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Garage Doors & Cold Weather: Frequently Asked Questions

As winter approaches, many long-time Pennsylvanians instinctively brace themselves for low temperatures, snowfalls, ice storms, and other seasonal unpleasantness. However, in addition to wrapping pipes and other routine household preparations, you should also consider the effects of cold weather on your garage door.

The more you understand about the various ways cold weather can alter a garage door’s performance and threaten its structural integrity, the more effectively you can fight Mother Nature by choosing the right garage door for your environment and safeguarding it against harm. These frequently asked questions should help.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Garage Door Mechanisms?

Your garage door can’t operate normally if something affects the performance of its metal tracks, springs, and other mechanical components. Unfortunately, the metal in these components tends to contract as temperatures plunge. As they shrink in size, they may no longer align with each other for smooth operation.

Even if your tracks and rails still allow the garage door to raise and lower, these actions may place abnormal stress and strain on the components in their contracted state. Pay attention to any signs of new stiffness in your garage door mechanisms and apply extra lubricant to reduce stress that might otherwise lead to breakage.

The type and amount of lubricant you use can help or hurt your garage door during cold weather. Ask your garage door service professional to recommend a lubricant specially formulated for garage doors. Contact Shank Door for special lubricant suitable for overhead doors. Apply small amounts of lubricant to the hinges or rollers rather than the tracks or springs, and wipe away any excess.

How Do Different Door Materials Respond to Cold?

The same contraction problems that plague metal garage door components can also affect metal garage doors. However, painted steel garage doors resist moisture and hold up better against extreme temperatures than some other materials. For instance, ice can cause wood to swell, while severe storms can damage vinyl.

If you plan on purchasing a new garage door that offers greater cold resistance than your current model, make sure to select an insulated product. A layer of polyurethane sandwiched between the inner and outer surfaces of the door can minimize the door’s reactions to outside temperatures while giving you a warmer garage.

How Can You Protect a Non-Insulated Garage Door?

Even if you’d love nothing more than to throw out your old, poorly-insulated garage door and replace it with a modern insulated alternative, your budget may not allow such a major purchase on short notice. Fortunately, you can purchase doors that will fit your budget.

Shank Door sells garage door insulation kits. These kits will help to insulate the garage but for the most efficient insulation values, you’ll want to upgrade your door/s to a new door with a polyurethane foamed-in-place core. Installing more insulation in the garage itself and updating your weatherstripping can help keep the inner side of the door warmer.

What Cold-Weather Home Maintenance Helps Garage Doors?

Many cold-weather issues that affect other parts of your home can also impact your garage doors. For instance, insufficient insulation in your attic can cause ice dams to develop along the edge of the roof. When these ice accumulations finally melt, the moisture can damage the garage roof and any mechanical components beneath it.

Ice dams can also create heavy, pointed icicles that hang directly over the garage entrance. While this development may not affect the garage doors directly, they can do serious damage to people or vehicles if vibrations from garage door motions detach them from their moorings. Additional attic insulation can reduce this risk.

Snow or melted water that accumulates on the garage door threshold can re-freeze into solid ice as temperatures swing up and down. This ice can anchor your garage door in place. If you fail to notice this problem before trying to raise the door, the extra strain on the mechanism can break the opener or warp other components.

Instead of assuming that your garage door will open normally in freezing weather, always check for ice accumulations that might hold the door stuck in the closed position. If you see such accumulations, remove them with a hand scraper or melt them with a hair dryer before trying to use your electric garage door opener.

Whether you want to buy an all-new insulated garage door or you need high-quality maintenance or repairs to get your existing door through another winter, turn to Shank Door for solutions. We can evaluate your current garage door, fix any existing problems, or replace your old door with a more weather-resistant one. Contact us today.