Preparing Your Garage Door for Spring & Summer
Spring is here!! Time to get your garage door in top shape for the warmer months to come.
Garage doors often get overlooked on our home maintenance lists unless and until they break. But keeping them running smoothly and preventing wear and tear can increase their lifespans and make them quieter.
To avoid costly repairs later, you should maintain your door now, including, at minimum, lubricating your door. The diagram below shows what needs to be lubricated at least every 6 months. Manufacturers recommend a silicone spray lubricant, teflon or penetrating oil. Never use thick grease or viscous lubricants that can trap debris.
This is something you can do on your own or with a professional. Feel free to call our office at 847-537-6662 for professional service.
How to Fix Garage Door Cables That Keep Coming Off
Garage doors work year-round to keep our homes secure and allow easy access to the garage. Many parts come together to make the garage door open and close smoothly and safely. When one of the components starts coming loose, it can significantly impact the convenience and safety of your garage door.
Dealing with garage door cables that frequently come off their drums can make your life more difficult. Additionally, the added strain on your cables and garage door can cause other parts to wear out and break even faster. While putting the cables back in place fixes the issue temporarily, you need to identify the cause of the problem to help maintain your garage door and its safety.
Learn more about fixing garage door cables and how to replace a garage door cable with this article.
What Do Garage Door Cables Do?
Garage door cables help lift and lower the garage door, working with the springs to operate the door smoothly. Garage doors use lift cables to open and close, and some systems may also require retaining cables:
- Lift cables: These cables wrap around the circular rolls attached to the garage door’s spring system. Torsion spring systems use cable drums, while extension spring systems use sheaves. The cables work as a pulley system by wrapping around the circular component to help lift and lower the door.
- Retaining cables: Garage doors with extension springs use garage door safety cables called retaining cables. These cables hold the spring parts in place if the spring breaks, preventing injuries and damage from flying pieces. Torsion springs are anchored, so they don’t need retaining cables as a safety precaution.
Signs of a Garage Door Cable Issue
Issues with a garage door cable can be a serious safety problem. You need to know what to look for to help protect yourself and your household from a garage door injury. Garage doors are extremely heavy and they can be dangerous when damaged. Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect you have a cable issue:
Fraying or Rusted Cable
Check for fraying or rust when inspecting your cables. Fraying occurs when cables rub up against other components, creating friction. This friction leads to cable separation and breakage. Look for broken wires or separating cables — these are signs of fraying and must be corrected immediately.
You’ll also want to look for cable rust. Rust will eat away at the cables, weakening them and leading to breakage.
Loud Bang When Using the Door
While all garages make some noise during operation, unusually loud banging sounds are a sign there’s something wrong. Hearing a loud bang could indicate:
- A cable has come loose or snapped.
- The springs need lubrication.
- A spring has broken.
If you lubricate your springs and still hear the bangs, call a professional immediately.
Wire or Cable Hanging From the Door
Spotting a dangling wire usually means a garage door cable has snapped, typically due to fraying or rust. You need regular visual inspections and professional maintenance to check for signs of cable damage. If rust and fraying go unchecked for too long, the cable will snap.
If you see a hanging cable, you’ll need to bring in a professional to replace it before you can use the garage door again.
The Door Seems Heavier Than Usual
You may notice your garage door opener straining to lift the door. When this happens, disengage the opener and try opening the door manually. If it feels heavier than it usually does or you struggle to open it, stop using the garage door immediately.
A suddenly-heavier garage door often means a spring or cable has snapped or needs readjustment. Springs and cables lift most of the door’s weight, even when you’re using it manually — if one of these isn’t working correctly, nothing is taking that weight for you. Whether you need a spring or cable replaced or adjusted, you’ll need a professional who can make the repairs safely.
The Door Is Screeching or Scratching While in Use
Unusual garage door noises can have several causes, all of which are immediate causes for concern. If your door is making loud screeching or scratching noises, it’s not operating safely. Check your cables and springs to see if anything is off.
Loose or snapped cables can throw the door off-balance, causing it to drag on the ground or scrape when it moves. Suddenly hearing unusual sounds means you need a professional to find and fix the issue.
What Causes Garage Door Cables to Come Off?
