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It’s Getting Colder Out There! Tune-Up Your Garage Door

With the cooling weather, the following can you save you a lot of time and expense!

Keeping it Clean

Clean your garage door regularly with mild soap, such as car 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.

Weather Stripping

Clean the weather stripping with a good all-purpose cleaner. Lubricate it every 2 or 3 months with a SILICONE-based lubricant. 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.

Maintaining the Hardware

Lubricate the rollers, tracks and hinges and all moving hardware parts with a little motor oil (e.g.: 10W30) every three months. Wipe off excess oil with a cloth. As for the springs, use the same oil applied with a cloth. You are not only prolonging the spring’s life, but also reducing the noise the springs make when the door is operated.

At least once a year, home owners must check the following :
– the sturdiness and adjustment of the hinges;
– the rollers for worn-out ball bearings, flattened rollers, and crooked rods;
– the tracks for premature wear and tear, loose bolts, and loose supports;
– the cables for wear and tear; especially near the pulleys and the lower support (corner bracket).

Open Sesame: The Garage Door Opener

Depending on the model you own, consult the manufacturer’s guide. If you want to add some white grease on the operator track, again you must first clean the track. By oiling all the mobile parts you will reduce the noise initiated by the motor. If it is still too noisy for your liking, then nylon rollers would help reduce the noise.

Pull on the trolley release cord and operate the door manually. Is it difficult to open and close? The electric operator only replaces manual operation, therefore it must move freely. If you have trouble operating it, contact your local l qualified and licensed garage door installer. For your safety as well as your child’s, check the automatic safety reverse system of the door opener every month.

Get Your Annual Exam

Consider your garage door as an important part of your home. With appropriate annual maintenance, it will operate beautifully. Ask a qualified and licensed garage door installer to lubricate and adjust your garage door at least yearly. In a 10 step check-up, they will lubricate all the above mentioned parts and perform any required repairs.

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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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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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The Crib® and a Garage Door

You have to love the idea of using garage doors for various reasons.

However, having this feature on this project is unique. Not only because it instantly opens up the inside of a house to the outdoors but also due to the uniqueness of the project.

So this is architect Jeffery Broadhurst’s off the grid project in West Virginia called The Crib®.  It was designed in response to the popularity of another small building, the award-winning Shack at Hinkle Farm by Broadhurst Architects, Inc., that was completed a few years ago. It became apparent that many people identified with and were interested in a small shelter that could serve as a weekend retreat, as a home yoga studio, as a backyard home office, or in multiples as cabins at an eco-resort.

This new building takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn as well as protect it from rodents. Here the form is realized by the use of a shop-fabricated galvanized steel bent structural system as a nod to traditional wood timber framing and with the structural simplicity of a common scaffolding system. Manufactured wood beams connect the bents. Structural insulated panel (SIP) floor and roof systems, wall panels of unpainted heat-treated native (and fast growing) poplar and recyclable translucent insulating multi-layer polycarbonate sheets make up the structure’s skin. The prefabricated wall panels are weather-stripped and clipped into the framework. The simple structural concept of The Crib allows considerable flexibility in the length of the building and degree and type of outfitting.

The simple structural concept of The Crib allows considerable flexibility in the length of the building and degree and type of outfitting. The Full Crib is a 250 square foot habitable space suitable for weekend recreational use, backyard home office, studio, or guest cottage. The two outdoor decks increase the livable area to about 370 square feet. The building can be elevated on an enclosed foundation to house a bathroom and mechanical and storage spaces, or guest room (increasing the total area to about 500 square feet), or may be supported by four simple concrete piers in other locations and circumstances. The building can be heated with a small propane-fired stainless steel fireplace and/or an electric or hydronic radiant floor system. Solar hot water and photovoltaic’s can be integrated into the structure.

The option of a small well-outfitted “kitchen in a box” allows for many of the comforts of home. The building is designed to resist rodents, bears, and undesirable visitors by securely closing down when not in use. Wood shutters secure any ground-level openings; an awning swings down to form a storm door to cover the glass door/wall, and the aluminum stair system hinges up off of the ground and locks in an inaccessible position.

The Crib includes a small entry deck and a larger deck space on the opposite side that extends the habitable space in favorable weather. This deck is accessed through an insulated glass garage door that allows a connection between the interior of The Crib and the landscape.

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Garage Door Opener: A Useful Invention

A garage door opener is a fascinating and useful invention. It is an electronic unit that helps you to open the garage door with the click of a switch.

There are mainly two categories of openers. The first one is the conventional switch that is installed within or without the garage and is clicked to open the door. These have manual options for operating in case of a power failure. For these switches, the security is slightly less. The second variety is a more developed remote controlled version. These types, contain a pair of receiver and transmitter each. A portable set is extremely convenient, as it enables the operation of the garage door without you having to step out of your car. Certainly, there are other erstwhile options like those operated by means of screws, belts and chains.

