Find The Best Garage Door Installers and Repairmen

If you are looking for garage door installers or repairmen, you might want to learn what an industry expert has to say about business ethics. In an article published in the garage door trade magazine International Door & Operator Industry, Gary Lombard addresses the subject of “up-selling” in the garage door industry. Up-selling is that well-worn sales strategy of trying to sell you more than you think you need.

Up-selling is not always aimed at ripping us off. Just because a professional thinks we need more than we think we need does not mean they are trying to fool us. Sometimes they really are trying to help us.

So, how can you distinguish between a legitimate and an illegitimate up-sell effort when dealing with garage door installers and repairmen? Here are some suggestions that Lombard offers for service technicians who have been called on a garage door problem. The suggestions are good ones for the technician, but they also offer the consumer a good means of judging the character and competence of the technician who shows up at their house.

Lombard says the service technician should:

  1. Bring a price book containing all of the parts for garage doors and motors so that he can tell the consumer what a repair will cost them.
  2. Bring sales literature for products his company sells so the consumer can see what they might be buying.
  3. Know what parts he has in stock so that he won’t try to sell the consumer something he doesn’t have.
  4. Carry a good supply of standard common parts (springs, rollers, hingers, weatherstripping and motor operators), so that he can tend to common problems right away.
  5. Make an effort to analyze the cause of the problem, and not just the problem itself. This is where up-selling can benefit both the technician and the consumer. For example, say the garage door was hanging up due to one bad roller. The technician could replace that one roller and be on his way. But he could also make a very good case for replacing all of the rollers. This would increase his sale and the repair cost to the consumer, but it might also ensure fewer problems and better performance with the garage door in the years to come.A similar argument could be made for replacing all of the springs when only one was broken. The point is, good professional garage door installers and repairmen should make an effort to explain the long-term benefits of repairing or replacing some parts that currently may not be causing any problem. The consumer makes the ultimate decision, of course, but at least it will be an informed one.
  6. Don’t try to force the issue. Up-selling enters the realm of unethical when the seller won’t take “no” for an answer and continues to pressure the consumer to spend more than they want to spend. Better to just be sure to leave the consumer understanding all of their options and confident that they have paid only for what they really wanted.
  7. Make the time to provide the consumer with a full diagnosis and report on options and consequences. If a garage door installer or repairman schedules the day with quick, back-to-back repair calls, he is not going to have the time to make reasonable, responsible sales pitches to the consumer. Feeling the need to rush to another appointment might well reduce the chance of selling more to each consumer, a result that ultimately benefits no one.

Most consumers develop a sense of when someone is trying to sell them something they don’t really need, but they also have a sense of when someone is sharing useful advice based upon their experience and knowledge. If the garage door installer or repairman you contact about any replacements or repairs fits this latter description, everyone benefits.

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Ten Tips the BBB Offers on Hiring a Garage Door Repair

ab_seal_100_wideI came across some very helpful tips when searching for a reputable garage repair company. It seems no matter where you are the economy is not what is used to be. This makes people do things that they wouldn’t normally do, and that includes shady business practices. They say the best defense is a good offence, I say “knowledge is power” but you have to gain it to use it.

Here are Ten Tips the BBB offers on hiring a garage door repair firm:

  1. Check out free BBB Business Reviews at bbb.org or by phone at 800-646-6222. Use the BBB’s Online Directory to find reliable Accredited Businesses. Remember, good garage door companies come in all sizes. Large marketing campaigns or big ads do not always mean a bigger company, or one that provides better service.
  2. Be wary of business phone lines that are answered generically, such as “Service” or “Door service.” Some businesses operate under many names and have to answer the phone in a non-specific manner. Ask the receptionist for their business name and address. If they won’t provide this information, you may not be dealing with a local business.
  3. Keep in mind that any business can buy multiple phone lines. Local numbers don’t always mean you’re dealing with a “local” business.
  4. Ask at least three companies to come to your home and evaluate your needs. Comparison shopping in this manner allows you to consider differences in price and varying opinions on what should be repaired or replaced. Be sure to ask questions and also ask if there’s a service charge involved for coming out and providing an estimate.
  5. Get everything in writing. Ask for an estimate before agreeing to any service. You may want to sign an authorization form after you approve the estimate. Be sure to review and understand the services, products, costs and disclosures before any work is performed.
  6. Request references with names and contact information from consumers who have recently had work performed by the company. Be sure to take the time to contact those references.
  7. Take note of marketing techniques such as advertising discounts or the promise of lowest prices. Remember, the only way to know if you are getting a fair price is to comparison shop to see what other businesses are charging for the same service. Keep in mind that a company offering the lowest price may or may not offer the best service.
  8. Some companies state that they can provide same day service. This may certainly be a benefit; however, it’s important to weigh convenience against waiving your ability to shop around and compare prices.
  9. Any advertisement that makes any type of rating claim (i.e. rated #1 in customer service) should also list the independent third party that provided the award or designation, along with the date it was received.
  10. When purchasing a new garage door, keep the records for the manufacturer brand and model number of all door components (door sections, hardware, track, springs, etc.). Also, request a warranty card and owner’s manual and read these thoroughly. You may need this information if you have questions about the warranty or product liability.

