Archive for May, 2010

Maintaining Your Garage Door

Maintaining Your Garage Door is probably one of the last things you think about doing, however checking your garage door every 3 months can in fact save you a major repair bill or sometimes even having to replace the entire door. The garage Maintaining Your Garage Doordoor consists of several major parts. There are the panels which everyone sees, there are the rollers that slide inside the steel tracks and there are the steel springs which acts as counterweights and make it easy for you to lift the door to open it. These same weights will also stop the door from closing too quickly from it’s own weight. Many people will also have a garage door opener as well which opens or closes the door at the press of a button.

Maintaining Your Garage Door

Each of the panels are attached to each other by hinges which are bolted together and the rollers are held in place by clamps which are also bolted to the panels. So what are the basic maintenance things you need to do and why do you need to do maintenance at all on a garage door?

Catastrophic Failure of a Garage Door

Occasionally, I have seen doors come off the tracks and when powered by a garage door opener, the door continues to move and will get horribly bent out of shape. This situation can occur when the hinges become loose and separate from the panels or when the rollers which are held in place also fall off due to the bolts also becoming loose and falling away from the door. The garage door will quickly be pulled off course and as a result will be bent out of shape!

When this occurs there is very little chance that you will be able to restore the door to its original shape and will then need to invest in a new one which can cost hundreds of dollars. If you are lucky, the door will not bend and you can reattached the loose bolts, hinges and rollers and be back in business

How to Avoid Garage Failures

Routine checks are all it takes to avoid the above catastrophic failures. Start by checking each hinge on your door to confirm that the hinges and the bolts are not loose. If they are loose, use a suitable wrench to tighten up each bolt to ensure they are secure.

Next check each of the rollers. Make sure they are inside the tracks for both sides of the door and run freely inside these tracks. You may want to disconnect the automatic garage door opener from the door so that you can move the door by hand easily. Check your manual for the correct lubricant and add sufficient lubricant to the rollers to help them easily move back and forth in the tracks. Check the bolts that hold these rollers in place and make sure that they are all tight and secure. If not, tighten each one until they are secure and then recheck that the door moves freely in the tracks.

Check the Springs

A word of caution is in order for this aspect. These springs are high tension springs and depending on the location of the door can be extended increasing the tension levels. Check the springs and cables for any deterioration such as rust or fraying.  Sometime there will be surface rust, which you can ignore in most cases.  If any of the cables are frayed you should really make arrangements to get these fixed quickly before they fail and cause more serious problems.

Lubricate with Oil to Reduce Corrosion

This last step really depends on were you live. If your garage door is exposed to corrosive elements such as salt, particularly in the winter.  Salt filled snow can be tracked into your garage by your car. When it melts it runs out the opening of your garage. The salt water mix will come in contact with the bottom of your door. As with cars, the garage door will start to rust as the steel comes in contact with the salt water mix.

Consumers can purchase the same type of oil that is used to lubricate cars. This will help it resist corrosion in northern climates were salt is used on the roads. This oil comes in an aerosol can. It should be sprayed along the bottom inside of the door. This oil will spread and penetrate any surface scratches. It will protect the door from the effects of the salt.

Spraying on a regular basis will help to prolong the life of your door. Spraying with oil will delay the eventual corrosion that will take place.

Summary

These steps are relatively simple to do. If followed up on a regular basis will help to prolong the life of your garage door. These simple steps can ave you hundreds of dollars.

  • Check all hinges and bolts, tighten as required
  • Check all rollers and bolts, tighten as required
  • Review springs and cables for corrosion, replace as required
  • Spray bottom of garage door with preserving oil to delay the effects of salt corrosion.

Our next post will be about the garage door opener itself. We will cover how you can maintain it to ensure it lasts longer and save you money.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestion.


Paint Your Windows

Painting your windows is one of the most important home maintenance activities  you can do for your home and for yourself. Many new homes are now built with vinyl frames and you do not have to paint them. Older homes, though still have Paint your windowswooden framed windows. Unless you paint your windows and give them the proper care, they will succumb to dry rot or wet rot from the elements. If you have ever had to replace windows, then you will know just how expensive they can be to replace. Depending on the size of the window, they can cost from as low as $200 to $1000 for larger windows. Complex windows can cost even more. Doing an entire home can literally cost thousands of dollars which most of us cannot afford. The alternative of paint your windows is far cheaper. Paint Your Windows is definitely the way to go.

What Happens if I Miss Even One Year

The answer to this question really depends on were you live and which direction your windows face. Believe it or not, the amount of sun your windows receive and the number of heating / cooling cycles your windows experience, have a huge impact on how long the paint will last on your wooden window frames.

Typically southern facing windows will undergo more heating and cooling cycles. The result is that the paint will after time, begin to bubble and break off. If you live in a location were you have freezing during the evening and above freezing during the day, the water will eventually get under the pain, then freeze causing the paint to bubble off. Even within one year the paint especially on the window sills can lift off exposing the wood to the elements and will begin to deteriorate very quickly.

We have found that vertical surfaces will be fine, while the horizontal surfaces such as the window sills will lose some of their paint exposing the bare wood in just 12 months. Once the wood is exposed or water can get under the paint, the wood frame of your windows is going to deteriorate and begin to rot. It might take only a couple years and your wood window sill is soft and not insulating the window in the manner that it should.

