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Handy Tips to Keep Your Garage Door Functioning Beautifully


Tired of your old garage door? You could try installing a new one. Studies show it has one of the highest returns on investment when it comes to home improvement projects, virtually dollar for dollar. Yet it can cost upwards of $1,000 to $3,000 for a new door. That’s a chunk of change. If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, there are ways to freshen up the look of your door, improve the value of your home, and increase your security for a fraction of the cost. Here are affordable ways you can retool your garage door to increase its function and security.

Give it a Wash

Garage doors can take a beating, especially with the intense weather California gets these days. The scorching sun of Sacramento definitely takes its toll. Acidic rain, heavy winds, and tropical storms can also pack a wallop. Grease and dust can get into the joints, the door frame, and the woodwork, giving it a dirty, run down appearance.

It helps to give it a good wash. While a spray with the hose is a good idea every few months, up your cleaning ante with a vinegar and dish soap rinse every once in a while. Get a brush and really work into those crevices. Avoid strong detergents because these might harm your door.

Add a Stain Glaze & Finish

If you’ve got a wooden door, it’s a good idea to add a layer of stain glaze several times a year. The best strategy is to apply the glaze in sections. A painting brush works well. Apply it just as you would a coat of paint. This stuff tends to dry pretty fast, so it works best in humid or cloudy weather. Avoid sunny or hot days.

After the stain glaze dries, apply a stain finish. It should dry pretty fast, about 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the weather. Spread a clear finish on the door for a smooth, shiny look. It really does add a beautiful glimmer to the garage door.

Test Out Your Garage Door

Open and close the door with the automatic opener. Notice how smooth it functions. Does it produce any rattle or creaking? Next, release the opener and manually raise and lower it. Check the door’s balance. Does the door hang from one side to the other? Notice how easy the door goes up and down. If there’s any balance issues or difficulty, you might consider calling a professional.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

It’s also a good idea to have your garage door looked over by a professional on an annual basis. They can test its functioning, let you know if any springs, cables, or rollers need replaced. This way you can stay up on repairs before they become emergencies. You’ll have a beautifully functioning garage door that will be safer and quieter.

Should You Repair a Garage Door Spring?

We walk our readers through many garage door repairs, but a busted spring is not one of them. We do have some advice — this is not a DIY repair. It’s too dangerous! The spring is what makes lifting a several hundred pound garage door feel as light as a box of cereal. It’s under an incredible amount of tension. If it should snap, say when you’re trying to repair or disconnect it, it can release with sudden violence. Garage door springs have been known to send people to the hospital — even the morgue. Do yourself a favor and call a professional. Even if you notice slack in the spring, rust or brittleness, have it inspected by someone certified who knows what they’re doing. Don’t become a statistic!