Unhealthy Garage Door Weight Gain!
Garage doors are like people. Most of us have put on a few extra pounds since our high school prom. And you might be surprised to learn that as the years and decades roll by, your garage door may suffer from the same unhealthy fate!
That’s important to know, because every extra pound puts additional stress on the lifting hardware and the motor. (Just like people!) If your garage door gains weight, you may need to upsize the torsion springs or upgrade the electric operator. This is a question for a competent garage door technician to answer.
Here are a few examples of where all the extra weight might come from:
Painting may be a quick way to freshen up the look of your garage door, and a great looking garage door makes for a good looking house. But most homeowners don’t consider how much paint can actually weigh-especially if your garage door panels have built up multiple layers of paint over the years.
For a comparison, do you recall the Space Shuttle launches? And do you remember that humungous and gigantic, ugly rusty-red rocket booster sitting alongside the belly of the beautiful white Space Shuttle? Did you ever wonder why NASA didn’t just paint that big rusty cylinder, to make it look pretty? The answer is the weight of the paint-which equals more rocket fuel!
Bottom Section Droop
Garage doors that are not properly braced tend to sag and buckle over time. On wooden garage doors, it’s the vertical ‘stiles’ and the horizontal ‘rails’ of the bottom section that loosen up, and consequently the whole structure droops. To ‘fix’ the problem, well-meaning homeowners bolt on wooden planks, and screw down plywood strips across the bottom section of the garage door. It’s an engineering marvel—but often quite heavy.
Top Section Split
Steel and alloy garage doors that are not properly braced will often crack and spilt at the top section. Well equipped homeowners can be downright ingenious in their maintenance solutions. Like tireless beavers, they weld on steel plates, shore it up with angle iron, and buttress the offending crevice with riveted struts. I truly admire the ingenuity—but the weight!
Not all garage doors come insulated from the factory. When a garage is upgraded with a furnace or heater, homeowners naturally want to increase the R-Value of their garage door. They will fasten on thermal blankets with miles and miles of duct tape, or they’ll attach styrofoam sheets with gallons and gallons of glue. They may even spray foam insulation over the entire inner-side of the garage door. The R-Value of the garage door rises sharply. Mission accomplished. But the poor overtaxed springs and motor wheeze and puff to lift the heavy door!
The Garage Fitness Plan
All of these homeowner solutions are brilliant, and oftentimes the immediate problem is solved. My hat is off. But the reality of the additional weight must also be considered—with all the extra wear and tear and stress on the mechanical and electrical systems, your garage door needs a fitness plan!
In some instances the torsion springs may simply need to be tightened up to compensate for the additional mass. Or the springs may have to be removed and upsized. Likewise, the electric operator may only need adjustment and tweaking. Any competent garage door technician can advise your best course of maintenance or repair action.
But once again, garage doors are like people. If you simply ignore unhealthy weight gain, serious problems will develop—sooner or later. Recognizing the problem is the first and most important step toward a ‘healthier’ and safer garage door!