(262) 782-0500 16601 W Cleveland Ave | New Berlin, WI 53151

Garage Doors & So Much More

Thanks once again for great, courteous work. I wouldn’t think of using anyone other than your company. You guys are great.Jerry S, Muskego

FAQS

Check below for some frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your question answered here, please send an e-mail to info@joewilde.com or see our CONTACT US page for other options.

GARAGE DOORS

GARAGE DOOR OPERATORS (OPENERS)

AWNINGS

RAILINGS

MISC


GARAGE DOORS

What materials are garage doors made of?
Garage doors are presently made from wood, steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. Each of these materials has its benefits, though wood and steel doors are by far the most popular homeowner choices.

  • Wood doors are preferred more for their appearance than for their durability. Because wood expands, contracts, and can warp or crack as it weathers, it demands regular maintenance. You’ll have to repaint or refinish it every couple of years to keep it in good shape. When it comes to looks, however, there isn't really any comparison to a wood garage door.
  • Steel doors are much stronger and more secure than wood, aluminum, or fiberglass models. Steel doors have many design options ranging from standard raised panel to unique carriage style designs. Today's steel doors can rival the look of wood doors without the need for regular maintenance.
  • Aluminum doors have enjoyed many of the same design advances as steel; wood-grain embossing and durable finishes are typical. Sturdy versions with extruded frames and dent-resistant laminated panels are rugged and rust-proof. Less expensive aluminum doors have aluminum frames and panels made of other materials such as high-density polyethylene, making this an extremely lightweight option.
  • Fiberglass doors have re-emerged. With a factory pre-stained finish, these doors have the richness of wood with a minimal amount of upkeep. Vertical or horizontal raised panels create an appearance unmatched by any other material. Like aluminum, fiberglass is very lightweight. Other advantages of fiberglass include resistance to salt air corrosion and translucency.

Why would I choose a wood door?
One natural product that has always withstood the test of time is wood. Once properly finished, wood can last as long as or longer than many so-called “maintenance-free” products. It requires a little more effort than some alternatives, but with proper care, exterior wood products can last 50 to 75 years.

One thing is clear: a solid wall of white vinyl is nobody’s idea of a beautiful door. And with the way metal can dent, all it takes is one neighborhood street hockey game to damage a door’s new look. Once again, we find that wood garage doors stand out among the crowd. Wood is naturally repairable, an attribute that vinyl simply does not have. And the patina of age looks stately on a wood garage door; scuffs and scratches actually give it character. Wood has a natural glow that is pleasing to the eye. For this reason, it has been the choice of builders, architects and homeowners for centuries. True craftsmen have a critical eye, and know that a solid wood door best punctuates a well-designed building.

But just like people, beauty should be more than skin deep. A door should be equally beautiful on the reverse side, especially if the garage is to be a secondary living space, and a solid wood garage door looks just as beautiful on the inside as it does the outside.

A wooden garage door is the only door that remains beautiful with age, and has a construction simple enough to last, ensuring a door that will maintain its visual and structural integrity. By purchasing a wood garage door, homeowners are purchasing a product that will give them generations of beauty and enjoyment.

What are the different types of garage door construction?
Steel doors are made in several ways. The simplest, least expensive includes a single sheet or panel of steel that forms the door. These doors also tend to be flimsier than their more solid counterparts. The other types of steel doors are made with a front and back panel for greater rigidity. An option with these doors is the availability of insulation that can be installed between the two door skins.

The steel used to make garage doors comes in several thicknesses referred to as “gauge thickness” and ranges from 20 to 28 gauge. The smaller the number, the thicker the steel which means a 24 gauge door has thicker skins than a door with 28 gauge steel.

When you shop for garage doors you might see reference to the quantity of “layers” with regard to a door’s construction. For example, a 4-layer door might consist of a composite overlay on top of a steel front panel. The back is made up of another steel panel and in between is an insulated core.

Similarly, a door with a steel front, polystyrene insulation and no back panel would have 2-layer construction.

How important is insulation in a garage door?
Insulation is important in a garage door for many reasons.  Insulated doors help control the temperature of the garage allowing less heat to escape in the winter and less heat to get in in the summer.   This reduces the amount of energy required to cool or heat your home which saves money!  Insulated doors also reduce noise from the exterior of your home. In addition to helping control the temperature, insulation adds strength to your door while reducing exterior noise.