There are several reasons your garage door cables might have come off. Garage door components are designed to work seamlessly together, operating your door smoothly and without delay. A cable that isn’t sitting in its spot on the drum or sheave affects the garage door’s operation and is a risk to your safety.
If you’re constantly dealing with cables coming off, there might be a deeper issue you need to address. Understanding the causes of cable issues can help you identify the source of your problem. Let’s look at some of the reasons your garage door cables might come off.
Improper Drums and Cables
Garage door drums and sheaves are made to fit a specific cable measurement. Each drum has a spool that holds a specific cable size. A too-small or too-large cable won’t sit in the grooved properly and will fall off. You may find that your garage door cable came off the drum if the diameter, length and track configurations don’t line up.
Door Set on an Object
When a closing garage door settles on an object instead of the flat ground, it creates cable slack and an uneven weight distribution. Slack in the cables means they’re more likely to slip out of their grooves.
If an object is in the space where your garage door sits, it’s likely to make your garage door cable come off. While most modern garages have safety sensors and auto-reverse functions to help prevent this, they may not catch all items.
Any installation mistakes can quickly lead to loose cables and other door issues. If one drum is tighter than the other, the cable may unwrap on the looser side. Uneven installation also means one side of the garage door will hit the ground first, leading to slack and slipped cables.
Look for uneven wear on the bottom or gaps when your garage door is closed. Call a professional to correct your installation if you notice any of these signs.
Broken Torsion Spring
The weight a torsion spring holds will release if it breaks while the door is open, and the door will fall closed. This situation is extremely dangerous, as garage doors without torsion springs will close with massive force. When the spring breaks, it also creates cable slack — the cable can come loose from the grooves or even snap.
Broken Extension Spring
Extension springs help close the door, creating tension to bring it down at a controlled pace. When these springs snap, it’s common for garage door cables to become tangled up or unwrapped. Having retaining cables will help prevent injury if this problem occurs.
What Causes Garage Door Cables to Break?
Having garage door cables that keep coming off can be a safety issue, especially if another broken component causes it. However, broken cables are an ever bigger safety issue. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your cables to catch any wear before it causes the cables to break.
Here are a few potential reasons for broken garage door cables:
- Cables rubbing against metal: Garage door components require regular lubrication to keep everything running smoothly. Without lubrication, the parts will begin to rub against each other, creating friction. With enough time and friction, your cables will start to wear away and eventually break.
- Corrosion: Salt and moisture from damp environments can lead to rust and corrosion. Rust will eat away at your garage door cables and eventually cause them to break. Regular inspections and rust prevention are vital for keeping your cables corrosion-free.
- Violent drops: Any broken springs can cause sudden, violent drops. The force of these drops may cause your cables to break. You can avoid this by practicing good spring maintenance and watching out for excessive force when opening or closing your garage doors.
Can You Open Garage Doors With a Loose or Broken Cable?
You should avoid opening garage doors with a loose or broken cable. When the cable on one side of the garage door isn’t working correctly, all the tension is on the side with the still-functional cable. That excess tension puts extra strain on the remaining cable, increasing its chances of snapping. Your garage door might get stuck or fall while opening.
When you have a loose or broken cable, contact a professional for assistance and avoid using the garage door. All the other components are under strain if the cables aren’t working correctly and you could strip the garage’s internal nylon drive gear. A professional will help get your garage door working safely so you won’t have to struggle with a malfunctioning door.
How to Fix Garage Door Cables That Keep Coming Off
If you’re comfortable around garage doors, you might be able to fix your loose cables by securing the torsion tube and springs. Once you’ve done that, you’ll just need to rewind the cable.
If you notice that the garage door cable came off the spool, here’s how to replace garage door cables:
- Completely close the garage door.
- Pull the red cord hanging from the opener to release the garage door from the track.
- Open the garage door manually.
- Attach vice grips on the track below the door to keep it from moving.
- Disconnect the cable from the peg on the garage door frame.
- Ravel the cable so there’s no more slack and reattach the cable end to the peg.
This task can be challenging if you don’t have experience with garage doors and only applies if your garage door has no other issues or you’re replacing old cables. If you think there are other issues or feel uncomfortable handling the cables, it’s best to get a professional inspection. Your cable might be coming off for many reasons, and a professional will have the tools and experience to quickly and safely identify and fix the issue.
