If you are adding a garage to your house or replacing a garage door, a bit of planning can make the process go much easier.

The International Door Association (www.doors.org), a trade organization for the garage door industry, offers these tips to consider before making your garage door purchase.

According to the website, always consider the experience of the garage door dealer and the reputation they have for the work they do. Don’t be afraid to ask for letters of reference from satisfied customers and you might want to talk to a few of their customers directly about their experience with the business.

The Association goes on to mention that there are numerous federal, state, and local codes and regulations that must be followed for garage door installations. Be sure to ask the dealer how they comply with the codes in your city.

For safety and liability purposes, do business only with dealers that carry proper insurance coverage and who are willing to provide the company’s Certificate of Insurance. If they don’t have one or hesitate to comply with your request, you might want to take your business elsewhere.

Jason Baril, manager of International Door Corp. in Lewiston, one of the area’s largest garage door dealers, suggests making your purchases at local businesses that are well known and who back up their work with quality service.

“How long a company has been in business is usually a reflection of good work… companies don’t make it too far if they cannot be trusted or their work leaves something to be desired,” said Baril.

Baril shared some of his top tips when it comes to garage door shopping.

“The most common request that people make is that they would like a quote on a garage door, and when asked what size, they often reply ‘standard size’,” said Baril, noting that there’s no standard size when it comes to garage doors.

The first step in shopping for a door is to measure the height and width of the garage door opening. That’s important because the size of the door dictates the price. It is also important to measure the amount of headroom required in the garage. “This refers to how much space there is above the door itself from the top of the door to the ceiling or lowest obstacle,” said Baril.

Next, you should consider how well insulated you would like the door to be and how much heat would you like to keep in the building. Some people have unheated garages and this isn’t an issue. Others have heated garages attached to their homes and shoppers should consider the “R” value–the resistance to heat loss number—used in the construction industry. “The higher the number, the better the insulation level,” said Baril.

The last consideration is the design and quality of the garage door you’d like to purchase. “Always consider the quality of the door itself, the quality of the track and hardware; it is always important to get all the details regarding what you are getting for your money. Be sure your quote is based on comparable products and does the quote include all the materials that you need for your project,” cautioned Baril.

Jim Burke, of West Paris, offered his take on garage doors by suggesting that, “An automatic garage door opener offers great returns on the initial investment.” Burke explained that the automatic opener has been a joy since there are remotes in his vehicles as well as the garage.

“So the door can be opened and closed in multiple places, making those cold, wintry days, in particular, more easy to take,” said Burke. “As luxuries go, it’s right towards the top of my list.”

Woody Woodward, owner of the Highland Lake Resort in Bridgton, suggested the more practical. “Make sure there is an easy way to open the door in case of a power failure, and that the installer teaches you how to use it,” said Woodward.

And when it comes to design, Woodward said, “Swing out, bi-fold, and outside-mounted sliding doors may look great on your garage, but remember the Maine winters and how they can keep your fancy door from opening when snow piles up.”

This depends on the quality of your door purchase.  A heavily-insulated steel door with steel on the exterior and the interior can last 20+ years. It is recommended to have your garage door tuned up at least once or twice a year, to keep all the parts sufficiently tight and lubricated. 

Is there an average cost for a garage door?  

The cost of a garage door can range from as little as $300 for an uninsulated steel door to $10,000+ for custom wood doors. 

What factors most influence the price for the door?

The most influential factors are the size of the door, the level of insulation, the addition of windows or any special design and track conditions. 

Which is better for a garage door: aluminum or steel?

Aluminum garage doors offer the advantage of being lighter and tend to be easier on their opening mechanism. Great savings can be made on maintenance costs since the mechanism will last longer. When it comes to garage doors measuring 12 ft. or less, there is very little difference between aluminium and steel. In fact, the biggest difference is that aluminum is 100% recyclable.

What can I do to reduce the noise of my garage door while opening or closing?

Change the steel rollers for nylon rollers and choose an opener with a belt drive instead of a chain drive. If you already have an opener with a chain drive, you can get a mounting isolator kit. A torsion type spring will be less noisy and the choice of an aluminum door (lighter door) will reduce the noise. Finally, we advise you to do regular lubrication of the rollers and the tracks.

–Courtesy of International Door Corporation

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