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Preventing Fires In Your Garage

preventing-fires-in-your-garageFor many people, a garage is a multi-purpose space, not just a parking space for a car. In a garage you will often find electrical panels, garbage cans, work stations with a variety of tools and batteries. Items that simply don’t have another home, due to a lack of storage space, will commonly be found in the garage as well.

From a safety perspective, this means that there are a number of potential causes for fire. Here are the annual garage fire statistics, from the US.

  • 6600 home garage fires
  • 30 deaths
  • 400 injuries
  • US$457 million in property loss
  • 93% occurring in one and two family homes


Are you aware that the leading cause of home garage fires is electrical malfunction? Most commonly the problems are shorts in the wiring, damaged wiring and overloaded outlets.

How To Keep Your Garage Safe

  • Do not store combustible items such as gasoline, oil, propane, paints & varnishes in your garage. Whenever you can, store these in a shed away from your home.
  • If you have appliances in your garage, keep flammable items away.
  • Many people charge batteries for power tools in their garage. Have only one charging pack plugged into an outlet.
  • Do not use an extension cord with a battery charging pack.

If you are able to improve your garage fire safety by renovating, here are the recommendations:

  • Install a 20 minute rated fire door, self closing and self latching, between the garage and home.
  • If you have a room above the garage, make sure the garage ceiling has been drywalled.
  • If you have a wall attaching the garage to your home, also ensure that the garage wall is drywalled.
  • If you have attic access from your garage, use an attic hatch cover.
  • Have a smoke detector properly installed

We want to help keep you safe. If you have any questions regarding safety concerns with your garage, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Keeping Your Garage Door Quiet

Older, noisier components and degradation over time will cause your garage door to gradually get noisier. If you are annoyed at the squeaking and squawking sounds your door makes when it’s in operation you can do a few things yourself to reduce this. If that fails or you are not comfortable making some minor adjustments to your door opener system, feel free to give us a call and we can have a service technician take a look.


Examine the door and track hardware. Replace any nuts and bolts that are worn out due to wear and tear. Tighten any that have loosened up over time. Be careful not to overtighten.

Lubricate Hardware

Hinges and torsion springs can generate a lot of noise when they have not been regularly lubricated. Lubricate all moving metal parts including hinges, rollers, tracks and springs. It is highly recommended to use a garage door lubricant spray as it penetrates the moving parts and does not attract dust.lubricate garage door parts

Check Tracks and Rollers

The rollers should easily roll through the tracks…not slide. If you have some rollers that are worn out and not rolling properly, they should be replaced. Newer nylon rollers are quieter than older steel rollers. You can call us and have a service tech do this (highly recommended) or you can unbolt the roller/hinge from the door and tilt out the roller, replacing it with a new one. Also check for proper track alignment.

Steel vs. nylon rollers

Lubricate Chain

If you have a chain-drive door opener, check that the chain is taut and lubricate with spray lubrication as needed. If you have a belt-drive opener, it does not require lubrication.

Isolate Noise

Noise will transfer from the opener into the home (mechanical vibration). If you’re not quite ready to replace an old opener, you can isolate this vibration by adding rubber spacers between the motor and the metal braces which attach to the ceiling.isolate vibration

If you have any questions about making your garage door opener quieter or safer, please contact us!

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Inspecting Your Garage Doors

garage door inspectionIn previous articles, we discussed ways to make the exterior of your home look nicer, for your own enjoyment and/or to improve the appearance of your home for resale. We looked at garage doors and the 2 options of replacement or re-finishing. How do we really know if our older garage doors are still in decent and safe condition?

Your garage door is likely the largest moving part of your home. There are many mechanical components and it might be a bit overwhelming to understand and assess the functional and safety related characteristics of your garage doors.

In Victoria you are encouraged to call us anytime for a professional inspection.