The amount of insulation a garage door provides is represented in its R-value, which represents its resistance to heat flow. It is important to select a garage door with an R-value that is consistent with your local climate and lifestyle. Ask yourself these questions when deciding the R-value that best fits your needs:

Garage Door Insulation

  • Is my garage climate controlled? If you heat or cool your garage, insulation is very important. Having a well-insulated garage door will keep your heating or cooling costs down by reducing the heat flow through the door.
  • What climate do I live in? Someone living in an extreme hot or cold climate would likely require a garage door with a high insulation value. Even in milder climates, having an insulated door can still affect the temperature in your garage by a noticeable amount, as well as provide additional benefits.
  • Is my garage attached to my house? If your garage is attached to your house, the insulation value of your garage door affects the insulation of your whole house. The R-value of your walls affects how much heat escapes from your house into your garage, and the R-value of your garage door affects how much heat then escapes into the environment. Insulating your garage well will help keep down the heating and cooling costs of your home. In addition, Insulation helps reduce the noise of your garage door as it opens and closes.
  • Do I spend a great deal of time in my garage? People who like to work on their cars or who have workshops in their garages may want their garage to be more insulated, especially if in a colder climate.
  • Is there a bedroom or other interior room above my garage? Many houses are built with rooms over the garage. Whether this room is a part of the house or is a separate apartment-style room above an unattached garage, the insulation value of the garage can greatly affect the insulation of the room. And, again, a higher insulation R-value can equal lower heating and cooling bills. In addition, insulation helps reduce noise.

Polyurethane or Polystyrene - should you care? You bet you should!
A polystyrene insulated door can be thicker but has a lower R-Value than polyurethane. If you are looking for energy efficiency and a high R-Value, do not be fooled by the thickness of the door!

A polyurethane insulated door might look thinner but actually offers a much higher insulation R-value. Polyurethane insulation is blown between the two steel panels and expands to fill 100% of the door’s interior space as it chemically bonds to the skins of the door. Provides R-values of 9.0 to 17.2. This is better than polystyrene which comes in rigid sheets and is sandwiched between the front and back panels or adhered to the front panel on doors without a back skin, providing R-values of 6.5 to 9.0.

How do I measure for my new garage door?
Joe Wilde Company provides free estimates and measuring before installing your new garage door. To measure yourself, you will need the following materials to measure your garage: 25-foot metal tape measure, note pad or clipboard, and a pens or pencil.

You can refer to the diagram below for help in sketching a diagram of your own garage. Find the following measurements to the closest fraction of an inch. Write the number down next to the corresponding area in the diagram of your garage.

Measure Garage Door

  1. Exact finished opening width
  2. Exact finished opening height
  3. Sideroom - distance from edge of opening to any wall or other obstruction
  4. Headroom - distance from top of finished opening to ceiling or underside of joists
  5. Depth into room - distance from finished opening to back point where hardware or the automatic operator will extend

How do I clean my pre-finished steel garage door?
To clean the surface of your pre-finished steel garage door, simply follow these easy steps annually:

  • Remove dirt, chalk, and mildew by the use of a diluted solution of mild detergent (with less than .5% phosphate) at a concentration of one cup in five gallons of warm water. Be sure to clean behind weather stripping on both sides and top of door.
  • Rinse with clear water after washing and allow to dry completely.
  • For added protection of a pre-painted steel door, apply wax suitable for automotive use.
  • You can wipe the inner surface clean like you would a range or refrigerator.
  • Note: Do not use a pressure washer on your garage door!

How do I clean my wood garage door?
Yearly cleaning and inspecting your wood garage door is easy. If the finish appears to be in good condition, cleaning and touch-up work is often adequate.

  • Remove dirt, chalk, and mildew by washing your wood door with a diluted solution of mild household detergent at a concentration of one cup in five gallons of warm water.
  • Rinse with clear water after washing and allow to dry completely.
  • If the finish is badly eroded and thin, clean the areas where the wood substrate is showing through as described above and prime those areas using an oil/alkyd primer.
  • Follow the cleaning and priming with a complete priming and finish coating.
  • If there is no bare wood showing through, finish coating only may be required.

How do I paint my pre-finished steel garage door if I want to match my home’s color?
To prepare your pre-finished steel garage door for painting, it is important to give it a good cleaning, but do not wax.

  • Remove surface wax to prevent the paint from peeling or flaking. Lightly scuff the surface with a fine steel wool pad saturated with soapy water. A final wipe and rinse should be done with clean water only to remove any loose particles and any soapy film residue.
  • Remove surface scratches which have not exposed the metal substrate by lightly buffing or sanding with 0000 steel wool or No. 400 sand paper to create a smoother surface for painting. Do not over buff or sand the garage door, because paint will not adhere to the door if the surface is too smooth.
  • Do not attempt to remove scratches if your steel door surface has a finish painted texture representing wood grain, stucco, etc. because of the increased danger of exposing the metal substrate. Simply paint them with a high quality metal primer. Follow drying time on primer can label before applying topcoat.
  • To prevent rust from forming, treat any scratches that have exposed the substrate by sanding the exposed area lightly and then painting with a high quality metal primer specifically intended for galvanized surfaces to protect the area from corrosion. Follow drying time on primer can label before applying topcoat.
  • After properly preparing the surface according to the above instructions and allowing it to dry thoroughly, coat the door with a premium quality latex house paint. Follow the paint label directions explicitly.
  • Oil base paint is not recommended.
  • Note that if substrate is exposed, painting with latex paint may cause accelerated rusting of steel. Follow previous instructions on priming the door for painting.
  • Re-painting of a finish painted steel voids any pre-finished surface warranty.

