Garage Door Tutorial

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The two main types of garage doors are sectional roll-ups and swing-ups. A swing-up door is made from a single panel that pivots out and upward. A sectional roll-up door, by far the most popular type, is made of four or more horizontal sections that are hinged together and mounted with rollers to tracks at each side. With this type, the door can roll straight up and back. Though these tend to be slightly more expensive, they're worth the extra cost in most cases because they're easier to use and more weather-tight.

Both types of garage doors are manufactured from wood, steel, and fiberglass composites in flush, raised-panel, and recessed-panel designs. They can be purchased with a variety of options such as windows and electric operators.

Because a garage door is a very large, very heavy moving part, it's prone to fall out of adjustment with daily use.

When this happens, the door becomes harder and harder to lift and lower. The best way to prevent a garage door from growing obstinate is to maintain it on a regular basis and, when you notice a problem, to address it immediately before it has a chance to worsen.

The first line of defense is to lubricate the moving parts. As shown at top left, apply penetrating oil to all rollers and hinges at least once a year. Tighten any loose screws, bolts, or nuts so parts won't fall out of adjustment.

To prevent binding, tracks must be properly aligned to guide the rollers. If one or both of the tracks needs adjustment, loosen its mounting bolt and use a hammer and a wood block to persuade it in the proper direction, as shown at below left. Then retighten the bolt.

If you have a swing-up, one-piece door that sags in the middle when it's in the raised position, you may be able to solve the problem by having a garage door contractor install metal reinforcing strips or rods across inner face of the door. Then again, it may be time to replace the door with a roll-up door.