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Smart Garage

Smart Garage Doors That Make Outdoor Living a Breeze

It takes more than just extra square footage to expand your living space–smart features are expanding from the home to the garage to help you create the environment you want with the touch of a smartphone.

Garage door openers are the “most active and frequently-used smart home device,” according to the Chamberlain Group and Parks Associates. With 14 percent growth expected in the smart home market from 2016 to 2022, garage door innovations are likely to snowball as well.   

What smart garage door functionality is possible?

Internet of Things (IoT) applications are giving homeowners the ability to make their property more secure, ease/simplify mundane tasks and even control expenses. Computer, wireless and mobile technologies are enabling a range of solutions to hit the market, including smart door locks, network security cameras and smart thermostats and meters. The technology allows for mobile alerts and notifications, digital logs regarding access activity, monitoring and remote control from mobile devices.

Brands like LiftMaster and Chamberlain are integrating home and garage functionality so that you can:

  • Open and close via smartphone and voice activation. Ideal when someone is locked out, traveling, lost the remote or just has their hands full: you can control access wherever you are.
  • Turn house lights on as garage door opens. Not only is it easier for you to walk into a well-lit house, house lights are a deterrent to possible intruders–especially when they suddenly switch on.
  • Remote-control temperature. Climate control is key, whether you are storing hot, cold or humidity-sensitive items in your (well-insulated) garage, or you want to make it enjoyably habitable.   
  • Access/use the garage even when the power goes out. Some garages shut down without electricity, and it may not be easy or possible to get in. Backup batteries and batteries that charge from the house make opening and closing the door a snap.

Interested in learning more about your smart garage door options? We’d be happy to show you around the Garage Doors of Indianapolis northwest showroom or contact us for a consult.

Man installing a garage door

How to Install a Garage Door–and When to Call an Expert

Changing the look of your home could be as easy as changing your garage door. And depending on the door type and features, it can be a DIY project. What does the work entail? We’ve laid out the steps below.  

Detach the door. Your old door may have specific removal instructions, per the manufacturer’s manual. But in general, you want to separate the door from the pulleys, remove each door panel and unfasten the tracks.

Be prepared for the weight. Doors made of wood, glass, and steel are heavier than the aluminum and can be cumbersome. Take care to disassemble the door in pieces, so that you aren’t holding more than you can handle.

Get the right dimensions and lay new tracks. You need to know the height and width of the door opening, of course, but overall depth and capacity above the door should also be noted–this is the fly space, providing enough room for an open door. Shoot for about 12” above the door and enough clearance to encompass its height, with at least 20” buffer.

When you install a new door, make sure to install the corresponding vertical and horizontal tracks–they’ve been designed with appropriately spaced gussets, which allow the door to open and close at specific distances. Without these pre-sets, the door can get caught along the jambs, increasing pressure and instability.   

Attach brackets and rollers. Put the framework in place, whether it be mounting brackets on the wall or door jamb and sliding the rollers onto the tracks.

Place panels and secure from the bottom up. Weatherstrip the bottom panel and level it, laying it into the door frame and securing according to manufacturer instructions. From here, attach hinges as necessary, which allow the door to fold as it rises/falls.  

Spring the door and test it. Attach the springs to the pulleys in the final step and test the door–it will probably take two or more people to hold it steady while lifting it slowly, making sure the tracks are even, parallel and smooth.

There are a lot of pieces to manage in garage door installations, not to mention the need for exactness and adequate support. For many, the project requires calling in garage door experts to do the job. Here’s why you may want to do so.

Why and when you need a professional tech to install your garage door

The process–and doors themselves– can be cumbersome. Here at Garage Doors of Indianapolis, we may send two or three techs for an installation, depending on the door type, because they can weigh up to 400 or more lbs. The doors must be secured and tracked in various positions, which calls for a degree of expertise and manpower. It’s not a one-man job.

Your safety is at risk. Do you know what could happen if you don’t use the correct/level tracks, install hinges in the wrong places or have incorrect spring tension or counterbalance? Lack of awareness of how the pieces play together could result in door falls that harm to your vehicle–or yourself.   

Lack of security. Even if the door functions properly, is it secure? Most high-tech features that customers find desirable include electrical wiring or computer programming that complicate the installation process, requiring expertise to make sure it is tamper-resistant.   

You gain warranty, service, and support. Not only is the door covered by a manufacturer warranty, most garage door companies back their product and workmanship. We offer 24 hour emergency service, annual maintenance, and regular repairs.