How often should my overhead garage door be serviced?
Your overhead garage door is the largest piece of moving equipment in your home. Most families use their garage door more than their front door. In order to ensure a properly working door and operator, you should have your overhead garage door and operator serviced every year.

The noises your door or operator make are your initial “warnings” that something is not quite right. The longer you put off the necessary service, the more damage may result. Regular service can extend the life of your door and operator.

How long should my garage door springs last?
The most common torsion springs have an expected life of about 10,000 “cycles”. A cycle is one opening and one closing of the garage door. The steel spring experiences tremendous force each time the door opens or closes. Gradually, the steel fatigues with each flex, and eventually cracks and breaks, usually releasing its stored energy in an instant with a loud noise or bang. In garage door repairs, most accidents occur during the replacement of the springs. While many door companies quote a flat fee for spring replacement, we prefer to quote a range and charge our customers for the actual cost of the spring that is on their own door. (Springs can vary in price by more than $30/spring.) Also, if one spring breaks and they were installed at the same time, it is likely that the other will not be far behind since they both have the same wear and tear. For this reason, we suggest changing both springs at once (we always replace both if they are extension type) to save you the expense of a second service trip. Ask us about upgraded cycle and LIFETIME springs!

How do I release the door from the operator so that I can open the garage door by hand?
With the garage door fully closed, simply pull the red release cord down toward the floor. Always take special caution whenever you release the garage door opener if the door is not in the fully closed position, since the door may want to slam closed when released. If at all possible do not release the garage door when open, except for emergency or security purposes and close the door with caution. Some older openers may not have a red release cord and may need to be released by pulling down a handle, a spring loaded clip, or even possibly unbolting the arm from the door and opener. If you do have an older door that is difficult to disconnect you may want to replace the opener with a new garage door opener that has an easy pull red release cord.

How do I tell if the garage door spring is balanced properly?
Disconnect the operator by pulling the red release cord with door fully closed. Open the door halfway by hand and let go of the door. The door should pretty much stay in the same position, although some slight drifting may occur. If the door wants to drop or if it opens on it’s own, the garage door springs should be adjusted by trained and experienced garage door service technicians.

We heard a loud bang in the garage and can not open the garage door. What happened?
It is very highly likely that you have a broken spring that should be replaced by an experienced and qualified garage door service technician. If your springs (torsion springs) are on a shaft across the top of the door, you will see an approx 2″ separation in the spring. If your springs (extension springs) stretch along the track on the sides you will find that they are very obviously in two separate pieces. It is recommended that you replace both springs if only one is broken since they both have the same wear and tear.

While we were closing the garage door something caused the door to stop halfway and now the door is hanging crooked in the opening. What is wrong with the door?
Most likely one of the garage door cables has come off of the cable drum (side that is hanging the lowest) from closing on something. The cables may still be under spring tension and should not be touched without the proper knowledge and tools to make the repair. In addition, trying to force the garage door closed or open may cause further damage to the garage door tracks and may also cause the door to fall to the floor. In most cases you are better off to leave the door in whatever position it is in until it can be properly repaired.

How do I identify the parts of my garage door?
Please click here for a diagram of a garage door.

What maintenance can I do on my garage door and opener?
Review your owner’s manual for the garage door and opener for specific maintenance instructions.

Because a garage door is a very large, heavy, moving part, it’s prone to fall out of adjustment with daily use. When this happens, the door becomes harder and harder to lift and lower. The best way to lengthen a garage door’s life span is to perform the following maintenance on at least an annual basis.

