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An Introduction to Garage Doors

As warmer weather approaches, it’s the perfect time to plan out your exterior home improvement projects. Painting siding, repairing roofing, and pressure washing are just a few of the maintenance jobs that come to mind, but what about your garage door? Despite the simple operation of pressing a button to move the door up and down, just like your car, a garage door is made up of unique components and hardware that require routine repairs and maintenance to keep it working.

At NationServe, we are your experts in garage doors for Charlotte, Houston, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and other great cities throughout the United States. We believe it’s important to educate you on how garage doors work and what you can do to maintain it well.


The Garage Door System

A garage door isn’t simply a door. It’s an entire system made up of a variety of different components that allow it to be opened and closed, thousands of times, over a period of decades. Whether you buy your residential garage doors in Houston, Colorado Springs, or Charlotte, they will likely be made up of the following components:

  • Garage door sections – These are the panels you see on a garage door. They can be made of a variety of materials from steel to wood to vinyl to fiberglass. These panels are often what you think of when you’re describing the way a garage door looks. The panels are in sections with hinges so that when the door is in operation, it can easily curve and travel along the tracks.
  • Windows – Some garage door panels can include glass or acrylic lites (windows) to allow natural light into your garage. These windows can be installed clear or they can be tinted for privacy. A whole garage door can also be made of glass or acrylic panels to make a more modern style statement.
  • Bottom bracket – Bottom brackets, also known as the bottom fixtures, are located at the bottom of the garage door. They are structured supports for the attachment of the lifting cables.
  • Cable drum – A cable drum helps a garage door’s lifting cable wind up as the door opens. The drum is grooved in appearance and is part of the torsion spring shaft that is found above the door itself.
  • Track – Tracks are found on either side of the garage door and are used to guide the sections of the garage door up and down. The tracks start off vertical, but as the sections of the garage door move upwards, the tracks curve and then go horizontal. The curved part of the track is referred to as the radius.

Torsion springs – These help raise and lower your garage door by allowing the cable drum to wind up or unwind the lifting cable. The torsion spring is located right above and centered over the garage door.

Extension springs – On each side of your garage door are vertical and horizontal tracks the door can move up and down on. Extension springs are found on these tracks and assist in raising and lowering the garage door.

Rear track hanger – At the end of each of the tracks, your door moves up and down on are rear track hangers. These hangers connect the horizontal tracks to the ceiling inside your garage and provide additional support.


Typical Garage Door Hardware

In addition to the components listed above, your garage door has other hardware including:

  • Struts – A strut keeps the sections of your garage door stiff in order to keep the sections themselves from bending or breaking during operation. The struts are found on the back of each garage door section.
  • Hinges – Each section of the garage door requires hinges that connect it to adjacent sections. A garage door section may have several hinges along it.
  • Brackets – There are several areas on your garage door that use brackets. There are spring anchor brackets attached to the torsion springs and operator brackets which are attached to a drawbar arm which is connected to the center track of the system, helping to open and close the door.

Weatherstripping System for Your Garage Door

Another important part of garage doors, whether in Albuquerque or Charlotte, is its weather stripping. Weather stripping is another name for a garage door seal. Essentially, a garage door requires seals on all four sides in order to keep out insects, moisture, and cold air. These seals can come in a variety of materials (vinyl, foam, aluminum, wood, etc.), shapes, and sizes in order to fit your garage door. Weatherstripping also plays a vital part in determining how energy efficient your garage will be. Proper weatherstripping can help keep cold air out and hot air in, making it easier to keep heated garages at a consistent temperature and thus reducing heat loss through your garage.


The Importance of Garage Door Repairs and Maintenance

Keeping your garage door in good working order is important. After all, the last thing you want to deal with when in a rush is to have a garage door that won’t open with your vehicle stuck inside!

Routine repairs and maintenance are a must for prolonging a garage door’s lifespan. NationServe offers comprehensive garage door service; there are also a few things you can do at home to maintain and troubleshoot problems, including:

  • Monthly visual inspection – This is a fairly straightforward procedure. Just close your garage door and look over the cables and springs, pulleys and brackets, and various other components. If you see anything that looks out of place or damaged, whether fraying cables or loose hardware, call us for a professional inspection and service.
  • Door balance test – Disconnect the door from the automatic opener by pulling on the cord and try to lift the door manually. It should rise smoothly with little resistance and then remain open once up. If you find it difficult to open, or find that the door won’t stay open, the door’s balance may be off and should be repaired by a trained technician.
  • Photo eyes test – If you have an automatic opener, you will want to test the photo eyes or sensors. Open the door fully, and then close it while waving a long object, such as a broomstick, in the line of sight of the photo eye or sensor located on either side of the garage door opening. DO NOT stand directly under the door! The broomstick should break the beam of the photo eyes and stop the door. However, if it does not stop, reverse, and reopen, pull the broomstick away quickly as the door closes. Try cleaning the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. If this doesn’t work, hire a trained technician to resolve the issue for you.

Although you can do these quick inspections on your own, we highly recommended you hire a professional for a more thorough inspection of your garage door. Colorado SpringsCharlotteHoustonAlbuquerque, and other cities throughout the United States can turn to NationServe for proper garage door inspections and repairs. Call today to book your appointment or request a quote.

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