Now that you have an idea about the basic types of openers that are available you need to decide on the one you want to purchase for your garage door. There are a lot many variations that you will come across like those that are soundless, openers that are self lubricating, etc. Ensure to buy only what suits your needs. The factors that influence your decision would be durability, price and security.

If you are having trouble with your garage door opener, it may lead to immense anxiety. However, you may find that only a minor problem exists. Hence, prior to seeking professional help, you could try to fix it on your own. Things that you will be able to do on your own to fix problems are removing obstructions from the opener’s track, tightening up all nuts and bolts, checking the alignment of the opener, and of course checking the motors. You must also check the remote, as that is a possible problem area, too. If all these fail, you know you need a pro.

You may notice that no amount of repairing or professional aid seems to be helping to put your opener back into operation. That is when you need to replace your garage door opener. Since this is something you have done before, it should be simple.

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Size, Looks and Style Matters

Your garage door serves many purposes. It keeps your garage secure. It provides aesthetic appeal for your home. It also can be an energy efficiency product to help lower your energy bills.

You can get so much from a garage door that when it comes time to buy a replacement, you should shop smart. Make sure that the new one will be even better than the last. Do not settle for just any door. Shop around and be sure the model you get will serve all your purposes perfectly.

There are many considerations to make when choosing a new garage door. You should consider how you use the garage when making your choice. In some homes the garage is a playroom or a workshop in addition to keeping vehicles in out of the elements. How you use the garage will play into your final choice on a door.

You also need to make sure you get the right size of door. The wrong size of door will not serve any purpose. Take measurements carefully. Get help if you need it. Many retailers will offer help with taking measurements.

The appearance is also important. There are a range of styles, so you should try to figure out what you want before you go shopping. Common styles include flush panels which are flat and slightly textured. Flat panel styles blend nicely in with your home’s exterior.

There are also doors with raised panels that are long. This style is very dimensional. It provides depth to the look of the door and accents the home’s appearance.

There are short raised panels that add depth, too. They are really intricate in style and are perfect for homes of Victorian style or Tudor style homes.

Besides the style, many different colors are available. You can get almost any color or even pattern of colors you want. Along the same lines, you can also choose from different materials, like wood or steel. Some are more durable than others and some require less care and maintenance than others.

You can also choose to have windows added in the doors to really customize and change the look. You really have many choices when it comes to the look of the door you choose.

The last consideration you should make is energy efficiency. Most today come with the option of being energy efficient. If you are concerned about energy loss through the garage then you must look for energy efficiency properties in your new garage door. Try to find a door with good insulating qualities.

Make sure there are weather seals between the door sections. Additionally, look for a bottom seal. If one is not built into the door, then they are simple to add, so keep that in mind.

Buying the right garage door is not too difficult. You just have to know what your needs are and do some shopping around to find the door that is a perfect fit for you and your garage. With all the great options on the market, you can be sure you will find that perfect door.

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Conserve Energy with Insulated Garage Doors

Insulated garage doors are the perfect method to lower your electrical bill.

An insulated door comes in different dimensions, types and kits so there is no issue when it comes to matching the door to your home’s architectural style. When seeking out insulated doors, make sure to do the necessary research as well as the R-value of each door. The R-value is the measurement of the resistance of the door’s material to changes in temperatures.

To understand how R-value and heat flow are related, think of your garage not as a single entity but as a part of a system with the external environment. As with most everything in nature, heat will want to redistribute itself in an effort to reach a state of equilibrium, or equal temperatures, on the inside and the outside of your garage. To do this, heat must pass through the garage door to reach the other part of the system.

Door insulation quality impacts your utility bills because your garage door is typically the largest opening in your home. Many people also like to spend time in their garages working or even entertaining guests. For those reasons, a well insulated garage door is important even if the garage is not connected to the house.

In the summer, it is naturally hotter outside of your garage than inside most of the time and heat will try to “get in” to even out the system. If a garage door has an R-value of 3, 1/3 of the heat will get through the door and into your garage. This does not mean though that the internal temperature will be 1/3 of the external temperature. It just means that as more heat is produced externally, 1/3 of it will enter your garage. Insulating your garage door can help keep the heat out.

The opposite is true in winter. Heat is produced inside your garage in winter, either by direct heating, connection to your house, or by effects of the sun. As it is cooler on the outside of the door, heat will try to escape through the door to even out the system. If keeping your garage warm in winter is a priority, or even to just lessen the overall effects of cold temperatures, then choose a door with a higher R-value.

Every year people everywhere lose thousands of dollars because they don’t have garage door insulation. This is very important. Especially as energy prices climb higher, it is important to seal up every possible interface with the outside cold and heat.