  1. Visual Inspection. Stand inside the garage with the garage door closed. Look over the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware, such as hinges, for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any loose screws, bolts, or nuts, tighten them so parts won’t fall out of adjustment. Look for cable wear or fraying. Is the mounting hardware becoming loose? If something doesn’t look quite right - or doesn’t sound quite right - it could be the symptom of a more serious issue. Have the garage door system inspected by a trained service technician. NOTE: Garage door springs, cables, brackets, and other hardware attached to the springs are under very high tension and, if handled improperly, can cause serious injury. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself. Only a trained service technician should adjust them.
  2. Door Balance Test. If your door is equipped with an automatic opener system: close the door and disconnect the automatic opener. You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three or four feet above the floor. If it is difficult to open or does not remain open, the door may be out of balance and should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  3. Reversing Mechanism Test. With the door fully open, lay a piece of wood such as a section of a 2 x 4 on the floor in the center of the garage door opening where the door would touch the floor. Push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. When the door strikes the wood, the door should automatically reverse. If the door does not automatically reverse, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician. Note: Garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, are required by federal law to be equipped with a reversing mechanism and a photo eye or edge sensor as added measures of safety to prevent entrapment. If your system does not have these features, replacement of your automatic operating system is recommended.
  4. Photo Eye Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. Wave a long object, such as a broomstick, in front of one of the door’s photo eyes so it “breaks the beam.“ The door should reverse.
    If it does not reverse and reopen, pull the broomstick out of the path of the closing door. Close the door. With the door in the closed position, clean the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. Gently adjust the photo eyes by hand if they appear to be out of alignment. Open the door and repeat the photo eye test. If the door does not reverse and reopen, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  5. Force Setting Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, hold up the bottom of the door with your hands outstretched and stiff. If the door does not easily reverse and continues to close, pull your hands away immediately. The closing force is excessive and the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  6. Lubrication. Apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the door’s hinges, rollers and tracks. Visit a door professional for the proper lubricant.

What is the history of garage doors?
Prior to the existence of the automobile, the primary method of transportation was by horse and carriage. When not in use, people stored horse carriages in what were known as a carriage house, barn-like outbuildings with swing doors for access.

During the early years of the 20th century, cars were working their way into society. Ford Motor Co. was one of the pioneers of the automotive revolution, shipping its first vehicle to a Detroit physician on July 20, 1903. A century later, cars have become a pillar of the industrialized world with an estimated 42 million vehicles produced per year.

When the automobile replaced the horse and carriage as the preferred method of transportation, storage of the automobile became an issue. Until about 1910, most people parked their cars in public parking garages where you could get a space for a monthly fee. Soon, however, there wasn’t enough room in these garages and car owners began to incorporate garages onto their properties or near their homes.

Early garage doors were similar to carriage house doors using strap hinges and opening outwards. These doors were heavy and awkward to open. Hinges often broke or screws pulled out of the wood. If there was snow on the ground, the doors couldn’t easily be opened. A better door was truly needed.

A New Design
With the invention of garage door tracks more versatile door designs followed. Initially, sliding doors replaced carriage house doors. Sliding doors weren’t hindered by obstacles in front of the door, however, more side room was required. There were a variety of track designs, but most incorporated rollers that allowed the door to slide easily to the side.

In 1921, Clarence G. Johnson invented the upward-lifting garage door. This door rolled in tracks similarly to today’s sectional overhead doors. The door itself was made of sections, and the tracks were heavy gauge with a radius for the door to follow. This new concept allowed for wider doors and more versatility in building design. Of course there were new challenges related to the weight of the door since the door needed to be suspended in order to lift it. Springing was generally provided by extension springs and a pulley system. Black iron angle was used to hang the tracks.

One-piece upward-lifting doors were also common early in the 1900s. These doors came in two varieties. Jamb mounted or “canopy” doors are mounted on scissor-type hardware in between the jambs. When in the up position these doors provide various degrees of overhang outside the door opening. Canopy doors don’t use any form of garage door track. One-piece track-mounted doors are also available and run in a track system behind the jamb. These doors seal better than jamb-mounted one-piece doors. The track system for these doors is similar to a modern day low-headroom sectional door track system.

Most modern day overhead doors are similar in concept to Clarence Johnson’s original upward-lifting sectional door designed in 1921. Vertical tracks are mounted to the jambs. Horizontal tracks have a radius and are mounted to the header and the ceiling at the back hang location. Today there’s a wide range of variety in configuration of such doors. Radius of the bend commonly ranges from 10 inches to 32 inches, and material thickness ranges from .028 inches to .098 inches. Tracks are offered in 2-inch and 3-inch profile sizes and have a variety of reinforcement options to increase the stiffness of the horizontal track.

With the continuing evolution in garages, automobiles, and automobile use, we can be sure to experience more innovation in the future.

GARAGE DOOR OPENERS

How do I select the right garage door opener?
Before selecting an opener, you will need to determine:

  • The size (height, width, thickness) and construction (steel, insulated, wood) of your garage door. This will help to determine the size of the motor and type of drive needed to lift the door.
  • The clearances above and on the sides of the door opening, which will help determine where to mount the opener.
  • The living spaces that are near or above the garage, which may affect how quiet an opener you’ll want.
  • The safety devices, features and accessories that you want so that your new garage door system fits your needs and preferences.

What safety features are important in a garage door opener?

Your garage door is the largest, and probably, the heaviest moving object in your home. So the safety features of the device that lifts and closes the door are all-important.