 

Interested in updating your garage door? Contact us to schedule a consult and/or installation.

Flood Sand Bags in Front of Garage Doors

How to Prevent Flooding in Your Garage

Neglecting your gutters can cause a flooding problem in your garage. Gutter traps guide the rain and snow from your roof to the ground protecting your home and its foundation.  Without gutter traps, the water will fall next to your house creating a pool near the foundation structure. Clogged gutters traps interfere with the operation of your garage door and can damage your home. If your garage gutters are not clear, then rain run-off water will trickle onto your garage door as it makes it way to the pavement. If you own a wood garage door, the moisture can cause swelling and operational issues.

Your garage door can freeze shut during the winter if too much water leaks and pools around the foundation and under door leaks due to blocked gutters. So what should you do?

Clean your gutters and route the water away from your house. Weather strips are tight seals between the bottom of your door and garage floor; they protect your garage from minor flooding. Replacing weather stripping will keep snow, rain, sleet and other weather elements out of your garage. Weather stripping wears away after years of friction and exposure, so make sure to stay on top of repairs.

Inspect the foundation for cracks and damages. When your home settles it shifts. This can cause the foundation to crack slightly. On rainy days the small cracks in your garage can make it flood easier. When the water seeps p through the cracks, it erodes and widens the space until the water pours through your garage.  Consider sealing them with waterproof paint or vinyl concrete patch.

Install adequate drainage. If your yard slopes toward your garage the water may pool up faster than it can drain. You may need to install french drains or trench drain along your driveway or in front of your garage. This way, you channel the water away from your home.  Keep in mind to direct the drain away from your neighbor’s yard or public sidewalk.

Install flood vents. Allow water to flow through your garage unobstructed so that water doesn’t exert pressure on your doors or foundation. The flood waters might not rise high enough to reach your home’s living space.  However,  a minor floor can have enough pressure to crush your garage door.

Use flood barriers and sandbags. This technique is used to redirect water away from your property and toward the street via sandbags. This option will not completely seal your garage, but it will reduce flooding during massive downpours. Stack the sandbags in a pyramid-shaped wall near the flood zone area. You will not need a fortress of sandbags around your property. It can cause more damage. You can purchase flood barriers or “quick dams” and place the products around your property. Quick damns expand once in contact with water. The swollen barriers can reach several inches high in a few minutes.

Understand what type of water is flooding your garage. If the water is contaminated or sewage, for example, then contact your local professional for help. However, if it’s fresh water from pipes then:

  1. Stop the water from spreading
  2. Remove wet items and allow them to dry
  3. Use towels, mop, or a wet vac to remove the water

If your garage has an overwhelming amount of water, don’t use an extension cord as the connection – it can shock you. Consider renting a sump pump from a hardware store. You have to remove all of the water, even if it’s an inch, to prevent mold growth. Dry out the area and disinfect it. Use a good disinfectant to get rid of bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc.  Clean the walls, wood, and non-upholstered furniture that sat in the flood water.

Need help repairing your garage door and restoring your garage space? Garage Doors of Indianapolis is available for emergency and regular repairs for commercial and residential garage doors. Contact us to schedule an assessment.

Old rusty garage lock

How to Remove Rust From Your Garage Door

Regardless of your garage door color, you may notice that it has turned a rustic orange color as spring approaches. How did this happen?

The salt you spread on driveways stews during winter, slowly eating away at your garage door. Over time it can compromise the structural integrity of steel, aluminum and wood doors. But these simple maintenance tips can help you restore it.   

Cleaning boosts curbside appeal and extends the life of your garage door. The only cleaning supplies needed for any garage door style is a bucket, warm water and a standard grease fighting soap or detergent. But you might also want to consider using white vinegar and water with a medium soft-bristled brush on steel and aluminum doors since the respond well to this technique. Where additional tools are concerned, hard bristles can scratch the door surface, so opt for a softer brush.  

Cleaning steel and aluminum doors

It’s not ideal to start your cleaning projects during freezing temperatures. But once your driveway is clear and the day is warm, inspect the bottom of your garage door for rust or corrosion and:

  • Brush the door with soap and water, starting at the bottom where the rust is concentrated
  • Rinse thoroughly and let dry
  • Dip an old cloth in white vinegar (do not use cider or spiced vinegar) and wipe the rusted areas with a steel wool pad. Repeat this until the surface is shiny again
  • Apply a primer corrosion inhibitor, Zinc Chromate, which will prevent further rusting

Cleaning wood doors

Salt can cause wood to swell and expand, leading to splits and cracks. You can avoid damages to your wood door with these cleaning tips:

  • Wash door with soap, water, and a clean cloth
  • Brush design elements (areas around knobs, recessed panels, and windows) with an old toothbrush, which is soft and paint-friendly
  • Once dry, apply wood staining protection or repaint

Anyone in your home can clean the garage door, including the kids. If the damage is beyond your ability to repair, call an expert. Garage Doors of Indianapolis offers full repair services for residential and commercial garage doors in the greater Indianapolis area. Contact us to schedule a service visit.

