure to make your home more appealing to buyers.

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Insulate Your Garage Door or Lose Money This Winter!

Is your garage the extra refrigerator or cooler in the winter and an oven in the summer? 

Do you realize that you are losing heat from your home especially if you have an attached garage?  Do you like to frolic around your yard throwing money in the air watching the wind just take it away?  That is what you are doing if your garage doors are not properly insulated.  There is an initial investment that does actually pay for itself in a short amount of time. When you improve your property you increase the value of your property. Insulating your garage doors is an easy Saturday morning project that has immediate and long lasting results.

The two most popular types of garage door insulation are reflective foil insulation and insulation panels. Both types are available in insulation kits that come with all the materials you will need, detailed instructions and sometimes a video which is great for those of us who learn best by watching rather than reading.  Decide which type of insulation best suits your garage door, your budget and your capabilities and then start shopping.  Many major home improvement stores carry insulation kits or you can call your local garage door specialist who can also easily install a kit.

The R-value of the insulation is another thing to consider when purchasing garage door insulation. The R-value is the measure of the resistance to heat flow and its effectiveness as an insulator.  The R-values are measured at 75 degrees Fahrenheit and are calculated from k, the thermal conductivity and d, the thickness of the materials: R=d/k.

The quality of the insulation is in direct proportion to the R-value – the higher the R-value, the better the insulation. There is an ongoing debate as to the validity of this measurement.  Take it into consideration but don’t base your purchase on it solely.  Once you know your budget for the project and how many doors you need to insulate, determine the type of insulation you want to buy.  Let’s take a look at both types – reflective foil and panel.

Reflective foil garage insulation with a R6.0 rating comes in kits that fit standard residential doors. It looks like big rolls of aluminum foil but a lot more durable. There are two types – double foil and single foil insulation. The double foil consists of two layers of heavy duty polyethylene air-bubble sandwiched between two layers of 99.9% pure aluminum foil. Polyethylene is a plastic polymer of ethylene used in the making containers and for packaging and insulation.  A polymer is a common chemical compound like the ones found in nylon or starch. The single foil is two layers of heavy-duty polyethylene air-bubble film sandwiched between one layer of 99.9% pure aluminum foil and one layer of white vinyl. The second type has a better visual appeal but only a R4.6 rating. Reflective foil insulation reflects the heat in both ways maintaining the warmth and coolness in the garage.  The cost depends on the number of doors to be insulated and ranges from $120 to $200 with a one year warranty.  With a couple of hours, a utility knife, an adjustable wrench and cleaning supplies, you can install the insulation yourself and feel the difference immediately in the comfort of the garage.

The downside of this type of insulation is that it will not qualify you for a federal tax credit for energy efficiency.  But it will reduce heat loss, air leakage, and outside noise.

Panel garage door insulation also is available in two basic types.  You can buy fiberglass or panel foam insulation.  A main manufacturer of fiberglass panels having an R8.0 factor is Owens Corning.  These will qualify for a federal energy tax credit.  They range in price from $100 to $200 depending again on the number of garage doors to be insulated and also have a one year warranty.  The panel foam insulation is made of polystyrene with an R4.6 and qualifies for the federal energy tax credit.  The price and installation are very similar to the fiberglass panels. These panels simply fit inside the channels of the garage door frame rails without the need for tape, glue or screws.

A final thought about insulating the garage door is to remember the area around the door.  There is a lot of unsealed area around the basic garage door along the sides and the bottom.  For the garage door to be completely insulated, you can use a weather stripping kit made specifically for garage doors.  The kit will have a threshold that is attached to the ground and a seal that attaches to the door.  The materials needed and the sealant is included in the kit.  This will keep cold out along with dirt and water.

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Going Shopping: Advice on Factors to Consider When Selecting a New Garage Door

• Budget. Like everything, budget dictates options. Garage doors range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the size, materials and design you choose. Even if you have a small budget you can still get a great looking door that is going to enhance the look of the house.

Design. Think of the garage as an extension of the home’s theme, not an afterthought. Let the home’s architectural style, the shape and size of the windows and entry doors, and exterior design details influence the design of the garage door.

It’s a good idea to visit dealer showrooms and review manufacturer Web sites to get a sense of the options available. Many companies offer doors pre-designed to match specific architectural styles, which can make the selection process easier.

• Insulation. Doors can be insulated or non-insulated. If the garage is attached to the house you’ll want an insulated door. This will help reduce utility bills – a popular selling point with prospective buyers. If you live in a mild climate or have a detached garage that will only be used to park the car, you can opt for a less expensive, non-insulated door.

Upkeep. Maintenance is another consideration. Steel doors are very durable and virtually maintenance-free, but some people prefer the warmth and character of wood and the limitless design options. Depending on the climate and exposure, wood doors will need to be painted or stained every few years.

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History of the Garage Door

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