For the opener to work, certain safety devices must be installed. This is true regardless of the type, size or brand of opener you choose. These safety devices are built into the garage door system to prevent the door from closing when an obstruction is in the door’s path. Most openers auto-reverse the door when an infrared beam detects any obstruction in the door’s path. The U.S. government mandated the use of non-contact safety protections on all residential, motor-operated garage doors in 1993. Other safety features are:

  • Rolling-code technology selects a new, non-repeating access code from among billions of possibilities every time the remote control is operated.
  • A keypad or touchpad outside the garage allows entry via a programmable code. If this feature doesn't come standard with the unit you choose, it can be added as an option.
  • Many units have a simple doorbell-style button for opening and closing the door. Others have a more complex control panel with keypad programming and vacation lock to prevent the door from being opened while you’re away.
  • Most openers include a light, which should stay on for a few minutes after the unit is activated to allow time to get into the house.
  • Battery Backup feature that continues to operate the garage door opener even when the power is out, helping residents, homeowners and property managers through unforeseen, inconvenient outages. These units often supply power for up to two days, so even after 24 hours of standby time (i.e., full-day power outage), garage door opener will still perform 20 full “up and down” cycles.

What’s the difference between chain drive, screw drive, and belt drive?

All make for an effective garage door opener, but each has its advantages.

Chain-drive openers are the oldest style, and they continue to be very popular and a good value. They can be noisy, though, and may not be a good choice if the garage is under a bedroom or adjacent to a room where quiet is appreciated. On the other hand, some people appreciate being warned (through the garage door opening) that someone is about to walk into the house.

Screw drives feature a solid-steel direct drive for increased strength. Direct drives have unmatched reliability, too. They have no belts, chains or gears to wear out. And their simplistic design — the motor shaft connects to the drive screw with a coupler — allows power to be transmitted in a straight line to maximize motor efficiency with minimal loss of torque or power.

Belt-drive openers are identical to chain-drive openers except that they operate with a rubber belt. They don’t use chains, so there is no noise from metal-on-metal contact so they are ultra-quiet.

What size motor should I choose?
It depends on the size and construction of your garage door. Most residential garage door openers are available with 1/3 HP, 1/2 HP or 3/4 HP motors. A 1/3 HP motor is usually adequate for most applications. However, heavy, double-wide, or special-application doors may need the additional torque offered by a 1/2 HP or 3/4 HP garage door opener.

Most DC residential garage door openers are available with 600N, 800N or stronger motors. DC motors usually offer soft-start and soft-stop capabilities and a quieter motor than AC. The key factor is matching the opener lifting capability with your door.

What does rolling code technology mean and how does it work?
Prior to 1993, garage door openers used dip switches on the receiver and transmitter. While these switches provided garage door systems with 256 different codes they were not designed with high security in mind; the main intent was to avoid interference with similar systems nearby.

Today’s garage door openers use rolling code technology, whereby a new code (from billions of possibilities) is generated each time the transmitter is used. This approach prevents perpetrators from recording a code and replaying it to open a garage door. This virtually eliminates the possibility of hacking, and helps to prevent unauthorized entry to your home through the garage.

How long does a door opener last?
The average life span of a door opener can vary from 10 to 20 years depending on the model and usage. If the door and door opener are maintained properly, some openers will last more than 25 years. New features, safety devices, etc will continually be made available, so when an existing operator breaks down, the repair cost and age must be taken into account to determine value of repair versus replacement.

How often should my operator be serviced?
Your overhead garage door is the largest piece of moving equipment in your home. Most families use their garage door more than their front door. In order to ensure a properly working door and operator, you should have your overhead garage door and operator serviced every year.

The noises your door or operator make are your initial “warnings” that something is not quite right. The longer you put off the necessary service, the more damage may result. Regular service can extend the life of your door and operator.

How do safety beams work?
Safety beams are actually an invisible, continual, infrared electronic beam that stretches across the door at its installation point. This beam scans the garage door opening at all times and if interrupted by a person, animal or object, it automatically stops the door from traveling. To work properly, beams should be located at least 5 inches but not more than 6 inches from the floor.

Can I turn off or remove the safety beams?
No. All garage door openers manufactured since 1993 require some form of safety device to protect people, pets and objects from injury or damage if they are in the door’s path. The opener will not be in compliance if the beam is tampered with, removed, or otherwise disengaged.

How do I open the garage door when there is a power outage?
It depends on the model so always refer to the owner’s manual for further instructions. You can open the door from the inside using the red emergency release cord, which hangs from the mounted overhead opener. With the garage door fully closed, simply pulling the emergency cord straight down should release the door from the carriage, allowing you to operate the door manually. If at all possible, do not release the garage door when open, except for emergency or security purposes and close the door with caution. Opening the door from the outside requires installation of an emergency release lock.

How can I program my transmitter or keyless entry?<
Click here for programming instructions for your Genie transmitter or keyless entry system.