The Main Things to Examine in a Garage Door Inspection:

Garage Door Panels

We’ve all seen saggy or cracked garage doors that belong to someone else. Inspect your garage door panels for signs of cracking, loose pieces, gaps, etc.cracked garage door panels

Manual Release Handle

This is the handle that hangs from your automatic door opener. With the door down, pull the handle and ensure that it releases the automatic opener. You should now be able to open the door by hand.garage door manual release handle

Door Balance

Close the door and disconnect the automatic door opener by pulling the manual release. This enables you to lift your door by hand. Carefully lift the door and notice if it rolls smoothly and easily, without any resistance or strange noises. After you lift the door to the top position it should remain there. If the door is difficult to raise and lower or does not stay in the fully open position, there are safety issues which should be addressed by a professional (that’s us.)

Spring and Hardware

Stand inside your garage with the door closed. Take a flashlight and carefully inspect the hardware, including cables, springs, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware. Inspect for wear and tear, including fraying of cables, broken springs or loose fitting mounting hardware. You can also notice the sound of the door as it operates. If there are strange noises, it may indicate a hardware issue that should be addressed.garage door hardware

Spring Containment

If a spring breaks, the force could send pieces of metal flying at a high velocity. To prevent this from happening, springs need to be contained. If you have a torsion spring above your door, it will already be mounted on a shaft, providing containment. If you have extension springs at the side of the door, ensure you have a containment cable that runs along the center of the spring.broken garage door spring

Contact Safety Reverse

Garage doors are designed to reverse if they contact an object while closing. To test this, place a 2×4 piece of wood flat under the center of the door and press the door close button. When the door reaches the 2×4, it should immediately stop and reverse to its fully open position.

Non-Contact Safety Reverse

Most doors installed since the early 1990’s have a photoelectric eye (sensor) system. You can test it by waving an object, such as a broom or piece of cardboard in front of one of the sensors, while the door is closing. The door should immediately stop and reverse to its fully open position.garage door sensor

Frequency of Inspection

There is a wide range of thought regarding how often you should inspect your garage doors. If you have newer doors (5 years or newer), then an annual inspection is sufficient. It’s safe to say that the older your doors are, the more often they should be inspected. If you have 20+ year old garage doors, then a monthly inspection may be warranted.

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3 Types of Contemporary Garage Doors

Clopay Aluminum and Glass Garage Door

A garage door may represent up to 40% of the façade of your home. If you have a modern home, it’s important to choose a contemporary style that fits well with the home’s style and architecture. Contemporary garage doors are known for their clean lines and can be customized to suit the style of your home.

The 3 most common types of contemporary garage doors are aluminum and glass, steel, and wood. Which type of door is best suited for you? What are the distinguishing features of each type?

Let’s take a look.

Aluminum and Glass

Clopay Aluminum and Glass Garage Door
Clopay Aluminum and Glass Garage Door

Transform the look of your home with aluminum and glass garage doors while you allow natural sunlight into your garage space. You can choose the colour of aluminum and the level of glass transparency. Also, there are options for the placement of aluminum panels to suit your privacy needs.


  • Visually clean, sleek and modern
  • Low maintenance
  • Many aluminum colour options
  • Window options for the amount of light transmission and privacy



Steel Garage Door
Clopay Steel Garage Door

Steel garage doors are a great complement for contemporary homes. Available in many colours, they also have a variety of options which have varying thermal ratings. Steel doors are available in flush or grooved panels and are protected with a multi-layer coating system that prevents rust.


  • Visually clean, sleek and modern
  • Variety of thermal/insulation options
  • Many colour options, even a faux wood grain!
  • Rustproof coating



Custom Wood Door
Custom Wood Door

Yes, wood can also be used in contemporary garage doors. A major benefit of wood is that you can have a completely custom look designed. Using a variety of wood types and finishes, a completely unique look can be crafted for you.


  • Completely custom appearance
  • Custom window design
  • Variety of thermal/insulation options
  • Many stain or paint options


 Which type of door do I choose?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question but there are a few thoughts to consider. Do you want low maintenance? Then perhaps aluminum or steel is a better choice. Do you want to allow a lot of natural light into your garage? Aluminum/glass is best for that. Do you want a completely customized look? Wood can be fully customized to match your design vision.

Either way, a new contemporary garage door for your home will be beautiful, practical and add value to your home.