Monthly Archives: March 2011

Man Injured While Self-Installing Garage Door Opener

A Washington state man suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital this week after attempting to install an electric garage door opener at his home in the town of Medical Lake.

The man, who’s a medic with the Washington Air National Guard, was about to finish the project and move the torsion springs on top of the door. As he was loosening up the bolts on the springs, one of the springs shot out and struck his arm. Bleeding, he tried to remain calm as his roommate called 911. He eventually received 20 stitches to close a 3 1/2-inch gash.

The man’s actions are indicative of a nationwide trend. According to a Harvard University study, spending on home-improvement projects will increase by 9.2 percent over the previous five years.

Don’t do jobs like this yourself. Hire a trained and licensed professional!

Learn more about garage door safety!

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Your Automatic Garage Door Opener (AGDO) works just fine, you say. It’s opened and closed your door reliably for years. All you’ve needed to do is change the light bulb or the battery in the remote control once in a while. Replace it? What more could you want? What could be new in garage door openers? Plenty!

Safety First

If your opener was installed prior to 1993, you may be missing out on a great safety feature that is now required on all U.S. and Canadian openers manufactured since that time – photoelectric eyes or some other device that provides equivalent protection against entrapment.

Photoelectric eyes – mounted about six inches above the floor – cast an invisible beam across the door opening. If a door is closing and, for example, a child or pet were running underneath the door, they would “break” the beam, causing the door to automatically reverse 

Because your garage door is the heaviest and largest moving part of your home, a new opener with entrapment protection makes a great deal of sense, particularly if you have small children. (Note – It’s important, too, to teach children that the garage door system is not a plaything.)

 Your local professional door dealer can help you choose the system that makes sense for your needs – and he or she is also fully trained to install and test the system for optimum performance and safe operation. 

Key to the Castle

Many folks don’t carry a house key anymore. Why? Many find it easier to enter their homes through the garage door, using a remote control or an external keypad. These devices have become the new “house keys” for many homeowners.

These keypads are especially popular with “latchkey kids” – kids who come home to an empty house. Millions of children come home every day and enter their homes using an exterior garage door keypad. In fact, one survey shows that 33 percent of parents whose homes have external keypads say that the keypad is the number one way for children to enter the homes.

Latchkey kids are now keypad kids. Keypad use has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Convenience is the driving factor behind this trend – no more worries about lost or stolen keys.

The new fingerprint-activated keyless entry pads have created a whole new level of convenience. Now, you don’t even need to memorize an entry code. Convenience is literally at your fingertip.

You’ve Always Got the Power

Entrapment protection and keypads are great, you may say – but how do we open and close the garage door when a storm rolls through and knocks out the power? Today’s openers won’t keep you waiting outside in the rain, or force you to manually disengage the opener and lift the door by hand. A popular accessory sold with new openers is a battery back-up system that allows you to use your garage door opener 24/7, regardless of any loss of power to your home.

Speaking of power, chances are you have a surge protector in your home to safeguard your computer from voltage spikes. Surge protectors are also available to shield your garage door opener as well, keeping your door operating system running and protecting your investment.

If You Can Dream It …

It’s probably available. Garage door opener accessories abound. Would you like your garage door opener to switch on lights in your home as you’re pulling up the driveway? Or alert you if you left the garage door open? It’s all now possible with new garage door accessories. You can even make a fashion statement with your garage door remote by customizing it to match your car’s interior. Call a garage door specialist.

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Friday’s Funnies

“Timmy… time for dinner!”

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Time for a Garage Door Makeover

Maximizing every inch of space within a home is a sound strategy for any efficient homeowner.

Garages, traditionally thought of as strictly a storage space, have evolved into a far more functional and attractive part of the house that can be enjoyed by homeowners and guests alike. The garage has typically been a junkyard. People have usually just hid stuff behind the door.

As budgets have tightened, however, garages have become an increasingly-popular spring home improvement project for homeowners looking for an upgrade instead of an overhaul. An effective way to de-clutter one’s garage is to install cabinets, which can be elevated off the floor and hung directly on the wall. Designed to have maximum strength and durability, cabinets are an effective means of storage and open up significant amounts of floor space, thus creating an opportunity for a flooring upgrade.

