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Garage Doors Open Up Homes to Curb Appeal and Value

Garage doors just aren’t what they used to be. The garage door is a fundamental part of the blueprint, structural design and sanctuary of a home. The garage door is one of the most important visual features of a home, representing up to a third or even more of the front. They are now eye-catching, beautiful and — dare we say it? — even “cool.” In a marketplace where enhanced curb appeal, residential diversity, and neotraditional architecture are in demand by municipalities, we’re seeing an onslaught of more unique garage door styles, especially steel, three-section, carriage house-style garage doors.

Carriage house garage doors help us recall the charm of that turn-of-the-century swinging barn-door style, behind which hid a jaunty horse-drawn carriage. Today’s doors may look attractively retro, but they are also durable and they open overhead like any other modern sectional garage door.

Original carriage house doors were made of wood. Garage doors today are made from various materials including wood, composite and steel. Each type offers its own benefits, characteristics and costs.

Most homeowners want affordable beauty with low maintenance. That means a moderately priced, steel, carriage house garage door. Because they are all steel, all the parts expand and contract at the same rate, preventing misshaping of the door. All-steel doors with steel plant-on boards also provide design shadows more readily visible from the curb. Stamped or raised-panel steel doors can only emboss designs to a certain depth, creating less dramatic shadows. This “curb appeal” is what homeowners are looking for more and more consistently.

Homeowners are driving the curb appeal trend by actively expressing their dissatisfaction with living in cookie-cutter housing that cannot show the personality of the owner. With the same front elevations, same tile roofs, same color schemes, and same garage doors, neighborhoods can look plain and uninteresting. Add a few touches of curb appeal — with decorative rock, windows, shutters, wrought iron, or an expanse of unique carriage house garage door — and neighborhoods grow beautifully in character and value.

Carriage house garage doors offer hundreds of design choices which can complement other artistic elements in a home’s elevation such as window shapes, shutters, and trim. In choosing the look of the door, builders can choose among multiple designs using “plant-on” board; solid arches; window treatments; and decorative hardware.

All it takes is one visit to a project using carriage house garage doors to see the future of the industry. No curb appeal product can more effectively enhance the diversity and value of a home than a carriage house garage door.

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Garage Doors & Home Security

The garage is an easy entry for unwanted people in our homes making garage security essential to protect yourself and your belongings. They are a popular target for criminals to get into your home and for obvious reasons. Some of our most expensive belongings are placed in there besides your car including bikes, lawnmower and power tools.

There are a few tips that you can use to ensure the safety of your family and home. Make sure that you invest in a good garage door and door opener. Some new openers, like the Liftmaster brand, have automatic locking feature on some models that make it much more difficult for any stranger to open. On a side note, when you have a new garage door opener installed, make sure the combination is reset, as the factory set combination is a familiar one to criminals.

It is important to understand the different security features that garage doors have. Most people aren’t aware how easy it is to simply open up a garage door. If you don’t have a proper garage door lock in place, for example, you will find that most doors are very easy to open.

Always try and look for a good system that will help to give you the best results possible. Finding the right door lock for you is important because it will help you secure your garage. Having a garage door that isn’t properly secured can be an easy opportunity for potential thieves.

Criminals already know that many of us overlook securing the garage door in the same way we bolt our front door. As the door that leads to the house from your garage is an interior door this misleads to thinking that it is secure. This is not the case. If the garage door can be broken into easily then it is equally easy for burglars to get into the house.

A common mistake made by people is to leave the garage door open during the day especially if they think that they will be back in a few minutes. This leaves everything in the garage to be seen by intruders who now know what they can get from there. In some cases, they can even attempt to hide in the normal clutter of a garage and wait for the right moment to run away with your valuables.

Home security is a comprehensive thing that you should take time to analyze. Securing your garage door should be a big part of that.

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Good Time for Maintenance of Your Garage Door

On a busy day your garage door may open and close 20 times, so routine maintenance is a must to keep it in good working order. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular garage door cleaning and maintenance will guarantee a great look and longer life of your door.

Appearance

Clean your garage door regularly with mild soap (like dishwashing 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. If there’s exposed wood, be sure to paint it.

Exterior Weather-Stripping
Clean the weather stripping around the frame and bottom edge with a good all-purpose cleaner. Lubricate it every 2 or 3 months with a Silicone-based lubricant to keep the stripping pliable. 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.

Final Advice
Consider your garage door as an important part of your home. With appropriate annual maintenance, it will door will provide carefree convenience for many years to come. Ask a qualified garage door installer, to lubricate and adjust your garage door at least yearly. A check-up will insure he will lubricate all the above mentioned parts and perform any required repairs.