Garage Doors | Increasing Home Value

Spending Money on a Garage Door.
Is it Worth it?

According to research 71% of home owners believe that upgrading their garage door of there home would increase the value of their home. Were they correct? When real estate agents were shown “before” and “after” photos of houses that upgraded with new, stylish garage doors, they increased the estimated list price of the home anywhere from one to four percent. That means a $2,000 investment in a garage door could potentially increase the value of your home by as much as $7,000 if you’re selling a $175,000 home.

When we take a snap shot of the front of a home, in most cases the garage door will take up one third of the house. Thus by changing the style and adding chic design or a more modern appeal can give it that punch that you were looking for.

As well, depending on the area you live in, garage doors with certain features will have more appeal. Example, a reinforced door that can help prevent damage from hurricanes. In fact researchers point out that the main entry point for severe winds to a home during a hurricane is the garage. Not only does the design matter but the “muscle” behind it.

With that in mind and understanding the value of a good quality garage door, will certainly up the value of any home.

Garage Door Springs | 4 things your need to know

Garage Door Springs | 4 things your need to know

Yes it is true, I am talking about Garage Door Springs. Garage Door Springs are very important but at the same time very dangerous. WARNING! Garage door springs, whether torsion spring or linear spring assemblies, can cause severe injury or death if improperly handled when adjusting. If adjustment is necessary, call a professional!

1) Torsion Springs (located above the door) are now the most common type of garage door springs.

2) Most doors require two springs that work in tandum to make your door system work smoothly. Spring pairs should be replaced together, since the mate is likely to fail soon after the first. We often think

3) Correct spring size is determined by factors such as the weight and height of the door. For example, garage door springs are designed to accommodate the original intended weight of the door. If additional weight is added to the door sections after the original door installation, the door could become unbalanced such that operation is not smooth, possibly even resulting in damaged or broken springs.

4. If your garage door is out of balance or has a broken spring it will adversely affect your garage door opener motor as it could become overworked or cease functioning.

Garage Door Hacker?!?

OH MY! I’ve Been Hacked!

We’ve heard of cyber hackers, but garage door hackers!?! Can you garage door really be hacked?

If you rely on a handheld gadget to be the gatekeeper of some of your most precious possessions can sometimes backfire. If you’ve ever taken a look inside your garage door opener to replace its batteries, or perhaps because you dropped it on the ground, you may have noticed a plethora of tiny wires and contact points. Hackers can easily modify a standard door opener to accept a USB port, and software is readily available on the web to modify how it operates. A number of tutorials can be found online to walk an amateur hacker through the process of hacking your garage door in just minutes.

Thankfully, this vulnerability is typically only an issue for older garage door systems, and newer, more sophisticated openers use a rolling code that changes each time it is used. However, if your opener was made more than 5 years ago, there’s a good chance it can easily be hacked, so consider upgrading if you can.

Garage Door Prevents Break In: New Security Feature

Garage Door Security

Garage Door Security we like to see!  “Photo Courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk”

Brockton, Massachusetts tried to break in through the garage door of a Rent-A-Center. But his thieving plans came to a sudden halt, when the metal bed frame that he was using to prop the garage door open collapsed. Pinning his head to the ground.

Stuck for nine hours, Fernandes was discovered by the store manager John Rodriguez at 9 a.m. and attempted to claim that he was in fact there to fix the door. Really if you saw your “Repair Man” pinned under the garage would you believe him?

Watch the full story below.

Garage Door Problems Start Small!