While many homeowners will continue to utilize the garage for automobile storage, others may find the garage to be an ideal place to create a work area or a workout space. As a result, rooms within the home that were previously used for such functions will now be available for use in other ways. ompleting the garage makeover with a new door is an effective way to enhance the overall look of a home’s exterior.

The most recommended type of garage door is a carriage house style garage door, or barn-style door, to those looking to enhance the appearance of their home. The doors can be customized with different colors, windows and trim and are a low-maintenance option for homeowners.

The garage door is a major focal point.  A carriage house style garage door is a cost-effective way to change the look of the front of the house. A new steel garage door, be it a carriage house or a more affordable alternative, can greatly reduce the amount of required maintenance for a homeowner as opposed to wooden doors that are heavier and require painting or staining every year. With a steel garage door, all you need is soap and water.

Aesthetically, the durability of steel garage doors will greatly enhance curb appeal. Such doors will not dent, peel or need to be painted, allowing the garage to serve as an attractive part of the home’s exterior.

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Remodel with Garage Doors

As the real estate market continues to rebalance, an interesting shift is occurring among homeowners.

Not so long ago, a homeowner’s goal was to sell and move to a larger home. Now the priority for many appears to be shifting. More and more homeowners are remodeling and upgrading.

The main reason driving the remodel trend is a sluggish real estate market. Until the market turns around, many homeowners have turned their energy to maintaining the value of their current investment. However, the question is always what items to do first. To help you decide, here are a few ideas that we think will have the most impact.

• Consider replacing the entry and/or garage doors to enhance the exterior appearance with a fresh new look and create a great first impression on visitors. However, don’t just buy what is on sale. Make certain to complement the style and color of the home.

• If you work in the garage, consider a garage door with windows or with extra insulation. Windows will let in more light for increased visibility, and the extra insulation will help keep the garage warmer in winter. Also consider splurging a little more for a quieter door opener to reduce the noise when opening and closing.

 Changing the home’s exterior color can also give a needed face-lift. The age of a home also contributes to the need for remodeling. Many of Anchorage’s homes have reached the 20 to 30 year mark and need more remodeling than just cosmetic repairs to maintain value. At this age, the kitchen and baths need updating, and the roof likely needs replacing. A kitchen remodel, while expensive, is a justifiable expense; many people consider the kitchen the most important room of the house. Replacing the roof before a major problem develops will save you money in the long run.

Homeownership requires work to maintain property values. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, but you are thinking of remodeling, now is the time to act; local new construction is still sluggish and contractors are looking for work. Many sellers have told us that they wished they had updated their homes sooner for their enjoyment, instead of when they were trying to sell to the next buyer.

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Protecting that Wood Garage Door

Natural wood garage doors can enhance the curb appeal of any home.

The beauty of natural wood with the random patterns of grain is not an easy look to duplicate with manmade materials. If you have a wood garage door, whether it is painted or stained to show the grain, routine care will keep it looking great for years to come.

Unlike the siding of your home, garage doors move with every button push on your remote or lift with your arms. This movement can add stress to the door’s finish and to the panels themselves. Check to see if stress has caused cracks or gaps to form in the finish coat. These cracks are the inroads for water, which can lead to more damage.

The best way to protect wood is with a durable, weather-resistant finish. These can fall into two groups: film finishes, like varnish or paint; and penetrating finishes, like oils and stains. Film finishes are more susceptible to movement-induced stress and can crack and flake. Penetrating oil finishes, by comparison, are more flexible and therefore hold up better. One advantage to maintaining garage doors is that they are relatively small and accessible, compared to other areas of a home. It is easy to reach the upper areas from a simple stepladder.

