You Can’t Have the Rainbow without the Storm
We define our style, either simple aluminum garage door or fully custom wooden garage door, through our budget, but also through the local climate and construction limitations. Panel design, window design, color and more are all part of the equation in terms of matching the garage door to your home design. Garage door is indeed the little extra, the final touch to bring your home to a 100% trendy look. Nevertheless, a garage door can be extremely complicated piece of equipment and this complicated piece of equipment needs to be installed correctly and according to the local and national standards. In this detailed post you can read and learn How to Frame a Garage Opening and How to Install a Garage Door. When the time comes, you could implement these methods and techniques while installing your own garage door.
How to Install a Garage Door – Where to Start
First, a Garage Door Installation procedure requires careful measurements to determine if the garage frame and header have the right dimensions.
“We must ensure that the garage studs and jambs allowing us to safely install the garage door brackets, tracks and shaft system. We also must confirm that the clearance between top of door opening to the ceiling allowing smooth installation.”
Our Scientific Age Demands Definitions
Our Scientific Age Demands Definitions – Side Framing:
Both side jambs on the garage door opening should be 2X6 and must be flushed with the interior side jambs. The interior side jambs should be 2X6 as well (minimum of 3.5 inches wide past the opening), and go all the way from top to bottom, that way the studs can be nailed to the top and sole plates.
“We must ensure that the interior side jambs are safely secure against the wall by nailing them to the top and sole plates. Side jambs that are installed incorrectly can get detached from the wall due to the garage door’s large amount of pressure.”
Our Scientific Age Demands Definitions – Header and Headroom:
The header needs to be 9 inches longer than the garage opening. To be installed, the shaft system needs a clearance of 12 inches between top of door opening and the ceiling. That clearance can be reduced to 5 inches; in this case however, low clearance kit must be installed. Another 2×12 (2×6 can be used as well) should be installed at the center of the garage opening, from the top interior jamb to the ceiling.
“The center 2×12 is necessary for the shaft system center bracket attachment and for the Garage Door Opener rail attachment. This 2×12 is constantly being under tremendous amount of pressure due to the garage door’s weight and the torsion spring torque level, therefore, it has to be safely secured against the wall.”
Our Scientific Age Demands Definitions – Tracks and Backroom:
The garage door vertical tracks for a standard garage door require 1 ¾ inch of space past the garage door side jamb (the edge of the door) and 2 ¾ inch of space back from the wall.
“We have to make sure that the concrete stem-wall doesn’t interfere with the vertical tracks by measuring a minimum of 1 ¾ inch from the side jamb to the stem-wall.”
The garage door horizontal tracks allow the garage door to be raised and rest horizontally. The horizontal tracks need sufficient backroom as the following: (Garage Door Height) + (16 Inches) = Required Backroom.
The Garage Door
The garage door dimensions must match the garage door opening. For instance, if the garage door opening is 16 feet wide by 7 feet high then the garage door should be 16 feet wide by 7 feet high as well.
He that can have Patience can have what he Will
After setting up the garage door opening and the garage door hardware, we need to identify what is the garage door bottom section/panel, what are the intermittent sections/panels and what is the top section/panel.
The Garage Door – Door’s Hinges and Brackets:
The hinges are holding the garage door panels together and by assigning the correct hinge for each section they are assisting the garage door by pulling it away from the opening and preventing any binding against the wall. Intermittent hinges should always be #1 hinges, regardless of what section it is, however, the end hinges must be suitable to the specific section. For instance; the very bottom section should have end hinges #1, the second section should have end hinges #2 and so on. The top brackets for the upper section should be screwed in and adjusted according to the manufacturer specification. On the very bottom section, two bottom brackets need to be mounted down on both left and right bottom corners of the section.
“The bottom bracket should be mounted down on the right and left bottom corners by x3 self tapper bolts each. The bottom brackets are being used to hold the garage door cable loop and the bottom roller.”
The Garage Door – Stacking up the Panels
Starting with the bottom section, after we screwed in the designated brackets and side hinges (intermittent hinges can be installed at the end), the bottom section should be placed against the interior side jambs, equally at the center of the opening.
