Monday, November 13, 2017

Door Counter-balance and Cable/Bottom Bracket Inspection

Fall is here in Minnesota and we know what's coming next....Winter!
Here is the first in a series of garage door inspections that you can easily do to prepare your garage door and opener for the long winter ahead.
How to Perform a Garage Door Spring Test
DO NOT RELEASE the garage door opener safety release with the door in the open position. If a spring is broken or severely out of adjustment, the door could fall causing death or severe injury. Caution: If you are the least bit unsure, or do not understand this procedure, please, contact a professional garage door service to inspect your door.
First, with the garage door in the completely CLOSED position, release the garage door opener safety release.
Next, raise the garage door manually, so that the bottom of the door is in the middle of the opening. Be sure the path from the door bottom to the floor is clear, (children, pets, feet, hands, objects, etc.). The door should raise with little effort and stay positioned in the mid- open position.  If the door goes down with any amount of force, falling, or heavy, your spring system is out of adjustment and needs to be addressed.
All garage door spring systems have a life cycle, typically 5,000- 10,000 cycles, and begin to wear as soon as they are put in to use. Because 95% of garage doors have openers on them, we do not notice when the spring goes out of adjustment, causing undue wear and damage to the opener.
My older brother called me late one evening to say that he was at his son's house because they could not get the garage door to close properly.  The opener was making a grinding noise & the door kept going back up. He wanted to know if I could help him trouble shoot the problem over the phone from 100 miles away. I said sure, I'll help.
With the advent of smart phone technology and a few questions, I was able to determine that the door was 10 years old, and that the spring was so severely out of adjustment, that the top two feet of door close travel was completed only by the opener and not the torsion spring! Garage door openers were never designed to open or close doors with out the spring counterbalance assistance.
Well, eventually, the door "dumped" the cables, and they had become tangled and bound on the cable drums the door couldn't move. I might add that this was a monster of a door - 16’x8’ with windows, and a pair of 2" x .283 x 41" torsion springs. The door weighed about 400 pounds!
We determined that this door was going nowhere and that the services of a professional door technician was needed, the door stayed open that night since daylight was needed to properly access the situation and wait for the technician.
I explained to my brother that what we needed to do was to get the cables untangled on the cable drums, and to do that in the dark with no experience and less than ideal circumstances was almost a guaranteed hand/finger amputation.
He called Pete Hawkins, the owner of Hawkins Overhead Door of Wabasha, Minnesota,,  who came right over the next morning and replaced the cables and properly adjusted the garage door torsion springs.
Thank you for your prompt and professional service Pete!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How to Remove and Install Garage Door Weather Seal

SAFETY FIRST! Be very careful around the garage door. It’s one of the heaviest moving objects on your house and can inflict serious or even deadly injury and harm to people, pets and objects in and around the garage.

Getting Started
Start by placing all of the necessary tools outside of the garage (on the driveway, etc.) because you will need to close the garage door when you begin the weather seal removal and installation process.
Recommended Tools Needed:
·      Safety glasses and work gloves
·      Utility knife with a NEW, sharp blade
·      Tape measure
·      Vice Grips and/or locking pliers or clamps
·      Pencil
·      Drill and a 1/16” drill bit
·      New garage door weather seal (available at
·      Utility Shears or other means to cut the weather seal
·      Hammer
·      Nails
·      Caulk gun
·      Caulk (we suggest using one that is paintable so you can match it to the color of your house or garage door)
·      Clean cloth
·      Household spray cleaner (such as 409)
·      An Assistant!

Removal of the Old Weather Seal
1.     Start by closing the garage door and unplugging the garage door opener from the power source. Also, if your opener is equipped with an emergency operator trolley release (usually a red T-style pull handle on a rope connected to the trolley), be sure to pull the release to disengage the trolley from the track and manually raise the garage door to the open position.  We have found that it is easier to work on the weather seal with the garage door in an open position.  To do this hold the garage door where you desire it to stay and use a locking pliers (Vise Grips) and clamp it to the garage door track. 

Tip: Be sure to position the locking clamp below the bottom roller so that the door cannot close on you if the torsion spring tension happens to be out of adjustment. This is a very common issue and the tension should be adjusted annually only by a trained professional.