Cleaning before painting or staining may seem obvious to many people, it is often overlooked; however, its omission can lead to problems down the road. In their excitement for a new look, some people jump right in without the proper preparations. Wind-blown dust and dirt can get into the corners or gaps in the door’s panels. When refinishing, this debris can get into the finish coat and cause unsightly results. Prior to any finish work, the surfaces should be properly prepared. Loose paint or varnish should be removed by scraping or sanding. If mold and mildew are present, the surface may require some scrubbing with a dedicated cleaner. Power washing is an option, but should be used with caution; the high pressures of these machines can actually damage softer woods. Another way to protect wood while cleaning is by using a simple brush; this, along with a garden hose, can get the job done without the risks of power washing. After any “washing,” it is important to ensure that the surface has plenty of time to dry before proceeding. This time varies by climate and season and can range from hours to several days.

Unlike siding, you can access the back of a garage door; to protect wood on both sides, finishing will need to done on the interior and exterior. Wood is a hydroscopic material: It changes with the humidity levels of its environment. Wood swells in high humidity and contracts in low humidity. This expansion and contraction is a primary cause of many finish failures. If the inside of the door is not protected, it can cause finish stress to the exterior side. Because the inside of the door is protected from wind and rain, you will not need to maintain this surface as frequently, but it should still be checked regularly.

Inside and outside finish work can protect wood from the effects of sun, wind and rain; proper preparations can yield long-lasting and beautiful results. Whether you work with colorful paints or simple penetrating oils, your goal is to protect wood. The added stress of movement makes garage doors more susceptible to damage, but their accessibly can make quick work of the required tasks.

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Safety Comes First!

Maybe you have never given very much thought to the safety functions of your garage door, or just how unsafe a defective garage door can be.

Because as frequently as your garage doors are used it is vital to take into account all of the maintenance and basic safety features, because most people use the garage door at least a couple of times every day and there are numerous moving components that might be loose or fail resulting in property damage or for someone to get hurt.

Stop and think about this, the garage door may be the heaviest working component of the house. Your garage door is actually a motor-driven device that is frequently being opened and lowered over your car or truck as well as your entire family.

Through the years there have been a number of different kinds of garage doors placed in garages but the most frequently used style is most likely the panel garage doors. These types of doors really are standard panels hinged with one another that will be installed on tacks using a spring system to assist with raising the garage door. They can be manually operated but today most of them employ a garage door opener which includes a remote opening devise enabling you to open the garage door from the inside of your car or truck.

The following are some maintenance ideas to keep the garage door secure and safe and last for many years;

• Visually inspect your garage door looking for any kind of damaged locations especially where garage door opener connects close to the top portion of your garage door

• Check and be absolutely sure the garage door rollers are not wobbly or damaged, and lubricate annually

• If the garage door has the safety reversing eyes, test them out every month by just shutting your garage door and interrupting the beam being careful to not have anything within the path of your door if the reverse devices fail

• Doors manufactured after 1993 have reverse sensors together with the pressure sensing unit. To try the reverses sensor device; place a roll of paper towels on the garage area floor under the door and once the garage door opener detects pressure it needs to reverse and begin to raise

• Look for loose nuts, mounting bolts or anchoring screws and simply tighten as required especially on the tracks and mounting brackets which support your garage door from the ceiling

• Do not let the children to spend time playing with the garage door since there are a number of pinch points around the garage door, and be sure that the garage door control button is beyond the reach of children

• Visually check out the garage door springs, the two most common styles of garage door springs are; torsion springs and extension springs. Should you have extension springs there has to be a safety cable going through within the springs in case the spring fails it will be contained

• Be certain everyone in the family understands and is able to use the emergency safety release option

Safety Comes 1st. If you find any loosened and / or defective areas in your garage door and you don’t feel safe doing the repairs, simply call a certified garage door specialist in order to make all of the repairs.

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Faux Painting and Gel Staining to the Rescue!

Most garages are readily visible from the street. A garage door has great potential either to add or detract from a property’s beauty. Many garage doors share an architectural partnership with their houses. The garage door should harmonize with its house. Garage doors express the structure’s function more than any other element. It should incorporate or compliment decorative features that will enhance the front elevation of the home. 

Then why settle for a Plain Jane, white on white, garage door every time you pull up to the house? Want the rich look and feel of a thick wooden door, but don’t have the spare $10,000-$12,000 it would cost for the real thing. The idea is simple, take a boring, static garage door, and create something appealing and interesting that will make your garage, and home a statement of your own.