How Should You Paint Your Windows

If you really want your windows to last a long time and to avoid misting up between window panes, you need to take care of them. You may be able to get away with just painting the window sills each year and the rest of the window every two years. Some people will say you can go for 5 years, however do not believe them. You will be replacing the entire window within 15 years if you follow that rule.

Start by checking each window and scraping away any loose paint that appears ready to bubble up or is loose. Once you complete this process, you will know how much of the window you will need to paint.

If you need to paint bare wood, it should be dry and you should use a primer first before painting with the proper outdoor paint.  Give the window you are painting a coat of paint, allow it to dry and then apply a second coat of paint. If you only paint the window sills, make sure that you have a good match in color. Even if using the same paint, it may be a different shade if there is a lot of fading due to the sun.

What if I am Afraid of Heights

Many people are afraid of heights and are not comfortable being on a ladder. Don’t take chances to save a few dollars. It is just nor worth it, especially if you have an accident and break something when you fall off the ladder.

Hire a window painter to do the job, but make sure you understand what kind of a job they will do. Some will just paint over the bubbled parts and it looks great for a little while , then the paint peels off within a few months and you have bare wood.

Make sure they will scrape first, then prime and then paint. Inspect their work at each stage and if your not satisfied, get them to do it over again. Before they start make sure there is a clear understanding of what work will be done, how it will be done and that you will be inspecting.

There are many door to door companies going around painting. Some are good while others are not. Choose with care and ask for references.

Summary

Check your windows every year for evidence of peeling and bubbling. Scrape first , then prime and then paint. If your concerned about climbing a ladder, hire a contractor, however be specific about your needs. A poor job is not worth doing at all will give you a false sense of confidence. If you can do it yourself, you will save hundreds of dollars and if you take care of your windows every year you will save thousands of dollars!

Save


Do It Your Self!

Do It Your SelfThe theme of this post is ” do it your self” ! This is by far the best way to save money on home maintenance costs and annual upkeep. Consider that if you need to pay someone to do something around your home and he or she is charging $50 an hour plus dispatch fees etc, you are really paying approximately $70 or $80 and hour before taxes. In other words depending on what tax bracket you are in you have to earn this much in pre-tax income to pay for a handyman to come around and do this work for you. Can you do it yourself safely and meet the quality level that you and your family look for? How about learning how to do this yourself?  Can you teach yourself how to do this work yourself?

Most people can answer yes to these three questions.

Most trades people are very competitive and you can sometimes negotiate how much they will charge, however recognize that there is usually a dispatch fee plus an hourly rate after they arrive. Sometimes the dispatch fee will include the first hour. The dispatch fee or call out ( they use various names ) can be as much as $100. Before asking tradesmen to come over, if you decide to go this direction, make sure you understand the costs first so there are no surprises!

Do the Math When You Decide to hire a Contractor

Now if you are quite rich and can afford it or you can make this much and more at your work, while the handy man is doing what ever you need, then it is a different scenario. For most of us we cannot make $70 or $80 and hour and so it makes sense for the average consumer to do the work themselves!

Another major advantage is the satisfaction of completing something on your own and doing a great job at it. There is a real sense of achievement in completing a small project at home which many people find rewarding when they are finished.

I do not Know How to Do These Things

But, many will say they do not know how to do this type of work. There are so many ways to learn how to do basic repairs that most people can pick up what they need to know to do most jobs. Sure it may take you a bit longer to complete a job, you may need to buy some extra parts or tools, but the combination of reward and reduced costs to you more than pays for the extra time and tools you need.

The internet is an unbelievable resource to find all kinds of basic help on a whole variety of tasks.  Some people though need the confidence of actually talking to an expert to completely understand how to complete a job. While others may have a specific situation that needs some discussion and thought about how to complete the job.

Most home improvement stores such as Home Depot, and many others have experienced staff that have spent many years doing this type of work. For example, if you are changing a tap, there is a plumber who has hung up his tools to work in a Home Depot store and will be more than happy to give you some pointers on how to complete your task. They will even help you pick put out all of the parts and the tools you will need to complete the job.

If you are tackling a more major activity such as laying hardwood floor for example, most of these same stores will put on training courses from time to time, based on demand to show people how to properly set up hardwood flooring installations and complete the job.

Do It Your Self! – Making Mistakes

Of course you are going to make mistakes! If this is the first time you are trying to complete a repair on something, drywall a basement, paint, install wall paper or lay hardwood floors, you are going to make mistakes. This is just part of the learning process and it will depend on how much preparation you do and how much training you get in advance.

There will be some extra expense due to your mistakes since you may need to buy extra tools or parts. However in most cases this extra cost will not come anywhere close to the cost of labor if you were to hire someone. If you have to purchase tools, you will have these tools for many other jobs. Their costs are not wasted in any manner.

Summary

Doing the work yourself can save you lots of money. Especially when you take into account what it costs you in before tax dollars.  Always find out the charges will be if you do decide to call someone in to do the work. The money you save will more than pay for the tools and the parts you need. Learn how to do various tasks by talking to the experts. A good source can be found at many hardware stores like Home Depot. Even if you make mistakes, it is ok. You have saved more than enough money to fix your mistake in most cases.


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