Organized Residential Garage Interior

Garage Renovations Rank Among Top Home Projects of 2017

What is the state of your garage today? Is it a two-car space with barely enough room for one car? Or is completely overflowing with boxes, sports gear, and lawn equipment to the point you can barely squeeze a motorbike into the chaos?

If so, it may be time to seriously consider a garage renovation, which is widely considered one of the top renovation projects for homeowners in 2017. These updates make the space more enjoyable and appealing to prospective buyers.

The New York Times describes garage makeovers as the “Final Frontier in Home Renovations.” Following updates to kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, homeowners are focusing on garages as an untapped opportunity to expand their home’s living space.

Realtor.com says upgrades to garages, like a simple garage door replacement, is one of the top renovations that could pay off for your home this year.

Stunning garage renovation options

Garage renovations can be as simple or extravagant as desired. If you’re simply looking to make your garage more organized, your project could fall into the $2,000 to $5,000 range. On the hand, if you’re truly looking to expand it into a living space that blends seamlessly with the rest of your home, it could cost as much $20,000 or more.

A finished garage can boost the value of your home and attract buyers, depending on the current value of homes in your neighborhood.

Here are several garage renovation goals worth considering:

Make room for two (or three) cars. You may simply want to organize your garage so that it performs the function for which it was built: to contain vehicles. In this case, you need to take an inventory of its contents and decide which are worth holding onto.

Do the hard work to downsize. Check out tips from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up if you need some extra motivation. For everything else that remains, consult a specialist to help you with options for clearing the space and storing the contents effectively. Vertical shelving, for example, is a good solution for tools, bikes and lawn equipment.

Extend your living space. If you like to have friends and family over to hang out, you may consider using your garage as an extension of your home. This could be a great project to take on, especially if you already park your cars outside. Living space expansion typically involves downsizing–just don’t work at cross-purposes and rent a storage unit for unused items.

Garage door renovation will likely involve sourcing for insulation, drywall, heating, flooring, furnishings and a garage door replacement to complement the upgraded interior.

Expand your garage. Perhaps you want it all: capacity for another vehicle, motorbike, and workstation. An expansion project gives you the opportunity to rethink the space and add extra touches that can be transformative, like an epoxy floor. Just make sure you are ready for a functional change. It would be a shame to invest in a beautiful expansion project only to clutter it.

Technology upgrades. The Internet of Things (IoT) has ushered in a new level of automated convenience. More than likely you already have a keypad attached to your garage. You can now program the garage to open automatically with an IoT device when your car pulls up. Security cameras and other technology devices can be installed in the garage and monitored virtually as well.

A garage door professional can explain a variety of options available for homeowners–it’s definitely worth a conversation to learn more about maximizing the use of underused space and expanding your home.

Contact us today to discuss your garage expansion.

Garage Door Half Open

How Often Should I Have My Garage Door Serviced?

You should have your garage door serviced at least once a year if no other issues arise. Service technicians prolong the life of your garage door with preventative maintenance: lubricating areas of the door, tightening bolts and screws and adjusting spring tension. Although your door may work just fine without it, annual service will prevent issues in the future.

It’s also a good idea to conduct your own monthly check. Take these things into consideration when doing an overview of your garage door:

  • Determine if the door can be opened manually from the outside without the opener
  • Check for broken glass if your door has windows
  • Listen for unusual noises, such as clicks or a whine when opening and closing the door
  • Ensure that your door is able to completely close without issues

The information you provide to service technicians can help them diagnose and fix issues faster. Following are two tests that you can conduct yourself.

The photo eye is the mechanism in your garage door that keeps your children, pets and belongings safe if they are in the way of a closing garage door. It forces the door open to prevent accidents.

Check the eye’s effectiveness using a broom or other long object — not an arm or a leg –by placing it under the door close to the ground as it closes. The door should reverse and open back up. If it does not, keep people and pets away from the door and consult a garage door specialist.

Evaluate your door’s alignment by first disconnecting the opener. (Liftmaster provides a very helpful guide for disconnecting and reconnecting your opener, so do your research to know what you are doing beforehand).

