Garage Doors | What type is right for you?

Today there are many choices when it comes to garage door openers. But it basically comes down to three different type; Belt Drive, Chain Drive and Screw Drive. Now it my be hard to choose, like standing at an all you can eat Chinese buffet and not knowing the foods in front of you. The best thing to do is to educate yourself, then you can find you can find the right dish…ummm…garage door for you.

Chain Drive Garage Door

Chain Drive Garage Door

A chain drive overhead garage door opener is the least expensive and most common of all garage door openers. If your criteria for is a cheap price and you like to hear when someone opens the garage door…well… you found your match. Buying a chain drive overhead garage door opener is a good choice if you want a powerful, reliable opener that isn’t terribly difficult to install. They tend to be on the lower end of the pricing scale but they are typically the noisiest option. For about the same or a little more money, you should also consider the latest screw drive garage door opener models.

How does it work?

Chain Drive garage door uses a shaft and sprocket-driven chain to lift the garage door. If you had an garage door opener as a kid, it was probably a chain drive model.

Screw Drive Garage Door

Screw Drive Garage Door

A screw drive garage door opener is a great option for wider, heavier garage doors. As an alternative to the more common chain drive garage door opener, the screw drive garage door opener can lift heavier doors than a belt drive opener, and does not typically cost as much as the chain drive, so it won’t take a gauge out of your wallet.

Not Entirely Noiseless

The screw drive garage door opener is not as noisy as the chain drive type of garage door opener. However, it is not as quiet as a belt drive model. The screw mechanism will begin to make some noise as it is threaded through if it is very dry. A simple coating of machine oil will remedy a lot of the noise made.

Belt Drive Garage Door

Energizer Bunny

Now if you have a living space above the garage door then you might want to take a look at a belt drive garage door opener. It’s really quiet with long lasting performance. It’s like the energizer bunny but without the drums.

It’s very similar to a chain drive garage door opener, but it uses a very strong, smooth-running rubber belt instead of a noisy steel chain. Now you might think …ummm… rubber is that going to last? The Belt has a fiber reinforcement or flexible steel cords running through the belt.

Are belt drive garage door openers easy to install?

Belt Drive Garage Door

If you are a do-it-yourself person, many top rated belt drive models are available for direct purchase. Genie, Chamberlain and Liftmaster all offer very good installation manuals with step-by-step instructions. If you have never attempted a garage door opener installation, two ladders and a helper will make the job much easier. Time to call your buddy from work that owes you that favor.

For a pro, a new installation will likely take less than 2 hours. For someone who has never done it before, it may take more than 4 hours, depending on your skill level.


Garage Door Parts

Think back to when you were a child, or even now, opening a box of legos and trying to figure out how to put everything together to look like the picture. All these parts and you have no idea what part goes where. Maybe you feel that way when looking at garage door parts, all these pieces in front of you yet what are the different parts for. But after you familiarize yourself with a few of the main pieces, everything looks a little less complicated. What we are going to do is review some of the main garage door parts and their functions.

The Springs on a Garage Door:

Garage Door Springs

Garage Door Spring

Extension springs are mounted on each side of a garage door wall. These are powerful springs that are run under a very high tension and give a garage door the strength to lift the weight of the door up and down. The tension spring holds a tremendous amount of tension, and winds up when your garage door closes. These springs help make even the skinny guys feel like superman when opening a closing a large garage door.

What Parts Hold it Together?

The brackets and hinges hold a garage door together. Anytime they get loose or damaged, they need to be replaced. Be sure to check you brackets frequently to make sure they are secure and still in good shape. Especially if where you live you go through an extreme temperature change with the shift of seasons.

What Garage Door Parts Make it Move Up and Down?

The tracks and rollers on a garage door are what allows a garage door move up and down. The rollers are connected to the tracks. There are two sets of tracks: vertical and horizontal. The vertical tracks run alongside the garage door walls, while the horizontal tracks run along the ceiling. They need to be oiled and lubricated regularly to keep them maintained and last longer. Also make sure they are free from any debris that could cause extra friction. I used to get ice and snow build up during the winter that caused the garage door not to fully close.

How Does a Garage Work with a Remote Control?

The motor drive gives a garage door the power to open and close from a remote control. A garage door will either have a belt drive, screw drive or chain drive. The belt drive is the most popular motor drive, because it is quiet and smooth. The screw drive is very slow-moving, and the chain drive is the most economical. (We will talk further about the different garage door openers next week)

As your garage door ages and becomes worn, there may come a time when you need to replace garage door parts. Here are some of the more common garage door parts that you will be likely to change as time goes by.


Garage Door Roller

Garage Door Roller

Though not as common to fail as some of the other parts, the rollers that ride in the track have been known to fail from time to time. There is a steel track on either side of the garage door that guides the door up and down. These rollers ride in that track and can become broken, or the bearings worn out. To prevent further damage to the door they should be replaced as soon as you can possibly do it.

