Tom Shafer

Common garage door problems and how to fix them

November 04, 2014

Winter is approaching and you need to stop as many air leaks as possible in your home to keep your heating bills down and your family comfortable. You may know to check your windows and doors to ensure they have good weatherstripping and close tightly, but did you include the garage door in that list? The garage door is a common source of air infiltration, and because of the size it has a large perimeter crack. The perimeter crack on a normal double car garage door is eight times that of a usual window.

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There are a few easy repairs that will lessen air infiltration around your door. You might even be able to handle these yourself:

  1. Problem: Door closes at an angle, leaving a large uneven gap at the bottom. Solution: This may indicate that one of the torsion springs at the top near the track is tired and has lost its holding power or has broken. In either case, you'll need to replace it. It is not a difficult job, and the parts can be purchased at a home improvement store. If the spring does not seem to be the problem or if replacing it doesn't solve the issue, then a pulley might have worn out, too. This will also need to be replaced, but it's a rather difficult job, and you may need to call a garage door repair company to help.
  2. Problem: The door closes, but not all the way. Solution: There are several possible causes here. The first place to check is your opener. A dial on the motor box adjusts the opening and closing distance and it may need to be adjusted back to the correct distance. If that doesn't look to be the issue, then check the large black gasket on the bottom of the door. Is it missing altogether? That is a rather easy fix. Most home improvement or hardware stores sell this door seal. It is nailed to the bottom of the door, or it can be glued with a quality adhesive.
  3. Problem: There is a gap around the door. Solution: The leaf weather-stripping around the sides and top on the outside of the door is likely damaged or missing. These are easily replaced. The piece is really a flexible vinyl flap attached to a strip of wood or PVC about 1/2 inch a by 3 inches. Close the door and then position the piece (cut to the proper length) against the door so the flap has compressed and made a tight seal. Then simply nail the wood to the door jamb.

These three easy repairs can make you door much more energy efficient, save you money in heating costs, and ultimately make your home more comfortable.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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