How to Maintain Your Automatic Wooden Garage Door
Your automatic wooden garage door is probably one of the most beautiful examples of millwork in your home. Wooden doors are stately and attractive, but they also require a lot of maintenance and can have expensive repairs if the doors are not cared for. Knowing how to take care of your wooden garage door can help you keep it looking beautiful and working properly for many years to come.
Inspect Your Door Annually
Wood is vulnerable to rot, so inspect your door on an annual basis. When inspecting your wooden door, look for the following signs of rot or decay:
- Areas lacking paint. If your door is painted, these painted areas are vulnerable to water intrusion.
- Discolorations. Discolorations can be a sign of mold, mildew and other forms of decay. Typically the most vulnerable part of the door will be the part close to the ground, so inspect these areas thoroughly.
- Soft wood. Poke the door with a screwdriver or an awl. If the tool sinks down into the wood, this is a sign that the wood is rotten.
On stained doors, check for signs the stain has won off. You’ll be able to tell by spraying the door with a fine mist. If the stain has worn off, water will soak into the door. If the water beads up and then runs off the door, the door is well stained.
If your inspection of the door reveals wood rot, this will need to be addressed before you can repaint or reseal the door. Contact a professional to have the damaged parts of your door repaired.
Restain As Needed
If the door does need to be restained, you should perform the restaining right away to ensure that the door is well protected from the elements. To restain the door, do the following:
- Wash down the door with mildly soapy water, then dry the door.
- Lightly sand down any chipped finish to ensure that the old stain is smooth against the surface of the door. This may be necessary for opaque stains and paints, which are typically thicker than transparent stains.
- Fill any holes or scratches in the door with wood putty.
- Sand down the wood putty until it is flush with the door.
- Paint the surface of the door with new stain or paint.
- Allow the stain to dry thoroughly. You’ll be able to tell the stain is dry when it isn’t tacky anymore.
- Recoat as necessary.
Failure to restrain the door could result in moisture intrusion, so don’t put off this project.
Perform Safety Tests Regularly
Safety tests are important for all automatic doors, not just wooden ones. You should perform your safety test while inspecting the door for wood rot. The safety inspection should consist of two different tests.
First, test the motion-sensitive sensors at the base of the garage door. To perform the test, start with the door in the open position. Push the button to close the door. As the door is closing, wave a broom or a yard stick in the path of the doorway. The door should reverse its course when the yard stick gets in the way of the sensors.
If the door does not reverse its course, wipe down the sensors with a soft cloth, then try the test again. If dirt is the reason that the sensors malfunctioned, this should fix the problem. If the sensors still do not work, this is a sign that the sensors have a more serious problem.
Finally, perform one final test. Open the door and lay a brick or a thick board in the path of the door. Close the door. When the door reaches the brick or the board, it should reverse course.
If your garage door fails either test, contact a garage door repair specialist as soon as possible.
Inspect the Door for Technical Problems
At the same time that you perform your annual safety inspection, check the door for technical problems. When you do this inspection:
- Lubricate the gears and chain with silicone grease.
- Open and close the garage door while listening for strange noises like grinding, screeching or clanging.
- Tighten all nuts and bolts as needed.
Strange noises need to be examined by a reputable garage door inspector or repair person.
Get a Tune Up
If you haven’t gotten a garage door tune up in several years, contact a repair person for a professional inspection. He or she will test all of the various functions of your door, re-calibrate its parts and make recommendations for repairs if they are necessary.
Contact a Garage Door Expert for More Information
If you have a wooden garage door and have more questions about maintenance, contact an expert. At Raynor Door Company, we’re happy to answer homeowner questions about caring for their wooden garage doors so homeowners can have beautiful, functional garages.