You should always get professional assistance if your garage door cable is loose when open or continues to come off the drums. Garage door components can carry a safety risk. If you aren’t comfortable with fixing the cable yourself or don’t have experience with garage doors, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a professional for assistance.
Any sudden spring release or system failure could cause severe injury. Garage doors are extremely dangerous and a professional technician is always the safest route. It’s better to call a professional if you’re unsure than to risk your safety.
How to Prevent Garage Door Cable Issues
Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent cable issues that require garage door cable repair. Garage door components require regular inspection and upkeep to help avoid issues like cable breaks. Your garage door can last 15 to 30 years with good maintenance. Getting your garage inspected by a technician annually will help to catch cable issues early and can prevent the cables from falling off.
Use this garage door cable maintenance checklist to help you prevent cable problems:
- Inspect cables for fraying, breaks and rust.
- Clean dirt and debris build-up from cables.
- Lubricate occasionally according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Examine extension springs for wear and tear.
- Get an annual professional garage door inspection.
Most people use their garages frequently, which can increase the wear and tear on your garage door components. In addition to regular maintenance, try to use your garage door only when you have to move cars or objects in or out. Using your other doors for entry will help relieve the strain on your garage.
Contact Garage Door Specialists for Garage Door Repairs
Cable problems can occur no matter how well-cared for or high-quality your garage door is. The significant weight and strain on garage door systems make them susceptible to wear and tear. While you might be tempted to try fixing issues yourself, an expert garage door repair service can save you time and money without risking your safety.
At Garage Door Specialists, we pride ourselves on delivering professional, effective garage door services to our customers in Chicago’s North and Northwest suburbs. With over 30 years of experience and several Angie’s List Super Service Awards, you can count on our team to take care of any garage door issues you might have.
If you need professional garage door assistance, visit us online to request service with us today!
How to Adjust Garage Door Springs and Tracks
Springs and tracks play a crucial role in efficient, safe door operation. Springs make the door easier to open and close by counterbalancing its weight. The tracks on either side of the door serve as lanes that allow it to move upward and downward via rollers.
Garage door springs and tracks require regular maintenance and adjustments to keep them in peak condition and ensure safe operation. If your garage door is not level when closed, there may be a spring or track issue.
How to Adjust Garage Door Springs
Your garage door will have either torsion or extension springs. A torsion spring is a one-piece mechanism located in the middle and directly above the opening, while extension springs come in pairs, with one on either side of the door.
Before making a torsion spring adjustment, you’ll need to determine if there is too much or too little tension. To test the tension, close the door and detach it from the opener by pulling the emergency release cord. Raise the door by hand. If it rises on its own, there is too much tension in the springs. If the door begins to drop, you’ll need to tighten the springs.
Warning: Torsion springs are the most dangerous component of your garage door! They can cause significant bodily harm & injury if not adjusted properly. If you do not have experience with torsion springs, please STOP & call us for a service call. Our technicians are fully trained & experienced in all facets of garage door repairs. They will happily adjust or replace your springs safely.
The steps for adjusting a torsion spring include:
- With the door resting on the garage floor, use a wrench to loosen the two screws at the end of the spring.
- To increase the tension, place a winding bar into one of the four winding holes and apply sufficient pressure to twist the bar clockwise at a one-quarter turn. Test the door and repeat the process if necessary.
- If you need to decrease the tension, rotate the winding bar in a counterclockwise direction.
- Retighten the screws after completing the garage door adjustment.
You can adjust extension springs in one of two ways:
- Relocate the S hook at the end of the spring to a different hole in the track.
- Tighten the nut on the eye bolt, typically located on the vertical brace that attaches the track to the ceiling.
How to Adjust Garage Door Tracks
If you need to make changes to one or both tracks, begin by loosening the screws that attach the track to the door frame. Adjust the position using a rubber mallet to tap the bottom of the track. Complete the process by tightening the screws.
Contact Garage Door Specialists to Learn More
Garage Door Specialists can help with your garage door service needs in northern Chicago. Contact us for more information about spring and track adjustments today.
How Thick Should a Garage Door Be?
How Thick Should a Garage Door Be?
