Garage door rollers come in several shapes, sizes, and materials. Pictured below is an array of a few of the various shapes and kinds of garage door rollers.
Determining the right type of garage door roller for your garage door tracks can be a little confusing, especially when you do not know what you need to look for in a garage door roller. To simplify things, there are two primary things you need to be aware of. First are the actual dimensions of the roller, and second is purpose that you will be using the door for. You can read below about measuring your roller and choosing the right quality of material for your door.
Roller diameter sizes are fairly standard in the garage door industry. It is usually a one inch, two inch, or three inch diameter roller. You can figure out this measurement with a ruler across the face of the roller. In addition to the diameter of the roller, you need to know the full length of the stem itself as well. You can get that measurement by measuring the full length of the stem up to where the roller is on the stem. The picture to the left shows what you need to measure exactly in order to get the properly sized garage door roller for your garage door. The measurements that you will get are not going to be exact as 1", 2", or 3" rollers. A 3" roller will actually measure out to be about 2 3/4", while a 2" roller will measure out to be a 1 3/4", and a 1" roller will measure out to be 3/4". Additionally, the shaft of every roller has a diameter of 7/16", which is the industry standard. You will likely not need to worry about that measurement unless you have a much older door. Once you know this measurement, you can see what size products below you can purchase from us.
The material can vary on both the garage door roller itself, as well as on the stem. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, and knowing your own priorities, necessities, and expectations on your garage door can help you pick a part that will best serve you.
The materials of a garage door roller can influence how long the roller lasts, how resistant it is against high-moisture environments, how quiet the garage door will be, and how heavy of a door the roller can lift. Your first priority, in any case, would be to determine a garage door roller that can handle the weight of your garage door without breaking quickly. The safest way to replace your garage door roller is to look at the material that your garage door rollers are currently made out of. However, if you are considering upgrading your rollers, you will need to know the weight your garage door. Usually, the weight of the door itself is on a sticker somewhere on the garage door itself.
Clopay model doors have a sticker at the top left end of each section that has information on door weight and size. Try to find stickers on the door and see if they have any weight information on them. Be sure to look everywhere on the door for it. If you don't find it, you can find out your door weight by following our tutorial on How to Weigh a Garage Door on our tutorials page. If you would rather not weigh your garage door, look at the material that your garage door rollers are made of and use the same kind of material.
Next priority would be to determine if your garage door is in a high-moisture environment or not. Rollers made with stainless steel or zinc plating are made that way because they are resilient against rust. Under normal circumstances, they are used in places like car washes and other high-moisture environments. If you do not have a high-moisture environment, there is not an expressed need for a stainless steel or zinc plated roller, but if you've had a rust problem in the past, it's probably wise that you get rollers that are resilient against rust.
At this point, you really are deciding between how quiet you want your garage door to be, how much money you want to spend, and how long the rollers will last you. Nylon rollers are much quieter than steel rollers, but they also do not last as long and are a little more expensive than steel rollers. Additionally, the number of balls in the bearing for the roller can influence strongly how loud your garage door will be. The more ball-bearings inside the garage door roller there are, the quieter and smoother the garage door will run. Additionally, rollers with more ball-bearings in them tend to last a little longer than ones with less ball-bearings, but they are more expensive than rollers with less ball-bearings.
Finally, understanding the cycle life of a garage door roller is essential as well to picking a garage door roller that's right for you. The ratings are fairly simple to understand. The rating for our 3" 10-Ball Steel 7" Stem is as follows:
"50,000 cycles of a 12' high door at 150lbs per roller"
Essentially that means that a single roller can support 150lbs and will last for 50,000 cycles on a track for a 12 ft. high door. A single roller does not support the entire weight of the door, so this should not be alarming. So if we take that into context that means that using this particular roller on a door with ten rollers on it, the rollers could lift a 1500lb door that is 12 ft. high approximately 50,000 times before it breaks. Mind you, such a door is massive, and likely is not what you have. However it gives you a glimpse into the strength of these rollers. Now, after determining the weight of your garage door as explained above, you can compare the weight of your garage door to the weight and rating of the individual rollers. If your rollers are too weak to lift the door, the roller will break much more quickly than under normal circumstances, so be careful to pick something that can support the weight of your garage door.
To summarize, the pros of steel rollers are that they lasts longer than nylon, they handle higher loads, and they tend to be a little bit cheaper than nylon rollers. The con is that they are much louder than nylon rollers. Nylon rollers have the advantage of lightness and quietness, but they tend to break a bit faster than steel rollers. As for the stems, if you need rust resistance, get zinc plated or stainless steel, otherwise just regular steel will suffice. The number of ball-bearings can greatly influence the price, but as you add more ball-bearings, the roller lasts longer and runs quieter. Finally, although all of these materials are important to take into context the number of cycles and the weight ratings that are provided for each roller can determine whether your roller will last ten years or ten weeks.
Below are some helpful tutorial links on how to replace your garage door rollers.
If you have any questions or trouble, feel free to contact us by email or call us at (800) 383-9548.