Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Resource for Homeowners: Home and Garage Access During a Power Outage

LiftMaster launched their new site,, as a resource for homeowners, providing them with tips on how to manage their home and garage access during a power outage.

Coupled with statistics on the frequency of power outages across the country, this site helps connect homeowners to installing dealers who can educate them on and install tangible battery backup garage door opener and access solutions so they are never inconveniently blocked or locked out by a heavy powerless garage door when the power’s out.

Whether caused by inclement weather or grid failures, power outages are inevitable, leaving homeowners with a lot to handle until the power goes back on. offers a resourceful starting point for homeowners and families on what to do during a power outage and what steps they can take to ensure that access to their home is not jeopardized, leading them to a local dealer to learn more about maintaining peace-of-mind during an outage. 

The site also features information on the LiftMaster 3850 Belt Drive unit with battery backup built right into the opener, as well as a preview of LiftMaster’s new national television spot that highlights the features and benefits of installing this battery backup-enabled unit.

LiftMaster is a brand of professionally installed residential garage door openers, as well as a major manufacturer of commercial door operators, residential and commercial gate operators, telephone-entry systems and related access-control products.

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Best garage door to suit your home’s style

Today’s most popular door type by far is the sectional overhead door, which usually comprises four or five horizontally hinged sections that roll up into the garage ceiling on a curving track.

There’s little doubt that this is the most easily operated garage door design since the Victorian biparting door — a fact that explains its wide use as a replacement for older types.

First, a quick rundown on sizes: Single-bay doors are typically 8 or 9 feet wide by 7 feet high, while double-bay doors are typically 16 feet wide (occasionally 18) by 7 feet high. Double-bay doors are mainly found on broadly proportioned home styles such as California ranchers.

As for choosing a door design to suit your home’s architecture: Although the current fashion in sectional doors is for very showy and elaborate designs with raised or recessed panels, ornate windows and the like, these aren’t necessarily the best choice for your home. Ranch-style houses, for example, typically look best with very simple and unrelieved doors, and anything more ornamental can look overwrought, drawing attention away from the front entrance.

On the other hand, a bland, unadorned garage door will look very strange on a traditional home style. The best approach is to reflect the same general level of detail that’s found on your home: If you have a traditional-style house with lots of exterior moldings and trim, then a moderately ornate garage door will probably look fine. However, if it’s a relatively clean Mid-century home style, you’re better off choosing a simpler door with a plain plywood finish.

Pre-Depression-era homes, which were originally fitted with either biparting or bypassing garage doors, present a special case. The horizontal proportions found on most stock sectional doors, whether plain of fancy, look foreign on houses of this era. Door manufacturers do offer super-high-end designs that attempt to hide the sectional door’s telltale horizontal joints, mimicking old-fashioned doors. But the prices of these doors can be astronomical, sometimes ranging into five figures.

Lastly, a word about windows: Most sectional door manufacturers offer optional glass lites for their doors, as well as a whole array of divider patterns to fit over them. Although additional light in the garage is always welcome, choose these window designs carefully. The now over-familiar sunburst pattern, for example, is very well suited to Colonial-style houses, but not to much else. Likewise, arch-topped windows are probably not the thing for a California rancher.

Take your time choosing the right style of garage door for your home. After all, it’s the biggest door you’ve got.

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There’s a magical garage door in the Upper Haight of San Francisco!

McMills Construction was working on an investment property on Oak Street, and they were scratching their heads over how to build a garage to enhance the tenant’s use of the building.

It’s nearly impossible to consistently score a decent parking spot in the Upper Haight. The problem, you see, is that the city planning department had recently started enforcing its mandate to limit changes to the character of historic building’s front facades– especially when it came to converting bay windows into garage doors.

Corey McMills, who’s got a background in mechanical engineering, thought of an idea to covert the walls of the bay window into door panels that would fold into the garage space to allow cars to enter. The planning department accepted it. McMills Construction teamed up with Beausoleil Architects to help with the details. The result is brilliant.

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Happy Easter!

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Is Your Garage Door a Soft Target?

As the economy tanks, crime is going up. The bad guys will be looking for soft targets and your garage – especially if you leave it open – is one of the softest.

What can you do to reduce the odds you’ll be victimized?

Don’t flash what you have

Try to avoid leaving your garage door open so that everyone who drives or walks by has a full view of your stuff. Even if you’re working in the garage, it’s best to leave the doors down. Try to keep what you have under wraps – and keep a low profile.

Keep the door locked

This is just common sense – but it’s a fact that many thieves never have to break into anything. They just walk right on in – and walk away (or drive away) with your stuff. Use a high quality door lock, plus a deadbolt. If you have an outside electric keypad opener, don’t use an obvious code or tell too many people what the code is.

If your garage has doors with windows, consider replacing them with solid doors

As nice as it is to have a door with an upper glass section to let the sun shine in, glass allows a would-be thief to see inside your place – and getting in is as simple as smashing out the window.

Install a bright light near your garage

Ideally, one with a motion sensor. The light should be of the floodlight type – and either far enough up or otherwise out of reach that it would take at least a little bit of effort to defeat it by smashing the bulb or some such.

Consider an alarm system

You might even get a rate reduction on your homeowner’s (as well as your classic car) insurance. Or get a fake alarm – dummy closed-circuit cameras or blinking red LED lights near doors and windows can accomplish the same thing (but forget about the insurance discount).

