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About garages:  As long as they continue to operate, garage doors don’t get a second thought around most homes.  That’s unfortunate because this lack of attention almost always results in a back-wrenching episode at some time or another when the door won’t open or close.

Keeping your door hardware clean and lubricated will prevent most problems.  Another thing to keep an eye out for is failing paint or rust on a metal door — a sign that moisture is beginning to take its toll on the door.  Blackish marks near the base of a wood door signal rot.  Tend to these signs of danger as soon as possible to keep trouble to a minimum.

If your door is wood, remove the peeling or flaking paint down to the bare wood.  Then prime the bare areas and apply two coats of exterior paint.  If the door is metal, remove the rust or corrosion to the bare metal, prime the spots with metal primer, and apply two finish coats.

You may have to repaint the entire door — wood or metal — so the new paint patches don’t show.  Replace damaged hardware, such as hinges, locksets, and tracks.  These non-functioning parts put additional strain on other components and result in future damage.

Wipe grease buildup from your garage door’s tracks with a rag.  Grease, combined with dirt, can cause the door to bind and jump.  Lubricate the tracks with graphite or light machine oil.  Distribute lubricant by opening and closing the door.

  • Oil hinge pins, too.  If the pins are rusty, remove and clean the metal with steel wool or fine sandpaper.
  • Lubricate rollers and make sure the are in alignment with the track.
  • Use graphite, not oil, for the locks.
  • Keep door edges, panels, and bottoms sealed with paint.  Repair damaged concrete at the base of the door.

+ more home improvement tips

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