How does a garage door transmitter (remote) work?
A transmitter is a simple remote device that transmits a radio signal to your garage door opener receiver (the unit mounted in your garage), telling it to operate your garage door. The technology of the transmitter has advanced over the years to provide additional security, which has led to the development and popularity of other remote entry devices such as key fobs that operate the locks on your car doors.

Why does the garage door reverse and open when I try to close it?
The likely culprit is an obstruction in the path of the door. Check for and clear any obstruction in the path of the door. If the problem persists, check to see if the red safety beam LED indicator is blinking. If it is, check to be sure that the lenses are mounted 6″ from the floor on either side of the garage door opening. If the safety beam lenses appear to be installed properly, refer to the troubleshooting section of the owner’s manual for additional causes and solutions.

Why is the opener running but the door isn’t moving?
The door may be disengaged. Check to be sure that the red emergency release cord hasn’t been pulled. If this is the culprit, re-engage the carriage. How to re-engage the carriage depends on the model. See your owner’s manual for more details.

Why won’t my garage door open when I press the button?
Does the opener have electric power? Plug a lamp into the outlet the opener is plugged into. If it doesn't light, check the fuse box or the circuit breaker. Keep in mind that a wall switch may control some outlets. If there is power to the operator then there is some type of mechanical or electrical problem within the garage door opener itself and may need to be diagnosed by a qualified service technician. Have you disabled all locks on the garage door? Is there a build-up of ice or snow under the door? The door may be frozen to the ground.

Pull the emergency release cable and try to manually lift the door. If the garage door does not lift, the door springs may be broken. Call us to replace or adjust the springs. NOTE: Repeated operation may have tripped the overload protector in the motor. Wait 15 minutes and try again.

Why do I have to hold the wall button in to get the opener to close?
It sounds like the photo-cell safety beams are blocked, misaligned, or malfunctioning. Move any objects that may be interfering with the signal and verify that the photo-cell LED lights are illuminated as per the manufacturer's instructions. If the infrared beams are not blocked and the photo-cells appear that they are aligned, you will want to have an experience service technician diagnose and repair the problem. You will not be able to close the door with the remote control transmitter until the photo-cells are in proper working order.

Why won’t the remote work?
First of all make sure that the opener works from the wall button. If it does check to see if it's just one remote control or all of the remote controls. If it's just one remote control check the code on that remote. Next check if the indicator light on your remote control is solid or bright. If not, replace the battery.. If none of the remote controls are working , make sure that all of the remote controls are coded into the receiver. If you have made all of the preceding checks it can usually be presumed that the receiver is bad and an experienced service technician should be able to easily diagnose and repair the problem or advise on a new opener.

How do I identify the parts of my garage door opener?
Please click here for a diagram of a garage door opener.

What maintenance can I do on my garage door and opener?
Review your owner’s manual for the garage door and opener for specific maintenance instructions.

Because a garage door is a very large, heavy, moving part, it’s prone to fall out of adjustment with daily use. When this happens, the door becomes harder and harder to lift and lower. The best way to lengthen a garage door’s life span is to perform the following maintenance on at least an annual basis.

  1. Visual Inspection. Stand inside the garage with the garage door closed. Look over the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware, such as hinges, for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any loose screws, bolts, or nuts, tighten them so parts won’t fall out of adjustment. Look for cable wear or fraying. Is the mounting hardware becoming loose? If something doesn’t look quite right - or doesn’t sound quite right - it could be the symptom of a more serious issue. Have the garage door system inspected by a trained service technician. NOTE: Garage door springs, cables, brackets, and other hardware attached to the springs are under very high tension and, if handled improperly, can cause serious injury. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself. Only a trained service technician should adjust them.
  2. Door Balance Test. If your door is equipped with an automatic opener system: close the door and disconnect the automatic opener. You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three or four feet above the floor. If it is difficult to open or does not remain open, the door may be out of balance and should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  3. Reversing Mechanism Test. With the door fully open, lay a piece of wood such as a section of a 2 x 4 on the floor in the center of the garage door opening where the door would touch the floor. Push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. When the door strikes the wood, the door should automatically reverse. If the door does not automatically reverse, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician. Note: Garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, are required by federal law to be equipped with a reversing mechanism and a photo eye or edge sensor as added measures of safety to prevent entrapment. If your system does not have these features, replacement of your automatic operating system is recommended.
  4. Photo Eye Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. Wave a long object, such as a broomstick, in front of one of the door’s photo eyes so it "breaks the beam." The door should reverse.
    If it does not reverse and reopen, pull the broomstick out of the path of the closing door. Close the door. With the door in the closed position, clean the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. Gently adjust the photo eyes by hand if they appear to be out of alignment. Open the door and repeat the photo eye test. If the door does not reverse and reopen, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  5. Force Setting Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, hold up the bottom of the door with your hands outstretched and stiff. If the door does not easily reverse and continues to close, pull your hands away immediately. The closing force is excessive and the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.
  6. Lubrication. Apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the door’s hinges, rollers and tracks. Visit a door professional for the proper lubricant.