2.     To begin removal of the old weather seal, (with the garage door in an open position), choose a side and take a sharp utility knife (with a NEW blade) and make a clean score at the joint between the weather seal body (wood, aluminum, PVC, or vinyl) and the garage door jamb (see photo).  This will allow you to remove the old weather seal with out damaging the finish on the garage door jamb.

3.     Using a rigid, steel putty knife, firmly push between the old weather seal and the garage door jamb. With a gentle prying motion, loosen the weather seal from the door jamb. Now you will be able to use a flat bar (pry bar) inserted in the gap to finish removing the seal and nails.

Tip: You may want to place a small piece of sheet metal or a putty knife under the pry bar to prevent damaging the finished garage door jamb (see photos).

4.     Repeat this process for the remaining top and side pieces of weather seal.

5.     With all of the weather seal and fasteners removed from the garage door jambs, take this opportunity to remove any debris and ridges of paint.  We also suggest cleaning the door jambs with a clean cloth and some household spray cleaner (like 409 or a similar product that cut remove dirt and grease).
Installation of New Weather Seal
1.     Start by using a tape measure to measure the length of the inside of the top garage door jamb, side-to-side at the top, where the top piece of garage door weather seal will be installed first (see photos).

Tip:  This step is done much easier with two people. 

2.     Use a utility shears to cut the new, replacement weather seal pieces to length (be sure to first check the fit and adjust as needed and re-measure BEFORE cutting!).
Tip:  You can use utility shears, a hand or electric hand saw with a fine tooth blade (placed in a miter box based on type of saw used), an angle grinder with a 3/32” cutoff wheel, or a multi-tool with a fine tooth blade or saw. There are many options to choose from here, just remember to utilize ALL SAFETY MEASURES regarding eye wear, hearing protection, gloves, etc.

3.     After you have determined the placement of the new, cut weather seal, we recommend drilling small pilot holes for the nails.  We have found that it is easier to drill a small pilot hole (slightly smaller than the diameter of the nail you will use) centered in the width of the new weather seal, 1 inch from each end and then in 8” – 12” inch intervals for the entire length of weather seal.  This eliminates the need to try to pound the nails in while in an upside down position (see photo).

Tip:  If it is colder than 60 degrees F outside we highly recommend that you take the time to drill small pilot holes especially if you are installing PVC seal and the main body cracks easily at colder temperatures.

4.     Next, push a nail into each hole in the weather seal. We prefer to use color matched Maze brand galvanized, smooth or ring shank trim nails, but a stainless steel or 4D, (about 1-3/8” to 1-1/2” in length) galvanized box nails should work as well.  Do not use steel nails of any type as they will rust and leave rust streak on the paint and finishes.

Photo Notes:  Nails shown in photo, left to right, are: Galvanized Brown Maze Ring Shank Nail, Galvanized White Maze Ring Shank Nail and Stainless Steel Smooth Shank Nail.  The 4D Galvanized Smooth Shank Box Nail is not pictured.

5.     With the door in the closed position, and with the help of your assistant, raise the weather seal into position, making sure to adjust the lip of the seal so that it presses against the face of the garage door, forming an air tight seal. The solid PVC body of the seal should not contact the garage door.

6.     Start all of the nails across the top piece of weather seal into the door jamb, but do not drive the nails all the way in until you have made your final adjustments to the weather seal placement (see photo).

7.     Repeat the same process for both of the side door jamb weather seals, adjusting the weather seal fit as you go.
8.     Next you can trim the soft vinyl flaps at a 45 degree angle in the corners for a nice, clean-looking finish.
9.     Check the garage door operation to make sure it does not bind on the weather seal at any point as it travels along the track.

