What You Should Know Before Purchasing A Garage Door

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Important Component A garage door is an important component to any home. It represents much of a home's facade and is your home's largest piece of moving equipment. Most homeowner's think all garage doors are the same. This misunderstanding leads many to spend money on 'value priced' products, which in a year or two may turn into the gift that keeps on taking.

Real Savings Over the course of the last 15 years garage door manufacturers have generally adopted a business strategy based on price competition. While this appears to benefit the homeowner for the initial purchase, cost savings are achieved at the expense of quality.

Quality While most doors have similar outward appearances; the cost savings desired are achieved by reducing the quality and caliber of critical steel components on the inside. In most cases, critical moving parts are substituted with plastic components. Most of these components tend to fail within the first year of use.

Here are a few guidelines to consider when selecting a residential garage door: What Kind of Door Should I Buy? Steel Garage Doors...

are among the most popular today and are much stronger and more secure than wood, aluminum or fiberglass. They normally come in 26, 25 and 24 gauge thickness. A lower gauge number indicates a thicker and stronger steel. A 26 gauge steel door is comparable to a soda can. The 24 gauge door will last longer, resist dents and be less noisy than the higher number gauge. Steel doors can be purchased with embossed wood grain patterns and durable coatings. These styles rival the look of wood without the maintenance headaches. Steel doors will not warp, crack, delaminate or fall apart due to the weather. They do not require repainting as often as wood doors. On the down side; steel does dent and can be difficult to repair.

Wood Garage Doors...

have natural beauty, are very versatile and operate quietly. They may be painted, stained and are available in a wide price range. Therefore they are easier to fit into any budget. Wood doors are beautiful, but require maintenance; especially in homes that face west. It will require scraping and painting every year to prevent rotting and cracking. Even a well maintained door will absorb water and swell in humid weather; which may make the door not perform properly. In addition, most wood doors are not insulated.

Wood Composite Garage Doors Offer a distinctive advantage when it comes to affordable, low maintenance alternative to real wood garage doors. They are crack proof, split proof, and quiet. This door is insulated and the wood grain is properly registered so that the door has the elegance of wood. A wood composite door may be painted or stained. It requires minimal maintenance. Wood composite doors are an excellent choice when you want your garage door paint color to match your window shutters.

Vinyl Garage Doors Are designed to give you the ultimate in easy-care living. Vinyl garage doors are scratch resilient and will not dent, rust, or crack, and work quietly. They are professionally insulated. An injected insulation can boost the R-value to 10.The initial cost of a vinyl garage door may be greater than doors of other materials; but the long term cost is less. Lifetime warranties are available on the door and hardware. The wood grain is properly registered so the door has the appearance of wood. Vinyl garage doors are available in four colors and never need painting. On occasion vinyl garage doors are not easily available and must be ordered from the factory.

Carriage-house garage doors Add undeniable curb appeal. The most recent trend in beauty for garage doors is carriage-house style. These doors typically cost more than standard raised-panel ones, but they add a distinctive touch and curb appeal. Carriage house style garage doors make a truly exquisite statement to your home's faηade. They offer a unique style that reflects the personality of the home and its owner. Like any wood door or exterior wood product, the door must be properly maintained annually.

What company should I buy from? Be Careful Unfortunately the garage door industry is not strictly monitored. There are many fly-by-night companies that are not insured.

Research the garage door company for: • Adequate insurance • Gives you written warranties on both materials and labor of your garage door • Provides their technicians with uniforms • Insists that their employees drive clean trucks • Insists that their employees are professional and courteous • Can supply references from previous customers upon request Better Business Bureau In addition you may want to access http://search.bbb.org/ to see if the company is a member or has a satisfactory rating with the local Better Business Bureau.

Trained Technicians Choose a company that provides training for their technicians. There are more accidents related to garage doors than lawn mowers and snow blowers combined. Please make sure that your garage door technician is properly trained and certified in garage door safety procedures.

When do I need to buy a new garage door? Non-Operational The most obvious reason to replace your garage door is when it does not operate properly and is a potential hazard. Not all mal-functioning garage doors need replacement. You should always contact a professional when determining whether to repair or replace. Please remember that your garage door is a heaving moving wall. The accident rate for mal-functioning garage doors is high. Contact a professional certified garage door technician who will help you determine if your door should be repaired or replaced.

Curb Appeal Another reason for replacing your garage door is that you wish to create curb appeal; a good first impression to your home. Doors that are dented, rusted, reveal cracks and are peeling paint create a poor first impression of your home and lifestyle. Or may you are remodeling your home; your architecture has changed and new garage door design is more desirable.

Where do I purchase a new garage door? There are a variety of choices: • You can purchase your new garage door from an impersonal mega-home supply company where they will offer the least expensive prices. At these home supply stores your may be limited to your choice of doors. The installation they provide will be contacted out. You will not know the subcontractor or the company until they show up for the installation. These stores offer the least amount of choices.

• You can purchase your door from a service company selling doors over the phone. This creates a significant potential for surprises, hidden costs, and mistakes. These companies traditionally use cost reduction strategies by using contracted out installers with limited experience, use of one spring instead of two on larger doors, use of extension springs instead of torsion springs, and in some cases installation of used parts. In home or in showroom discussions will avoid these surprises and assure you that you have selected the right door and color for your home.

• Or, you can purchase your door from a reputable garage door company. This company will either send a representative to your home and/or they may have a showroom. These companies employ their own installers and technicians and will guarantee materials and labor. The also maintain inventories so they are able to complete your installation quickly.

The Warranty Most new garage doors come with a warranty. Make sure you know what is being promised to you with the warranty. A garage door has many components; panels, insulation, cables, hardware, motor, etc. Find out if the warranty covers all parts and labor and the length of the warranty. Please read the fine print and be sure to check all of what is being promised to you.

In closing Most doors can be made to be more dependable, quieter, and longer lasting if built with quality upgraded hardware.

Need Assistance? If you need assistance in the repair or replacement of your garage door, please locate your local Precision Door Service location by visiting www.precisiondoor.net. Precision Door Service consistently offers professional qualified service from each of our franchised locations. Our technicians are offered the most intense and rigorous training in the industry.

Contributing to this article was Doug Bencsko, owner Precision Door Service of New Jersey, William Cook, Precision Door Service certified garage door technician, and CK Marketing Strategies research and development.

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