Thursday, November 15, 2012

Garage door tips

The better you maintain and clean your garage door, the longer it will last. The best way to get the most out of your garage door is to maintain it regularly and, when you notice a problem, to address it immediately before further damage can occur.

You can begin by simply cleaning your garage doors with a mild detergent using a soft car brush four times a year. Some people remember to clean their doors whenever they wash their car. Washing your garage doors regularly will reduce the build up of corrosive elements. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or corrosive chemicals on or around your garage doors. In Chicago's winter, it is tempting to salt your driveway. However, you should avoid using salt to melt snow near the garage door as it may corrode the door elements / hardware.

Wooden garage doors should be cleaned and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Generally, they recommend you paint them initially on both the inside and outside and repaint the exterior surface every year or two. If you finish only the outside of a garage door, the door may warp due to moisture infiltration.

Finally, keep the area under the door where it meets the ground free of obstructions. This area tends to build up dirt, leaves, cobwebs, snow, ice, and more - all of which prevents the door from creating a solid seal with the ground and potentially affecting the weight distribution and alignment of the garage door.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Fix a Garage Door Track

The door track on your garage door is actually four separate pieces. There are two vertical pieces and two horizontal pieces that join together with flag brackets on the top of the vertical tracks. Most often the vertical tracks, the ones against the door frame, will receive damage from being hit. Fixing a garage door track depends upon the damage. Tracks that are out of alignment do not require removal. Tracks that have extensive damage require replacement. Replacement track blanks and track brackets are available at garage door dealers and some home improvement stores.InstructionsReplacing the Track1Open the garage door to the fully open position. Unplug the garage door opener if your door uses an opener. Ensure that the bottom roller on the door is above the seam between the vertical and horizontal track. Look on the inside of the track to see the seam between the two pieces. Lock a pair of vise grips on the upper track below the bottom roller.2Locate the two fasteners that connect the top of the vertical track to the flag bracket. The flag bracket is the angle bracket above the vertical track where the horizontal track angle connects. The track attaches to the flag bracket with pop rivets. Drill the pop rivets out of the track and flag bracket with a 1/4-inch drill bit. Do not loosen the flag bracket from the wall. The flag bracket also supports the torsion spring or cable of an extension spring.3Remove the hex head lag bolts securing the vertical track brackets to the wall with a socket wrench. The vertical track has two brackets that attach the track to the door frame between the flag bracket and the floor. If you have a garage door opener, remove the bolt securing the photo-eye sensor to the bottom of the track with the socket wrench.4Position the new track under the flag bracket, lining up the top of the track with the end of the upper track. Attach the track brackets to the wall loosely with the lag bolts, using the existing holes in the door frame. Do not tighten the track brackets all the way.5Insert 1/4-inch machine track bolts into the holes in the top of the track and through the track bracket, from the inside of the track. Secure the bolts from the other side with nuts and tighten the nuts with a socket wrench. The heads of the bolts should sit flat inside the track. Tighten the track brackets to the wall and attach the photo-eye sensor to the bottom of the track.6Remove the vise grips and lower the garage door. Plug the garage door opener back into the ceiling outlet.Realign Track7Close the garage door and measure from the inside edge of the track to the end of the door with a tape measure. Ideal spacing between the two is 1/2 inch.8Loosen the lag bolt securing the track bracket to the wall a couple of turns with a socket wrench. Move the track left or right until you achieve the 1/2-inch spacing. Tighten the track bracket lag bolt.9Place the claw of a hammer over the top edge of any bent track bracket. Twist the bent bracket straight with the hammer.
Tips & WarningsDo not attempt to repair the upper tracks. The upper tracks support the tension of the extension springs or the ends of the torsion shaft for torsion springs. Call a professional if the upper tracks are in need of repair.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How to Install Garage Door Cable

Replace garage door cables to improve tension.
The cables and springs on a garage door control the tension and motion of the door. Over time, the cables may wear out and prevent the door from lifting and lowering properly. In this case, you can replace the cables only, or choose to replace the springs and door, too. Given the size and bulk of an overhead door, working with another person is helpful and safer.

Lift the garage door up once the spring is in place. Put vise grips or c-clamps on the track on each side of the door to keep it from falling down.

Take the end of a steel cable and climb onto a ladder in the garage door opening. Feed the cable over one of the pulleys that is near the bend in the track. Hook the end around the small knob attached to the side corner of the door.

Climb off the ladder. Carry the other end of the cable to the top of the garage door. Climb back on the ladder and thread the cable around the pulleys near the spring.

Pull on the cable to create less slack. Weave the end through a small bracket in a "figure eight" manner to secure it.

Hook an s-hook through the bracket. Carry the s-hook to the door opening.

Climb up the ladder again the attach the s-hook to the track, near the bend. Stick the S shape through one of the holes in the track.

Repeat the above steps to install a garage door cable along the other track.

Install a safety cable through each of the two springs. Secure the ends to the brackets.

Remove the vice grips or c-clamps and lift the door up and down to test the spring tension.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How to Replace a Garage Door Opener

Garage door openers are such handy appliances, yet we take them for granted every time we use them. Unfortunately, even the most faithful garage door opener eventually stops working. Since the track is already in place, it's not hard to replace the old garage door opener with a new one. Follow all the manufacturer's directions as you install your new garage door opener. Read on to learn how to replace a garage door opener.

