Customer Input

Finding a Reputable Garage Door Repair Company

Friday, July 14th, 2017 at 2:58 pm by Andrew Koetters

DDM Garage Doors is a retail garage door parts company, but sometimes customers contact us for help getting their doors professionally repaired. What is the best way to find a reputable garage door repair company? Here are some suggestions.

 

Check Online Reviews

Online sources can help you determine what fellow consumers are saying about prospective service companies.

Yelp®, Facebook®, Google™ Reviews – Social media is helpful because you will find honest and thorough reviews directly from customers and their personal experience. But beware of false reviews posted by greedy competitors or by the companies themselves, trying to create a false image. Here’s one posted by Tommy a while back to discourage customers from buying from us.

Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) – The BBB is helpful for a verified, accurate, and professional rating of a company. A BBB accredited business and the accompanying rating is based on customer reviews, filed and resolved complaints, time in business, and known business practices. If a company is an accredited business and boasts a B+ or better rating, you can be pretty sure that they will treat their customers fairly and honestly. Do realize, however, that many A+ rated companies are rated high only because there was a problem requiring the customer to contact the BBB. A satisfactory settlement will restore a company to the A+ rating. Better companies will settle problems before the customer has to go to the BBB to resolve the difference.

Ripoff Report® – A lesser known service, but extremely helpful, the Ripoff Report is a good last search to make sure there are not major complaints against a company. This source is where you will find any major negative reviews or rip-offs from a certain company.

 

Look Out for Bad Business Practices

A good test of a reputable company is how they treat their customers, and if they operate their business in an honest, fair, and trustworthy manner. If a company tries something that just doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and you’re probably not the first customer to suspect the company is not reputable.

Not keeping appointments – A reputable company will do everything they can to honor their appointment, and if they cannot make it on time, they will let you know. If you have a scheduled service time of 1-3 PM, and they show up at six, they probably don’t value their customers’ time and schedules like they should.

Drastic Increases to Quoted Service – Honest businesses will always try to give their customers the best price, and the most accurate quote based on the service requested. If the charge varies they notify the customer before performing the work. Beware of those who stiff customers with the classic bait and switch technique.

Up-selling Parts – When it comes to garage door repairs, only the broken or damaged parts need to be replaced. There are some situations where parts have been discontinued and parts need to be upgraded. If the cost varies from the quoted price this should not be done without first notifying the customer. There are other times when the door and opener need standard routine maintenance, but beware when companies insist you change more of the parts than you need.

 

 

 

 

 

Garage Door Noise

Friday, July 7th, 2017 at 3:41 pm by Andrew Koetters

Ultimately, every garage door opener will make noise. It’s impossible to get something as large and as heavy as a garage door to be whisper quiet. In earlier decades it didn’t matter because many garages were detached, but in the last 20-25 years most single family homes have been built with attached garages. As a result bedrooms are often above the garage, and living rooms are beside the garage separated with just a wall. Each week we get a number of requests from customers who would like to reduce the noise coming from their garage doors.

To get rid of noise, first determine whether it is coming from the door or the opener. Disengage the opener from the door and then open and close the door manually. If you don’t hear the noise when doing this, the opener is the source of the noise. Otherwise the noise is probably coming from the door.

Here are a few suggestions for quieting your door.

 

Lubricating the Door

One easy way to eliminate noise from the door is to lubricate all the moving parts. End bearings, center bearings, springs, hinges, and rollers can all make noise. We recommend using a spray lubricant designed for garage doors, 3-IN-ONE® oil, or non-detergent motor oil such as 10W30 or 5W30. Do not use WD-40® as that acts more like a cleaner and it actually removes the existing lubrication.

Also, if you have dry torsion springs do not lubricate the last five coils on each end. If oil gets under the coils the spring can come loose causing it to unwind and the door to fall if it is open. This tutorial should help:

 

Installing Nylon Rollers

Another way to quiet the door is to replace the existing steel rollers with nylon rollers. Most doors ship from the factory with steel rollers. The main source of noise with these is steel wheels rolling on the steel tracks. This noise can be reduced some by adding a small amount of oil on the horizontal tracks, and lubricating the wheels of the rollers, but ultimately steel on steel will make some noise.

