Garage Doors 101

The average homeowner will likely only have to purchase one, maybe two, garage doors or garage door openers in their lifetime. So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say most people are not savvy to the terminology surrounding garage doors. That’s where this guide comes in. Below is a basic introduction into the world of garage doors. A “Garage Doors 101” class, if you will. It will help you understand the terminology used by garage door experts, thus helping you make an informed decision when it comes to repairing your garage door, or having a new one installed.

The Door

Most terms concerning the door are recognizable, however, these garage door facts will give you some background knowledge that can greatly aid you in your repair or replacement job.

  • Nearly all garage doors in North America are sectional doors made up of 4 sections between 18 and 24 inches tall, depending on the size of the door.
  • For residential doors, heights range from 6 to 8 feet, while widths vary from 4 to 18 feet.
  • Door thickness is between 1.5-2 inches.
  • Common door materials include steel (most common), wood, fiberglass, PVC, aluminum and glass.
  • Doors can be either insulated or non-insulated. Insulated doors are insulated with either polystyrene or polyurethane insulation.

The Hardware

The hardware terminology is where things start to become a little more difficult.

  • The hinges: These are the joints that allow the sections of the door to fold during the opening and closing process. Double hinges are recommended for larger doors to prevent any of the sections from collapsing while in the open position.
  • The rollers: These are the wheels that guide the door up and down. There are three types: Steel, nylon and reinforced nylon. The latter 2 are the quietest, while steel rollers are more common and more affordable. The most important thing to consider with steel rollers is bearings. The more bearings the better. Rollers with less bearings will tend to slide rather than roll, increasing the wear and tear not only on your door, but your opener as well.
  • Tracks: Tracks guide the rollers during the opening and closing process of the door. When having a new door installed it is important to consider the thickness of the tracks. Tracks constructed of thicker steel are more resistant to twisting and bending.
  • Reinforcement Struts: Double garage doors, due to their weight, require reinforcement struts to support the door when left open for extended periods of time.
  • The Spring System: Sometimes referred to as the counterweight system, this what allows you to open your garage door manually without throwing out your back. The counterweight system reduces the weight of your door to roughly 10lbs. There are two types, torsion and extension. Torsion spring systems are located above the door, while extension spring systems are located over the horizontal tracks. An extension system saves you a little on space, but both systems have a 5-7 year service life.
  • Lift Cables: These are pretty much exactly what they sound like. The most important thing to consider here is to make sure your lift cable has adequate strength to hold your door.
  • Steel Thickness: For all steel garage door components, the thickness is measured in gauges. The lower the value, the thicker the steel.
  • Galvanized Steel: If you live in a humid area, you may want to consider using components made of galvanized steel for increased service life.
  • Weather stripping: On garage doors, weather stripping is located in 3 places: the sides of the door on the exterior, the bottom of the door, and, on some doors, between the door sections. Weatherstripping is most often manufactured using PVC or thermoplastic elastomer. It is always important to check the flexibility of your weatherstripping. If you live in areas where very cold temperatures are common, you may want to consider spending the extra money on premium weatherstripping to avoid future repairs due to cold weather.

Learn More!

If your thirst for garage door knowledge has not been thoroughly quenched, call contact your local garage door experts at RCS Garage Doors with any questions you may have. We will happily guide you to the best garage door choice to fit your style and budget.

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