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Garage doors

Garage doors - well, the choice is quite varied, electric garage doors, automatic garage doors, up and over garage doors, remote controlled garage doors, Garage doorsmetal garage doors, roller garage doors, sectional garage doors, wooden garage doors, traditional garage doors and more modern garage doors. In fact, more garage doors than you can shake a remote control handset at!!

The original traditional up and over steel garage doors and side hung timber garage doors, although still available, have made way for more modern sectional and roller shutter garage doors.

Automatic garage doors (also known as electric or remote control garage doors) have also become more fashionable over the years and the fitting of electric operators is rapidly becoming the norm. Remote controlled garage doors are especially handy, particularly on those wet and Garage doorscold 'English' days when it's easier to just open the garage doors by remote control, without getting out of the car!! 

If space in the garage is an issue, try rolling shutter garage doors or perhaps sliding garage doors.

Overhead garage doors
A typical overhead garage door consists of several panels hinged together that roll along a system of tracks guided by rollers. The weight of the door is balanced by either a torsion spring system or a pair of extension springs.

Single panel garage doors
Single panel doors are constructed from one monolithic panel. From the closed position a single panel door will slide up and overhead on rails to the fully open position. A disadvantage of monolithic panel doors is that the swing up arc of the door occurs partially outside the garage. This means a vehicle must stop and park several feet in front of the door to avoid being hit by the garage door when it is opened.

Sectional garage doors
Sectional doors are usually constructed of six to eight panels and slide up and overhead. Sectional doors occupy exactly the same amount of internal garage space as a monolithic door. Sectional doors have two distinct advantages over single panel monolithic doors: - Sectional garage doors do not require any space outside the garage to open. A vehicle may park very close to the garage before opening the door.  Each panel of a sectional door has its own connection to the door track. This increases reliability and robustness compared to a monolithic doors which has only a couple of track connections for the whole panel.

Insulation of sectional garage doors
Garage doors can be made out of many materials, but steel, aluminium, wood, and vinyl (polyethylene) are the most popular materials. A few manufactures are making energy efficient garage doors by putting foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation in monolithic panel and sectional garage doors.

Roller garage doors
Roller garage doors are usually constructed of corrugated steel. Other materials can be used (eg; transparent corrugated fibreglass) where strong impact resistance is not required. Corrugations give the door strength against impacts. A typical single car garage roller door will have a preloaded spring inside the rolling mechanism. The spring reduces the effort required to open the door. Larger roller doors in commercial premises are not sprung and use a manual pulley and chain system or a geared motor to raise and lower (roll up and roll down) the door. Roller doors cannot be effectively insulated.

Materials and insulation
A common material for new garage doors is steel sheet formed to look like a raised panel wooden door. Steel doors are available in uninsulated, insulated, and double skin steel. A design mimicking carriage house doors has become quite popular since about 2002, and many manufacturers clad the exterior of a steel door with composite, vinyl boards, or DecamTrim to give it the appearance of wood. Steel carriage garage doors are becoming the most popular carriage door due to weight of the door, no rotting, and a large amount of designs. A more economical alternative for garage doors is steel stamped construction.

Torsion spring lift mechanism
A torsion spring counterbalance system consists of one or two tightly wound up springs on a steel shaft with cable drums at both ends. The entire apparatus mounts on the header wall above the garage door and has three supports: a centre bearing plate with a steel or nylon bearing and two end bearing plates at both ends. The springs themselves consist of the steel wire with a stationary cone at one end and a winding cone at the other end. The stationary cone is attached to the centre bearing plate. The winding cone consists of holes every 90 degrees for winding the springs and two set screws to secure the springs to the shaft. Steel counterbalance cables run from the roller brackets at the bottom corners of the door to a notch in the cable drums. When the garage door is raised, the springs unwind and the stored tension lifts the door by turning the shaft, thus turning the cable drums, wrapping the cables around the grooves on the cable drums. When the door is lowered, the cables unwrap from the drums and the springs are rewound to full tension.