The alternative is to install nylon rollers. These can be found on our rollers page. The nylon rollers are more expensive than steel rollers, but reducing the noise may be worth the higher cost. We often get questions regarding durability of nylon verses steel rollers. Our 11-ball nylon rollers last as long as the standard 10-ball steel rollers, but beware of cheap plastic rollers. They appear to be similar to the higher quality nylon rollers, but many do not have ball bearings, and they wear down quickly. Many do have the ball bearing rollers, but they fall apart after only a few years. This tutorial should be helpful if you would like to install new nylon rollers to quiet your door:

 

Reducing Opener Noise

The final potential source of noise is the garage door opener. Whether new or old, there is always a certain amount of hum and vibration from the motor. This noise is especially loud above the garage, as the vibration travels up the mounting angle and through the ceiling to the floor above. The best solution we’ve found is to hang the opener from the angle with bungee cords. You want to use shorter, stronger bungee cords to make sure there isn’t too much stretch. Ideally you should use two bungee cords, one to hang the opener, and then one going around the bottom of the opener body in order to support it and eliminate any side to side movement.

It’s also possible for the opener to create higher pitched squeaks or grinding noises, as in this Sears opener with a worn bushing. Two of the more common noises include stripped gears in Chamberlain / Sears Craftsman / Liftmaster openers.

We also see a lot of stripped trolleys on Genie screw drive openers. Other causes include a lack of grease on the internal gears and bushings, a lack of oil on the chain if you have a chain drive opener, or lack of grease on a screw-drive opener. For any sort of squeaking or grinding noise, make sure you check the opener for proper lubrication, and be sure to use only the grease recommended by the manufacturer.

 

High Lift Kit FAQ

Friday, June 16th, 2017 at 1:27 pm by Andrew Koetters

 

1: How much does a high lift kit cost?

A custom high lift from DDM typically costs $200 – $350 when an operator is not included and $600 – $750 when an operator is included. In addition to the kit cost, expect shipping costs of $50 – $100, sometimes more if the kit is pre-assembled or includes extra hardware. Note: these price ranges are estimates, NOT guarantees.

 

2: How long does it take to receive the high lift kit?

On average, DDM receives 20-25 high lift inquiries every week. When we receive an inquiry, we look it over and judge based on our 35 years of experience whether there are any measurements or specs of concern. We will often contact customers if something looks unusual so as to confirm that we have all of the correct information. If the measurements are reasonable and the customer contacts us soon after receiving the email quote, the turn-around time can be as quick as 1-2 days. Once the kit ships from our warehouse, shipping time within the lower 48 states is usually 1-4 business days. Expect longer transit time for Hawaii/Alaska, or if shipping internationally.

 

3: How high can I mount my high lift assembly?

Our custom high lift program designs each high lift assembly with the shaft mounted four inches away from the ceiling and jamb. This is to allow sufficient space for the standard high lift cable drum which has an outer diameter of almost 6”. This will place your horizontal tracks 7.75” – 8.75” away from the ceiling. On assemblies with more than 54” of high lift, the horizontal tracks will be closer to 10” away from the ceiling because even larger drums are required. In reality, the tracks can usually extend another inch or two without any problem, but we cannot guarantee the door will operate without issue.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/01/11/high-lift-how-high-can-i-go/

 

4: What does it mean to have a “balanced door”?

A “balanced door” is one which stays on the floor when closed, remains at rest when in the middle of its travel, and stays up when opened fully. This will be the case if you have the correct springs that are wound the correct number of turns. If your springs are correct but you still have problems balancing the door, you can usually adjust the springs accordingly, up to ½ turn in either direction. If you still have balance issues, check the cable timing on the drum. On a high lift assembly with the correct cables installed, the cable should begin wrapping on the flat portion of the drum as the top roller of the door begins rolling on the horizontal tracks. If your cable does not perform this way, then the cable is either too short or it was improperly installed.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/03/a-balanced-garage-door/

 

5: Can I reuse the springs from my previous application?

Most customers understand that standard length cables will need to be changed out for longer cables on a high lift assembly, but it’s a common misconception that the springs can be reused. Because the vertical portion of the door travel is now extended, there is not an immediate weight offload into the horizontal tracks. Additional turns are needed on the springs to account for the extra distance and extra stationary weight (see question 6). However, simply applying more turns to your current springs will not work because then the force of the springs will be too great when the door is in the closed position, and it will not close all the way. Instead, you need to purchase springs which are specifically sized for the new setup.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

6: Why do high lift systems require more turns on the springs?