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Don’t Wait Until Your Garage Door Doesn’t Work… Maintain It!

For those of you who have moved into a new home or have just installed a new garage door, be sure to take the time to thoroughly read the garage door owner’s manual. It may seem like a chore and take time, but one would be surprised at what they can find in most well written garage door manuals. The manual will contain safety and design information to help you insure that your garage door is safe to use and properly installed, and contain information on how to keep your garage door properly maintained.

For example, many garage door manuals will contain helpful tips for painting them. Most companies will tell you to pain BOTH the inside and outside of the garage door to keep everything even, and to never remove any parts of the garage door when painting. If you want to make sure that your garage door is completely covered in a fresh coat of paint, you need to call in a professional to dismantle it so that you can finish the paint job, and then have the garage door installed again. This usually does not happen, but again, do not try to dismantle any of the parts of the garage door. It can lead to a very dangerous situation.

Once you have your garage door installed, it is vital that you periodically lubricate most parts of it. It is often easiest to lubricate the metal parts using silicone spray that can be found at most local hardware stores. However, be sure to never lubricate plastic rollers and plastic idler bearings. It is also suggested that you check for loose nuts and bolts on a monthly basis and if you find something out of the ordinary, call in an expert to help you with your problem. Don’t try anything yourself unless you are licensed and well trained in repairing garage doors.

Also, make sure to check that the door has proper balance by slowly opening the door and making sure that when the bottom of the door is waist high, it does not sway and move in any direction. Finally, using a 2×4 block of wood, make sure that the sensors on your garage works (if it is a remote-controlled door). Place the 2×4 in the pathway of the door and when the door gets somewhat close to the top of the 2×4 it should reverse direction and go back up.

If the garage door is moving, keep your distance and never stand or walk under a moving door. It is important that you set an example for your children and you do not want them under a moving garage door. You should also try to make sure children cannot reach the wall-mounted garage door openers and be sure to hide the remotes. You do not want your children playing with the garage door at all. Finally, if you think you have a problem, call an expert. Never try to fix anything yourself as garage doors are very dangerous and you put yourself in harm’s way when you try to fix it, especially when you don’t know exactly what you are doing.

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Ever Evolving Door Styles

Some things do come back in style if you wait long enough.

Think hip-hugger pants, shag carpeting and, yes, even wood garage doors. The wood garage doors of the 1970s are back in a big way. It’s one of many design trends that have come and gone.

The first revolution in garage door materials happened in the 1980s, when raised panel steel doors replaced wood ones. They continue to dominate the market today, mainly because they’re economical and low-maintenance. But for certain homes — especially custom homes or those with an Old World look — a big expanse of cold steel just won’t do. Frequently the garage door is a major part of the front of a home and people are finding that they can do something more interesting.

For this reason, wood has become the most popular option. But these aren’t the humble wood doors of two decades ago. First United Door Technologies offers wood doors in a carriage-house style that has an old-fashioned craftsman look. Made of the finest wood, they offer a much richer appearance and you can expect to pay four times or more what you would for steel doors.

Just as wood is beginning to catch on, the next wave of garage doors is already approaching. If you have a steel garage door, there are ways to ramp up its curb appeal. You can select different patterns or textures and install windows; and there’s always the do-it-yourselfer’s best tool: paint. But if you want your garage door to be a focal point rather than something to disguise, wood may just be worth its price tag.

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Don’t Overlook The Garage When Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

There’s a lot of talk about curb appeal being the driving force drawing buyers into your home. It makes sense. If the house looks a mess from the outside, what buyer would want to set foot inside?

Well, maybe your house isn’t quite a mess. You have taken the time to fix-up the landscape, power-washed the house, and even painted the mailbox. But did you overlook what can be the biggest eyesore — the garage? It’s the largest architectural element on the house. So it really, in this day and age, is impossible to dismiss the garage door as an important architectural element.

But the garage door is more than an architectural element. It can be a trigger point for buyers. They’re driving down the street in a tract-home neighborhood and suddenly they spot a custom wooden garage door. It’s striking and different and often gives them reason to stop and take a closer look, maybe even come inside.

If you have a house that has a nice garage door, it sets the stage for the fact that everything else in the house is going to have attention to detail and it really does differentiate homes that are on the same street. With some exterior paint and a unique garage door, the house really becomes a semi-custom house. Swapping out an old steel-style, raised-panel garage door that once was so very traditional is a huge improvement to a home.