The number one (but not only) reason to insulate garage doors is simply because if you don’t then untold amounts of extra energy will be expended in both heating and cooling your house. Think about it: the garage is the single biggest area in most anyone’s home which is not insulated. This presents a major problem. What happens, in effect, is that during the winter this “room” will take on all the cold that swirls outside, and it will effectively act like a refrigerator or even freezer butting right up against your kitchen or your living room, etc. In the summer the same thing will happen with heat.

Meanwhile, you’ve got your heating and cooling systems, such as your air conditioning, working overtime to make up for this vulnerability. Where you could’ve just done the right thing and installed garage door insulation, now you’re noticing a greater rise in energy and electric bills than you should otherwise have to be paying. It’s not a good situation. In fact, it could’ve been prevented quite readily with just a little forethought. But don’t kick yourself too hard. Instead, it would be a better use of your time if you’d just patch up the “hole” now.

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Garage Doors Are Our Friends

Many times, garage doors are simply another part of the home that serves a simple purpose – for you to get in and out of the garage.

Yet there’s more to these moving structures than lots of people don’t even realize. These entryways serve many purposes, and at the end of the day, you should be sure to take advantage of such benefits to ensure you’re getting the most out of your property.

Convenience
It’s one thing to have a special place to park your car, but it’s another thing if getting in and out of that space is an ordeal. Garage doors can be opened manually, but it’s so frustrating to have to pull up to your home, get out of the car, let the structure up, get back in your car and drive in to the space. Some may simply think that’s no big deal, but if it’s raining or snowing, you won’t be so eager to get outside your car to let up the structure. So the great thing is that most garage doors are installed with garage door openers so you can just drive up to your home, click a button, and the structure goes up.

Business All sectional garage doors work in the same way – e.g. they have vertical tracks on each side of the garage door opening so that the door can slide up. The sections of the door are hinged together and this enables it to fit around the 90 degree angle formed by the roof and the front wall of the garage. It then sits in a horizontal position next to the ceiling. Most sectional doors go up automatically although they can be manual if you really want to get out of the car and open the door four or five times a day, every day. Those who have used the automated sectional garage doors swear, when you want to let it down, just click the button again, and you’re done.

Beauty
Although beauty may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of your garage doors, there are a ton of options you can consider. Some people like to get really detailed when it comes to their moving structure. There are some gorgeous types of wood you can choose from, and some people take it as far as getting carriage doors to really make an impact. No matter what you’re thinking, this structure can really help give your home a punch of curb appeal.

Protection
All homes don’t come with garages. Having such a structure allows you to do so much more to the space as well as offer protection against outside elements. You won’t have to worry about getting caught in the wind and rain since the structure keeps all that out. When wind starts blowing, debris, rain, and snow can get under the covering and get to you. Then you’re wet and frustrated. Fortunately, if you have an enclosed structure with a door, you’re sure to be out of harm’s way.

Uniqueness
Many neighborhoods put in the same garage doors with each home. Nothing’s wrong with this if you don’t mind blending in. But if you want to really stand out, you could possibly put up a completely different entry to your garage. However, some areas have homeowners’ associations that have to okay such changes, so get approval first. Once approved, you can start shopping for a variety of materials from steel to wood. Different materials work for different needs, so keep this in mind. But the bottom line is that you can get something that is truly unique and may have the neighbors talking for weeks.

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The Weather is FALLing… Tune-Up Your Garage Door

With the cooling weather, the following guidelines can you save you a lot of time and expense!

Keeping it Clean

Clean your garage door regularly with mild soap, such as car 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.

Weather Stripping

Clean the weather stripping with a good all-purpose cleaner. Lubricate it every 2 or 3 months with a SILICONE-based lubricant. 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.

Maintaining the Hardware

Lubricate the rollers, tracks and hinges and all moving hardware parts with a little motor oil (e.g.: 10W30) every three months. Wipe off excess oil with a cloth. As for the springs, use the same oil applied with a cloth. You are not only prolonging the spring’s life, but also reducing the noise the springs make when the door is operated.

At least once a year, home owners must check the following :
– the sturdiness and adjustment of the hinges;
– the rollers for worn-out ball bearings, flattened rollers, and crooked rods;
– the tracks for premature wear and tear, loose bolts, and loose supports;
– the cables for wear and tear; especially near the pulleys and the lower support (corner bracket).

Open Sesame: The Garage Door Opener

Depending on the model you own, consult the manufacturer’s guide. If you want to add some white grease on the operator track, again you must first clean the track. By oiling all the mobile parts you will reduce the noise initiated by the motor. If it is still too noisy for your liking, then nylon rollers would help reduce the noise.

Pull on the trolley release cord and operate the door manually. Is it difficult to open and close? The electric operator only replaces manual operation, therefore it must move freely. If you have trouble operating it, contact your local l qualified and licensed garage door installer. For your safety as well as your child’s, check the automatic safety reverse system of the door opener every month.

Get Your Annual Exam

Consider your garage door as an important part of your home. With appropriate annual maintenance, it will operate beautifully. Ask a qualified and licensed 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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