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Local Articles in Chicago

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Garage Doors

A homeowner's guide to garage doors, including how garage door openers work, preserving safety, how to maintain them, who to call when they need repair, and options when buying a new door.

snowy house
Garage Doors, Roofing, Holiday Decorating, Gutter Cleaning, Pest Control/Exterminating, Lawn & Yard Work, Carpet Cleaning, Chimney Sweep, Fireplaces, Electrical, Handymen, Housecleaning, Animal & House Sitting, Cabinet Refacing/Restoration, Lighting, Wallpapering, Plumbing, Heating & A/C, Auto Service, Auto Tires, Allergy & Immunology

It's the time of year when the winter weather can take a toll. Follow this winter maintenance checklist to protect your home, your car and your health.

These faux wood carriage-style garage doors are molded from real wood boards to replicate the grain patterns and details. (Photo courtesy of Clopay)
Garage Doors

Find out what questions to ask and mistakes to avoid if you’re purchasing a new garage door, plus some ideas on how to ensure your door has as much style as you do.

Outdoor holiday lighting, LED holiday lighting
Electrical, Holiday Decorating, Garage Doors

When hanging holiday lights, the safest power source is the nearest outlet. If that’s not possible, look for an appropriate extension cord or a power stake.

holiday lights, outside holiday lights
Garage Doors, Holiday Decorating, Lighting, handyman

Learn how to safely and effectively put up holiday lights around your garage door by using the correct fasteners to hold the lights securely.

Angie's Answers

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Here is a tip sheet from Angie's List, previously published:

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/garage-door-experts-give-maintenance-tips.htm

If a tilt-up door, probably about $150-200.

If a roll-up door, assuming you have not put in cabinets or anything that prohibits sliding the shaft sideways about 2-3 feet out of the spring to change it, then about $200-250 should do it for a 2-car garage door. If he has to disassemble the brackets to remove the springs because the shaft cannot slide sideways enough to get the springs on/off, then probably another $50-100.

If you have an automatic garage door opener, usually they will charge you $50 or less for tension adjustment, lube, and motor cleaning if scheduled on the same visit, about half a normal call cost.

One thing to consider - assuming you have 2 springs and an opener, unless the other spring is quite new, you should replace it at the same time, first because it will probably break fairly soon anyway and changing two is only about $50 more than changing one, and because the springs on both sides should be of equal stiffness - if not, then the door will be unevenly weight compensated and try to open cockeyed, increasing wear and risk of damaging the motor.

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Assuming you are talking rollup garage door - issues similar but not as many parts on a tilt-up door.

Many rollup doors in residential use go 30 years or more on original springs.

Generally, they do not need to be replaced till they break. A broken one should be pretty obvious - the door will open very hard because it is being pulled up more at one side than the other, if at all, and one spring will be wound tight while the other will be looser, and usually the break is a visibly obvious one - either a visible break in the main portion of the spring, or the free end that goes into the end plate is broken off. Compare the springs against each other to see they look the same.

Also, if you think a spring is broken but can't see anything wrong, maybe the set screws that hold the end plates tight onthe axle have vibrated loose, relaxing the tension on the spring.

As the door gets older you may need to have a garage door repairman adjust the spring tension tighter if the door starts opening hard or balking at opening, though that is more often a problem with dirty slider track and bearings from dust accumulation, which you can clean with WD40 and then lubricate the side support rollers with motor oil or household oilcan. On lubrication of the slider track there are differences of opinion - some say clean with a non-oily solvent like brake cleaner and leave it clean and ddry so dust does not stick to it, other say oil with a light household oil or WD40. I prefer the latter so the plastic slider does not get worn out sliding on the metal slider track or pole, though it definitely does accumulate an oily dust grunge. The cleaning and lubricating should be done at least yearly - every 3-6 months if you use the door multiple times a day, more often if you are in a real dusty area like the Dust Bowl, the desert, or close to the beach.

 

 

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I think he is trying to upsell you on something you don't need, or their company policy is neer fix, always replace - some companies are in that mode not, to prevent future call-backs when it does not work.

 

IF only needs screws, sounds like a good do it yourself job with self-tapping sheet metal screws. Or a Handyman could do for maybe $50-70 if that is all that is needed.

 

If the weatherstrip is damaged and in on the front edge of the garage door, one other possibility - replace with one like this, or screw a bottom compression type rubber weatherstrip on the bottom of the door - actually work a lot better than the face-mounted ones anyway, in my opinion. Look like this from M-D Building Products and Frost King among others. Can also be used nailed to frame to flap contacts door face as an edge and top weatherstrip - 

http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Products-3749-Garage/dp/B000052036

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Maintanence is going to vary by how much you use the door.  If it is used multiple times a day as cars go in and out I recommend having it checked annually.  You want someone to lube all of the proper points and inspect the rollers for wear or damage.  You don't want a component of that door failing and falling on yourself or a child.  Sometimes tracks need to be adjusted or realigned for various reasons.  Also, the springs can weaken and break causing the door to fall.  Have those checked as well.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
www.thomeservices.com

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