Make your stuff harder to steal

Tools should be secured in heavy, hard to remove/move (and locked) tool cases; ideally, cases permanently fixed to hard points such as the floor or workbenches. Locked cabinets bolted to the wall studs work well. Garage doors should have heavy metal lock bars and other such devices to make them difficult to open for an unauthorized user.

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Prolonging the Life of Your Garage Door

If you want your garage doors to keep on working for many years to come, then all you really need to do is learn a little about garage door maintenance.

The main parts of a garage door that really need to be kept in top working order are the hardware and the springs. Garage door maintenance really is easy and if done periodically, takes only minutes. The most important thing to remember with garage door maintenance is to keep any springs well lubricated. They may also need some adjustment, as well as tweaks to the cables and levers, and this you can leave to the professionals!

The springs are the core component of the functioning of your garage door, and do more than 90% of the work of opening and closing doors of traditional up and over or swing mechanisms. If you are struggling to be open your garage doorway then your springs will need some aligning. Car port door maintenance is not complex, and even if you call out a professional, you should not expect hefty bills for work done. Another possibility to the hard opening and closing of the door is that the springs are worn and need replacing.

A quick home test for your garage door springs is to see if your car port door stays half way open. In theory it should, and if the door falls down, then the springs are either too loose or need replacing. If the door continues to rise and slams up, then the springs may be too tight. This is the simple test you should do at home before calling in the professional s to help you with your garage entry door maintenance. If you think the springs need adjusting, really it is to your benefit to call in a professional who knows about garage entry way; otherwise you could end up doing more harm than good.

Asides, the springs, your routine storage garage maintenance check should include checking the hardware, cables and connections periodically. If you see parts that are corroded or worn, then it is time to call in a specialist. Do not attempt this on your own as if you touch the wrong cables or loosen the springs too far, you could be in for a very nasty accident. Just think logically and you will realize why you shouldn’t fiddle around with your garage door springs. When in its’ closed state, the springs are waiting to force open the door, and are under pressure. If you fiddle with the wrong hardware, you could end up with that spring in your face and a trip to accident and emergency.

The best advice on garage gate maintenance that can be given is to look periodically for faults, keep the springs lubricated. And the most important advice of all is to leave your garage door repairs to the professional. A much cheaper solution than the medical bill you would be paying if it all went wrong!

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Garage Door Operator Problems? Let’s See…

When your garage door opener suddenly stops operating properly, the explanation and solution are usually pretty easy to deal with.

Here are the most common problems, along with the most likely repairs for each. For adjustments and repairs that aren’t self-evident, check the owner’s manual or contact a professional.

Garage door opener does not operate with either the remote or the wall switch.
The power source has probably been disrupted. Make sure the motor unit is plugged in. Check the circuit breaker, fuse or GFCI.

Garage door won’t close all the way.
The close limit switch needs adjusting. If not, see if the door is binding when raised and lowered manually.

Garage door reverses immediately after hitting floor.
The close limit switch probably needs adjusting.

Garage door reverses before hitting floor.
The close force probably needs adjusting.

Garage door does not open completely.
The limit switch may need to be moved toward motor unit.

The garage door opens, but the motor won’t stop running.
The limit switch probably needs to be moved away from the motor unit.

The garage door won’t open or close with remote control.
There are several possible solutions: (1) Move closer to the door (you might be out of range); (2) Make sure that the antenna on the motor unit is hanging down; (3) If the door functions fine with the wall switch, replace the battery in the remote; (4) Reprogram the remote.

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Friday Funnies

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Got Wood?

Custom wood garage doors combine durability and beauty for your home. Wooden styles are timeless and remain unaffected by trendy types made of metal or fiber.

The classic appearance of wood is unmatched and efforts by garage door manufacturers to have it replaced with more economical materials have been futile so far.

Custom wood garage doors are the latest statements of aesthetic architecture in this part of the world and are gaining in popularity by the day. There are specialized wooden overhead garage makers spread over entire United States catering to the needs of customers since decades. The styles of these garage doors range from squared and arched top, double and single customized varieties, without or with glass, to swing types. Swinging wooden doors are a universal favorite among house owners. This overhead door type lends a rustic appearance to your home. A varnish finish is most attractive for swinging wooden types.

Custom wood overhead doors speak volumes of your taste and preferences. Only if you have an eye for all things classical would you opt for a wooden variety. With rich carvings or elaborate decorations, these wooden doors stand out among all other classes. The best thing about these garage doors is that they are manufactured on order. Many door makers take the help of designers and architects to design the perfect door for your garage. Elaborate carvings are often made as per your preferences.

Wooden doors being powerful provide sufficient security against storms, rain or snow. They could withstand winds and hurricanes with speed reaching up to 140 miles per hour. Like metallic and fiber styles, custom wood variety could also be fitted with door openers. A door opener is both a security and convenience device. Being electronically operated with the help of transmitters and sensors, the door opener allows hands free movement of the door. Security is also enhanced at the same time.The seeming strength of custom wood type could be augmented by installing a door opener. These electronic gadgets operated by transmitters and sensors not only provide additional security to your garage but also enable the doors to be operated without human intervention.

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The Friday Funny: Bye Bye Garage Door

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