Garage Door Problem

Garage Door Problem

It is very common for big problems to start from small things. By regularly checking your Garage Door and Garage door parts, especially after a change of season. can help prevent big problems in the future.

Look for Loose Hardware

When attempting to diagnose a garage door problem, the first place to check is the track and rollers. While the door is in the closed position, inspect the brackets that secure the tracks to the framing members. Brackets should always be attached with lag screws or bolts; secured solidly into the framing members. Check for any brackets that might have worked loose, or may not have been properly secured during installation. Generally if the track if wobbling with just a little tug, you know it’s loose.

Garage door tracks are installed vertically on either side of the door and curve to run on a horizontal plane parallel with the ceiling. Using a level, make sure vertical sections are perfectly plumb, straight, aligned, and in square with each other. Both overhead sections should be the same distance from the ceiling; aligned with the other. Make sure your level is accurate. An easy way to check your level is to make a vertical line using your level, then flip the level and check the line.

Check the overhead section; it should slope very slightly to the back of the garage. Make any necessary adjustments by loosening or moving the brackets, adding or removing shims, and tightening lag screws or bolts.

Inspect for Damage

Further inspect the tracks for any damaged areas; including flat spots, crimping, and dents. Use a hammer or mallet and a wood block to straighten any out. Badly damaged sections of track that cannot be straightened should be replaced.

Clean tracks and rollers using a solvent cleaner to remove soils and hardened grease. Wipe dry, and then re-lubricate tracks with garage door spray or graphite; lubricate rollers with silicone spray or 3-in-1 oil.

Inspect the garage door for loose screws or worn garage door hardware. Swing-up doors have a plate where the spring is attached to the door; screws frequently become loose and require tightening. Roll up doors that sag on one side or along one panel may indicate loose mounting screws on the hinges that hold the panels together. Or else hinges may be worn and need replacing.

Screw holes in wood may have become enlarged; requiring either larger screws or repairing the hole for a snugger fit.

Swing-up doors may need the spring tension adjusted. Usually this type of spring uses a cable with a pulley; the end of the cable mounted to a plate. Simply pull more cable through the plate, and add another knot for proper tension.

Roll-up doors usually have a center mount tension spring system. Warning: DO NOT attempt repairing this yourself. This type spring can cause serious injury or even death if incorrectly handled. Acquire the services of a professional for this task.

Troubleshooting a Garage Door Opener

How to fix a garage door opener will depend on the nature of the problem.
Garage door opener troubleshooting to isolate a problem can be complicated. This is because more often than not a group of problems are culprits.

Garage door openers that close and then reverse before completely closing can be one of several causes. Newer garage door opener systems (after 1990) have an electric eye on either side of the lower door frame. When an object blocks the line of sight between the two sensors, the door reverses. Sensors that are out of alignment with each other can give erratic signals to the system, causing the door to reverse sporadically.

A garage door opener system may have a safety reversal feature which causes the door to reverse when it senses an obstruction. When the door is closing and an obstruction is encountered, the resistance is transferred back to the motor unit with torsion (twisting) in the assembly.

If it twists far enough, a small lever or “arm,” either inside the unit or out, contacts a momentary switch, causing the motor to reverse direction. The amount of resistance can be adjusted by changing the distance between the arm or lever and the switch.

Apart from electric eye sensors, there are numerous mechanical systems for setting the opening and closing limit on an opener. They can be plastic arms, levers, or even metal plates; clipped or bolted to the drive chain. One for the open limit, one for closing. This can be adjusted by clipping or bolting the arm or lever to a different location on the chain; increasing or decreasing the respective limit.

Another type of opener uses a screw-type track inside the motor unit, with a moveable “nut” that travels once the unit is activated; When the nut contacts a switch, the unit stops. There are usually two moveable nuts, one for each direction. Adjustment is made by moving the nuts to the desired limit point for each direction.

Garage Door Opener Design

Garage door systems, whether older or newer, employ various designs for setting the opening and closing limit. There are a number of garage door opener designs built for resale by garage door sales/installation companies; many of which are not user friendly. This initiates a lot of small “minimum charge” service calls for minor adjustments, which add up quickly.

To avoid ending up with one of these systems, do garage door opener consumer report research before purchasing and installing a unit. Select only a design that makes provision for homeowner adjustments; with clearly marked components and full how-to instructions.