It is interesting that you would go past these $5 or $6 million houses where the architects and designers pay such critical attention to detail to the stucco color, the stonework, and the rooftop. Then for the biggest element, they would just put this wide raised-panel steel door because the consumer wasn’t educated on how important the garage door can be in really just buttoning up and completing the design of a house.

However, these days, custom wooden doors aren’t just for multi-million dollar homes. People in tract homes are making the switch either for their own benefit, a faster sale, or a potential gain in the value of the property. There is definitely an increase in the property value commensurate with the investment that you make in the garage door. And then there is the perceived value. For every $5,000 of door that you put in, you get four times that dollar in perceived value.

What makes wooden garage doors so special is not only the escape from conformity but also the fact that they function like traditional automated steel doors. They work exactly like a standard upward-acting sectional garage door. They segment on a track and they use a conventional residential garage door opener. Only from the front elevation do we try to design the doors to look like they’re the old fashion carriage garage doors that swing open.

The added decorative hardware, including handles and hinges, helps create the effect of an old-fashioned-garage door.

But not every garage door works with every style of home. You should really take a close look at your architectural style before you decide on the right garage door. Homeowners should match their home architecture to a garage door that is architecturally congruent. That way you’re making the whole house just look that much more custom and fitted.

Then next vital thing to look for in custom doors is to choose the appropriate material. It’s very, very critical that the lumber you select is designed and can last and can be durable for an exterior application. Typically that lumber would be mahogany, cedar, or redwood. Teak also works well outside but is very expensive.

You should also note that with wooden garage doors there may be a little more maintenance depending on how much sun exposure the door gets. It’s recommended that you use a resin-based product to finish the garage door rather than a varnish. A varnish is a really difficult product to maintain because when it fails, you have to strip the wood back down to the bare wood and you have to re-start the process from scratch and that becomes cost-prohibitive for these doors. Resin-based products are easier to clean. New product can also be applied directly over the old.

Whether or not you decide to replace your garage door, it’s important to make sure it at least is working properly.

Besides the garage door looking good, it’s really an appliance on the house that has to operate efficiently, reliably, and without [failure] every single day. The key concept to remember is that a garage door shouldn’t just house your car and all your stuff that won’t fit in your home. Instead it should help to entice buyers to want to see more of the house.

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It’s cold out there: Is your garage door insulated?

An insulated garage door can create a stable, dry, warm atmosphere all year round as well as vastly increasing the security, soundproofing and sealing properties of the garage door opening from dust, vermin, leaves and rain.

It will also help to save you some money on your energy bills. This is why the demand for insulated garage doors is increasing year on year as so many garages are now used for many other purposes other than storing a vehicle.

Insulated garage doors offer various advantages over standard garage doors namely:

1.They allow the garage to be used for other uses – e.g. hobbies, gym, play room, office, damp proof secure storage etc. etc.
2.They keep adjoining rooms and bedrooms above the garage warmer.
3.They offer increased security due to thicker and stronger door construction.
4.Weather stripping prevents leaves and debris blowing into the garage.
5.Weather stripping stops heat loss and prevents cold air getting into the garage.
6.An insulated garage door will help save on your heating bills and help the environment.
7.Reduced condensation.

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The Original All Steel Carriage House Garage Door

The Original STEELHOUSE Door is an innovative “Modern Carriage Door“, manufactured entirely of steel.

The Original STEELHOUSE™ garage doors have two-sided steel insulated facing boards that are textured, roll formed and laminated to steel backers and then mechanically fastened and bonded to a 23 gauge steel section. Four-inch wide, two-sided steel insulated boards are bonded with epoxy cement and mechanically fastened to ensure positive attachment to the face of the door. All Original STEELHOUSE Doors come standard with CFC-free polystyrene insulation.

A “Reinforced Integral Truss System” (RITS™) gives the Original STEELHOUSE doors strength and rigidity that is unmatched by similar products. In addition to their distinctive style and curb appeal, the Original STEELHOUSE patented doors are half the weight and cost of wooden doors. Virtually maintenance-free, the Original STEELHOUSE doors will not warp, crack, or split. Quite simply, it doesn’t get better than that.

From a base of nine models and over 15 designer top sections, Original STEELHOUSE Doors offer more than 200 unique configurations to ensure diversity from one home to the next and from one subdivision to the next. Homeowners, builders, architects and municipalities alike, are using Original STEELHOUSE Doors to bring a fresh, handsome appearance to neighborhoods across the country.