10.  Now you can drive the weather seal nails all the way in, just be careful not to hit the door if you have it closed at this time.
11. If you had problems with binding before you replaced the seals, you may find that you will need to adjust the garage door operator pressure limit settings.  Refer to your garage door operator Owner’s Manual or their website for this information.
12. Finally, for a nice clean appearance and to seal-out the weather elements, we recommend using a latex, silicone-based but paint-able caulk, to seal along the edge of the weather seal and the door jamb.  Be sure to use a damp rag to wipe away any excess caulk.  You can then apply touch-up paint as needed.
If you aren’t sure what weather seal to buy at www., simply write us at and we will try to help and get what you what need quickly and at our low prices.  Also be sure to check out our other Garage Door DIY Articles on our website.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Helpful Tips on Hiring Home Contractor

How to Hire a Local Contractor

Whether you are looking to hire a contractor to install new rollers on your garage door or build an addition to your garage, it's important to hire a licensed contractor that is also experienced in their field. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1.  In most every state it is the law that any contractor who advertises MUST be licensed, no matter the size of the job. So look and ask for a license number and check it online at your states registrar of contractors or equivalent site.   Once on the site, enter the company license number. Note the name of the company (does it match the name of the company being advertised?). Also verify if they have worker’s compensation insurance. If they say they don’t, ask when you call them, who will be coming out. If it’s the name (of the individual/owner) on the license, no problem. If it is a technician, or any other name don't do business with them since said they didn’t have employees!  You now know that whoever would come out to perform the work is not licensed or insured. They will say they are sub contractors but they are not.  You can also look to see if they have any complaints and if their license was ever revoked or suspended and why. Stay away from any contractor which you has any unresolved matters with the state licensing agency.

2.  Check the your local Better Business Bureau (BBB). Contrary to a mixed news reviews that debunked their credibility, they actually are a very credible source. They will have online reviews and records that you can search that include contractors who are not even members of the BBB. You can see how many and what type of complaints weed files and how long ago they were and what the resolution was. Make sure whoever you hire has a good rating. It takes a lot of accountability to maintain a good rating over the years.

3.  Use the following web sites and look for reviews: Google and Yelp. Simply type in the company or contractor name and then add the word "reviews" to the search and you should get a list of most reviews on the web.

4.  If you have several projects to do, Angie’s List is a great resource for contractors.  A company can’t get on Angie’s List directly. Their clients have to refer them. This is like having a giant data base of reviews for contractors in various specialties in your area. There’s a small annual fee but worth it if you may need to do multiple searches.

Now, hopefully these tips will help you make an informed decision about any contractor or company you hire in any of the trades! Taking 15 minutes to check things out will give you a good sense of the company and could save you time and money!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Check Out Our New Website!

Star Door Parts just launched a completely new and redesigned website to enhance your shopping experience. We are still the same company that you have come to trust with our outstanding customer service, fast shipping, low prices and comprehensive inventory and product selection.

While redesigning our site we listened to your feedback and worked to provide you an even better online shopping experience. Specifically changed was our mobile site. Our new site is responsive to the devise you are using which means that the website will look different on a smartphone, tablet and desktop. The navigation is now easier since the mobile site automatically adjusts the site view to your phone screen size and position held. If you still need the full features of our desktop site but are using a mobile device, simply use your browser option to Request Desktop Site from either your Safari or Chrome browser menu.

We appreciate your business and welcome any continued feedback on our website design, product offerings, blogs, etc.

The Team at Star Door Parts

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Screw Drive Garage Door Opener: Light Bulb Replacement |

Screw Drive Garage Door Opener: Light Bulb Replacement | DoItYourself.comHow to Change the Light Bulb and Lens Cover on a Garage Door Opener

It's important to change the light bulb in your garage door opener with one that is designed to work with you opener and is resistant to vibration to ensure a longer lifespan. Be cautious when using LED and CFL bulbs as they can give off interference and interfere with the operation of your remote transmitters. Read more here by clicking on the link.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Garage door rollers or wheels can be an integral part of how safe, smooth and quite your garage door operates. Rollers are made in various qualities in a number of different materials and sizes to meet the effective use of the end user. Determining the correct type of garage door rollers for your garage door 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 a couple of primary things you need to be aware of. First would be the actual size of the roller, and 2nd is the purpose and conditions you will be operating your door in.