“After the bottom section is positioned in the right place, we slightly hammer a standard 3 inch nail on the right and left 2×6 interior side jambs, right next to the section and then slightly bend it over towards it. The nails should be hammered with each section we stack and will temporary secure the garage door sections against the opening. Every step of the way we must ensure that the sections are centered to the opening and flushed at the ends.”
Before stacking additional sections, the designated end hinges should be screwed in, for instance; after stacking section #2, end hinges #1 should be installed on both ends to attach the bottom section with section #2. Once that is done, we slide the rollers into the hinge’s shaft (hinges #2 and up; the roller slides into the bottom shaft).
The Tracks System
The Tracks System – Vertical Tracks
To make it easy, we first place the jamb brackets loosely on the track, at the designated area. When placing the vertical track, we want the flat side facing to the wall and the slightly curved side facing towards us (when going in a bit of an angle, the vertical track can easily wrapped around the rollers).
When the vertical track is roughly positioned in place we use lag bolts to mount the jamb brackets to the 2×6 jamb.
“The lag bolt should be positioned and drilled in the middle of the jamb bracket hole so the track can be easily adjusted if needed. When placing the vertical track we have to make sure that it doesn’t push the rollers too tight against the hinge. We can do that by adjusting the vertical track farther away from the door and creating a distance of 1/8” between the hinge and the roller’s lip.”
The Tracks System – Flag Bracket and Horizontal Tracks
With the vertical tracks positioned and mounted in the right place, the flag bracket should be attached to it, leveled and mounted with lag bolts to the 2×6 jamb. After the flag bracket is leveled and mounted in place, the horizontal tracks can be set up. To make it easier, after it’s positioned above the vertical track on one end, it can be temporary tied up to the rafters by a simple rope at the other end.
“The horizontal track needs to be loosely screwed in to the bottom section of the flag bracket and to be loosely attached with a solid punch angle to the middle/upper section of the flag bracket.”
The Tracks System – Adjustments and Alignments
With the tracks and the flag bracket in place it is time to carefully pull the temporary nails that we hammered while stacking the panels.
“Once the fixture nails are all out, the vertical track should be adjusted. To prevent any binding against the wall, a small space is needed between the garage opening and the door itself. That small space will be covered by an exterior rubber molding. We start at the bottom jamb bracket and work our way up to the others to make sure that the door is not too tight against the wall.”
After the vertical and horizontal tracks are adjusted and mounted to the correct position, the horizontal track needs to be leveled with ground and reinforced to the rafters with a solid piece of punch angle.
“To prevent any movement of the horizontal track, we must secure it correctly to the flag bracket and at the end of it, to the rafters.”
At this point all bolts should be tighten, both left and right tracks (horizontal and vertical) along with the rest of the hardware need to be adjusted, leveled and positioned correctly.
The Shaft System
The Shaft System – End Bearing Plates:
There are two types of end bearing plates: supported and unsupported. The supported end bearing plate is mostly being used for standard systems; 12 inches and up clearance between top of door opening to the ceiling. The supported end bearing plate is mounted to the flag bracket, to the punch angle of the horizontal track and to the header/jamb. The unsupported end bearing plate is mostly being used for low clearance systems; less than 12 inches clearance between the top of door opening to the ceiling. The unsupported end bearing plate is mounted to the flag bracket and/or to the horizontal track punch angle only.
“The first step when setting up the shaft system is the end bearing plate. After leveled the end bearing plates need to be mounted with flat head bolts to the flag brackets, to the punch angles of the horizontal tracks and to the header/jambs with a lag bolt.”
The Shaft System – Center Bracket:
The center bracket is what’s holding the springs and carrying the
door’s weight. It’s constantly being under tremendous amount of pressure due to the spring’s tension. There are two types of center brackets: The slotted spring anchor bracket that comes without a bearing and the spring anchor bracket with fixed bearing. In both cases the center bracket needs to be aligned and leveled with the end brackets.
“After careful measurements, we must ensure that the center bracket is aligned with the end bearing plates and is correctly mounted to the header/jamb, in the center of the garage opening.”