Remove the old opener. You must install the new garage door opener in the center of the door. Use a tape measure to find the exact center, and mark it with a vertical line.

Observe the high point of the door as you raise it. Mark that spot. Attach a support piece of 2-by-6 lumber to the studs at that point, if they're not already there.

Attach the front end of the rail to the door where you drew your vertical line on the door. There should be a reinforced panel for this purpose already there.

Assemble the rails according to the manufacturer's directions. Put the garage door down.

Lift the motor assembly to a point that puts the rail in a horizontal position. Raise the door manually to make sure the rails are out of the way. If you are satisfied with the position, fasten the motor to the ceiling joists with the brackets that come with the door opener kit.

Move the carriage to the closed-door position. Attach the drawbar to the door. Adjust the screw drive or chain so that the door opens and closes properly.

Plug in or connect the door opener to the electrical outlet. Connect any new remote control switches and motion detectors that come with your new opener. Operate the door to make sure it's operating smoothly. Make any adjustments according to directions for your specific opener.

Tips & Warnings
This is a job that requires two sets of hands. Ask a friend for assistance.

For more info go to

How to Replace a Single Torsion Spring - Garage Door

Single Torsion Spring (Garage door springs)
The single torsion spring on your garage door helps you to open and close the door easily. Replacing this spring is not difficult, but you must be careful when making the change since the spring is under extreme pressure. The project will take the average do-it-yourselfer about two hours to finish. You can complete this project by yourself if you wish, but it is always better to have a second person on hand to help you. Be sure that you have the proper replacement parts before you begin since the parts may vary from one brand to another.

Things You'll Need
2 winding bars
Adjustable wrench
Show (7) More
Close the garage door if it is open. Place a ladder under the garage door opener if one is present. Climb up the ladder and unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet.

Move the ladder over to the opener bracket and pull the pin to disconnect it from the garage door. Attach a pair of vise grips to the track of the door about 3 inches from the door roller to keep it from flying up as you work on it.

Move the ladder over to the side of the garage door where the spring is that you are going to remove. Measure the old spring with the tape measure and compare the length to the new spring to be sure you have the proper size. Using a different sized spring on the door is dangerous. Insert a winding rod into the hole on the winding cone at the bottom of the spring.

Loosen the bolt on the winding cone using an adjustable wrench and allow the winding bar to turn slowly if there is still tension on the spring. Do not stand directly in front of the winding cone. Stand off to the side in case the bar slips.

Check the spring bracket lag screws once you remove the tension from the spring. Tighten them if necessary using a socket and ratchet. Remove the bolts securing the spring to the center stationary cone using a socket and ratchet. You will find these bolts at the other end of the spring at the bracket.

Separate the broken spring from the bracket and slide the parts toward the cable drum. Mark the cable drum and the shaft using the marking pen. This will help you to line the drum and the shaft up properly when you install the new spring.

Loosen the retaining bolts on the cable drum using an adjustable wrench. Slide the drum away from the bearing plate. Examine the shaft thoroughly. File any ridges you see away with the file.

Check the other cable drum as well, loosening the retaining bolts with an adjustable wrench. Repeat the filing process if necessary. Place a coat of oil on the bearings. Slide the stationery cone onto the shaft. Install the new spring on the shaft behind the stationery cone. Slide the new winding cone onto the shaft behind the spring. Slide the cable drum onto the shaft and then insert the shaft into the bearing.

Move the cones and spring on the shaft toward the center of the garage door. Line the cable drum up with the marks you made on the shaft earlier. Tighten the retaining bolts hand-tight and then rotate the drum as necessary to find the slots.

Tighten the retaining bolts using an adjustable wrench in half-turn increments alternating between each one. Slide the shaft toward the bearing plate until the drum is flush with the track.

Insert the cable into the slot on the cable drum and then wind it tightly around it. Attach a pair of vise grips on the shaft to assist you in holding the cable tight on the other drum. Press the winding cone against the torsion spring.

Turn the winding cone two turns by hand to begin the winding process. Insert the winding bar into the slot on the winding cone and wind the spring two more turns, using the second winding bar to tighten the spring as you run out of room.

Grasp the torsion spring with a pipe wrench once you reach the point that you are unable to tighten the winding cone any further. Push on the winding bar while pulling with the pipe wrench until the spring is completely on the winding cone. Tighten the retaining bolts on the winding cone using an adjustable wrench once the spring is tight and fully on the winding cone.

Pull down on the winding bar until the garage door raises 3 inches. The rollers will hit the vise grip on the track and at that point let the bar go and the door should go back down by itself. If it does not, then the spring is too tight and you will need to let off some of the tension by holding the winding cone in place as you loosen the retaining bolts.

Back off the spring one turn and then tighten the retaining bolt back up. If the door does go back down, then the spring is correct.

Remove the vise grips from the shaft and the track. The door should be all the way down when closed. Raise the door halfway up and it should stay there. Raise the door all the way and it should stay open on its own and you will know the door balance is correct.

Tips & Warnings
Wear leather gloves if possible to prevent cuts on your hands. When the project is complete and the door is closed, it should be even on the floor all the way across.

The torsion springs on a garage door are under extreme pressure and you must exercise caution when completing this project.