Cable Drums

Another garage door part that tends to fail from time to time are the cable drums. These wear out in the center hole making it difficult to open and close the doors at times. Bad cable drums can also create problems for the cable that rides on them, and so when there is an issue found with them, the cable should be checked as well.


As time goes by, the cables will begin to wear and become frayed. This is one of the garage door parts that is essential to replace in a timely manner if it begins to show signs of wear. There is a lot of tension on these cables as they connect to the garage door springs and if the cable wears enough,  it can snap.

Other Things to Check

Keep on Eye out for Rust!

There is no set life span for any part of a garage door. Actual wear depends on a number of factors which can include climate and weather patterns, usage and a number of other factors. Knowing this, take care to inspect the garage door parts on a regular basis to prevent potential problems. Some of the garage door parts you should be checking are:

  • jamb brackets
  • spring fittings
  • torsion and extension springs
  • top and bottom brackets
  • hinges
  • track

Simply checking things occasionally and making repairs when you notice existing problems can go a long way to make your garage doors last longer and work better. It’s probably a good idea to keep a few extra garage door parts on hand so when you need to make a repair — it   can be done quickly. Be sure to check out for garage door parts.

Keeping Liftmaster Convenient

Garage door remotes with visor clips are so convenient. Just pull up to your garage, click the remote on your visor, and you are in. I realized when the clip broke off mine, that convenience is easily lost.  After it broke, I put the remote in the cup holder thinking it would still be  readily available, but we coffee drinkers need somewhere to put our coffee. Thus the garage door opener is thrown to the side and convenience is lost! Causing fumbling and havoc inside the car.

photos by liftmaster

Liftmaster has provided a solution to that problem we could have- the 890MAX. This mini remote replaces all 80, 370, and 970 series remotes and can be programmed to operate up to 3 garage doors or gates. No more worrying about losing our remotes in our car because this remote is the perfect size to have on your keychain, in your purse, or even in your pocket. Another convenient feature of this remote is the Security+2.0™ rolling code technology which prevents anything from interfering with the signal between your remote and your garage door. This lengthens the distance your remote is effective from.

Garage Doors with Style

Garage Door ElephantEver wanted to give your garage door the one up in the neighborhood? Maybe you want your neighbors to think that you have an elephant in your garage or just want to catch the eye of the passerby. Whatever your reasons may be it definitely adds a little spice to your garage door and helps it stand out a little more. Now is your chance to make your garage door stand out more than just a bucket of paint. When looking through the photos of the different garage doors that have been spiffed up, you just think…cool!

garage door dogI think this company came up with a very clever idea that will turn the head of many of the mailmen in the area. I think I would like to put one of these on my garage door just to watch the heads turn. If someone could set up a hidden camera to get the reactions of people, I think would be great idea. In fact if someone did that I would love to see the video.

These tarps are giant flexible photos designed for “up-and-over” garage doors, and they attach with Velcro. They have a variety of themes ranging from vehicles to landscapes to animals and more. They can be purchased at One of my favorites is the dump truck for double garage doors. Take a look at a few of my Favorites;

garage door alligator

Garage Door Airplane

Is Your Garage Door just holding in the Junk?

My Car used to Fit!!

It seems it happens to all of us. We slowly start to accumulate more and more things. It may start with that old antique chair that our neighbor is throwing out and we say “you can’t throw this out!” Later you promise yourself that you are going to fix it up and make it shine like new. Soon you see more things that get stuffed into you garage, and more promises of things you are going to fix up.

After a while though your garage may get a little cluttered, before you could get your car in without a problem, now not so much. You have to squeeze yourself past everything just to get at the snow shovel in the back. Your garage door has now become a barrier to hold the junk in.

How can we stop using our garage door as barrier to hold back the junk that is ready to burst out? Here are a few tips that can help change your garage into a garage and not just a dumping ground.

1) Keep it off the floor

Photo by Andrew McCaul

What do you do when you are finished shoveling the driveway or raking the lawn? We tend to just throw it in the corner, it gets knocked over and that is just the beginning of the clutter. Try this, get a peg board strong enough to take some weight and add some nice hooks to it. This will enable you to hang neatly in your garage the things that normally just got thrown into the corner

2) Shelves, Shelves, Shelves


Along the lines of keeping it of the floor this also includes SHELVES. Yes not everything can be put on a hook, that old 8-track player that you found in your garage, and you promised yourself you would get around to fixing it so that you can listen to your old “Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers” tracks, needs a place to stay. Do it Yourself Network has a very simple way to install shelves, adding some organization to your garage clutter.

3) Hide it!

Maybe your embarrassed about your 8-track player and do not want everyone entering your garage to see. Well then you need to hide it! I don’t mean shove it behind the box full of your old winter clothing. Install some cabinets in your garage. You can usually find some low cost cabinets that you can install in your garage, that are as simple as installing shelves.