When the door is in the open position on a standard lift setup almost 100% of the door weight is sitting in the horizontal tracks. This allows the springs to be almost fully unwound, with about ½ turn on the springs just to hold tension on the cables. Once a high lift kit is installed and the tracks are modified, the door will still only open to just past the opening. Instead of sitting fully horizontal, a portion of the door will be held in a vertical position. Therefore, a percentage of the door weight still needs to be held by the springs. The new larger springs, requiring additional turns, hold this extra weight. Depending on the amount of high lift installed, it could be as much as 2-4 extra full turns. This is also a reason that the previous springs cannot be reused (see question 5).

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/12/11/how-many-turns-do-you-wind-a-torsion-spring/

 

7: Can I reuse the drums from my previous application?

You cannot reuse your old drums. Due to the longer vertical travel in a high lift assembly, the resting weight of the door will stay constant for the first few feet of travel. But as soon as the springs start unwinding they begin to lose force. The tapered ends of the high lift drums account for this by proportionally decreasing the moment arm as the springs unwind and thus helping the door stay balanced throughout this vertical extension. The flat portion of the high lift drum is then used as the weight of the door is offloaded into the remaining horizontal track (see question 4). Standard lift cable drums are completely flat and therefore the moment arm doesn’t change.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/12/common-high-lift-problems/

 

8: Why is my track extension shorter than the inches of high lift?

A common point of confusion for high lift customers is the fact that the track they are adding to the vertical (track extension) does not seem to reach the ceiling. In reality there are two dimensions, the length of the track extension, and the inches of high lift. The “inches of high lift” (see photo above) is the distance between the top of the closed door and centerline of the horizontal track, as a flat plane. Therefore, even standard lift systems technically have a few “inches of high lift.” The vertical track extension just adds to this dimension, placing the tracks as close as possible to the ceiling. The track extension simply adds to the inches of high lift, it is not equal to it.

 

9: I purchased a high lift kit in the last few years. Why are my cables fraying?

Back in 2015 we came across an issue with the high lift cable drums having rough edges. These rough edges were left by seams in the molds used for casting these drums. While the rough edges do not compromise the drums in any way, over time the installed cables can get worn down and start fraying. We have been working with customers that purchased high lift kits during this time to get the cables replaced and to fix the drums to avoid future issues. The rough edges can be ground down with a hand file or angle grinder and the drums can still be used without issue. We now make sure to grind down the rough edges of the drums before they are shipped out with a kit. Please contact us if you still run into this fraying problem.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2015/11/16/rough-edges-on-high-lift-drums/

 

10: Is a vertical lift a good alternative to a high lift?

The appropriate answer is “Which one do you need?” While high lift doors rise a given distance vertically before entering the horizontal tracks, vertical lift doors rise vertically for their entire travel. These doors do not require horizontal tracks because they rest above the door opening and “parallel” to the jamb. A vertical lift is typically the better option when there is sufficient ceiling height within the garage. Minimum ceiling height for a vertical lift is double the door height, i.e. 14’ ceiling for a 7’ tall door, etc. If the space is available, a vertical lift is a good long term option to allow maximum space for lighting, workshop equipment, or storage.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2011/10/13/vertical-lift-a-good-alternative-to-high-lift-garage-door/

 

11. How do I keep the windows from scraping the stop molding?

Because the door will no longer pitch immediately into the track radius as it opens, the track for a door with windows may require adjustment so as to avoid scraping the glass against the PVC stop molding or header. If you have windows installed on the door, in order to avoid the need for adjustment after installation, select the option in our high lift inquiry form that you have an outside lock or handle that you want to keep. This will provide the added pitch you need.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/02/08/gaps-on-high-lift-doors-with-windows/

 

12: What if I have low headroom tracks currently?

If you have low headroom tracks currently but sufficient headroom for a high lift assembly, the tracks can be modified to fit the high lift assembly using the parts we provide. You will need to separate the two track pieces in order to reuse the lower horizontal track and radius. We will provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the track to the high lift angle. You will probably need to replace the top and bottom fixtures as well.

http://ddmgaragedoors.com/blog/2016/03/15/converting-from-double-low-headroom-tracks-to-high-lift/  

 

 

When are leaf bumpers and push down bumper springs necessary?

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 11:48 am by Andrew Koetters

Leaf bumpers or push down bumper springs are recommended for use on residential standard lift applications when using a jackshaft opener, as well as certain commercial applications.

