Dan's Garage Door Blog

How to Install Garage Door Locks

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 at 5:12 pm by Dan Musick

Garage door locks are normally installed in the center of the section just above the bottom section. Here are instructions on how to install the two most common lock assemblies we sell.

The more common lock assembly uses a cable to connect the outside lock keyed T-handle to the spring latches. The cable runs from the spring latch on one side through the center inside release handle and on the other side where a track bolt and nut secure the cable to the spring latch. On single car doors there is often only one latch.

The other system uses two sash chains and small S-hooks to link the inside handles and spring latches.

 

If you have a foam-filled door with steel on both sides the metal on each side will compress when you tighten the screws that secure the outside handle to the inside handle. To prevent this from happening you will use the two red spacers above.

The order of installation is as follows.

I. Install the outside keyed handle and the inside release handle. 

Drilling for the lock will be a two-step process. First, three holes will be drilled with 3/16″ bits. This is key to a properly aligned and functioning lock.

After drilling these holes, larger 5/16″ holes and a 3/8″ hole will need to be drilled on the outside skin of the section only, but not on the inside. Sometime the 3/8″ hole needs to be enlarged slightly.

Most steel doors are either pan doors with stiles joining the edges of the sections, or sandwich doors with steel on both sides bonded to the insulation.

Instructions for Installing Locks on Pan Doors

1. If you have a pan door, locate the center stile and the holes punched for the lock. These may be centered, as you see in this insulated pan door . . .

or slightly below center, as you see in this hollow, or non-insulated door. Notice how the lock lines with the holes.

2. Drill three 3/16″ holes from the inside using the holes in the stiles as a guide. The drill bit must be centered in the holes and perpendicular to the section and stile. Check the outside of the section to make sure the holes are evenly spaced.

3. Drill the three larger holes in the outside skin only of the door. Faster speeds are better because slower speeds tend to rip the thin sheet metal.

3. Insert outside lock T-handle.

4. Install the inside release handle.

5. Install the two long screws that connect the inside and outside handles.

Instructions for Installing Locks on Sandwich Doors

Locate the outside stile where you want to install the lock. This would normally be in the center of the section. On odd-size doors it will be off centered. The outside T-Handle can be installed vertically or horizontally as shown below.

2. Drill three 3/16″ holes from the outside and into the inside skin of the section. The drill bit must be perpendicular to the outside of the section. After drilling, check the inside of the section to make sure the holes are evenly spaced.

3. Drill the three larger holes in the outside skin only of the door. Faster speeds are better because slower speeds tend to rip the thin sheet metal.

4. Cut the red spacers so they are flush with the outside skin of the door section and install them over the two posts that go into the 5/16″ holes. Insert outside lock t-handle.

5. Install the inside release handle.

6. Install the two long screws that connect the inside and outside handles.

II. Install the spring latches in the center at each end of the lock section.

1. Screw the the latches to ends of the sections.

2. Connect the latches and center release handle with the cable or sash chains. Pull them to tighten them. The lock will not work if the chain or cable is loose.

3. Test the outside lock handle.  If the latches don’t pull when the handle is  turned, remove the inside handle and turn the outside T-handle 90 degrees.

III. Install the lock strikers.

1. With the door closed align the striker with the spring latch and secure the striker with two track bolts and flange nuts.

2. Drill additional holes as needed.

3. Test the lock to assure it works.

4. Lubricate the latch and inside release handle.

Here’s how the striker and latch align. Some installers bend the latch to get better traction.

 

 

Garage Door Training

Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 5:40 pm by Dan Musick

“We help people fix their garage doors.”

That was written on the first flier I printed back in 1980.

My plan was to provide training for maintenance personnel to repair their commercial and industrial overhead type doors. This was for the bigger companies in Chicago such as Honeywell and Wrigley, the chewing gum company, but I also did some quite effective training for a smaller company, Volvo / Honda of Lisle, IL.

That part of the company did not grow as quickly as I had hoped, but I did discover that many of the companies needed parts, and even more would prefer to have an outside contractor service and install doors. From there I built a catalog business along with a service and installation company that later became Dortrak which I sold around 1990. Later I started what became DDM Garage Door & Dock Services which was sold and became Matt’s Garage Doors. The overhead door training part of the business has always been part time.