The door should rise and lower manually. If opening it requires excessive force, or does not open relatively smoothly, there may be an issue that needs to be resolved. Next, raise the garage door halfway and let go. If it moves up or down, the door is out of balance and you should call a service technician.

If all goes well, you will be able to reconnect your opener after this test, and know that your garage door is good to go!

Garage Door Trends for 2017

Smart design and function that raise home values  

In yesterday’s down real estate market, garage door updates were one inexpensive way to raise home values–garage door replacements, in fact, produce a 83 percent return on investment, according to U.S. News & World Report. That fact isn’t changing. As we head into 2017, however, homeowners can also take advantage of design, material and smart technology improvements driving innovation in garage space design and function.

On deck for 2017

 

Statement pieces

A garage door’s color and design can make or break your house’s aesthetic. That’s why you don’t want to stray far from its current colors and shapes; these elements can create a powerful effect even if you have opted for a neutral instead of a current bold, trendy color.

Extending accent colors and shapes from the home to the garage allows you to make a cohesive and interesting statement. Accent colors featured on shutters, window trim and the front door are excellent starting points and references to start brainstorming; you might want to consider using lighter or darker shades for the garage.

Your house will inform not just the color, but also garage door design elements, particularly angles, arches and patterns that can be applied to windows and panels.

Flexibility

Lines are blurring between indoors and outdoors; patios and decks now function as livable spaces, and the same concept has finally reached the garage. It’s not just a place to park your car anymore–garages are being outfitted with movable walls, outdoor furniture, screens and insulation to make them inviting and usable year round.

Look for garage door details to also appear in interiors via transparent walls and glass doors that replace windows in offices, living and dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.

More light

Because garages are used for a variety of purposes, they are being designed to let in more light. Big windows that produce brighter, better lit spaces are popular options.

It’s not just physical light that is a trend; lighter-weight material give garage doors a modern, sleek look without the weight of wood, steel or glass. These materials are good-looking substitutes and practical, inexpensive choices. They require little maintenance and ease wear-and-tear on parts. Try:

  • Aluminum instead of steel
  • Polycarbonate instead of glass
  • Fiberglass instead of wood

Smart technology

Convenience and user-friendliness are two concepts driving many tech-based improvements to our daily routines, including how to enter and secure your home. Smart phones, for example, can open and close garage doors, reveal their current position and cite the person who last opened them.

Other options are well on their way to being adopted, including parking guides, which use lasers to illustrate your path in and out of the garage. People prone to grazing walls and dinging cars will appreciate this feature, which cuts down on potential damage.

Additional safety features are available on remote-controlled, wireless/keyless, smartphone-controlled and Internet-activated remotes. Many garage door companies also provide rolling codes, which are virtually impossible for hackers to replicate.

Energy efficient

An outdoor living space has to be just that–livable, which isn’t possible when your garage is 98 degrees or cold enough to hold items from your refrigerator. Maintaining a comfortable temperature is critical for comfort–and cost.

Insulation is a must. If you have a finished room against or above an uninsulated garage, you are likely overspending/losing money on heat and air conditioning. The warm/cool air is being leeched by the garage space.

 

Insulated door panels and walls are critical. Consider insulated options like aluminum, fiberglass, wood and vinyl, but steer clear of glass.

 

Top Tech Gadgets for the Garage

 

Innovative technology has given homeowners new ways to manage their appliances, thermostats and lighting systems. There’s even a smart oven on the market that knows what food it’s preparing and cooks it to perfection.

Some of the latest technological gadgets can simplify operation of garage doors, as well as make garages more comfortable. Take a look at some of these trendsetting products:

Smart opener

Garage door opener manufacturer Chamberlain has developed an app for Android and Apple wireless devices, MyQ Home Control. With the app and a compatible opener, users can open and close their garage door from anywhere and control individual lights throughout the home.

MyQ can communicate with other wireless devices in a home, too, such as Nest thermostats. And eventually, Chamberlain plans to introduce MyQ technology that will open the garage door automatically, when it detects a homeowner’s car approaching.

Intuitive fan

A powerful new air circulator from Vornado is designed to ensure maximum airflow – it doesn’t just blow air in a straight line, it twists and twirls to move up to 655 cubit feet of air per minute.

Most fans have settings of low, medium and high, whereas the Vornado Energy Smart Circulator has an output control just like the volume knob on a stereo and can be adjusted incrementally. At only 17 inches tall, this powerful air circulator may be the perfect solution for stuffy garages.