Normally, if space allows, a standard overhead rail type opener is used for standard lift systems. These openers pull/push on the door directly to raise and lower it. If more overhead space is required, or you desire a nice “clean” look, a jackshaft opener can be used. This type of opener mounts on the header, and raises/lowers the door by driving the torsion spring shaft directly. For residential systems, we recommend the Liftmaster 8500.  This opener is designed and mainly used on high lift assemblies, but with the proper steps, can be used on a standard lift system.

When using this opener with standard lift tracks, the spring bumpers are necessary to ensure safe operation. This is because jackshaft openers rely on the door weight to keep tension on the cable.  These bumpers mount to the back of the horizontal tracks and provide forward/downward force on the door when it is in the horizontal tracks.

 

If the door is in the up position with minimal weight pulling down, there is a slight risk of the opener turning the shaft, the door not moving, and the cable unwinding off the drum. There is then nothing to stop the door from crashing to the floor and causing damage or injury to anything or anyone in its way. To counter this, the bumpers provide constant force pushing the door down from the back, which should keep the cable taught.

The recommend Liftmaster 8500 opener comes standard with a cable tension monitor for safety. A common question we get from customers is whether or not the cable tension monitor on the jackshaft will be sufficient to stop the opener, and hold the door if the cables were to go slack. Generally, this should work, but we do not recommend relying on it 100%. The spring bumpers are relatively cheap insurance to guarantee that the door will work properly and safely.

If you are interested in using a jackshaft operator on your standard lift door, we suggest using these spring bumpers in order to prevent property damage or serious injury.

 

Solid or Hollow Stop Molding?

Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 1:00 pm by Andrew Koetters

In the garage door industry two different types of PVC stop molding are used – solid and hollow. So which one is better?

At DDM Garage Doors we have kept both the solid and the hollow stop molding pieces as stock items for as long as we’ve been in business. Recently we decided to discontinue the hollow stop molding, and for one simple reason – our customers prefer the solid pieces. The shape, size, and material are all about the same for both, but there are some key differences that impact installation and use.

Even though both types are made of a PVC material, the hollow stop molding is more rigid and brittle than the solid. Being less flexible makes the hollow stop molding vulnerable to breaking when bent, whether during storage, or when handled before installation. Furthermore, the hollow stops are extremely susceptible to cracking during installation, especially when there is a stray hit from a hammer. This problem is even more likely to occur when installing the stop molding in cold weather because hollow PVC is more brittle.

The main advantage to the hollow stop molding has always been the fact it costs less, but is this slight savings worth it? Based on what we have seen over the years customers prefer solid molding over the hollow, which is just a small fraction of the total stop molding sales.

At DDM Garage Doors we endeavor to provide our customers with the best possible product, and we believe that the solid PVC stop molding is the superior choice.

 

Solutions for Cable Problems on Doors with Jackshaft Operators

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 11:37 am by Dan Musick

There are two types of operators, trolley and drawbar.

On trolley type operators the drawbar arm pushes and pulls the top of the door to open and close it. On jackshaft operators the operator turns the torsion shaft to open and close the door. On this type of operator the cables normally loosen momentarily until the weight of the door pulls on the cables. Sometimes, however, the cables come off the drums when closing the door from the open position.

The best solution to prevent this problem is to pitch the horizontal tracks at least an inch for every foot of track  length. This allows the weight of the door to push down into the opening, thereby keeping the cables on the drums tight as the door closes.

 horizontal-track-pitch

When pitching the tracks is neither possible nor feasible, a second solution is to install pusher springs in the backs of the tracks to push the door down from the open position. This has been a helpful solution for many of the residential Liftmaster Model 8500 Openers that turn the torsion shaft to operate the door.

push-down bumper-springs

A third option is to install a larger drive sprocket on the end of the torsion shaft. This will reduce the turning speed of the torsion shaft rotation possibly eliminating the possibility of the cables coming loose.

A fourth solution is to install cable keepers. These will pull a few inches of loose cable away from each drum.

A fifth solution from the early years in the trade was to install 12″ of screen door spring, hooking one end to the bottom cable loop. We would stretch the top eight or more inches and secure it to the cable. The spring would pull the slack in the cables to prevent them from coming off the drums.

