Choosing A New Garage Door


Harold at <maytonh@earthlink.net> asked:

It is time to replace my wooden garage doors before they fall of the track and hurt someone.  I have been to numerous garage door dealers, and of course each of them tell me they have the absolute best product money can buy.  Anyone here have opinions of the best manufacturer?  

Doorman <lunger@istream.com> replied:

I've worked in the garage door industry at all levels for over 35 years and I'll try and give you a few tips without being biased. 

The current rage in garage doors is the urethane injected, thermally broken steel door and for very good reason.  They are incredibly strong, offer a tremendous R value, and come with a factory applied baked on finish. 

These doors have a few undesirables but all thing considered, they are the one to buy. I have them in my garage and I'm very pleased.  

A FEW TIPS: Buy white.  Dark colors pick up too much heat, and the door will bow towards the heat.  Check the finish carefully.  Ensure that it is a baked on finish and applied by the steel supplier (not the door manufacturer) right from the steel mill.  Suggest you purchase one that has a steel interior liner rather than any other material.

Ask the dealer if he has a door that has been damaged or cut down because you would like to see the quality of the urethane.  This is important.  Urethane injection is an extremely complex business, and if it's not done properly your door can delaminate and fall apart. The freshly exposed urethane foam should be slightly off white, (brown is bad) and there should be no large air bubbles. It should look similar to the foam found in an air mattress or couch cushion. Ask him also if he has a small piece kicking around. If so see, how hard it is to pull the steel free from the foam. The steel should not peel away without taking a layer of foam with it. 

Counterbalance assembly. The industry standard is 10,000 cycles. I personally think the type you wind up with a drill is well, for lack of a better term Mickey mouse. Some are better than others and I sure hate to see plastic used for torsion spring components. <snip>

The torsion counterbalance assembly should have good quality bearings throughout and preferably ones that you can oil. The rollers that run in the track can be either nylon or steel as both stand up very well providing they are well built and you can usually tell by looking at them. If they have bearings, ask the dealer if they are case hardened (very important.) Some of the nylon ones that are available actually stand up quite well without bearings. They simply roll on the roller shaft like the wheel on a kids wagon.

Windows. We can go on forever on this one as there are so many types and kinds available. If you install one section with sealed windows, that one section may weigh more than the other sections and you door will never balance properly. Torsion springs provide strength to lift your door on a level scale. If the door is not on that same scale, it will be hard to lift and may not stay in any position. Check the quality of the window and how it mounts into the door. Is it sealed around the frame? Do the windows come from a recognized window manufacturer?

That's all for now. Good luck on your purchase.

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