This is one part of our business that I will never sell.  I can train men to fix garage doors, but I can’t train someone to train others. It carries the highest risk and liability. It’s our most challenging service and, because of that, it’s also the most expensive. There are men who are qualified to train, but they’re tied up with the more profitable task of running the larger traditional service and installation companies. It’s hard for me to justify the time away from our bread and butter business, but my greatest incentive is the transition I normally see in the trainees from fear and trepidation to a genuine sense of accomplishment.

Next week I’ll provide training for USPS workers in Stamford, CT. A few years ago I trained for the second time the postal workers at the Wallingford, CT facility. The first time I was there I made the mistake of promising to make a manual for the men at no additional cost, and I held off on invoicing them until the notebook was finished. Duplicating the notebook would have cost many times the price they paid for the training.

I guess we all live and learn.

 

Long Life Extension Springs

Friday, September 8th, 2017 at 4:48 pm by Dan Musick

Garage door extension springs stretch as the door closes and contract as the door opens. Also designated “stretch springs,” these usually mount above the horizontal tracks, but sometimes they extend beside the vertical tracks.

Over the years there have been requests for better springs because customers’ existing springs have not lasted as long as they had hoped. Because of this we have begun offering longer life extension springs which last about three times longer than the standard springs.

We achieve longer life in our design by using bigger wire and larger inside diameters engineered to maintain the same pull. We also use clipped ends to extend the life. Open loops and double loops are heated before bending the ends; this often fatigues the metal causing the spring to break prematurely on one end.

One additional factor in producing longer life extension springs is that we have the springs produced in the U.S.A. and only with American made steel. Because of inconsistent quality control standards in China springs made there will often work for a while, but before long the springs don’t contract as they should, the door gets harder to lift, and often the cables come loose and prevent the door from closing. The metal doesn’t fatigue; it simply looses its tension.

Besides the Chinese manufacturers beware of companies who offer long life or 25,000 cycle springs based on what a supplier may say about their springs. A while back I ordered some of the springs from a supplier and I was surprised to discover they were the same standard cycle springs as offered by other suppliers.

All of the springs come in 10 pound increments and they are in stock for same or next day shipping. For questions please contact us.

 

BarCol Doors

Friday, September 1st, 2017 at 6:34 pm by Dan Musick

Those of us who have been in the business for a while remember the old BarCol doors. This name is short for Barber Coleman.

The biggest difficulty we remember is accommodating the incompatibility of torsion hardware. While all the other door companies used 1″ shafts, the early shafts on BarCol doors doors had a 1 1/16″ outside diameter. This spring anchor bracket above identifies the larger shaft, and trying for many hours to get parts to fit on the shaft was part of our initiation into the door business. We filed, we beat, we yelled – all to no avail. We learned to carry 1″ shafts or a 1 1/16″ drill bit to get the standard winding cone to fit.

The old BarCol system also used unique 1 13/16″ inside diameter springs that were hooked on the ends. The cones would slide into the cones and hook either the bracket or the raised edges on the cones. The cable drums were also bigger. Many service technicians never noticed the difference and they left behind a trail of heavy doors because of the drums’ higher moment arm.

The newer BarCol doors used brackets with 1″ bearings for 1″ shafts. Many of these used the hooked cones, but the new 1 3/4″ standard screw-in stationary cones would secure to these these compatible brackets.

In the early years BarCol also had special rollers that were tied together with hinge straps. As the door closed a plate welded to the curve of the track would catch the top roller and raise the hinge straps.

These straps would, in turn, pull the straps and rollers  along the full height of the door to force the ends of the door against the jambs and header.

This method of pushing the door against the jambs was designed because Overhead Door Corporation owned the patent to the wedge design that incorporates graduated hinges and pitched vertical tracks.

Flexible Brush Seal – New at DDM!