Converting from Two to Four Torsion Springs

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 at 2:38 pm by Dan Musick

When upgrading to longer life torsion springs, it is often better to convert to four smaller springs, especially when the springs are for heavier garage doors.

On a standard two spring system both springs are normally mounted back to back to the spring anchor bracket off-centered above the door.

2-spring-torsion-system

If the springs each weigh over 20 pounds, we recommend adding a bracket just beyond the end of the winding cone to support the weight. (The formula for locating the bracket before winding the spring is spring wire x number of turns plus four inches.)

shaft-support

Since an extra support bracket is needed beyond the end of each spring, we can just as easily use those brackets as spring anchor brackets for additional springs in a four spring setup. All that’s needed are extra 3/8″ X 1″ bolts and nuts.

A inquiry came in from Jordan regarding a 19′ wide X 7′ high door with a coupler in the middle of the shaft and two spring anchor brackets similar to the one in the image below.

shaft-coupler

Because the door is so heavy, we are recommending converting to four smaller springs to increase cycle life and manage the weight of the springs.

4-spring-torsion-system

 

Overhead Door vs. Arrow Tru-Line Hinges

Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:14 pm by Dan Musick

Overhead Door Corporation has discontinued production of their own brand of hinges.

The Arrow-Truline hinges are an excellent replacement, but the holes don’t always line up with the existing carriage bolts on the older wooden doors.

OHD-ATL-Hinges

You can see the difference in the image below.

OHD vs ATL Hinges

I have almost always been able to reuse the bottom two bolts and the lower bolt in the top of the hinge. The problem is with the top hole. If the top hole is drilled at the top of the slot, the bolt won’t fit. In the past I’ve either knocked the bolt down to fit in the top slot or I’ve removed the top bolt and re-drilled the hole pitching the bit so I could reuse the outside hole but angle the bolt down on the inside so the bolt fits the lower slot.

On steel doors the self-drilling teks should suffice for accommodating the new holes.

The EZ-Set Bearing Keeps Coming Out

Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 4:29 pm by Dan Musick

We received an email this week from a do-it-yourselfer who had installed a Clopay door with an EZ Set torsion spring set up. On his door he has a single spring with a winder at the left end of the torsion assembly. At the right end of the torsion tube there is a bearing housed in a plastic frame that slides into the end bracket, as pictured here.

clopay-ez-set-assembly2

In the past year the bearing on the right side has come out of the plastic bearing holder a few times. When this happens, the shaft grinds on the bearing frame as the door operates. And, because the cable drum and cable is lower on the right side, this side reaches the floor first when closing, and there is a gap under the left end of the door.

The bearing probably came out because the bearing holder was installed backward. On an improperly installed bearing assembly, the race of the bearing faces the inside. Since there is nothing to hold it, it can come out.

ez-set-bearing-incorrect

The correct way to fix this is to reverse the black plastic bearing housing.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

The bearing holder fits into the end bracket with the race of the bearing touching the cable drum.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

When installed this way, the bearing cannot come out of the plastic holder.

On many installations the bearing is turned correctly, but the drum is not installed next to the bearing. If there is a gap between the drum and the bearing, the bearing may slip out. We have also found that a gap can cause the right side of the drum to scrape on the frame, causing the cable to come off the drum when the door opens. The cable drum at each end of the torsion shaft must be touching the race of the bearing.

If the only problem is the bearing being installed backward, and if it looks like too big of a project to correct, you can just install a hose clamp next to the race of the bearing. You can also drill and pin the shaft next to the bearing.

Converting from Double Low Headroom Tracks to High Lift

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 9:10 am by Dan Musick

Over the years we have had customers contact us for help converting from double low headroom tracks to high lift, such as when they remove a loft above the door, or when they move a low headroom door from one location to another. Here are two solutions.

Your horizontal tracks are secured to angle and track clips with rivets, as shown below. Sometimes they are connected with track bolts and nuts.

low-headroom-06-double-tracks-rivets

If you are able to remove the rivets or fasteners, we have a simple solution.

For your horizontal tracks you would reuse the lower horizontal track with the complete radius. We would then provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the horizontal track to the high lift angle.

For the vertical track extensions you would cut the length you need from the top horizontal tracks.

You would also need to replace your top fixtures and probably the bottom fixtures as well.

outside-lift

If you are not able to remove the rivets or track bolts, an alternate solution would be for us to provide new horizontal tracks with the standard horizontal track angle.

standard-horizontal-track-angle