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August 21, 2008

From: The New York Times

Garage Doors for All Seasons

Garage Doors for All SeasonsIT’S easy to forget the garage doors — how they open, how they look, even how much heat they let out of the house

That is a mistake. They are a crucial component of a home’s curb appeal and a potentially large source of heat loss, an important consideration now that the cost of fuel is rising.

A wood or fiberglass garage door is typically uninsulated. For as little as $700, it can be replaced with an insulated steel door that may be better than the walls of the home itself at keeping the cold out.

Mor Berebi, the president of S.O.S. Garage Doors in Elmsford, N.Y., said that the best insulated doors are steel with a polyurethane foam core and a thermal break between the front and the back of the door. A thermal break is a piece of nonconductive material sandwiched between the front and the back of the door, preventing a cold exterior face from making the interior face cold, too.

The weatherstripping around the door and between the door panels is extremely important, he said.

How much money these improvements may save will depend on a number of factors: how effective the weatherstripping is; whether there is insulation between the garage and the house; even how leaky the garage door was in the first place. But over the years it is possible to save hundreds of dollars.

Opening and closing the garage door is not always as simple as it sounds. For a few hundred dollars, an automatic opener can be installed.

Dennis Dubowski, the owner of Above and Beyond Doors in Centereach, N.Y., said that when he is asked to install a door with an electric opener, he tears out the existing rails and hardware and starts from scratch. An insulated metal door with an automatic opener costs about $1,000, he said; installing an opener on an existing door costs about $375.

Dan Francis, manager of Doors Online (, a retailer based in Russia, Ohio, said that the traditional electric door opener runs on a motor using alternating current, like those in household appliances. Like a bicycle, it is driven by a chain.

Newer models use a belt to reduce noise, and some operate on direct current, as a car battery does. A DC motor, Mr. Francis said, runs a bit more slowly, lasts longer and can be wired to run on a backup battery in case of a power outage.

With all automatic door openers, pulleys can be disconnected so that the door can be opened manually, he said. Some can be disconnected from the outside, but most require another means of access to the interior of the garage.

All new automatic openers have federally mandated safety features. For example, Mr. Berebi said, they must now have a photoelectric eye six inches from the bottom. If a toy or a child were to break the beam, the door would immediately stop closing. In addition, he said, a new opener must have a sensor that will stop and reverse the door if it hits a solid object.

“It’s important for the installer to adjust that sensor,” Mr. Berebi said.

One Web site with information on garage doors is, a home-improvement site sponsored by the International Door Association and the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association, nonprofit trade organizations.

July 07, 2008
From: New York Times

Spring cleaning & your garage door, also a good time for preventative door maintenance

The following guidelines can you save you time and money.
Garage door
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.

Clean the weatherstripping 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 weatherstripping as it will dry up and crack. Don't forget the weatherstrip between your door panels. It is important to let your weatherstrip hang 1/2" below the door base when you readjust your perimeter weatherstripping. If the weatherstripping is too tight, the door will not function properly. So if your weathestripping has lost its flexibility, it is best to replace it.

Lubrification : 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.

According to J-F Morin, marketing director for Garaga (, an important Canadian garage door manufacturer: «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).»

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 Garaga dealer. A well-balanced door must not weigh more than
10 lbs
(4.5kg). For your safety as well as your child's, check the automatic safety reverse system of the door opener EVERY MONTH.

Do not attempt to adjust the extension or torsion springs yourself. They are wound very tight and only a specialist should adjust them, for your own protection.

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