So you want to buy a garage door and be an expert your first time out. Here are a few tips to aid the process of finding the right door for your home.
Some People break the process of looking for a garage door into very simple terms of trying to find something to fill a large hole in front of their home that looks good and is cost effective. That's a good start. Cost, appearance and functionality are part of the process, but safety, warranty, adaptability and value should also be part of the mix.
Here are some general guidelines:
Appearance There are a wide range of options out there. You don't have to buy a white garage door with a lot of squares anymore. In fact some manufacturers can give you a door with no squares at all. There are a multitude of pattern and design options for most manufacturers.
Most manufacturers have two or three colors, but some offer the flexibility of dozens of factory baked-on colors. What will look best with your home and bring out the features you think are important? Those are the key questions to ask.
Material and Design Steel garage doors come in embossed, ribbed and flush designs. Garage doors come in steel, copper, glass and aluminum, so there are multiple options to consider. You have more options than just the one door you may be looking at in the showroom. Some manufacturers specialize in customizing your door within a very short time, so lead time for a customized door with the right material and look is another option to consider.
The value of the steel in your garage door is also a major issue. Hi-tensile steel is best in at least 25-gauage for protection from denting. Ensure that you inquire about the gauge of steel used and whether the paint is baked on, or simply sprayed. This will give a very clear picture in a hurry about the quality that went into your potential purchase.
Optional Windows Any garage door can be purchased with optional windows. A myriad of patterns and designs are now available that allow in natural light to liven up the garage. Weigh safety issues in your choice and whether the windows ar made of acrylic or glass.
Insulation value Some manufacturers tout the insulation value of garage doors. Most people question this concern, since the garage in most hoes is neither heated nor cooled. If insulation is a concern to you, lightweight polystyrene foam insulation can be added to most doors. Insulated doors will help to reduce the amount of outside temperatures that enters your garage, thus keeping it more comfortable for you. An insulated door is generally quieter and has a more attractive interior than an non-insulated door.
Springs The spring is perhaps the most undervalued part of a garage door initially but makes its value known very quickly. Low cost doors tend to use extension springs. make sure an internal safety containment cable is included in case of breakage.
Springs tend to be the first part of the garage door to need service or replacement. many springs are tested to operate between 5,000 to 10,000 cycles while some manufacturers make a spring that will last up to 30,000 cycles or more. That's a wide difference in longevity and value when you add it up. Most homeowners use their garage doors up to 3, 000 times per year. So a 10,000 cycle spring could break within 3 to 4 years. Replacement usually costs #150 - $250. Check the manufacturer's warranty on the spring. Never buy a door with only one year warranty on the spring.
Hardware This is another defining difference in quality and value. Is the manufacturer giving you hardware that will last for five years or thirty years? The coating on the hardware will be one of the first clues and make the difference in rust, so common in humid areas. Check for at least a G-60 Zinc Coating on the hardware.
Wind Resistance If you live in a high wind region, you'll regret skimping on your garage door. The garage door industry set standards on wind loads that a door should be able to tolerate. make sure the door you're looking at meets local building codes. Conventional garage doors usually can handle a wind load up to 35 mph, while others build one that is standard at 70 mph. Additional struts can increase the wind resistance on any door.
Warranty How much of a warranty can you get? This is where manufacturers tend to thin out in a hurry. many offer one year warranties and limited use warranties. But there is at least one company that offers a lifetime warranty on its product. Who is willing to stand behind their product? When you're investing money in a garage door this should be a big consideration.
While you may save $100 - $200 in buying a cheaper door, you will actually be paying more in the long run when considered in terms of how much you spend on your door over any given period. In many cases you get a much greater value, by spending the extra $100 to $200 up front. In general, lok for a garage door warranty that covers moving parts for at least 15 to 20 years, and that covers torsion springs for at least 5 -10 years or more.
Garage door opener Openers are usually available with a belt or a chain drive and a 1/2 or 1/3 horsepower drive. power is usually only a factor in choosing an opener when a large door is involved. Safety standards uninitiated in 1993 require that a door reverse its direction when something crosses the path of the photoelectric eyes in place that cross the door opening. This is a key safety feature. But ne standards aside, many openers are still noisy and carry limited warranties. Noise can be a factor if there is a bedroom or room above the garage.
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