One feature to consider when looking for a new garage door is its thickness. Garage door thickness matters since it affects insulation and noise barrier abilities. Read more about the average garage door thickness to decide if your home needs a standard garage door or would benefit from an insulated garage door.
Standard Garage Door Thickness
The average garage door thickness is 1 3/8 inches to 2 inches, which provides a good amount of separation between your home and the outside. Residential garage doors have this thickness due to the materials they’re made of. The more layers in the garage door, the thicker it is.
Residential garage doors use 24- to 27-gauge steel, with 24-gauge being thicker than 27-gauge. You can choose different layer levels, including:
- Single layer: Single-layer residential garage doors have a 24- or 25-gauge steel layer.
- Double layer: These garage doors have a 24- or 25-gauge steel layer with polystyrene insulation.
- Triple layer: The three layers include a 25-gauge outer layer, an insulation layer and a 26-gauge inner layer.
Uses for Thicker Garage Doors
An insulated garage door’s thickness is greater than a standard garage door’s thickness. Garage door insulation determines how well it keeps sound and extreme temperatures out of the garage. Thicker garage doors have better insulation and noise dampening abilities due to having more layers. Thick garage doors include styles with double or triple layers and thick gauge steel.
In some cases, having a thicker garage door is beneficial. Instances when thicker doors are advantageous include:
- Cold climates: Since winters in Chicago can get quite cold, having an insulated garage door helps your home stay warm by keeping the outside air from transferring through the garage door.
- Extreme heat: Your garage can get quite hot during Chicago summers, making your air conditioning system work harder to compensate for the heat that transfers to your home. Insulated garage doors keep garages from getting too hot and straining your A/C.
- Attached garage: Thick garage doors improve energy efficiency by preventing the outside climate from affecting your home’s temperature. This energy efficiency can lower your energy bill.
- Frequent garage use: If you use your garage frequently, a thicker garage door may be more durable. Some garages store tools for home repairs or lawn maintenance. If these tools accidentally hit a thick garage door, it’s less likely to leave a dent, eliminating the need for a replacement or repair.
- Home security: Insulated double-layer garage doors are more tamper-resistant than non-insulated single-layer garage doors. This tamper resistance makes thicker doors more secure, which is ideal for preventing unauthorized entry into your garage or home.
Find a Garage Door That Fits Your Needs
Garage Door Specialists has over 30 years of experience installing quality garage doors in the north and northwest suburban Chicago area. We provide garage doors up to 3 1/2 inches thick, so you can find what standard garage door thickness is best for your home by talking to the experts at Garage Door Specialists. Contact us online to learn more about our garage door thickness options.
Insulated Vs. Non-Insulated Garage Doors
Insulated Vs. Non-Insulated Garage Doors
When you’re looking to get a new garage door or replace your current model, one of the first things to look at is the difference between insulated or non-insulated garage doors. As insulated doors typically cost more than non-insulated doors, the choice might seem simple, but there are many factors to consider before making the decision, including geography and your home’s architecture.
Pros and Cons of Insulated Garage Doors
Insulated garage doors include two durable layers of steel or another material with a layer of sturdy insulation between them. Because you’re paying for more than double the materials of a non-insulated door, expect the cost to rise accordingly. The higher price tag affords you many luxuries, like:
- A more durable door, resistant to dents and dings
- Improved property value
Pros and Cons of Non-Insulated Garage Doors
Many non-insulated garage doors are more affordable. Depending on where you live, this could mean paying more in the future. If you live in a climate that gets extremely cold or hot during the year, you may spend more on energy costs over time, especially is if your home connects to your garage.
Non-insulated garage doors are also less durable than insulated doors and can tend to look flimsier, affecting the curb appeal of your home. If you’re planning to sell your property, it’s probably better to invest in the cost and improve your home’s value.
Are Insulated Garage Doors Worth It?
Although it’s better to invest in an insulated garage door if possible, in some cases, there may not be significant benefits to justify the additional upfront cost. Ask yourself these questions before making your final decision:
- Is your garage attached to your house?
- Are you planning on selling your home soon?
- Is your garage a hangout space for you, your family or your pets?
- Do you live somewhere that reaches extreme temperatures at any time during the year?