What is the history of garage door openers?
Garage door openers first made their appearance in homes in the 1950's. They were very simple devices. The transmitters sent out a single signal, and they all operated on the same frequency. This simplicity caused major security problems as garage door openers gained popularity. Almost any garage door opener transmitter would operate any garage door opener. Manufacturers had to find a way to provide their customers with home security.

Manufacturers added security to garage door openers by the 1970s by varying the frequency and signal. The radio frequency varied between models and manufacturers. The addition of DIP switches helped vary the radio signal. A DIP switch is a series of tiny switches attached to a circuit board. Each tiny switch can be positioned up or down to create many unique combinations. On a typical eight-switch DIP switch, 256 combinations are possible. A DIP switch was added to both the garage door opener transmitter and receiver. The switches are usually located in the battery compartment of the transmitter and on the back of the receiver, and can be changed manually. The DIP switches in the receiver and the transmitter must be set the same for the transmitter signal to be accepted by the receiver. This prevents neighbors from accidentally opening the wrong garage door, but only provides a minimal level of security. Thieves can use radio scanners to read the radio code the transmitter sends to the receiver. Since the signal sent by the transmitter is always the same, they can simply retransmit the code to open your garage door.

Modern garage door openers use computer technology called rolling code generation to provide additional security. Both the transmitter and the receiver contain a small computer chip with identical code generators. After you press the transmitter button and operate the garage door, both the transmitter and the receiver generate a new identical code and save it in memory for the next operation. If the receiver detects a radio signal that matches the saved code, it operates the garage door. The number of possible codes is almost infinite (about one trillion for a forty-bit system).

AWNINGS

What are the benefits of awnings?

  • Protect windows and doors from rain and snow
  • Prevent fading of drapes, carpets, and furniture from direct rays of sun
  • Eliminates direct sun glare
  • Reduces cooling costs
  • Adds beauty and character to any home

How are awnings energy efficient?
Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. The reason? Because awnings result in cooling energy savings by “reducing solar gain through windows.” You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house.

Will awnings reduce my air-conditioning costs?
Yes. Awnings conserve energy by shading windows and reducing indoor temperatures. Studies by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) have shown that awnings on windows and patio doors can reduce inside temperatures by as much as 8-15 degrees, depending on the exposure of the window, the color of the fabric and the style and method of attaching the awning.

Will awnings protect my furniture from fading?

Awnings, just as other interior window products, protect furniture, floors and carpets from fading caused by harsh sun rays. However, unlike interior products, awnings give the added benefit of energy savings by reducing the solar radiation through glass windows and doors.

What are the factors I should consider when purchasing an awning?
A few questions to keep in mind include: What area or outdoor space are you looking to shade? How large of an awning will you require, including width and projection? How will the awning be attached to your home - roof, soffit or wall mount? What color or pattern are you interested in? Are you looking for a stationary or retractable awning? What type of warranty comes with the awning model you select? What is the timeline from the time you place the order to the time of the install?

If there are no poles on retractable awnings, what supports the awning?
Retractable awnings have been designed to be self-supporting. This style of awning relies on secure mounting in conjunction with spring-loaded arms. The arm tension is created with internal springs, and large radius elbows keep the fabric tight by applying outward force.

When would I need a protective hood for my retractable awning?
Protective hoods, available at an additional cost, have been designed to provide adequate unit protection when structural protection is not available. Hoods are recommended when the retractable awning is being roof or wall-mounted and when not located directly under a soffit or overhang.

Why would I want my retractable awning motorized?
Nothing could be more convenient than simply flipping a switch and watching your awning roll out on its own. Once fully extended or retracted, the unit will stop automatically. You may also stop the retractable in any position by flipping a wall-mounted switch or pushing a button on a remote. Research has shown that a motorized awning is used four times as much as a manual unit.

If my retractable awning is motorized, how can I adjust it if my power goes out?
All motorized awnings we sell have a manual override crank that will allow you to retract your awning by hand in case of power failure or malfunction.

How is the fabric treated on a Sunesta fabric awning?
All fabrics featured in the exclusive Sunesta collection are 100% solution-dyed, acrylic fabric. The colors in the fabric are dyed into the fibers so that they can't fade or run. In addition to their inherent long-lasting durability, all Sunesta fabrics are covered by a 10 year warranty.

How many fabric options are available in the Sunesta fabric line?
In the current fabric selection, Sunesta offers 193 exclusive fabric patterns for homeowners to choose from, encompassing both solid and striped patterns. In addition, there are 22 binding choices and numerous choices for the SmartDrop valance fabrics. All of these patterns are stocked at their facility plus they can acquire hundreds of other acrylic fabric brands on a special order basis.

