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Garage Door Parts and Terminology: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you’re looking for a replacement garage door or you want to make a couple of repairs, knowing garage door parts and terminology is extremely important. It can be the difference in getting what you need and want versus being very unhappy with your garage door.

garage door parts and terminology

While there are many things you should know about garage doors, it isn’t difficult to learn about them all. We’ve come up with a guide that’ll teach you everything you need to know about garage door parts and terminology. Let’s get started.

Types of Garage Doors

There are several types of garage doors available and when you need a replacement it may become overwhelming to choose one. They all have different features so we’ll go over each one to help you determine which type is best for your Midwestern home.

Steel Garage Doors

Steel garage doors are a fantastic option for homes in the Midwest because they’re extremely durable and built to handle anything thrown their way. This is because they’re made from heavy gauge steel. From extreme weather to stray baseballs or basketballs, your steel garage door will withstand it all.

Not only are they durable but they’re low maintenance too. They’ll never need to be painted or stained and they won’t warp, rot or expand when exposed to moisture. Decades from now, your steel garage door will look as beautiful as it did on installation day.

Some steel garage doors are also foam insulated. This improves your garage’s energy efficiency, wind resistance and makes them more quiet when opened and closed. If you purchase a steel garage door, make sure it’s foam insulated.

steel garage door

You can customize your steel garage door anyway you’d like. There are many panel styles, window inserts and colors available – including several wood grain finishes. You can have the look of wood with all the benefits of steel.

Wood Garage Doors

Wood garage doors are the standard for beauty. They’re extremely elegant and give your home an inviting look. They’re sure to improve your home’s curb appeal.

However, you know the old adage, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Underneath the beautiful exterior of wooden garage doors are some major problems.

When buying a wood garage door, you have to ask yourself, “Is beauty worth wood’s high price?” Get ready to pay big money to get a wooden garage door because they carry a hefty price tag based on their looks.

wood garage door

You’re not done paying with that high upfront cost either. Since wood garage doors are high-maintenance, you’ll be paying to paint or stain them every few years. Plus, they’re prone to warping and rotting so get ready to pay for repairs.

While wood garage doors may look beautiful, they’re not the best option for Midwest homes. With their high-maintenance and cost, it’s not worth your time and money.

Aluminum Garage Doors

Aluminum garage doors used to be a more popular option but are no longer in favor thanks to steel doors being a more sought after garage door material. That said, aluminum doors are rust-proof and rather inexpensive.

One of the major draw backs to garage doors made of aluminum is their retention of heat. During the summer, your aluminum garage door will hold in heat and will become hot to the touch. This will make your garage door scorching hot which will heat the rest of your garage as well.

If your garage is attached to your home, your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool off your home, costing you more money on your energy bills. If your garage is detached, this is still a problem – your car and anything stored in the garage could be facing extreme temperatures.

Also, aluminum doors dent easily. If you have children who like to play driveway basketball, this can be a problem when their games get intense. Plus, hail and heavy wind, which are common in the Midwest, can dent your aluminum door pretty badly.

Fiberglass Garage Doors

Another inexpensive material for garage doors is fiberglass. They’re lightweight and won’t warp or rot like wood garage doors. With their cheap price tag comes a few unavoidable problems.

Fiberglass garage doors are not good insulators. If you have an attached garage, you’ll be feeling the outside weather throughout your home. Your furnace and air conditioner will face more stress to reach and maintain your desired temperature.

Also, fiberglass doors become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures. With how cold it gets during the winter, you can see where this may be a problem. Do you remember the polar vortex of 2013-2014? A fiberglass garage door wouldn’t make it through that winter unscathed.

Vinyl Garage Doors

Vinyl garage doors are a low maintenance, durable option for Midwest homeowners. They’re able to handle the weather or children intensely playing sports with ease. Plus, they’re easy to keep looking beautiful.

