Forming the largest opening within most homes, one aspect of energy efficiency that is often overlooked is the garage doors. Whilst a traditional up & over door may offer security to keep your valuables safe, it will offer very little in terms of thermal efficiency. With energy prices continually on the rise, many UK manufacturers have realised that there is now a market for insulated garage doors that will combine security with thermal efficiency and as such now offer them in a wide range of sizes, colours and designs to suit virtually every house type imaginable.
Although available in a wide number of materials, the most popular are examined more in detail below.
Compared to other materials used to make a garage door, steel is relatively cheap. The most common form of door constructed from steel is an insulated sectional garage door. Available in thicknesses ranging from 20-42mm, sectional garage doors are very popular because they can be made to look identical to traditional doors but with the added benefit of insulation that will reduce the amount of heat being lost from the home. Also, because they are simple to automate using any standard garage door motor, they can offer convenience to the user looking to use the garage on a regular basis for parking the car inside.
One other less popular form of insulated door made from steel are up and over garage doors, however due to the design and operating gear used are nowhere near as energy efficient as sectional garage doors and for that reason are only available from a limited number of manufacturers within the UK.
Whilst the natural properties of wood will always give a better aesthetic appeal to any property, the cost element is what restricts this type of insulated garage door be mass produced. For that reason, they only really tend to be available from specialist wood shops who will make the doors as and when required to do so by the customer. One up side to this is that you can choose to have the door in a one off design to really add value and comfort to your home.
Aluminium is the number one material used in the construction of insulated roller shutter garage doors as it is lightweight and durable. When combined with foam filled insulation, the 2 skins of aluminium become very rigid creating a very strong physical security barrier that will not only provide much needed insulation properties but will also be a very strong barrier should someone wish to gain access inside your property unlawfully. The drawback to insulated roller shutter garage doors is the fact that it is more expensive than steel and can dent quite easily. The plus points to this type of door however far outweigh the slight drawback and for that reason tend to be very popular with homeowners looking for a garage door they can install on a DIY basis.
The garage door is probably the largest and heaviest moving object within most homes and as such it is essential that adequate maintenance is carried out to prevent it from causing injury or even death should some of the parts fail.
In addition to the obvious cosmetic maintenance such as painting or staining, many other parts of the door will require inspection and maintenance.
Areas to look out for are the springs. These should be well lubricated and move smoothly. Additionally, the springs are also the part of the running gear that takes the weight out of the door as it rises so if an old door is heavy or difficult to lift, the springs will probably need re-tensioning. Please note this should only be carried out by a competent person or injury may occur.
Other areas prone to wear and tear are the cables and rollers. These will wear out over time and will need replacing should any damage be visible. Replacing the parts is easy and will not cost a great deal of money but will prolong the life of the door significantly.
It is also worthwhile checking all accessible nuts, bolts and fixings to ensure they are still tight an in their proper location. Should any loose items be found, simply retighten to the desired torque.
Where electric garage doors are installed, the safety features will require particular attention to ensure the door will stop should an object be detected therefore preventing injury. A simple way to test for this is to place a block of wood under the path of the door. As soon as the door panel touches the wood, the motor should sense the obstruction, stop, then reverse to free the object.
If this does not occur, adjustments can be made until the motor works to the desired level. Where garage roller doors have been installed, they will either have a photo cell safety beam or bottom rail safety edge. To test the photo cells, simply pass an object across the beam as the door is in operation. If the device is working correctly the door will stop. If the door keeps moving, the photo cells will probably need realigning.
To test the safety edge, follow the same manner as the standard boom operated door using the block of wood. With this information now available to you, there really is no excuse to ignore the garage door any longer.
One final consideration that may be more cost effective and require less maintenance in the long run is to install new garage doors. With many retailers now offering a wide range of door types such as up and over garage doors, sectional garage doors and even roller garage doors all available to buy online, you can often pick up a real bargain that will provide years of trouble free operation.