Friday, August 25th, 2017 at 11:08 am by Sales Team

DDM now stocks Flexible Brush Seal! Made with a flexible plastic, it’s designed as an alternative to the original brush seal with a rigid steel support edge. Several features make it an excellent option for your commercial doors and dock levelers.

  • The price is lower than that of the rigid seal so you save on cost.
  • Flexible plastic allows the brush seal to be rolled into a box. This reduces shipping costs.
  • It is available in rolls up to 200’ or 100’ for three inch brush, allowing for custom lengths.
  • Extra rolls can be easily stored by maintenance departments for quick repairs.
  • Plastic support edge is thermally joined to the brush material, virtually eliminating fraying.
  • Unlike the rigid seals with steel edges, the plastic will not corrode or rust over time.

One minor drawback is that product comes curled up in a box; extra care needs to be taken to assure the material is straight when inserted into the retainer. Also, the 1 3/4″ brush is not available in the flexible seal.

Original Brush Seal with Steel Support Edge


Frayed End on Original Brush Seal

Now in stock and ready to ship, our new flexible brush seal is available in four sizes made to fit in our standard side and top retainers.

            1” – STBIF-100S

            1 ½” – STBIF-112S

            2” – STBIF-200S

            3” – STBIF-300S

Storm Shield® Garage Door Threshold Seal

Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 11:20 am by Sales Team

DDM Garage Doors now offers Storm Shield® threshold seals for sectional garage doors. Unlike other garage door weather seals that mount to the jambs, header and bottom of the door, this threshold seal is glued to the floor directly below the bottom of the door to improve the seal under the door.

Advantages of Storm Shield® Threshold

  • Reduces excess moisture in the garage
  • Keeps out small pests
  • Lowers energy costs
  • Resists common garage chemicals
  • Designed for all climates and temperatures
  • American made for enduring quality

Disadvantages of Storm Shield® Threshold

In spite of all its appealing features, there are some disadvantages to consider before purchasing the product.

  • It can’t keep all the water out of a garage, especially if the floor is pitched to the inside of the garage. If water builds up outside the door, it will seep through the ends. And, if the garage floor has not been treated or sealed, water will also flow through the pores of the concrete below the seal even if the threshold seal is properly glued because concrete is porous.
  • The seal will not stick to all garage floors. The floor must be smooth and straight. Holes, patches and cracks will prevent the glue from adhering the seal to the floor.
  • A number of doors will not benefit from these seals. The include steel doors that are bent on the bottoms, uneven floors where there is a gap on one side or under the middle of the door, and wooden panel doors that lift up on one or both ends.
  • The job is not as easy as it looks. We recommend having two people install it. Moving the seal after it has been glued usually causes the seal to regress. Straight, evenly-spaced lines must be made to properly align and seal the product. This can be challenging, but doable.

Types of Threshold Seals

Two styles of Storm Shield® thresholds are available. The original Storm Shield® threshold requires adhesive caulk to adhere to the floor.

 

The newer Storm Shield® 2, or “Peel ‘n Stick,” has an adhesive backing, eliminating the need for the caulk.

Installation Tips

  1. Since the seal comes in a roll, we recommend unrolling the seal a few days before installation to reduce the curl in the material. In cooler weather it is recommended that you warm the material in your home or in the sun to flatten it.
  2. We recommend cleaning the floor ahead of time. If possible, power wash the garage floor a couple days in advance, particularly if the threshold under the door is oily. Make sure the floor is completely dry before installation.
  3. Although applying the threshold to cracked or uneven concrete is not recommended, some customers have been able make it work. However, we cannot guarantee the result.
  4. Some retailers sell this product with a smaller “squeeze tube” of the adhesive caulk. We highly recommend using the larger tube with a caulk gun as this smaller tube may not provide enough adhesive for wider doors. It can also take an hour or longer to squeeze the glue out of the tube.

