Fixing a Broken Garage Door

A garage door that opens slowly or doesn't open at all can present a serious problem if your car is stuck inside the garage and you're already late for school or work. If you've had a power failure in your condominium complex or the automatic garage door opener isn't working, you can open most doors manually using an override mechanism attached to the door's track. Look for a red cord hanging from your garage door's upper track and pull the cord to open the door.

Once you've gotten the door open successfully, getting it closed may pose another challenge. If the garage door is part of the condominium you own, you may be able to fix the problem yourself, or hire a professional repairman for a more complicated repair, much like you when when in need of having a washing machine repaired. If the garage is one of the shared areas in the condominium complex, making this repair will be the condo board's responsibility. Check your owner's agreement or contact the board if you aren't sure who should take over the repair.

Slow or Stuck Garage Doors

There are two basic types of garage doors, and both use tracks and springs to control the movements of the door. Some doors are composed of segments that roll up or down, while others consist of one unit that swings out from the structure when the door is opened. Fixing a garage door may be a simple matter of cleaning the tracks that guide a door into place. When these tracks are clogged with debris or grease, the door may open slowly or may get stuck altogether. Use a strong cleanser or de-greasing agent to remove debris and grime from the tracks.

Check the hardware that holds the tracks in place to make sure it's tight and secure. If tracks are loose, they may come out of alignment, causing the door to be sluggish and noisy when it opens or closes. Tightening the mounting brackets may bring the tracks back into alignment. If the tracks have been damaged, minor dents may be pounded out gently with a hammer. If the damage is severe, the entire track may need to be replaced.

Over time, a rolling or swinging garage door may start to sag as the wood is exposed to the elements. If your door is sagging, try tightening the tension rods that support the door. Tightening the tension rods gives the door's panels more support and allows the entire unit to open more smoothly. If the door doesn't have tension rods built into the structure, you can purchase these rods at a local hardware store and install them yourself.

When to Call a Professional

In some cases, a broken garage door may indicate that there's a structural problem with the building that must be fixed by a professional contractor. If the wall that encloses the door is cracked, warped or moldy, or if the stucco or siding is visibly damaged, there may be problems with the wall or with the foundation. Contact a professional contractor who specializes in structural repairs, or ask a representative from your condo board to refer you to a contractor.

Fixing a broken garage door that operates by spring tension can be a simple, easy repair. However, springs hold tension and can cause injury if they aren't handled correctly. If your garage door operates with one large spring in the center of the door, the tension in this large metal spring can cause a severe injury if the mechanism is suddenly released. Call a professional repair service for assistance if you have questions or concerns about your garage door.

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