Sunday, July 28, 2019

How to Quickly Fix Garage Door Screws Connecting the Door to the Opener

Problem:  The screws connecting a garage door opener to the garage door can come loose over time, making the garage door unable to raise or lower.
Quick Fix:  To fix this problem, simply replace the missing or loose screws with slightly larger diameter self-tapping sheet metal screws. Install one or more extra screws using the self-tapping feature on the screws and an electric drill to drill holes through the bracket and garage door frame.

Monday, July 1, 2019

How to Stain Your Garage Door

Natural wood garage doors give an enhanced appearance to any home. To keep your wood garage doors looking good, it is important to stain and seal them on a regular basis. Doing this protects the wood doors from the weather and enhances their beauty. Here are a few steps to keep your wood garage doors looking their best:

1. Start by Cleaning

You'll want to begin by cleaning the garage door. Always use a good quality wood-cleaning product. Dust, dirt, moss and mildew are the most common things that you will find on wood that’s exposed to the elements which will ruin the look of the garage door. Sun damage in warmer states will also take a heavy toll on wood.  A water pressure washer can be used on most wood doors but low water pressure, 1000-1500 psi or less, is recommended. Too much pressure can damage the door.  We also recommend using a wood cleaner to remove stains and all types of dirt and residue.  Be careful not to damage to the surface of the garage doors' surface when doing this.

2. Allow Drying Time

Once you have cleaned the wood garage door, make sure that it is completely dry. It is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours or more for the wood to completely dry out. If you are using an oil-based stain, it will bead on moist wood. And if you are using a water-based stains it will not apply evenly while the wood is still wet.

3. Make Sure to Apply a Quality Stain

Don't go with a cheaper stain since it will not look at good and will not hold up as well to the elements.  We recommend using a penetrating oil-based wood stain. You can use a roller brush or a sprayer. Typically you only need one coat of stain. Using a technique called back brushing, helps the stain to get into the wood’s surface evenly and deeply creating an even and consistent look. This must be done quickly and before the stain begins to dry otherwise the stain will be too viscous and will cause blotches and an uneven look.  Be sure to only apply a second coat after the first coat has dried for at least a day. Since stain tends to fade over time, you can refresh it by washing the wood with wood cleaner and then re-coating.  If you want a glossy look, we recommend going over the finished wood with an exterior varnish or polyurethane.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

How to Help Keep Your Garage Warm in the Winter

 During the winter, your garage becomes one of the coldest places in your house.  Whether you also use your garage for storage or a workspace, you can’t get fully comfortable until you can properly heat your garage in winter.  Household garages are high-traffic areas, with many family members passing through to collect bikes, perform DIY projects and access their vehicles. But wintry weather can make these experiences less than enjoyable by turning your garage into a bitterly cold area that you will want to avoid at all costs. Not only that, but the harsh temperatures can potentially cause damage to equipment stored in this space. Stay toasty and warm throughout the chilly season with Garage Heating 101 – our tips to keep your garage warm this winter:

Install a Garage Heater

An obvious choice for warming up a space is to install a heater. The decision you need to make is whether to opt for gas or electric, both of which have their pros and cons. Gas heaters are cheaper but require a gas supply and exhaust venting. Electric heaters are pricier but boast an easier installation.
To guarantee a safe fitting, heaters are best installed by a trained professional, who can also advise as to what model could suit your garage best. But beware; heaters are a wasted addition if your garage is not kitted out with decent insulation, as the heat energy will simply conduct through the walls and floor and disappear.  We have many articles on our Pinterest page to help with this task.

Insulate the Garage Door

Simply put, heat conducts through solid surfaces and this includes your garage door. By fitting your garage door with insulating materials is a great way to help the heat stay in your garage. A variety of materials are available for this purpose, including foam boards and fiberglass batt insulation. Whatever materials you choose, make sure that it’s applied with a snug and secure fit. We have many articles on our Pinterest page to help with this simple DIY task.

Insulate the Garage Walls

Don’t just insulate your door and neglect your walls. This huge surface area is capable of conducting energy, letting it escape from your garage and making temperatures inside plummet to uncomfortable levels. Treating your walls to some insulation can work wonders in raising the temperature, especially when combined with the presence of a heater. There are a few insulation options available to homeowners; a trusted professional should be able to help you with your selection if you’re unsure.
You should also take note that insulation is only effective if it’s installed snugly and securely.  We have many articles on our Pinterest page to help with this DIY task. 

Repair Or Replace the Weatherstripping and Threshold

Insulate your garage against draughts by repairing or replacing your garage’s weatherstripping and bottom seal or threshold. Both of  create a seal between the garage and the garage door opening, keeping it weather-tight. Over time, these valuable components can become cracked and shrink,  allowing cold air to escape through. Replacement can help insulate your garage from not only cold air but also water and other debris that make come in underneath the garage door.  Star Door Parts sells a variety of garage door threshold for all types and sizes of garage doors.  We also have provided several DIY How To articles on our webpage and Pinterest page to show you step by step how to easily and quickly tackle this job.

Consider Caulking

Surface gaps and cracks occur over time and are one of the biggest losses of energy efficiency. Caulking means using a proper caulk or sealant and application gun to fill in any gaps and cracks around windows, garage doors, moldings and other areas where gaps can appear. As a rule of thumb, caulk any area where two dissimilar materials meet (e.g., brick and wood, siding and wood, stucco and wood, etc.). Before caulking, be sure to clean the area and make sure it’s dry to prevent moisture from being sealed in.  You can use silicone caulk for many years of reliable performance. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

How to Determine the Cable Length for Your Garage Door

How to Determine the Cable Length for Your Garage Door
Use the steps below to determine your correct replacement cable length for your garage door cables (for doors using torsion springs only). 
You will need to determine some of the following information before you begin!
1.   Identify the manufacturer and part number of your cable drum
2.   Calculate the distance from the floor to the center line of the garage door spring torsion shaft.
3.   Calculate the amount of high lift your garage door has (if applicable) by using one of the following methods:
     (a) To determine amount of high lift you can measure from floor to center line of shaft in inches and then subtract the door height in inches and subtract an additional 6 ½” for a 2” track or subtract 7 ½” for a 3” track. The total remainder will equal your high lift amount; or
     (b) Measure from the floor to the bottom of your horizontal garage door track in inches then subtract your door height and the total remainder is the high lift amount.

The above information is only a basic reference point.  Always use precautions when replacing garage door cables.  It is recommended that these repairs only be done by trained professionals.

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.