Thursday, July 23, 2015

The 1, 2, 3’s of Maintaining Your Automatic Garage Door

Though it bids you goodbye when you leave and welcomes you when you return, you probably don’t give much thought to your automatic garage door opener, but it is probably the largest and heaviest piece of moving equipment in your home. Its proper maintenance is essential to the safety of your family, smooth operation, keeping your garage energy efficient, and the lifespan of the door.

Automatic garage door care and maintenance tips: As simple as 1, 2, 3…
Clean the door.
 Once a year, clean the exterior of your garage door with detergent, water, and a soft sponge or cloth. Rinse it completely with a hose. Doors in saltier, coastal regions should be washed more frequently. Wooden doors may require additional care if paint or stain is worn.

Clean the tracks.
 Protecting your hands with gloves, clean the horizontally and vertically mounted tracks of your automatic garage door using brake parts cleaner and a rag.

Move cars out of the garage and clear items away from the tracks before performing garage door maintenance.

Visually inspect components.
 Ensure all cables, brackets, hinges, rollers, springs, and tracks are in good condition and not worn or frayed. Make sure both sides of the system are symmetrical.

 Is the door movement smooth or jerky? Quiet or loud?

Note the springs.
 Your springs balance the weight of your garage door. Common types include torsion and extension springs. WARNING!! They are under high tension, and pose significant threat of severe injury or death in the event this hardware is mishandled. They can be identified by red colored bolts or a nearby safety tag and should only be adjusted by a professional technician. 

Check the door balance.
 Unplug the automatic garage door opener to cut off power, then disengage the door from the opener (usually by pulling the red cord with the handle). Raise the door to waist level. Slowly release your hold. If the door raises or lowers, it is not balanced properly and needs to be adjusted by a professional.

Test auto-reverse safety features.
 Safety features should be tested every few months, and every time repairs or adjustments are made. If features are not functioning properly, immediately disconnect the door and operate it manually until repairs can be made.
Mechanical: Place a brick or piece of wood on the ground in the path of the door. The door should reverse immediately on contact.
Photocell: Attempt to close the garage door, but wave your foot or leg in the door's path. The door should immediately reverse.
Force test: Hold up the bottom of the door as it tries to close. If it doesn’t reverse immediately, the force is excessive and in need of adjustment.
No safety features? Your opener is more than 20 years old, and in need of immediate replacement to prevent serious injury and property damage.

 Lubricate all hinges, springs and bearings with a non-silicon based spray lubricant. CAUTION: It’s okay to lubricate metal rollers, however you NEVER want to lubricate nylon rollers or tracks!

Tighten bolts.
 These secure components of your garage door to each other, and to your home’s structure.

 Scheduling annual professional garage door maintenance is a simple and inexpensive way to ensure the safety of your family and the lifespan of your garage door system.

Be watchful.
 Always keep children, pets, and your fingers away from door joints and moving parts when your automatic garage door is in operation.

Automatic garage door have you all bent out of shape? Contact R&S Erection of Concord today to schedule your annual professional garage door maintenance inspection today!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Decide: Carriage House Style or Standard Garage Door

A garage door is integral to a home's curb appeal and can also affect your home's overall energy efficiency. It's a large expanse of wall so it should complement both the architectural style of your home, as well as the home's surroundings. If you are in the market for a new garage doors, you may be deciding between two of the most popular garage door designs: carriage house or standard garage doors.

Carriage House or Standard Garage Doors: Which Style is Right For Your Home?

Before we continue, lets review garage door style basics.

Carriage Style Garage Doors. These garage doors are very traditional - even historic - in their appearance. Before the advent of the car, households that could afford a carriage typically had a carriage house - often as part of the barn. These doors had to be wide enough to accommodate both carriage and horses, so they were substantial in size. Their exterior facade was designed in accordance with architectural styles of the time, often including beautiful woodwork using recessed or raised-panel designs. Originally constructed using solid wood, modern, carriage house garage doors are now available in aluminum, steel, fiberglass and wood options.

Standard Garage Doors. Once cars outnumbered carriages, carriage house door manufacturers quickly began designing a different kind of exterior door, one that could accommodate automobiles. Since the era of "every household has a car" didn't commence until later in the 20th century, wood garage doors became a high-end option within a few decades, replaced by more affordable and longer-lasting standard garage door options, like aluminum, fiberglass and steel. They are typically made to replicate wood doors - using raised-panel or stamped designs as well.

