The torsion shaft with lift drums on the ends is above the door. The standard residential door shaft is a 1-inch outside diameter hollow steel tube. The inside diameters of the bearings, drums, and winding cones are sized to loosely fit that 1-inch diameter shaft. At the center is a bearing plate, on either side of which are the torsion springs, or in some cases just one larger spring. The spring pictured on the left in the photo is broken about 1/4 of the way in from its left end. The black shaft with dangling rope and door bracket is the track for the electric opener.
If you have paired springs, you can take a shortcut here instead of using locking pliers. Simply apply a slight torsion to the bar by clamping one of the springs with an easy half-turn or so applied. This will hold the lift cables in slight tension while you wind the other spring. If you have a single spring design, you can't use this trick, and have to use the locking pliers.
A basic low cost garage door is made of steel reinforced with cross members. It is light and durable. Steel doors have a wood grain finish so that they look very nice. Wood doors are not installed as often as in the past, but they are still available. For those for whom budget considerations are secondary to appearance and value, there are many, many types of doors. Decorative garage doors can make a big difference in the appearance of a home, raising the home's value by as much as 4%. When you're ready to discuss your garage door design options, just call us.
“Especially on houses where the garage is front and center, the garage door absolutely has to look good,” says Casey McGrath, a real estate practitioner in Kitsap County, Wash. And it has to operate smoothly: Americans use the garage more than any other entry to the house, including the front door, according to a survey commissioned by window and door manufacturer JELD-WEN.

I obtained my parts, as described on this page, from American Garage Door Supply Inc. (http://www.americandoorsupply.com/) They may have raised their small-order prices or imposed a minimum order since I ordered from them in 2002 at the prices in my essay above. The Web site offers a free catalog by PDF download or mail. Springs in 2005 were priced at $2.25/lb.

Security Lights: Most newer garage door openers have at least two bright light bulbs, as well as lights activated by motion. On the other hand, some older or cheaper openers are limited to a single light bulb. This doesn't help much with a garage darkened by shadows, leaving you unsure if the rustling in the corner is your cat … or a skunk that snuck into the garage.

Cable fail-safe redundancy: Based on the proper setting of the drums on the torsion shaft, the two lift cables divide the lifting force equally to keep the door level as it rises. This not only levels the door, but also provides a fail-safe mechanism. If one of the cables should fail, such as from breaking or losing its end attachment, the other cable will then carry the full weight of the door. This will pull the door up on one side with twice the normal force, while the other side falls from its now unsupported weight, tending to make the door bind in its tracks and jam. Although not foolproof, this is a safety feature of the design which keeps the door from falling catastrophically if a cable were to fail while the door was traveling. The jammed condition also prevents a lowered door from opening with the hazard of a single broken cable, further minimizing the chances of both cables failing. Since if one cable fails the other must sustain the full weight of the door, the cables and attachments are rated many times the normal working load of half the door weight. A proper safety inspection of the door should include a critical look at the cables and their attachments.

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Once the springs are relaxed and loose on the torsion shaft, the lift drums lose their tension on the lift cable, and the cable comes loose. The end of the cable is terminated by a press sleeve, which locks into a ramp on the drum. Different drum styles have a bolt or other method to fix the cable end to the drum. These steel cables are springy and won't stay in place without tension. If my pre-inspection had showed that these cables were worn or frayed, then I would have ordered proper replacements ahead of time from the spring distributor, since this is the opportunity to replace them. Standard hardware-store cable and fittings are not appropriate.
Replace your old garage door and give your home a new look. Make it a custom garage door down to the tiny details. It's easy, fun and you can put together as many as you like before you get the perfect style for your home. Try our online customized garage door selector tool, and you'll have the garage door of your dreams on its way to you in no time. Standard, yet dependable wood-look steel doors, grooved-panel steel doors and classic raised panel steel doors are some of your options. Boost your style with barn garage doors for a unique, old-time yet modern look. Choose from hundreds of garage styles including traditional, carriage house and contemporary. If you spend time in the garage, let some light in, get a garage door with windows. The garage doesn't have to be just for cars, use the space however you need it - a play room for the kids, a workshop for hobbies, a studio. Let fresh air in but keep the bugs out with a garage door screen.
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