If your answer to these questions is “yes,” an insulated garage door should be your choice. However, if you answered “no” to more than half of these questions, an insulated garage door may not be necessary.
Get the Right Garage Door for Your Home
Quality matters whether you want a garage door that’s insulated or not. If you’re ready to find your perfect garage door to secure your Chicago home, Garage Door Specialists are here to help. Call us at 847-537-6662, or contact us online to request an estimate or schedule your service today.
How Much Horsepower Should Your Garage Door Have?
How Much Horsepower Should Your Garage Door Have?
When you hear the word horsepower (HP), you may think of cars. However, garage door openers are everyday essentials that also run on horsepower. It’s important to consider whether or not the HP of your garage door opener properly fits the size of your door.
The team at the Garage Door Specialists has put together this quick start guide to horsepower for garage door openers so you can learn more.
Different Levels of Garage Door Opener Horsepower
It’s easy to find the horsepower you need to fit your garage door. Manufacturers make premium options to fit every model based on the size of the door, the weight and the material like wood or steel.
Lighter models ranging from 1/2 horsepower to 1 1/2 horsepower are typically ideal for your home garage door and come at a reasonable price. If you have a double-car garage door, 1/2 HP will work. Models with more power, like 3/4 HP, are perfect for larger doors.
The general rule of thumb for large doors is that the higher the HP, the lower the strain on the door when opening and closing over time.
Other Features and Factors to Consider
It’s also key to consider other factors for high-powered openers beyond horsepower. Several helpful bonus features can make your everyday life easier, including:
- Lighting: An LED system can help you see when backing in and out of your garage, especially at night.
- Mobile app: Garage door openers with built-in Wi-Fi allow you to open and close the door remotely from your smartphone using an app.
- Battery backup: Battery backup keeps your door opener working even if your home loses power.
- Smart home: High-tech garage door openers integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice recognition and Amazon Prime for package delivery.
- Security: Security features can safeguard access to your garage door opener, such as requiring a customized code to open.
Find Your Perfect Garage Door Solution
At Garage Door Specialists, we sell and install residential garage doors and garage door openers with powerful durability and outstanding convenience. We’re an authorized Clopay® dealer serving homeowners located in the north and northwestern suburbs of Chicago.
Have questions about horsepower or want to make a purchase? You can stop by our showroom in Wheeling, Illinois, to speak with our team. You can also contact us online or request a quote to get started on your journey toward a new garage door opener solution.
Can I Install My Own Garage Door?
Can I Install My Own Garage Door?
In recent years, many people have decided to take on their home improvement projects themselves, popularizing the do-it-yourself (DIY) method. While many DIY projects are fun and can save you money, you may want to think twice about installing your new garage door yourself. While it can be done, DIY garage door installation can be dangerous and cost just as much as paying a professional to do the same work.
What You Would Need to Install a Garage Door
Installing a garage door takes a lot of specialty tools that many people don’t have on hand, like:
- Winding bars
- Torsion or extension springs
- Cordless drill
- A socket or ratchet set
- Adjustable wrench
Buying all of these tools can be expensive — by the time you buy them for this one-time project, you might as well have hired a professional and saved yourself the extra work.
The Risks of a DIY Install
DIY garage door installation gets expensive, and it’s dangerous. Garage doors can weigh anywhere from 200-400 pounds, so you’ll likely need assistance moving them around. There are many moving parts that you need to install in a specific way. Any errors in this process could, at best, lower the lifespan of your door, and at worst, cause an accident that injures you or anyone else that uses the door.
Go With a Pro
It may seem like completing your garage door installation the DIY way will save you money, but often, this is not the case. Working with tools you’re unfamiliar with to install heavy machinery can lead to an imperfect installation. An improper installation could put your family, loved ones and property at risk.
If you’re entirely committed to installing the garage door yourself, take your time and ensure you understand every direction before you begin. If you aren’t sure you can do the job correctly or want to save time and money, call a professional and avoid the potential dangers of garage door installation.
Let Us Do the Hard Work For You
With Garage Door Specialists, you know that we’re experienced in professional garage door installation that lasts for years. If you live in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs, we’ll be out to your home in no time to help you feel secure at every entry. Contact us today to request an estimate or set up an appointment.
How Long Do Garage Doors Last?