Apart from special electronic testing equipment and the services of an electronics repairman, there is no way to test for a faulty remote unit. However, garage opener repair can oftentimes be as simple as replacing the battery in the remote unit. Or it may require reprogramming using a different code to keep the neighbor’s remote from operating your door.

Some units have a set of “dip switches;” small plastic toggle switches inside both the remote and the opener unit. These should be set identically. Try using various settings until the problem is solved. Other units have electronic codes that can be reset; follow manufacturer’s instructions.

If you need to replace a faulty remote but have trouble finding one compatible with your system, generic remote units are available at hardware stores. The unit plugs into an outlet; your garage opener unit plugs into it. When you switch the remote on, it toggles a relay switch and powers on your garage door unit. This allows you to power the garage unit on and off, bypassing the remote circuitry that it came with.

For chain drive garage door opener systems, a common problem is that over time and with use the chain may become loose and drag on the track or other components.

Most units have provision for adjusting chain tension; either using an adjustable roller on the chain, adjustable links in the chain, or an adjustment on the lift motor box. Follow manufacturer’s instructions; always make adjustments with the door closed, and power to the lift motor off for safety purposes. Never over-tighten the chain; this could cause damage to the system.

Sometimes Replacement is Necessary

If you are in need of a garage door opener part or lift motor for a system that is obsolete and no longer manufactured, you may need to purchase a whole new garage door opener system. To select motor size keep in mind the following rule of thumbs:

  • Garage doors up to 8-feet wide should have a minimum lift motor size of 1/3 horsepower.
  • Garage doors 10 to 12-feet wide should have a minimum lift motor size of ½ horsepower.
  • For large custom garage doors wider than 12-feet, follow manufacturer’s suggestions; it is better to have a motor than can provide more lift than needed, than not enough.

Choosing a Wooden Garage Door

Wooden Garage Door

We’ve talked about Choosing the right Garage door type, but now let us focus on the wooden garage door. If you want to lend a more unique look and feel to your garage and to your home, then a wooden garage door might be what you are looking for. In addition to having a distinct and more polished look, the wooden door options that you will find in the market are also known for being very durable as well. This means that they will be able to function well when it comes to giving your garage the right level of safety that it requires. Just see to it that you go through the necessary considerations that will help you pick out the best wooden garage doors in the market. Here are some of the most important points that you should look into in order to ensure that you will find the wooden door that will fit your garage best.

Wooden Garage Door | The Cost

The main thing that you have to consider is the amount of money that you have to invest on the wooden door that you want to use for your garage. The price will depend on the quality of the wood and other materials used to manufacture the door and the quality of the craftsmanship that went into it as well. If you find that most of the options in the market are well beyond your price point, then you should consider picking from reclaimed wooden garage doors instead. Yes, they will cost much less, but they will be able to give your home a polished look just the same.

Garage Door | Quality

Time to think about quality you have to place much thought into the quality of the wood that was used for the wooden garage doors that you are choosing from as well. If you plan on buying something that is made out of grade A wood, then you have to prepare yourself to shell out quite a bit of money (kind of like when buying high quality steak!). Just make sure that you’re choosing doors that were manufactured out of the sturdiest kinds of wood (Oak, Maple, Cherry etc). If someone is trying to sell you a nice sturdy garage door made of Cedar…beware…it might be nice for making a sauna in the backyard but not for a garage door.  After all, it has to last and provide you with a certain level of security as well. If you haven’t got a clue about what to do, feel free to contact Sanford and Son? Overhead Doors.

Finally, make sure that you will be able to go about the process of wooden garage door installation that will help you put up the garage door that you will be buying, either by yourself or with the help of a professional. If you plan to get the help of a contractor, then make sure that you include the necessary provisions on your budget, to cover professional fees and charges. Prepare for any additional equipment or pieces of hardware that the installation process may require as well. Your contractor will have his own gear, but you can never be too prepared.

Top 6 Garage Door Questions!

Do you use your garage – I mean for your car? Many garages are storage areas and workshops, while the vehicles sit outside, at the mercy of the elements. But no matter what you use your garage for, your garage door is important. Without it, your belongings, including your vehicle, would be open to thieves. So although many of us take garage doors for granted, there are some things you need to know about them. And our top 6 garage door questions will reveal those things.

