Expert advice from a Charlotte garage door specialist

Which parts of a garage door most commonly break, and what maintenance can a homeowner do to prevent it?

"The most common repair I make on garage doors is replacing the springs. They get a lot of wear and tear because they handle the weight of the door.

"The type of spring you have depends on the type of door you have. The heavier the door, the more heavy duty spring you'll have.

"The springs are full of tension and made of metal, so after so many cycles they just snap and break. It is a common repair, but not something that repeatedly happens to the same garage door. Springs typically last around 10 years.

"Another problem is the door coming off the tracks. This makes the whole door crooked and is often caused by people hitting the door with their car or the door coming down on something.

"You'd be surprised how many times people click on their garage door opener, but don't check to see if the door actually opened and they just back into it.

"Make sure you keep your wheels, springs and hinges lubricated. I recommend spraying them with a light grease about every six months. You should also check the cables to make sure they are not frayed.

"Disconnect your door and check the balance to make sure it's not putting too much pressure on one spring. Your door should balance and float in the middle and then you know the door is balanced. If they're not balanced, your springs need work and you should call someone.

"The life span of a garage door depends on the quality. The doors that come standard in new homes should last 10 to 15 years, but if you buy a high quality door, it should last 20 to 25 years.

"The cheapest door you can get is an uninsulated steel door. For a typical 2-car garage door, these start at about $700. The door I recommend to people is a steel door with 2 inches of insulation and another layer of steel.

"These doors typically run about $1,000 for the standard size. Of course, you can get much more expensive doors. The most expensive wood door I've installed was $4,000.

"Glass garage doors are becoming more popular because of the way they look. They're trendy and modern. I recommend people get a door with no windows because they break, they're expensive to replace and people can look in to see if you're home. The windows also cause you to lose some of your insulation in the door.

"There are a ton of really bad openers out there. Many are pieced together with plastic parts and contain a lot of pieces. The only option I recommend is a LiftMaster opener. It has a solid steel rail so it is much more durable and will last longer."

"A couple hundred dollars makes a big difference in the quality of a garage door and opener," Cardone says. "You'll have less problems with high-quality materials and it definitely pays off in the long run."

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