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Precision Garage Door of St. Louis
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We run into unique situations in garages all the time.

This customer contacted us because the cable of the chain and cable assembly of their Craftsman chain drive garage door opener broke, nothing unique here, a standard repair. Located along the rail, the chain and cable assembly connects to the trolley and moves the trolley along the rail to raise and lower the garage door.

Garages like this customer’s that have low ceilings are fairly common too, especially in certain parts of the cities we service.

Upon entering the garage, the technician was surprised by a few things. The ceiling of the garage was only eight inches above his head. He also discovered that for whatever reason, this particular house was built with a very short garage with a garage door that doesn’t roll up into the garage like a standard overhead garage door but one that travels straight up into the room above the garage. Something else he found interesting is that the parts of the garage door opener that are typically mounted to the header of the garage were mounted to the floor of the garage, and the garage door operator was mounted on the side of the garage at the top of the ceiling. Bottom line, this was definitely a custom garage door and garage door opener installation. The garage door torsion springs are fourteen feet from the garage floor vs. at the header of the garage!

Check out the photos to see what I’m talking about! One of the photos shows the top of the garage door while it’s closed and garage door track leading up into a dry-walled space for the garage door to travel upward into.

I’m sure there is a reason as to why this home is constructed this way. It certainly makes it challenging to maintain and repair the garage door parts and garage door opener.
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Has this ever happened to you? You’re ready to leave the house so you go into the garage, press the wall button to open the garage door, hear the motor of the garage door opener running but the garage door doesn’t move? More than likely, you have a stripped garage door opener gear. It’s a sign that you have a stripped garage door opener gear when the garage door opener sounds like it’s running but the chain or trolley is not moving. Yep, it’s going to be one of those days.

So what causes a stripped garage door opener gear?
As a safety mechanism garage door opener gears are made out of plastic. The gear, which is located in the housing of the garage door opener, is made out of plastic so that it strips when excessive force is being used to open and close the garage door. The gear stripping prevents damage to the motor of the garage door opener.

Common causes for the stripping of a garage door opener gear are:
• Broken spring(s) or unbalanced garage door – The garage door springs lift the garage door. Operating the garage door opener when a spring is broken, or when the garage door isn’t properly balanced, places excessive force on the gear and the garage door motor and will eventually cause the garage door opener parts to fail prematurely.
• Worn out garage door parts – All the parts of the garage door system, cables, rollers, etc., need to work together to ensure smooth, safe operation. A worn out part can impact the performance of the entire garage door system and garage door opener making parts work harder than they should.
• Faulty parts in garage door opener
• Normal wear & tear – all parts have life cycles and will fail at some point.

Garage door gears can be replaced. Replacing the gear when other garage door parts are worn and needing to be replaced is a temporary solution. A stripped garage door opener gear replacement typically involves having other garage door parts replaced too.

The life of a quality garage door opener that is a part of a regularly maintained garage door system is typically 10 - 15 years. Make sure you get the most out of your garage door opener by having your garage door system inspected regularly. A simple garage door part replacement may save you the expense of purchasing a new garage door opener.

Bottom line, manually open your garage door if you hear the motor running but the door doesn’t move. Refer to the operator’s manual of the garage door opener for troubleshooting information, or call a professional to help determine why the garage door isn’t going up or down. Don’t worry, the day will get better!


Getting a New Garage Door? Add Some Bling & Consider Garage Door Windows.

If you’re looking to replace your garage door, consider adding decorative windows to the garage door and change the look of your home. If your existing garage door doesn’t have windows then you may not even be thinking about garage door windows as a design option. The decorative options for garage door windows not only change the look of the home, they “open-up” the garage and provide natural light.

From square windows to arched windows, clear and opaque glass, window inserts, there’s a garage door window option available to complement the shape and size of the other windows on your home. Whatever the style of your home, contemporary, colonial, ranch, traditional, etc. garage door windows can instantly change the curb appeal.

Most garage door manufacturers provide door designer programs on their websites. The programs are great and easy to use. Simply upload a photo of your home and experiment with panel designs, color options, window styles and hardware designs.

A couple things to keep in mind when thinking about adding windows to your garage door:
• Is your drive way the place to be for playing catch? You may now want windows in your garage door.
• Windows provide nosy folks with a way to see what’s in your garage. The upper panel is the best section for windows.

Still not sure what you want to do, or if your garage door budget supports decorative windows, call a garage door specialist and they’ll help you design the perfect door for your home, and for your budget.

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Replace or Repair Garage Door?
Hmm, good question, and depends on the situation. Garage doors can look pretty bad but function safely and well, and they can look really good but function unsafely and poorly. A simple repair, versus a garage door replacement, may be all that is needed to get a not so good looking garage door operating well & safely.

At times, a garage makeover may be in order, regardless of the condition of the garage door or the garage door parts, to transform the look of a home.

Take this Ballwin, Missouri customer as example. The customer called us requesting a quote for a garage door replacement. She explained she didn’t want to get her garage door repaired, it had been damaged and repaired four years earlier, but that it’s no longer going up and down, and she wants a new garage door. A garage door salesman was dispatched to her home the same day. He reviewed several options with her and provided her an estimate for three different insulated garage doors, each with different construction and insulation R-values. She chose the Wayne Dalton Model 8200 insulated garage door, colonial style, insulation R-value of 7.4 and the optional trim kit for the perimeter of the garage door. Check out the before and after photos.

