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All About Garage Doors (page 1 of 2)

Learn about the different types of garage doors, how the operate and how to maintain them.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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When choosing a garage door, it is important to consider the appearance, material, construction and method of operation (manual or automatic). Garage doors are usually either tilt-up or sectional roll-up. They are offered with flush, raised panel or recessed panel designs. Your decision will depend on budget, design and the structure of the garage itself — you may need more than one door in a double garage.

Automatic Door Openers

Today's garage-door openers offer photoelectric safety devices that reverse the door if an object breaks the light beam, door openers on key chains, openers with security codes and electronic openers, which also operate lights and other electronic devices in the home. Electric garage openers also function as the garage lock, making it very difficult for an intruder to lift your door from the outside.

With all of the safety devices, one of the surprise frustrations electronic door openers bring is the inability to open during a power outage. Installing an emergency release kit on your garage door will enable you to open the door manually in the event that there is no power to operate it.

Types of Doors

Garage doors, traditionally made of wood, are now available in various materials. Steel and aluminum are commonly used, as is fiberglass. The latter is particularly popular, because it is lightweight, strong and easy to maintain. Weight is an important consideration; a lightweight door is particularly desirable if it is large, or if an automatic system is being installed. If you plan to install doors yourself, even lightweight ones will be difficult to handle alone, so make sure you have help during installation. Also remember to think about your old doors. They are not small items, and you may have to make special arrangements for their disposal.

Steel Tilt-Up

Although not as light as fiberglass doors, steel canopies still provide a relatively lightweight feel, and are easy to open and close by hand.

Fiberglass Tilt-Up

This type of door is made of lightweight material, and has a pivot mechanism allowing for easy opening and closing by hand.

Opening and Closing Mechanisms

Garage doors have a wide variety of opening and closing mechanisms. Some are similar to those used by other entrance doors, and some are used only with garage doors. Sectional (roll-up) garage doors are the most popular type offered. One-piece doors are typically less expensive, but require more headroom in the garage. These doors are often called tilt-up or swing-up doors. Almost any type of door can be automated.

Tilt-Up: Canopy

Canopy tilt-up doors have a pivoting hinge mechanism that allows the door to be lifted upward and slid back at ceiling level into the garage. A portion of the base of the door protrudes from the garage, providing a small overhang or "canopy." This is the simplest tilt-up mechanism, and the system is secured to the sides of the frame, saving space.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tilt-Up: Retractable

A retractable tilt-up door operates in much the same way as a canopy door, except that the door retracts fully into the garage at ceiling level; it is suspended on a framework independent of the doorframe, and therefore occupies a little more space than a canopy mechanism.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sectional Roll-Up

Subdividing a door into four or more horizontal sections provides the basic structure of a sectional garage door. The divisions in the door allow it to roll straight up into a retracted position so there is no need for door clearance outside the garage. The sections slide through channels fixed to the doorframe, which keep the door rigid when shut.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009