Light and sound

A new product from Canadian manufacturer Sengled lets homeowners enjoy adjustable lighting and music in the garage. The combination light and speaker screws into a standard outlet, and using the Sengled app, homeowners can adjust the brightness of the lights and listen to their favorite music or podcast.

Amazon recently released Echo Dot, a smaller version of its Echo, a wireless Bluetooth speaker. With the accompanying Tap, which is about the size of a hockey puck, users can play music on the speaker or ask it to find answers to questions, similar to iPhone’s Siri interface.

Warmth on demand

The QMark programmable digital wall heater can warm up a chilly garage without taking up valuable floor space. Designed for spaces up to 200 square feet, the heater also includes a nightlight and a fan-only function for air circulation. For larger garages, the Berko Architectural Wall Heater heats up to 480 square feet and features a stylish powder-coated steel finish.

Cluttered-Garage-Space

Storage Solutions for the Crowded Garage

It’s tough to keep a garage tidy without adequate storage, but even the tiniest garage can be orderly, with creative use of vertical space.

Check out these storage tips – from simple solutions to major overhauls:

Up, up and away!

Many garages have a lot of unused space above vehicles, but there are devices that can turn that dead space into storage.

Hoist-based storage units are flat surfaces suspended by wires from two or more ceiling anchors. They may have manual pulley operation, or remote-control motor operation, but the principal is the same for both – load the platform with items, and lift the platform into place near the ceiling. It’s an easy solution for storing a power washer, holiday decorations and other items that are seldom used.

Versatile pegboard

Pegboard is one of the most affordable storage solutions for garages – a 4-by-8 panel is about $20 or less, and the accompanying hooks are relatively inexpensive, especially when you buy them in bulk.

Hooks aren’t permanent, so you can reconfigure them to accommodate new items. Get a sheet of pegboard larger than what you currently need, so you have room to expand.

Put cylinders to work

A concrete form – the large, cardboard tubes used to make support pillars – can be affixed to rafters with metal edge banding to create a storage space for fishing rods, and other long, narrow objects.

With a little creativity and a hacksaw, you can transform PVC pipe into a variety of storage solutions – affix bands of PVC to the wall to store long-handled tools, or glue a cluster of short pipes together to make a tall, shallow shelf for everyday items like tape measures and light bulbs.

Stack your vehicles

If you’re an aspiring classic car collector who has no room in the garage for another vehicle, a hydraulic lift might be a solution. The lift elevates one car, allowing you to park another car beneath it, so you’ll need a garage with high ceilings (and a few thousand dollars). Another perk of installing a lift is that it makes underbody maintenance a lot easier.

When you’re ready to get organized, focus on making the most of your vertical space.

Is Your Garage Secure?

In April 2015, police in Hanford, Calif., responded to reports of several burglaries, in which thieves had gained access to homes via the garage. The criminals had broken into cars, stolen garage door remote openers then looked at vehicle registrations in the glove box to determine the location of victims’ homes.

Those crimes are a reminder that homeowners should never leave a garage door opener in their car in plain sight. Ideally, remote openers should be small enough to carry with you on a key ring or in your pocket. Following are a few more tips that can help you improve garage security.

Use strong keypad codes

If you have a keypad entry system for your garage, make sure the code isn’t easy to guess. Your birth date, your child’s birth date or the date of your wedding should never be used as a password, because thieves can easily find that information in public records, or even on your Facebook profile.

Secure the emergency release mechanism

Several videos online demonstrate how easy it is for burglars to break into a garage with a wire coat hanger. They straighten the hanger, leaving the hook on the end, and slip it through the gap between the top of a garage door and the doorframe to pull down on the emergency release lever. Securing that lever with an inexpensive zip tie protects your home against this threat.

Fortify the service door

Once a thief is inside a garage, getting into a home is usually easy – especially if the thief has access to tools inside the garage. Fortify the door leading from your garage to your home by using at least one 3-inch screw in each hinge, securing it firmly to the framing. Add a heavy-duty strike plate and a lock re-enforcer that prevents the door from splitting.

Replace the garage door

A new steel garage door is unlikely to draw the attention of thieves, because they need to be able to break in quickly. An older door that looks rusted, dented or weakened in some other way would be a more likely target.

Use precaution when traveling

If you’re going to be away from home, don’t announce your travel plans publicly. Ask a trusted friend or family member to stop by your home periodically to collect mail and rotate which interior lights are turned on. And if your garage door has a slide-lock, make sure to engage that before you leave town.

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