In this example, the customer’s garage door could have been repaired but it’s appearance wouldn’t look like that of a new garage door. We’re happy to report that the customer loves her new garage door – it goes up and down, and looks nice too!
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Think you can repair your garage door? If you attempt a garage door repair on your own, be extremely careful! Several parts of the garage door system are under continuous spring tension. We were recently at a home in St. Peters after the customer attempted to repair his garage door. Unfortunately the customer wound up at the hospital with a nasty gouge on the outside of his arm and had to have surgery.

Whoever installed the customer’s garage door did not do it properly. The center bearing plate, which attaches to the springs, was nailed, not screwed, into a board. Typically the center bearing plate is screwed into something structural in the wall, like a 2 x 4, or into a solid header. Per the installation manual of the door manufacturer we represent, stainless steel lag screws must be used when installing center bearing brackets, end brackets, jamb brackets, drawbar operator mounting/support brackets and disconnect brackets on treated lumber.

The board that the center bearing plate was attached to was pulling away from the wall. The customer attempted to nail the board back into the wall but neglected to release the tension of the springs first. As soon as the customer tried to push the board back into position, the tension of the springs caused the center bearing plate to rotate, detach from the board it was nailed to and severely injured his arm.

Check out the photos to see what our technician found when we arrived at the home.

The technician inspected the door and opener and found that the garage door rollers, center bearing and end bearings were worn. The customer opted for a three year warranty package. The customer won’t have to worry about anything pulling away from the wall now! Be careful out there!
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Garage Doors Need to be Balanced?

Summer is peak time for garage door use and a balanced garage door critical for safe operation, just like when you were a kid and used to seesaw. The kids are out of school and that means in and out of the garage and house all day long. June just happens to be National Garage Door Safety Month, declared as such by the International Door Association, probably not ironic knowing how busy everyone is during summer months.

Making sure your garage door is properly balanced should be at the top of your garage door safety check list. The garage door is the largest moving object in your home. It’s used all the time and we assume it’s operating safely. An improperly balanced garage door can lead to personal and property damage.

To see if your garage door is properly balanced, disengage the garage door from the garage door opener. You should be able to easily lift the garage door and if you leave it half way up, it should remain there. It should not go up or down. If you can’t lift the door, than you more than likely have a broken garage door spring. If the door moves once you’ve lifted it, the springs may be the incorrect springs for the door, or the springs may be weak and need to be replaced.

Disengaging and reengaging the garage door opener is a simple process. Because the process varies slightly from model to model, we suggest checking the owner’s manual for your garage door opener, or checking the manufacturer’s website for videos.

Garage doors can be operated either manually or automatically by an automatic garage door opener. The weight of all garage doors is deceptive. Garage doors operate properly when their weight, springs and other hardware are balanced. The entire system of hinges, track, hardware, and door opener work as a team, and are under extreme amounts of tension. Maintenance is a crucial and important aspect of proper operation of all door systems. Prevent a potential accident, or injury, and contact a garage door repair professional if your garage door fails the balance test.

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Check out this old extension garage door spring system that we converted to a torsion garage door spring system. Fortunately this customer had enough headroom in their garage to support a torsion system. Here’s a very brief description of extension and torsion springs. Extension springs are located on both side of the garage door track and function by stretching, or extending, when force is applied to them. Torsion springs are located at the top opening of the garage and function by torque and twist and coil when pressure is applied to them. Whether through stretching or torque, both types of springs operate using extreme tension making them dangerous.

Garage door extension springs were the most common springs for opening a garage door and are often found in older homes. Standard torsion spring systems are the most common in the residential garage door industry today and are a good investment for several reasons:
Torsion springs are stronger and last longer than extension springs.

Torsion springs provide controlled motion which minimizes the chance of the garage door becoming out of balance, thus minimizing wear and tear of other garage door parts and garage door opener parts.

Torsion springs are safer than extension springs. When an extension spring breaks, it’s more dangerous than when a torsion spring breaks, especially if safety cables are not installed. Torsion springs remain on the torsion shaft when they break, they do not “take flight” like an extension spring might.

It’s impossible to predict when a garage door spring will break. Just like other parts, springs have life cycles and will succumb to metal fatigue. Our advice is use your door until a spring breaks, then replace. In cases where doors have two or more springs, it’s best to replace all springs on the door. Any unbroken spring of the same age as the broken spring will fail.
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The customer called us because they wanted a keypad installed on the outside of their garage.  Easy, right?  Yes, typically.  We install and program keypads for Craftsman garage door openers all the time.  This is a unique Craftsman garage door opener installation.  As you can see, the back side of the garage door opener is covered by a drywall enclosure.  The controls on the unit that need to be accessed to program keypads and remotes, and to make other adjustments to the opener, are on the back side of the unit.  Oops.  Any programming or adjustments aren’t able to be made unless the garage door opener is moved out of the enclosure by shortening the rail that it’s mounted onto.  We explained this to the customer and they opted not to do the work at this time. 

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Happy St. Patrick's Day from Precision Garage Door of St. Louis! Leroy, the crazy boxer of Blake, one of our technicians, tried to come to work today! Blake says that Leroy would be up front with him in the truck if he could,
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