The problem with vinyl garage doors comes from the fact that they don’t have any insulation. The outside temperatures will be able to penetrate your home and raise your energy bills. It’ll be hard to keep your home feeling comfortable with these garage doors.

How Does Your Garage Door Open?

There are several ways a garage door can open or lift. We’ve listed each way below:

  • Swing out – hinged on the right and swing open like barn doors
  • Swing up – also known as tilt up garage doors, they tilt out and upwards to open
  • Roll-up – the garage door rolls up into a coil, usually for commercial applications
  • Slide to the side – the garage door slides to the side of your garage when it opens
  • Sectional – the most common garage door style. The door is broken into sections and moves up a track when it opens.

garage door parts

Garage Door Parts

Now that you know the different types of garage doors and how they can open, it’s time to learn about all of the different garage door parts. The garage door parts you see from the outside are the panels. There are many kinds of panels.

Flush panels have no design on them and give your home a clean, crisp look.

Long panels and short panels have rectangular patterns along the garage door. Long panels have 2 rectangles on a single car garage door and 4 rectangles on a double door while short panels have 4 rectangles on a single car garage door and 8 rectangles on a double.

Raised panels have raised rectangular patterns along the length of your garage door while recessed panels have recessed rectangles. Both can also be long or short panels.

If the rectangular patterns have lines through them, that’s called a bead-board panel. They can also be long or short panels.

Other than flush panels, the only other panel style without rectangular patterns are flush panels. They have horizontal slates that run across your garage door.

Your garage door panel is broken into sections. This allows the garage door to bend so it can open along a track.

garage door partsThe vertical track is found on both sides of your garage door and is housed inside your garage. It’s the path your garage door moves along when it opens. The rollers are attached to your garage door and inserted into the vertical track. When the torsion spring, which is located above your garage door on the interior the garage, twists, the door moves along the track.

Hinges are found between the sections. This allows your garage door to bend so it can open.

The rubber bottom seal on your garage door is called the astragal. This prevents drafts from getting into your home from under your garage door. It’s held to the bottom of your garage door by the retainer.

If your garage door has glass windows, those are called window inserts. They allow more light into your garage.

Terms for Measuring Your Garage Door

There are certain terms you need to know when measuring for a replacement garage door. A single door allows one car to pass through it while a double door is large enough for two cars. Single garage doors are usually 8 feet wide while double doors are 16 feet wide.

When measuring your garage door, you need to keep track of a few sizes within your garage. The side room is the amount of space on both sides of your garage door while the head room is how much space you have above it.

The path your garage door opens and closes on is called the trajectory.

Types of Garage Door Openers

Now that you know the parts of your garage door, it’s time to learn more about your garage door opener. There are several different types of garage door openers to choose from, including:

  • Chain drive – the least expensive of the three openers but is a bit noisy
  • Belt drive – uses a belt instead of a chain to move your garage door. It’s the quietest of the three garage door opener styles but it’s also the most expensive
  • Screw drive – there are less moving parts to a screw drive opener so less can go wrong. It’s the “middle of the road” opener when it comes to price and noise.

Garage Door Openers Have Parts Too

Your garage door opener has several parts you should know about as well. The main part of your opener is the drive unit. It houses the motor which powers the entire system.

The chain pulls your garage door up when it’s opened. It’s attached to the carriage which moves along the track.

garage door opener

All garage door openers have an emergency release rope which allows you to open your garage door manually.

For safety purposes, many garage doors have sensors that run along the length of your garage door on the floor. If the sensor is ever broken while your garage door is closing, it will stop and begin to rise.

Knowing the Different Garage Door Parts Can Help You Make Repairs or Find a Replacement

While there seems like a lot of garage door parts and terminology to know, it’s very important. If there’s ever something wrong with your garage door, you’ll be able to pin-point the exact source of the problem and take the necessary steps to fix it.

When the problems can’t be fixed, you can get a free quote from Feldco for a replacement garage door. We’ll help you find the perfect garage door for your Midwest home.

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