The Shaft System – Shaft:
Once the end brackets and the center bracket are positioned and mounted correctly the shaft can be slide through all of them. If the shaft is bended or has arch to it, the center bracket needs to be correctly adjusted and aligned with the end brackets.
The Shaft System – Springs:
The garage door torsion spring has stationary cone and a winding cone. The stationary cone stays in place and secures the spring to the center bracket (also known as the spring anchor bracket). The winding cone purposes are: installing, adjusting and winding the spring. When a garage door spring is installed, the coil is wound up to create the necessary torque level. The required amount of springs that need to be installed depends on the garage door type and varies from four springs to one spring only. In all cases the springs must be installed on the correct side of the center bracket. In most cases, the red winding conned spring (RW) installed on the left hand side and the black winding conned spring (LW) installed on
the right hand side (both need to be positioned where the coils ends facing towards the ceiling). If the slotted center bracket is required, a separate bearing needs to be provided and positioned in one of the springs’ stationary cone.
“Once the shaft is in place, we can then alternately pull it out, once from the right end bearing plate and once from the left end bearing plate. That way the springs can easily slide inside along the shaft from the free ends.”
With the spring positioned properly, the stationary cones need to be safely secured to the center bracket.
The Shaft System – Lift Cable Drums:
The Lift Cable Drums keep the garage door balanced while it opens and closes. Same as the spring, the drum must be installed on the correct side and with its set of bolts facing inwards. The red drum position is in the left hand side (has “L” on it) and the black drum position is on the right hand side (has “R” on it).
“Alternately pulling the shaft out again, sliding the drums from the free ends, once from the right end bearing plate and once from the left end bearing plate.”
The Shaft System – Cables:
The garage door cables are the only connection between the garage door and the shaft system. For a standard residential garage door the cable length needs to be as follows: Garage Door Height + 18 inches = Cable Length. The cable hooks to the bottom bracket with a loop, passes behind the rollers and hooks with a tip to a designated slot on the drum.
Before proceeding any further we must ensure the following:
- That the cables are attached correctly; pass in the right path, behind all the rollers, between the door panels and the jamb brackets.
- That the tip of the cable coming from the back side of the shaft is positioned correctly in the slot of the drum.
- That the shaft is coming out evenly from both ends of the end bearing plates.
The Shaft System – Adding Tension and Balancing the Door
Starting at the left hand side, wrapping the cable can be easily done by positioning it in the drum’s groove and turning the drum towards the ground.
“Every step of the process we must ensure that the cable stays in the right groove.”
Once the cable is in the right groove, we need to keep the cable tight by turning the drum and holding it towards the ground. Before tightening the drum’s set of bolts, we have to make sure that there is no space between the end
bearing plate and the drum by sliding the drum against the end bearing plate. While the cable is tight, use 7/16 in. (11mm) 12 points wrench to tighten up the drum’s set of bolts.
The Shaft System – Tightening Up the Bolts:
“Manufacturers and standards organizations have a strict set of torque values for the drum’s and spring’s set of bolts; however, studies have shown that these standards are not followed. Even experienced technicians often over torque or under torque them.”
Equipment manuals and product information doesn’t usually include the required torque values for the drum’s and spring’s set of bolts.
“Tightening up the bolts correctly is an important step, over torquing the bolts can easily damage and deform the shaft. In most cases, the manufacturer recommendations are as follows: once the bolt has made contact with the shaft, additional full revolution is needed.”
The Shaft System – Leveling:
It is important to bring both cables to the same amount of tension before any spring is being wound; therefore, we want to make sure that the left hand drum and cable are constantly tensioned, before moving on to the right hand drum. To accomplish that, we can use a couple of locking vice script sets: The first locking vice script set is being clamped on the shaft and slightly being pressed downwards, towards the ground. While pressing the locking vice script and keeping the pressure, the second locking vice script is being clamped on the shaft, up against the header/wall.
“When pressing the first locking vice script set, putting moderate amount of pressure is more than enough. We have to remember that the right hand drum and cable are being tensioned by hand only, without any tools being used.”