1. What’s R-value and why is it so important?

The R-value on a garage door tell you how well it insulates. You might think that it isn’t important to insulate your garage, but there are several reasons why it’s necessary. If you happen to spend more time than usual in your garage, like if you have a workshop there, for example, then you’ll definitely be aware of the importance of insulation.

But your garage is also affected by its connection to the rest of your house, particularly if you have a room above it. Of course, if your garage isn’t attached to your house, you can get a garage door with a low R-value, or even no insulation at all.

So check the R-value of a garage door before you buy it. The higher the number, the better its insulation properties.

2. What’s headroom, backroom and sideroom?

Headroom is the amount of space inside the garage between the top of the garage door and the ceiling.

Backroom is the inside length of the garage, from front to back.

Sideroom is the distance between the sides of the garage door and the side walls of the garage.

You need to know these dimensions when you’re installing a garage door because the hardware needs a certain amount of room to operate freely.

3. If I’m replacing my garage door, how do I remove the torsion springs?

Torsion garage door springs are under extreme pressure and, if not handled properly, could release with enough power to kill you! You need specific tools and training. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you leave this job to a professional if you are a professional becareful.

4. Can I paint a steel garage door?

You can definitely paint a steel garage door. If you use a good quality latex paint, it’ll last a long time. But don’t use an oil-base paint – it’ll bubble and peel off.

You can paint other garage doors, too. Wood garage doors look great when painted or stained. Fiberglass garage doors can be painted, too. The great thing about painting a garage door is that you can match it to the décor of the rest of your house.

5. How can I tell if my garage door is unbalanced?

You should be able to lift your garage door with one hand, no matter what the size. Garage door systems are specifically designed to take the weight off the door. If you can’t lift the door easily, then it’s probably unbalanced, and you need to call a professional garage door installer to fix it.

6. What are the advantages of aluminum garage doors?

Aluminum garage doors are easy on the mechanisms because of their light weight. Therefore, they last longer. However, there isn’t much difference between aluminum and steel garage doors if the door is 12 feet wide or less.

And, of course, when the garage door is finally worn out, aluminum is recyclable, which is really good for the environment.

Why Replace your garage door?

When we consider what a a garage door opener is, it is quite a simple device. Motor, springs and chains. Push a button open, push a button closed. That is the main reason they were invented and that is the main reason we get them installed. Because who wants to get out to open the garage door when it is pouring rain outside? Now you might be thinking…”my garage door opener works great, why replace it!?”. If it does great, but keep reading. Over the years there are many additional features( increased safety, security and convenience) that have been added. This just might make you want to replace your garage door.

Whoops! If only....

Safety Reversal

Since 1993 garage door openers have been required to be equipped with a safety reversing mechanism. This feature utilizes two sensors about six inches above floor level on both sides of the door. When any object, such as a child or pet, runs through the light beam created by these sensors while the door is closing, the door immediately stops and reverses.

If your garage door opener does not have a safety reversing feature, or if the one it does have no longer works, replacing the opener is highly recommended.

TOO MUCH NOISE!!!

Noise Control

Does your garage door opener wake people up or otherwise disrupt the household because it makes so much noise? If so, a new opener will almost certainly be quieter.

The original style of garage door opener opened and closed with a chain drive. If you can see something that looks like a bicycle chain near the motor unit of your opener, consider replacing it with a screw drive or belt drive garage door opener. Even a newer model chain drive unit will likely be quieter than an older model.

Security

Older garage door openers were vulnerable to thieves. Because their remote controls functioned with a fixed code, someone with a special device could sit outside your house and find the code, allowing them to open the garage door.

New garage door openers have a “rolling code” feature, which changes the code every time the unit is used. Bad guys can no longer duplicate the code and get into your garage uninvited.

No Keys

We all know how easy it is to loose our keys. Isn’t that one of the most common phrases we hear “Honey! Have you seen my keys?” Older garage door openers did not offer keypads that could be mounted outside the garage. This handy feature allows you to enter a code into the keypad that will open the garage door. No keys required.

You may be able to buy a keypad to install with your existing garage door opener. If not, though, this might be a good reason to upgrade. Newer keypad units even eliminate the need to remember a code. They operate by touch, using fingerprint detection to open the door. Ease of access with one less thing you can lose.

Battery Backup

One of the big inconveniences of a power outage is often the inability to operate the garage door opener. Garage door openers are now available with battery backup systems that will kick in automatically when you lose electrical power.