The Original STEELHOUSE Door combines rich traditional styling with three key benefits not found in wooden doors: half the weight, half the cost, and half the maintenance. True to Carriage House style, these doors can be detailed with classically finished handles, pulls, hinge straps, and windows.

Download the Steelhouse Brochure & Specifications here!

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When is it Time to Replace The Garage Door?

Garage doors are designed to last many long years. Products are available to help maintain the operation and beauty of garage entries, with a bit of annual maintenance. Many homeowners only think to replace garage doors when something happens that makes it necessary, such as being hit with a car or lawnmower.

Even without accidental damage, garage doors do suffer wear and tear over time, especially from the elements. Waiting too long to replace worn out doors and openers can create a serious safety hazard. Doors and openers that are worn cease to operate properly, and accidents can occur.

Energy efficiency is yet another reason to upgrade existing garage doors. Over time, the seals that help stop air loss around the garage doors weaken and wear out. Once these seals become too worn, air loss begins to occur, which creates an expensive power concern. For old doors that do not have insulation, replacing them with new, well insulated doors is an investment in energy conservation that can pay for itself in energy savings over the life of the door.

Signs to look for that a garage door is at the end of its useful life include lack of insulation and modern safety features, air seals that are torn and worn out, and dents and breaks in the door. Fiberglass garage doors will often fracture upon impact. If this happens, the door’s safety is compromised. When the door is in the full overhead open position, part of the door could fall off due to the fracture and cause serious damage to nearby items, and even more serious injury to anybody standing under or near it when the break occurs.

Likewise, garage doors with considerable dents also pose a safety risk as misshapen doors can interfere with the smooth operation of automatic door openers. If any part of a metal garage door is dented outward, or inward, in such as way that it makes contact with the ceiling or any other object or portion of the opener mechanism, malfunctions will occur. In this event, the door should be fully closed then detached from the automatic opener until a garage door service can install a replacement.

Safety is an important consideration with garage doors. Because they are heavy and are usually hung from overhead, the risk of a door, or part of a door, falling and causing property damage or injury to people and pets should be carefully avoided. If an existing door’s safety features falter, it should not be used and must be replaced. Every garage door must have bump sensors that automatically reverse and raise the door if it bumps anything on the way down. To test that this feature is fully functional, put a block of wood under the door and attempt to close it with the automatic opener. If the door does not reverse on its own, the bump sensors are no longer working.

While garage doors can last many years with regular maintenance, safety concerns are the number one reason to replace old doors. Of course aesthetic style and energy efficiency are also important. However, if a door shows signs of dangerous wear and tear, getting a replacement garage door should not be put off.

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Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

Did you ever think that a new garage door could almost pay for itself?

Garage door replacement ranked No. 2 in “cost recouped” on a list of 35 common home remodeling projects in Remodeling Magazine’s 24th annual Cost vs. Value Report.

The average midrange garage door replacement cost was estimated at $1,291. Resale value of the project averaged $1,083 – an 83.9 percent return on investment (ROI) at resale. In some cities, such as Charleston, W. Va., Honolulu, Providence, R.I., and San Francisco, the ROI for a new garage door was more than 100 percent.

Upscale garage door replacements were estimated to provide a 69.8 percent ROI – No. 4 among the upscale projects listed in the survey.

What does that mean to homeowners? You can have your cake and eat it, too. A new garage door can add to the beauty of your home as you live in it and enjoy it today, while also providing a high level of payback – nearly 84 cents of every dollar spent on the garage door replacement – when it’s time to sell.

What’s more, garage door replacement was one of the least expensive projects listed in the survey. That means a new garage door may be the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to enhance your home’s appearance and get a great return on your investment.

In addition to providing a great ROI, a stylish new garage door can add to the beauty of your home. If you have a front-facing attached garage, a new door adds instant curb appeal. An attached garage can make up a third or more of the front of the home. Replacing a garage door can be the difference between a “plain vanilla” home and a stylish, attractive home. After all, haven’t you ever drive down a street you’ve driven down hundreds of times before and notice something “different” about a house that has enhanced its look? Could it have been a new garage door?

If you’re seriously thinking about a new garage door, here’s something else to think about: once you’ve picked the model and style that’s right for you, sit back and leave the installation to the professionals. This isn’t a job for the weekend warrior. A garage door is the heaviest moving object in your home. It is actually a system that includes springs, cables, rollers, tracks and other hardware. Some of the elements of this system are under high tension. If improperly installed, this system can cause injury or even death.

Proper installation and even repair projects are best left to experienced professionals.

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