How To Know If You Can Fix Your Garage Door By Yourself
Garage doors are a part of your house that you don't really appreciate ... till it stops opening. When that happens, it's almost like you are trapped since unlike a door in any other part of your house, chances are this is the one and only way to get your car and other large items in and out of the garage. Fixing it can be expensive and dangerous, but here's what you can do to determine if this is something easy to fix or will you need professional help.
Owning a home often involves spending time fixing one thing or another. Even newer homes can involve a significant amount of repair work. Despite this, one of the most exciting things about having your own home is that you can upgrade and tweak things to work exactly the way you want. Sometimes you can actually plan this project out on your own schedule ... other times something breaks and you need to fix it immediately.
One of these areas to watch out for is your garage door. This is especially true if you have an older house with a detached garage that might be showing it's age. However, even newer homes can have garage door issues that need attention. Not all garage doors are the same but most American garage doors fall into six different categories: sectional garage doors, roll-up, slide to the side garage doors, swing-out side-hinged garage doors, tilt-up canopy doors, and tilt-up retractable garage doors. Within these styles, you'll find a wide variety of materials and styles. However, the classic sectional garage door is the most common found in typical American houses. This style of garage door consists of rectangular sectional door pieces that stack on top of each other and slide up into the roof of your garage using a garage door opener.
Generally speaking, most garage doors are issues fall into one of three categories:
1) Garage Door Opener - manual openers tend to last a long time but automatic openers can cause issues sooner since they are far more complicated. This includes the motor, remote, and sensors on the door itself that all need attention to ensure proper operation.
2) Track and Rails - this is the long rails and track that the garage door slides across when opening and closing. Depending on your system, this will either be a belt or chain and requires periodic maintenance to ensure proper operation.
3) Garage Door - this is ultimately the least complicated part of your garage door system, and it generally doesn't break - hinges however can get stuck and holes or physical damage can occur.
Will You Need Professional Garage Door Service Help?
There are some projects where I know that I can tinker and even if I don't know the right answer, I can learn. In those situations such as fixing a squeaky floorboard or a leaky toilet, screwing up might be messy and expensive ... but nobody is getting hurt and the tools needed are pretty common. Most guys have a good collection of screwdrivers, wrenches, and hammers in their toolbox. Some garage door issues can be resolved this way but others can be extremely dangerous to do by your self without proper tools and experience. STI Garage Repair offers these tips to help decide if you can fix it yourself or if you should seek professional help ....
Parts Of Your Garage Door You Can Examine Yourself
Garage doors are VERY heavy and can shift suddenly, garage door motors use electricity, and the garage door springs can be under high tension depending on the position where they are stuck. As such, please be extremely cautious when examining your garage door. The following aspects of your garage door however can reveal easy to fix issues that will allow you to avoid an expensive garage door repair service call.
Small Mechanical Parts
If you choose to have your garage door be a do it yourself project, there are a few things you need to check first. Since the garage door moves on tracks, the tracks should be the first thing you should look at. You should see if the screws are loose or if they have dents and damaged spots that are hindering them to move smoothly. If so, all you may have to do is tighten the screws or bolts. If there are dents on the track you can hammer those down with a rubber mallet or use pliers to smooth it out. However, If the tracks are significantly damaged or are the door is completely off of the track, it would be a good idea to contact a reputable garage door repair company to replace or repair it.
Wires and Sensors
The next thing you should check is the electrical system. Most garage doors have sensors so it will stop and avoid crushing objects blocking the door. There will be wires from these sensors to the motor and wires also connect to a wall-mounted button to open or close the door. Sometimes the door opener switch is not working because the wires have worked itself loose or if it is a remote system, batteries need to be replaced. Other times, you'll find that the sensor may have been miss-aligned because an object bumped into it.
In these situations, the resolution might be as simple as checking the wires to ensure nothing has been disconnected and that the sensors are re-aligned. In other cases, the sensors or switch itself could have failed completely. Depending on your experience working with low-voltage electrical equipment this could be a DIY fix or you might want to call a professional to ensure that it is done properly.
Garage Door Opener
Sometimes the garage door is working fine from a mechanical and electrical perspective but the garage door opener itself needs to be replaced. In this situation, I would strongly recommend that you seek professional installation help. Not only will a trained professional be able to install it quicker than you can but they will generally offer a warranty on the work and will be able to check other parts of the garage door at the same time. If your garage door opener system is old enough to fail, then you will probably be excited to get an updated system that includes features that integrate it into your smart home network such as being able to open/close it remotely as well as being faster and quieter than your old system.
Physical Damage to the Garage Door
Physical damage to the garage door that prevents proper operation is not something that can be fixed by yourself. However, not all damage prevents proper operation. For instance, there might be a hole in the door caused by rotting wood or maybe poked through the vinyl by a trailer hitch that backed up a few too many inches. There are some things that you can do to patch these issues up but if it is something that is preventing your door from opening then you should seek a professional to help you replace the door or even just one of the pieces.
- Written by James Hills
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