The Shaft System – Safety Comes First:
Once the second locking vice script set is fixed against the header/wall, the first locking vice script (the one that we used to press the shaft towards the ground) needs to be released and clamped back on the shaft down against the door/wall.
“Fixing a locking vice script set down against the door/wall is a safety precaution. This locking vice script set will hold the garage door down in case that excessive amount of torque has been applied to the springs or in case that the wrong springs provided.”
The Shaft System – Right Hand Drum:
Proceeding to the right hand drum; ensuring that the cable tip in the drum’s slot and turning the drum down against the ground, simultaneously wrapping the cable in the right groove. Once that is done, we use 7/16 in. (11mm) 12 points wrench to tighten up the drum’s set of bolts while pulling the drum towards the ground.
“Once the drums are tight on both ends, we have to make sure that both cables have the approximate amount of tension. We can compare the tension levels by taping the cables with our finger.”
If one of the cables has substantial amount of tension than the other, it is necessary to go back, readjust the system
and create similar tension levels between the cables.
Winding up the Springs
Winding up the Springs – Necessary Preparations:
This step can be quite dangerous; therefore, designated tools must be used!
“Due to the spring’s tremendous amount of tension, using thin pieces of metal such as screwdrivers is unacceptable. We must ensure that the winding bars that we are going to use while winding up thesprings are solid, fitting properly into the designated slots of the spring’s winding cone and grabbing it firmly.”
If the necessary winding bars are out of your reach, use x2, 16-18 inches long, #10 M Rebar and slightly grind the ends to make them fit to the winding cone’s slots. Manufacturers have a strict set of torque values for the Garage Door Springs; those are calculated according to the weight of the garage door in relation to the type of springs provided. When winding up the springs adhere to manufacturer specifications regarding to the required total amount of revolutions.
“Before making any adjustments to the spring, we must take a reference point to where the winding con set of bolts are while the spring is resting on the shaft. That way we will be able to determine what a full revolution is. We also have to make sure that the winding con set of bolts are fairly loose and are not binding against the shaft when the spring is turning.”
Winding up the Springs – The Winding Process:
Starting with the left side (red conned spring), we keep body and limbs away as possible and a 7/16 in. (11mm) 12 points wrench in reach. We start at the first winding con’s slot by sliding the winding bar all the way into it and pushing the bar upwards, towards the ceiling (with the coil direction). Once we have a clear access to the next slot, sliding the second winding bar all the way into the winding con’s slot and pushing up towards the ceiling. We keep winding up the spring until the required amount of revolutions achieved. If miscounted, unwind the spring and start all over from the beginning. After the required amount of revolutions achieved, tighten up the winding con set of bolts correctly with a 7/16 in. wrench. Once the red conned spring is wound and mounted to the shaft, we continue to the right side to wind the black conned spring (if the manufacturer provided two springs).
Note: the spring becoming longer when winded. For a standard spring, by the end of the winding process it should be approximately 2 inch longer than its original length.
Caution should be taken
Before removing the locking vice script sets we need to make sure that all the fixture nails are pulled out, all the bolts are tight, the tracks are mounted correctly in place and that there is nothing in the garage door way.
Testing the Garage Door
- Starting with the locking vice script set that has been fixed down against the door/wall – while holding and securing the locking vice script that has been fixed up against the header/wall, we release the lower locking vice script set.
- Slowly and carefully turning the remained locking vice script set towards the ground, making sure that the garage door is not pulling up hard.
- If the door is pulling up hard, push the locking vice script back against the header/wall and to hold the door down; clamped back the other locking vice script set down against the door/wall. Unwind the springs and start the winding procedure from step one, making sure to apply the required amount of revolutions according to the manufacturer recommendations.
- If the door is too heavy clamped back the other locking vice script set down against the door/wall. Unwind the springs and start the winding procedure from step one, making sure to apply the required amount of revolutions according to the manufacturer recommendations.
Molding (external weather stripping)
The molding preventing water and dust from getting in. It’s being used to seal the garage opening and any minor space that has been created between the garage opening and the door.
“We measure the garage opening and cut the molding to the same size. When installing, we push the molding against the door and nail it to the sides and upper jambs.”