Taking garage doors and either faux painting or using a gel staining process, can give them the dramatic effect of a rich, beautifully hued wood door. The most common types of garage doors today, have a wood grain texture imprinted on them that runs across the entire door inviting the look of a real wood door. Faux painting or gel staining achieves a deep rich look and insures durability and protection against elements, not fading as regular painted garage doors do.

Transform your steel garage door into a luxurious “wooden” door that will make the garage dominate the curb appeal of the home.

CLICK HERE for some instructions on how to do your own “Steel Staining” Project.

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Mysterious Garage Door Opening

There was a local news piece about a homeowner reporting to police about a possible crime working its way though her neighborhood. She told them that one of her garage doors randomly opened late one Saturday night. She was worried someone was driving around with a garage door opener, hoping to find a door that opened with it, and then perhaps break into the home at a later date.

Police checked on it, and here’s what they found.

When the homeowner saw her garage door open by itself, she first thought it was a family member.  She went to check it out, and once she got to the front of the house, she heard a car driving away very slowly.  She got a bad feeling about it, so she went back inside. 

The police told her that there were no other occurrences in her neighborhood. But that they would keep an eye on the neighborhood.

There are stories like this all over the country. Thieves are using old remotes and driving down neighborhoods to find garage doors that will open.

Is your home safe?

It depends on the age of your garage door opener.  If it’s 93 or newer, it has what’s called a rolling code.  That means the code between the opener and the remote changes constantly.  Mathematically speaking, that’s about 16.8 million combinations for your garage door opener.  If your opener is older than a 1993 model, the chances of a random remote opening your door is,

There are 80,000 possible combinations.  It’s an absolute freak chance that someone could remotely come close to opening your door at your home with a random opener.

A precaution is to always make sure to lock the door between your garage and your house for extra safety. If you experience the same situation as this homeowner, it’s best to call police.

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Why Replace My Garage Door?

Cracking and sagging, impossible to lift, and generally falling apart – these are just some of the common signs that will tell you it’s time to replace your garage door with a new one.

However, there are a few people who, in spite of the absence of any of these, still go for a replacement garage door. Why they do so? Here are a few reasons why garage door should be replaced.

1. Increase the value and improve the appearance of your home. Have you ever noticed that the garage door represents ¼ to 1/3 of the front of your home? If you have, then you will know exactly what a new stylish and maintenance-free garage door can do for the value of your home. Believe it or not, even real estate agents will confirm that when you decide to sell your home in the future, it will be easier to do so if its garage door looks good. Moreover, new garage door also boost the overall appearance of your home. Simply choose from a wide variety of garage door colours, styles, and windows to match the look of your home and voila – your home will look even better in no time.

2. Increase your garage’s uses. Although some homeowners use their garage solely for parking their vehicles, there are many who decide to utilize it beyond such purpose. That’s why they use an insulated garage door between R-12 & R-18 to make it a more conducive place to work in. With such condition, the garage can now be used as workshop, art studio, playroom, special party room, heated storage room, and even a music room.

3. Provide added protection to the items stored in the garage. Extreme heat and cold can damage the items stored in your garage. You need to replace your old garage door with an insulated one to prevent things from happening. This often comes with a thermo barrier, preventing heat and cold from traveling from the outside to the inside surface. Combine this with a double fin rubber seal, bottom rubber weather strip, and PVC weather strip and you’ve got one of the tightest sealing garage doors ever. But aside from elements, a metal insulated garage door also protects your stored items from thieves who are attempting to break in. Unlike wooden or metal non-insulated door, the metal insulated one is more difficult to drill and kick in.

4. Avoid easy access to your home. Chances are your home can still be easily accessed even if you have the toughest front door installed, but your garage door is just the ordinary type. So to avoid this from happening, have a garage door opener that features rolling code technology. This makes it really difficult for anyone to enter through the garage door as the opener uses one of 100-billion new codes every time the door is opened.

5. Reduce the risk of injury. If you’re still using your old garage door openers, perhaps you’ll consider replacing them with the ones equipped with photo electric eyes. These are now mandatory since they sense when something is passing through the opening or is in the way when the door is coming down, preventing an injury.

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