Extension Springs for Off Applications

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 4:11 pm by Dan Musick

If you are looking for springs to use for a project other than for a garage door, you’ll need to calculate the pull needed when the spring is fully extended. For example, if you want to ease the lift of a 300 pound object, you will need a spring that pulls 300 pounds when it is fully extended. A 25 inch spring that pulls 300 pounds on a 7 foot high door does not pull 300 pounds until it is stretched 42 inches beyond its original length of 25 inches. The total extended length of the spring would then be 67 inches. Here are two variations to consider. If you cut the 300 pound lift spring in half, it would pull 300 pounds when stretched only 21 inches. Or, if you pull the same 25 inch spring just 21 inches, it will pull only 150 pounds. If you determine what you need for your special application, we can usually find a solution.

Just contact us.

Four Spring Residential Torsion Systems

Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 3:49 pm by Dan Musick

Many years ago when we first posted our residential torsion spring database program, we discovered customers were ordering longer life springs that were so heavy that the shaft would bend from the extra weight.

Because of this we began recommending that customers add idler support brackets if either of their springs weighs over 20 pounds.

And, as could be expected, longer life spring orders for heavier doors weighing 30 pounds or more require different solutions. The more common is to install two solid shafts with a cast iron connecting coupler in addition to the idler brackets. With the additional shipping this solution costs an additional $300-400.

A less expensive option is to convert a two spring system to a four spring system using smaller springs. This option costs less than $50.

Because of the lighter shafts on many of the garage doors, we now recommend converting to a four spring system on a 16′ or wider door if each spring weighs over 25 pounds. Rather than order and install idler support brackets we recommend that customers install spring anchor brackets, such as our more popular SAB-450K.

Here is an actual photo of a four spring torsion system that Charlie sent us.

 

Notice that the two center springs are mounted as before.

The two outer springs mount to what would have been idler brackets. To support the spring anchor brackets on each side Charlie added 2 X 6 lumber and painted it.

The difference with these brackets is that they include the extra bolts and nuts for attaching the stationary cones to the brackets. Both springs to the left of the center support bracket above are right wind; the winding cone is marked with red paint.

The two springs to the right shown below are left wind; the winding cones are marked with black paint.

Beyond the outer winding cone on each side is the cable drum. Here is the cable drum at the left end of the torsion shaft.To the right of the drum is the right wind torsion spring.

A second reason for installing four springs is if additional lift is needed as a result of the door not having the correct springs. This can be caused by weight being added to the door. It may also be due to an earlier technician installing the wrong springs, or by the homeowner measuring and ordering the incorrect springs.

One problem with converting to four springs can be limited shaft space. When calculating the space needed for the springs, first measure the distance between the drums. The wound springs, cones and brackets need to fit inside this space.

Next, determine the wound length of each spring. On 1 3/4″ and 2″ springs the cones for each spring require 2.25.” Add to this the width of the coils you add when winding the spring. On standard seven foot high doors figure eight coils and multiply this by the wire size. For example, 41.75″ X .2253 = 1.8.” Hence, 2.25″ for the cones + 41.75″ for the length of the spring + 1.8″ of turns = 45.8.” Add to this the gaps between the coils on the cones which is sometimes as much as 1/2.” Figure an additional 1/8″ for the thickness of the bracket.

This Wound Torsion Spring Lengths Spreadsheet may come in handy.

If there is not enough space on the shaft, you can always increase the inside diameter of your springs. If you have 1 3/4″ ID springs you can easily convert to 2″ because all the bolt holes are the same. If you have 2″ ID springs you can convert to 2 5/8″ ID and use the same brackets if the bolt holes are slotted. This torsion spring inside diameter converter should help.

On Charlie’s door above we tried to match the longer cycle life with the existing 1 3/4″ ID springs attached to the center support bracket, but there wasn’t enough space on the shaft. So we converted the inside diameter of the outer springs to two inches. If you look closely you can see that the coil diameter of the outer spring is bigger than the coil diameter of the inner spring.

 

New Page & Software for EZ-Set Torsion Springs

Friday, August 4th, 2017 at 5:40 pm by Dan Musick

In order to help our customers find the correct springs for their garage doors, we just posted our revised page with new software to make it easier to purchase Clopay, Ideal and Holmes EZ-Set Springs.

In the past we encouraged do-it-yourselfers to measure the springs, but because of gaps between the coils and because of the coatings on the springs, the wire size was often difficult to determine.