How Long Do Garage Doors Last?
Garage doors are essential components of your home. They can increase your property’s value, provide security to your family and offer convenient parking or storage space. With so many benefits, it’s critical to give your door the care it needs for reliable service down the road.
Depending on the type and usage, new garage doors can last for several decades with the proper maintenance and service.
Average Garage Door Lifespans
Garage doors last an average of 15 to 30 years. The climate plays a significant role in your door’s life expectancy, as extreme heat and cold temperatures result in additional wear and tear. Other primary factors affecting a garage door’s lifespan include:
- Maintenance and care: You should have a qualified professional perform routine maintenance on your garage door at least once a year. These programs include thoroughly inspecting all essential components, tightening hinges, adjusting springs, lubricating the necessary parts and testing the controls to prevent serious issues.
- Product quality: A high-quality garage door usually means a longer lifespan. Garage Door Specialists offers some of the longest-lasting and highest-performing doors from Clopay® to provide many years of dependability and service.
- Quality of installation: The quality of your installation is another critical factor in the performance of your door. At Garage Door Specialists, we have over 30 years of service and installation experience around Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs. We know what it takes to install your new garage door the right way.
When to Replace Your Old Garage Door
How often you use your door is a primary factor in determining whether your door needs replacement. Many residential garage doors perform more than 3,000 cycles yearly, and potentially more with kids and pets in the picture. Even the most well-maintained doors with the highest-quality materials will eventually need replacement.
Warning signs a garage door may need replacing include:
- Damage caused by wear and tear.
- Making frequent repairs outside of the recommended service range.
- Vibration and excessive noise during regular operation.
- Visible damage to panels, tracks, rollers or springs.
- Lack of curb appeal.
While repairs and parts replacement can get a door back in functioning order, quick fixes only last a short time, especially if your door’s primary components are older. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced technician from Garage Door Specialists help you determine your best course of action.
Contact the Experts at Garage Door Specialists Today
If you reside in Chicago’s north or northwest suburbs and you’re wondering if your garage door needs replacement, Garage Door Specialists can help. Our superior repair and maintenance services include a complete safety inspection to keep your family free from harm, and we’re the premier source of new garage doors in the area. Contact us online today or visit our showroom in Wheeling to learn more!
Can You Install a New Garage Door on Old Tracks?
Can You Install a New Garage Door on Old Tracks?
When you replace your old garage door, there are several reasons why you should avoid reusing old tracks. While you might think it will be a cost-saving advantage, putting a new garage door on old tracks can be a safety hazard. Everything about your new door, including the brand appearance, weight and style, influences why you need new tracks.
Replacing your garage door provides many advantages to your home. Instead of risking damage or exposure to safety issues, discover the importance of installing new tracks made for your door.
Each Garage Door Has Its Own Parts
Every garage door is unique. Your new one likely has different specifications and parts than those that came with your old door. If you try to attach the new door to an old track, it is likely the parts won’t align, and damage could occur.
For example, all garage doors have offsets or track spacing set by the factory. Your old tracks probably will not match this preset spacing, resulting in the door operating incorrectly. When you use old parts that don’t fit the new door, you increase the risk of safety hazards, structural damage and more.
Using Old Tracks Can Be Dangerous
Keeping your old tracks might do more than be an inconvenience when they don’t fit with your new door. Garage door tracks face wear and tear over time. As the years go by, they can accumulate everything from dirt to oil. This build-up can cause your new doors to stop working, and it can result in collapse if left unchecked.
If your garage door opener malfunctions, then the door could potentially come off the track and harm someone or damage your property. Worn-out garage door track systems could lead to problems that cause structural damage to your garage and your home if it is attached.
Hire a Professional for Garage Door Track Replacement
Eliminate the risks of an incorrect installation by hiring professionals like Garage Door Specialists. With the risk of injury and damage to your home, vehicles and other property, it’s essential to work with a trained technician. Professionals can efficiently replace garage door tracks with a new set that works well and keeps you safe.
Choose Garage Door Specialists for Professional Installation Services Today
For homeowners in the northern Chicago suburbs, Garage Door Specialists can help. Our experienced team knows how to remove old garage door parts and install new ones safely. Get in touch with us online today to learn more about our garage door installation services.