As a home expert witness, I am called upon often annually to judge garage door injuries. Garage doors can be found in many shapes and sizes. Their functions range between basic security of a location to cosmetic concealment. Most doors can be broken down into several basic styles or categories. Typical modern garage doors for residential applications tend to be predominantly of the overhead sectional variety. That style of door comes in many configurations, materials, levels of insulation, and a wide range of appearance possibilities. They are available as a prefabricated kit, or built as a custom design to check the decor of any building. Commercial warehouse type installations often dictate higher security requirements. A great choice because of this security form of door could be the “roll-up” style that resembles a roll top desk form of door. This door can be manufactured with a number of materials that is often as strong as the adjacent walls, making forced entry through this opening very difficult. Other common commercial installations include light-weight aluminum single or sectional panel doors. These doors function more for closing off an already secured area than for assuring point security. best residential garage doors
Before, the greatest concern with operating an overhead garage door was the potential risks connected with the springs used for balancing the door weight. Pre mid 1960’s garage door installations typically relied upon a pair of stretched (tensioned) springs to aid the operation of the garage door pivoting hinges. These springs became loaded (tensioned) as the door was moved to the closed position. Unloading (releasing) of the stored spring energy occurred as the door was opened to the horizontal overhead position. One of the most dangerous facets of these spring systems was that after a period of time, often without the maintenance or inspection, the points of attachment of these springs would rust or become weak. This weakening of the springs or points of attachment would often result in an inadvertent explosive failure flinging the broken spring components across the garage, embedding the spring or steel components to the garage walls, cars or other items in the trail of travel. Unfortunately, sometimes people were in the trail of travel of these explosive occurrences. As these springs failed, as an attempted safeguard, some manufacturers devised a “caging” system for the springs. These cages were retrofitted onto the stretched springs in an effort to fully capture the parts that would release if your failure occurred. While these caging devices were helpful, they certainly were not completely effective. Some of those spring devices are still in use today. Whenever this condition exists or the caliber of garage components is questionable, a qualified professional service technician must certanly be consulted. garage door metal
In response to the inherently dangerous old style garage spring issues as above, a newer and safer system for opening the overhead garage door was created. The theory was to transfer the load or weight of the door using a cable and pulley system to a vertical rod now built with a torsion (twisted) spring. This type of spring is installed with specialty hardware and bolts to a fixed plate at one end, while the whole spring is installed around an outside pipe. This load balancing device is normally installed directly on the header of the garage opening. Using appropriate cables, connectors and pulleys, the weight of the garage door is transferred to the torsion spring system. The difference involving the old style stretched spring and the newer torsion spring is the way in which that the spring energy is stored. With the old style stretched spring, the power is stored and released by pulling on the spring or returning the spring to its un-stretched condition. With a torsion form of spring, the power is imparted or removed by rotating the spring clockwise or counter clockwise based upon the direction of usage. With professional installation, the complete loading of the torsion spring is controlled by the garage installer, and is determined by the weight and size of the garage door that it is operating. When this kind of torsion spring fails, it remains attached and intact to the place on the horizontal control rod where it was mounted. I haven’t been aware of or seen any torsion spring fly across a garage, creating injury from failed components as with the stretched older style garage door springs. This is not saying that injuries haven’t occurred with the torsion style spring. The installing this kind of spring is generally safe when left to a qualified garage door installation professional. Severe and serious injuries have occurred when untrained, unqualified individuals have attempted to put in or service this kind of spring.