Now customers can order by manufacturer and model number. In our most recent blog we showed how to identify Clopay, Ideal and Holmes door by model numbers on the stickers.

If this information cannot be found, we have an additional tab for selecting a spring or springs by door weight. Customers have found our instructions for how to weigh a garage door helpful.

If you have any questions please contact us.

 

How to Identify Doors by Model Number, Serial Number, and PID Numbers

Friday, July 28th, 2017 at 6:38 pm by Sales Team

If you have a garage door made by Clopay Building Products Company, Ideal Door Company, or Holmes Garage Door Company, you may be able to use the model number, PID number, or serial number to determine the door weight so you can select the proper replacement springs. Finding the label that contains these numbers may save time and energy that you would otherwise spend measuring the springs or weighing the door. However these labels can be difficult to find. Here are some helpful tips.

A garage door has three dimension: width, height and thickness. Labels with the model numbers are normally found on the thickness part at one end of each section. This is for ease of identification when doors are stacked at the factory or distribution center.

If the installer happened to leave behind the wrapping materials or the door installation guide, you may be able to find your door model there.

 

Clopay Doors

Most Clopay doors have labels placed on the inside of the door, usually at the left end of the bottom or first intermediate section. Sometimes the sticker is at the right end of the door. On this label you will find the door serial number. Usually the model number of the door is embedded in the serial number, but on newer doors it is embedded in a separate PID number, as you see in this Model 4050 below.

Clopay began using this white sticker with the orange warning label in 2003, and the company still uses it. The serial number, designated as “S/N,” usually has 12 numbers with an additional letter. The PID number has 17 letters; it includes both the model number and the door size, here “8000800,” designating a door that is eight feet wide and eight feet high.

The yellow sticker shown below was used from about 1998 to 2003. The serial numbers during those years contained 16-18 digits. The model numbers are usually located in the middle of the serial number as you see here in this model 4050.

Before 1997 Clopay used blue stickers on their doors with 15-16 digits in the serial number as you see in this model 1000.

Over the years Clopay has used a number of other stickers, such as this white label stuck to the top of an intermediate section.

  

Identifying labels will also be found on flag brackets which support the vertical and horizontal tracks.

 Ideal Doors

Ideal has used a variety of stickers over the years. As with most manufacturers, labels are stuck to one end of each section as we see here with the door partly open on this S/R 4RST door.  If you are unable to open the door, look behind the lower vertical track with a flashlight on both sides of the door to find this label. The 3-6 digit model number should be listed as a standalone number.

Ideal also uses labels mounted on the inside face of the sections, similar to what is found on Clopay doors as you can see on this model R6R4 garage door.

Many of the Ideal doors have long serial numbers just as Clopay  has. Below you can see the model number RDP38 embedded in the serial number.

Newer Ideal doors have the longer serial numbers and PID numbers as is visible on this model SRP-38 door. As with the Clopay doors the serial number, designated as “S/N,” usually has 12 numbers with an additional letter. The PID number has 17 letters; it includes both the model number and the door size, here “160007,” designating a door that is 16′ feet wide and eight feet high.

Holmes Doors

Similar to Ideal Door, Holmes labels list a standalone model number. And like Ideal or Clopay, a Holmes label may be stuck to the flag bracket or on one side of the reinforcing strut if there is one.

IMPORTANT: If you live in Florida or along the coast, you may have a wind rated door as you see above. The “W6” after the model 42 designates a wind code rating of six. Clopay, Ideal and Holmes all use similar wind code designations, but their part numbers will be different.

 

Making Sense of a Long Part Number

If you find a long part number, if there is no PID number, and if you can’t identify the model number, look in the middle of the part number and check one of our pages where we offer springs by model, manufacturer and serial number. On our Standard Torsion Springs page, for example, you will click “Model Number” and then select the manufacturer. After that, click the draw down menu and find your model number in the list.

The model numbers in the list above have between two and four digits. Look for these digits in the middle of the long part number on your garage door. On rare exceptions you will not be able to find the number on our list because some models were in production for only a short time. If you need help please contact us.