So, which one is right for your home? In order to answer that, we have a few more questions for you:

1. What's your architectural and neighborhood style? If you live in a historic neighborhood or a high-end neighborhood with a fair amount of traditional design elements, a carriage house style garage door might be for you. They work best with traditional and transitional exterior facades. If you home is modern, you will probably want to stick with a standard garage door style, or a flat panel, solid wood carriage house option that will blend better with the streamlined exterior of your home.

2. What's your personal preference? Do you like the idea of a classic garage door that replicates a carriage house door? There are so many styles to choose from that you are bound to find one that will work with your architecture. Your garage door sales team will work with you to find the door that looks best.

3. Do you prefer a rolling steel door? Rolling steel doors may not be as aesthetically pleasing as their carriage door or raised-panel standard counterparts, but they are the toughest and lowest-maintenance doors on the market. If you like the idea of a rolling steel door, odds are you'll steer away from carriage house door options.

4. What is your budget? The good news is that about 88% of the cost of a new garage door can be recouped when you sell your home. Typically, carriage house garage doors are more expensive than standard garage door options. The average cost for a 16-foot by 7-foot double garage door ranges anywhere from $750 to $3000+ dollars, so the spread is pretty big. Standard doors are on the lower end of the spectrum while a solid wood carriage house door will be on the higher end. Your garage door vendor will be happy to price multiple options so you can choose the one that best fits your budget.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fire Doors 101

If you're expanding your business, growing your business or are constructing a new building for your business - you may not be familiar with fire doors, how they work, or the fact that building codes require them for virtually every commercial and/or multi-use building.

Fire Doors 101: What Are They?

Fire doors are just one element of a full-scale fire protection system. The full system includes additional fire barriers, including specially treated walls, ceilings and floors. Fire systems prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one area of a building to another or, at the very least, significantly slows their spread so occupants have time to safely exit the building.

Fire doors are legally required as per the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) when your building:
Contains a door that has an "Exit" sign over or around it.
Where a door leads to an area where flammable or hazardous materials are stored.
If a door leads to a stairwell or a horizontal exit.
When a door leads to a hallway or from one completely enclosed room to another.

If you aren't sure whether or not your current business or building is compliant with current fire system regulations, you can contact your local building department and schedule an appointment with a building official.

What Are Fire Doors Made From?

When most people think of fire doors, they imagine boring or plain-Jane commercial doors. In fact, fire doors can have attractive, solid wood facades. The important factor is typically what's inside the door layers. Modern fire doors are built using a combination of materials, including steel, gypsum, wood, vermiculite and/or wire-mesh glass. There are many different types of fire doors and fire door styles. Fire doors can also be purchased via different "Ratings."

What Are Fire Door Ratings?

Fire doors are broken down into categories or "ratings" based on how long their fire/smoke protection should last in the event of a fire. These ratings are as follows:
3 Hours: These doors are required for areas that are installed in walls that separate two buildings, or walls that divide a single building into separate, designated fire areas.
1.5 Hours: Doors with this rating are designed for areas that open into stairwells or elevators, where an exit occurs via vertical movement. They are also used for doors installed in exterior walls that are considered to have a severe fire exposure from the outside of the building.
1 Hour. 1-Hour doors are used to divide occupancies in a building.
3/4 Hour (45 minutes). Doors designed to withstand 45 minutes-worth of fire and/or smoke infiltration should be installed where there are openings in corridors, in between room partitions or a door on an exterior wall considered to have moderate to low risk of exterior fire potential.
1/3 Hour (20 minutes). Yes! It even gets this specific. The 1/3 hour door has more to do with smoke than fire, and they are installed in corridors where draft and smoke control is required, and where the walls have a fire rating of at least one hour.

Your local building department and/or fire inspector will be able to let you know which doors you need to install where.

One of the most common fire door citations is for companies who have propped open or otherwise tampered with a fire door to keep it open during working hours. This is a big no-no. If you have a fire door that you know will remain open, install a device that automatically releases when the fire alarm is activated (such as an electromagnetic hold open device).