If you're like most people, you probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about household appliances and fixtures. You just use them, and then you go about your day. However, when one of them starts malfunctioning, it can ruin your entire day. With this in mind, your garage door track is probably among the parts of your home that you think of the least.
You may not even know that it exists. If you use your garage door often, though, it is actually pretty significant. If it fails to work at the wrong time, the consequences can be disastrous. If your garage door fails to open in the morning, you can be stuck and end up late for work or other daily obligations. If it fails to close properly at night, your garage won't be secure. So, it can be very useful to know how to replace this fixture if you not already familar with the process.
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Essentially, the garage door track is the track that guides the rollers of your garage door as it opens and closes. It is what makes it possible for your garage door to move up and down.
When you're choosing a garage door track, you can't just focus on arbitrary factors. You need to make sure that it fits specific measurements. You need to take into consideration the height of the top section of the garage door. The track needs to be of the right size and build to allow your garage door to move up and down, section by section. You also need to take into consideration headroom and sideroom. These are the spaces between your garage door and the ceiling above and the space on either side of your door, respectively.
The headroom space needs to be large enough to house the curved part of your track, which connects the vertical section to the horizontal section. It also needs to be able to accommodate the motor and connections of the garage door opener's operator, in addition to any extension or torsion springs that counteract the door's weight.
While your installer or dealer should be able to provide you with guidance in choosing the right track, it helps a lot to know about the different types of tracks yourself. Manufacturers categorized the basic types of tracks by the radius of the curved part.
The most commonly used track is the standard radius track, which has a 15-inch radius. As such, you need to have 15 inches of headroom in order to house the curve of the track and other necessary equipment. It may be easy to believe that the smaller the radius of the track, the better. After all, the smaller the track, the less headroom is required. However, it is not wise to use a track that's too small, because it will put too much stress on the operator motor in order to move the sections of the door through such a narrow curve.
This is a very common option that takes up very little headroom space. It's commonly referred to as the Dual-Track and uses an additional horizontal track. The second track is in place to move only the top section of the door. Once the operator has moved the top section far enough, the lower sections can follow easily using the other track. This is a great option for doors that might have bigger top sections.
This is a common variation of the standard radius track. It's often the track found in homes where the garage ceiling is higher than average. It includes a standard radius curve, but there's less horizontal track and more vertical track utilized to move the door. More of the door is in a vertical position when it is open than would be seen with the average garage door track.
A variation of the hi-lift track that you may find in industrial or commercial garages, it only includes a vertical track. The door will move up and out from the wall minimally. It just moves enough to accommodate the opener.
This is a somewhat flexible option for when you need to get a little creative with your garage door track. Instead of the usual 90-degree curve, this type of track will follow the pitch (angle) of the roof structure. The standard radius curve track section is cut based on the roof pitch. This way, the angled no-longer-horizontal track will be permitted to follow the roof structure.
In some situations, you may be able to fix the garage door track you already have instead of replacing it. In cases where this is possible, this may be the better option. You will save time and hassle because you don't have to find a new track. Additionally, you'll save money, especially if you can fix the track yourself. Essentially, you want to locate the damage to the track and use the appropriate tools to reshape the track as needed. If you discover that the track's damaged beyond repair, then you'll have to replace it instead.
If you need to replace your garage door track, there are several steps that you should follow.
First, you need to order a replacement track. Contact the manufacturer of your garage door and make the purchase.
Find the hinge pins and rollers on the track where they're attached to the door. Sometimes, you may be able to pull the pins directly out of the rollers, while the design of other garage doors will require that you unscrew the brackets as well.
Locate the spring that functions to keep the garage door open. Remove the spring and set it aside.
Do your best to push the garage door out of the way without damaging the roller pins or hinges on the undamaged track. If you're unable to do this, you'll need to remove the pins and hinges on the other side as well and then remove the door completely.
Before you remove the current track, use a marking pen to draw lines right above and below the track on the supporting material. This will make it easier to position the new track.
Remove the screws that attach the track to the wall. Make sure that you start at the bottom and work your way up the track. Otherwise, it's entirely possible that the track will fall down on top of you at some point.
You might need another person to help you with this part. Align the track with the marks from earlier. Partially screw both sides of the top part of the track into the supporting material. Use your level to make sure the alignment is accurate. Once you're sure it is, screw the track in completely to the top part of the wall.
Have someone help you put the garage door back in position. Then, hold it in place so you can secure it.
Screw the roller pins and hinges back into the door. Make sure that you fit them properly with respect to the new garage door track.
Lubricate both the hinge rollers and the new track with garage door lubricant spray. It would be smart to lubricate the other track as well, even if it did'nt need any work.
Whether you decide to fix or fully replace your garage door track, it is a project with important implications. Even though your garage door track is not a part of your home that you likely think about on a daily basis, it probably plays a major role in your daily life. So, you want to make sure that it's functioning properly at all times. If not, it can actually end up being a major inconvenience at the worst possible time. When you're unable to close your garage door, it leaves your home open and vulnerable to threats. You likely don't need us to tell you about the inconveniences you would experience if you are unable to open the garage door with the car inside, either.
Essentially, it helps to know more about the mechanisms that keep your garage door running. If you're in a position where the door stops running smoothly, you want to be able to fix or replace the parts that you need as soon as possible. Replacing your garage door track is a fairly simple and straightforward process. However, ideally, you want to conduct any repairs before any serious problems occur. The best way to prevent these problems is to check the functioning of your garage door track from time to time, even when you don't have any reason to believe there are problems.