Life of a torsion spring on garage doors
Most manufacturers of garage doors and dealers of garage doors, either produce and/or sell garage doors fitted with torsion springs that have a minimum of 10,000 - 15,000 cycles. This number of cycles allows the garage doors to open and close an average of 3 to 7 years. However, it is important to remember that if the weight of the garage door is increased by adding glass, do it yourself insulation, or even several coats of paint, the life of the torsion spring will greatly be reduced.
Other factors like poor garage door maintenance, loose tracks, or faulty components will shorten the life of torsion springs. Never apply grease to the tracks of the garage door, this will prevent the wheels on the rollers from doing their job. Only grease bearings, and spray light coat of lubricant on hinges and springs.

Extension spring lift mechanism
An extension spring counterbalance system consists of a pair of stretched springs running parallel to the horizontal tracks. The springs lift the door through a system of pulleys and counterbalance cables running from the bottom corner brackets through the pulleys. When the door is raised, the springs contract, thus lifting the garage door as the tension is released.

Note: Many accidents take place when the homeowner and/or end user does not take the time to look at the safety precautions prior to attempting to do-it-yourself.  There are certain processes a DIY person can do to help keep the long term reliability of their overhead garage door intact:
1. Make sure all hinges are torqued properly at least once per year on all garage doors.
2. Make sure to lubricate all moving parts with garage door approved non-silicone lubricate (you can usually buy this from a local dealer)
3. If your garage door has extension springs installed (springs that extend from front to back) then make sure they have safety cables running through them for added safety in the event they should fail
4. Make sure your auto-reverse system on your garage door opener is function normally
5. Make sure your optical safety sensors are doing the job they are supposed to (NEVER REMOVE THEM FROM THE LOCATION INTENDED) and also be certain your garage door opener optical safety sensors are mounted 5-7 inches from the garage floor as recommended by the manufacture
6. If your home is equipped with a screw driven garage door opener then be certain that you maintain the rail with low temp lithium grease for a smooth operation at a minimum of once a year.
If these tips are followed then you will benefit from a long lasting, safe and reliable overhead garage door and garage door opener.

Safety
Garage doors with extension springs would normally be installed with a restraint cable running through the centre of these springs. This is necessary because the springs weaken from the fatigue and stress exerted on the steel wire from opening and closing the door. If an extension spring breaks, it can seriously injure anyone present in the garage or damage adjacent property. The cable running through the centre restrains the spring in the event of a failure.
Most overhead garage doors are equipped with torsion springs which do not need safety restraint cables since the torsion shaft running through the springs restrains the spring if it breaks. Torsion springs are superior to extension springs since they are easier to fine tune and balance the weight of the door more evenly. However, torsion springs can be life threatening to an unsuspecting homeowner trying to replace a spring or fix the centre spring support bracket.
The bottom roller brackets located at the bottom corners of the garage doors are always under extreme tension since the counterbalance cables are attached to these brackets. Therefore, one should never attempt to remove or loosen the screws that attach these brackets to the door as serious injury can result. This also applies to other spring hardware such as the setscrews, cable drums, lag screws, lift cables, etc.
Springs that lose tension or relax over time can pose a significant danger if the garage door is released from the opener, while in the up position, potentially leading to a dangerous free falling garage door!!
Another key safety concern with a garage door involves the section joint and other gaps or entrapment points on a door.

Maintenance of garage doors
The balance of the door should be checked monthly also. One should be able to raise and lower the garage door without any resistance and it should smoothly roll along the tracks and should remain stationary at any point of travel. Usually a door that does not pass these tests is out of balance and should be adjusted. It is usually recommended that only a trained door technician with the proper instructions or a mechanically experienced person adjust or replace the springs.
All moving parts of the door should be lubricated monthly also. The door tracks should never be lubricated since the lubricant will only create a sticky surface on the track that can attract more dirt and grime, resulting in a door that is really difficult to operate. The bearings, hinges, and rollers should be lubricated for proper and safe operation.  Torsion springs should also be lubricated with a light coat of oil to reduce the friction between the coils and to eliminate any noises and to even increase the life of the springs.

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