The material can vary
on both the garage door roller itself, as well as on the stem. Each material features its own pros and cons, and knowing your own priorities, necessities, and expectations on your garage door can help you pick a wheel that will best serve you. The materials of a garage door roller can influence just 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 accommodate. Your first concern, in any situation, would be to determine a garage door roller that can accept the weight of your garage door without wearing out prematurely. The safest method 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 were considering upgrading your rollers, it might be good to know the weight your garage door. Oftentimes, the weight of the door will be located on a sticker somewhere on the garage door or perhaps the spring shaft.

Roller sizes are rather standard in the garage door business.
It is usually a one inch, two inch, or three inch diameter on the wheel itself. You can very easily find out this measurement by placing a ruler across the face of the roller. In addition to the diameter of the roller, you need to know the entire 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 measurement you will get is not always going to be an exact measurement of 1", 2", or 3" rollers. A 3" roller will typically 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 around 3/4". In addition, the shaft of almost every roller will be a diameter of 7/16 of an inch, which is the typical industry standard. You will likely not need to worry about that measurement unless you have a much older door. If you've got a very old door a simple quick measurement of the stem diameter using a ruler or caliper would not hurt. Knowing this measurement, you can observe what size works with you current configuration.

One of the next priorities
when choosing a roller 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 resistant of rust. Under normal conditions, they are utilized in spaces like car washes, dairy barns and other high-moisture environments. If you do not have a high-moisture location, there isn't an expressed requirement 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 will get rollers that are resilient against rust. An area where you may choose to use a corrosion resistant roller is in a colder climate that has snow and salt. A corrosion resistant roller will prevent the bottom rollers from rusting out and failing prematurely.

Once you have determined the environment your door operates in the next decision is between how quiet you want your garage door to be, how much money you want to invest, and how long you would like the rollers to last. If smooth quite operation is what you are looking for then a nylon or rubber roller needs to be on your list. Additionally, the number of balls in the bearing for the roller can drastically effect 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 considerably longer than ones with fewer ball bearings. Typically the more ball bearings the more expensive the roller.

comprehending the cycle life of a garage door wheel is important as well to picking a garage door wheel especially in commercial applications. The ratings are fairly simple to understand. The rating for our 3” 10 ball 7” steel is as follows around 50000 cycles on a 12 foot high door at approximately 150lbs per roller. A single roller does not support the entire weight of the door, so this should not be alarming. So if we take that into perspective it 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 or fails. Mind you, such a door is very large, and likely is not what you have. However it gives you a glimpse into the strength of these rollers. If your rollers are too weak to lift the door, the roller will break a lot more quickly than under normal circumstances, so make sure pick something that can support the weight of the garage door.

To summarize, the pros of steel rollers are that they last longer than nylon on large applications, they handle higher loads, and they tend to be a little bit cheaper. The con is that they are much louder than nylon rollers and are much less tolerant to moisture. Nylon rollers have the benefit of smooth operation, lightweight design and quietness, but they tend to break if impacted. 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 manipulate the cost, but as you add more ball bearings, the roller lasts longer and runs quieter.

The most common roller used on a residential garage door is a 7 ball bearing steel roller in a 2” diameter tire with a shaft length around 4”. These rollers are good for universal use and have a load rating of 35lbs and are good for around 10,000 cycles. You can find this style roller in many hardware or big box stores. If you are looking to upgrade to a heavy duty roller for your residential door we might recommend you upgrade to a 10 ball bearing roller which has a working load of 75lbs and cycle life doubles to nearly 20,000. If you are looking for the ultimate in maintenance free and the quietest garage door rollers for your home we would suggest the white vinyl standard 11 ball bearing roller. The rollers that we carry at Star Door Parts are of a much higher quality than what you will find at your local hardware store. You could also check with a local door dealer but we have found their selection isn't as good and door dealers are not always willing to sell retail. 

When contemplating replacing worn or damaged garage door rollers
as being a DIY project it is very important that you do them one-by-one to maintain the integrity of your garage door and not to comprise your safety. Always remember your bottom rollers are usually held in place by the bottom bracket or fixture. Your garage door bottom bracket typically has all the spring tension attached to it via the door lifting cables. The bottom bracket should never be removed when spring tension is live on the door. If you are not knowledgeable about this process you should contact a professional door company to complete the repairs for you.

Copyright 2016 (c) By Star Door Parts