How do I care for and clean my Sunesta retractable awning?
Sunesta awnings are not only easy to operate, they're also easy to maintain. To start with, the location of your awning determines the frequency we recommend cleaning it. If your home is located inland, you should clean your awning twice a year. If you are on or near the ocean, you should clean your awning once a month due to the salt exposure.

To clean your awning, spray off loose debris and dirt with a water hose. For bird droppings and other attached residue, use warm water and a soft bristled scrub brush on the spot requiring attention before rinsing with your hose. After you have removed any loose dirt and/or residue, allow your awning to dry completely before coating with a rain repellent such as Scotch Guard.

If your awning fabric has tougher stains such as mildew, you can attempt to remove the stains with a mild soap, such as Ivory Snow or Woolite, with warm water and a soft bristled scrub brush. Avoid using any product with the word “detergent” in it. Again, only use a mild soap. After using the soap, rinse the awning thoroughly with water from your hose. Allow the awning to dry completely before coating the fabric with a rain repellent as mentioned previously.

Proper care for the frame of your awning includes rinsing it with water from your hose, wiping it down with a soft cloth and using a 100 percent silicone lubricant on all moving parts of the lateral awning. Again, the lubricant must be 100 percent silicone. Avoid using lubricants such as WD-40 as they will leave a residue and may stain your awning's fabric. By following these simple recommendations, you will extend the life of your awning and your enjoyment of it.

RAILINGS

What are the key benefits of an aluminum railing system over traditional wood railings?
Aluminum railings will not rot or blister with age. A poorly maintained wood railing will eventually rot, and may cause injury.

A properly baked on finish will ensure your aluminum railing will be truly maintenance free and offer years of enjoyment. Traditional wood railings require annual maintenance which is both time consuming and costly.

What are the key benefits of an aluminum railing system over vinyl railings?
Due to it's structural characteristics, aluminum railings offer smaller, lower profiles which minimize congestion on you porch or balcony. Vinyl railings are traditionally much larger in profile and reinforced with steel in order to compensate for their inferior structural short-comings.

Aluminum railings are available in a number of colors and finishes. Most vinyl designs are available in a limited number of colors.

Aluminum is much more difficult to scratch, gouge, or dent. Vinyl railings have a tendency to scratch much easier and may be more subjective to damage in high wind areas.

MISC

How do I select the right garage door dealer

How do I select the right garage door dealer?
There are a variety of sources you can turn to to purchase or obtain garage door products, the most popular of which is the door dealer professional, such as an International Door Association (IDA) Dealer. IDA Garage door dealers are often the most reliable and dependable source for several reasons. These include experience, knowledge and- most importantly- the fact that IDA Dealers make their living by selling, installing and servicing door systems.

Safety: A Primary Concern
A garage door is often the largest moving object in home or commercial business facility. An improperly installed door and operator system can exert tremendous force when the door closes. This could lead to the entrapment of children or adults and subsequent injury - or worse. Therefore, selecting the right person to install and service your door and/or operator is an extremely serious decision. It is not one that should be taken lightly!

There are thousands of door dealers in business today. What can you do to assure yourself of selecting the right one? We've provided this list for you to use:

  • Experience
  • Emergency Service
  • Workmanship
  • Code and Regulatory Compliance
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Financial Integrity

Experience
Of all the five checkpoints, this is perhaps the easiest to validate. How long has the company been in business? If a new company, do the principals have experience in the door and operator industry? How much?

Emergency Service
You have no control over when something may go wrong with your garage door or opener. The door dealer should be available for 24-hour emergency service to be able to promptly take care of your emergency service needs.

Workmanship
This may be the most important checkpoint. And it is also easy to verify. Does the door dealer have satisfied customers? If so, do they have letters of recommendation from their customers? Depending on the project, you may want to talk to a customer or two.

Code and Regulatory Complianc
There are numerous requirements pertaining to safety and the installation of a garage door system. Federal, state, and local codes and regulations must be followed. Ask the dealer you select about how they comply with the codes in your city.

Insurance Coverage
It is important to you that the door dealer carry proper insurance on their business and employees. One checkpoint is to ask for a copy of the company's Certificate of Insurance. If they don't have one or hesitate to comply with your request, it could be a negative signal.

Financial Integrity
Depending on the size of your project, financial integrity of a door dealer can be very important. Although this is a sensitive issue, a dependable, honest door dealer won't mind telling you about the basic financial integrity of their company.

Selecting the right door dealer is as simple as asking a few questions. The most important deals with the issue of reliability. Is the dealer dependable, trustworthy, and safety-conscious? These questions take only moments to answer, and yet they can help you avoid tremendous problems in the future.

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