Residential Garage Door Frequently Asked Questions

Garage Door Questions to Research Before You Buy

Jump to: Garage Door Safety | Energy Efficiency | Steel Garage Doors | Classica Collection | Wood Garage Doors | Wind Load Garage Doors | Energy Tax Credit | Garage Door Dealers | Service & Repair | Maintenance | Installation | Garage Door Openers | Misc. Questions

Q. When should I replace a garage door with a new one?

A. If your garage door does not operate, the door is a potential hazard. Do not try to fix on your own, instead contact a professionally trained garage door dealer. Another reason to replace a garage door is to enhance your home’s curb appeal. According to the 2010 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, garage door replacement is the #2 remodeling project in regards to return on investment. The report states that replacing your garage door will return 84% of the cost at the time of home sale. Lastly, your current garage door may be fading, sagging and just in need of a replacement. If you have a wood garage door that needs re-painting, replacing it with a new pre-painted steel garage door may be a better value. Painting a garage door adds significant weight to a door that may affect the spring and the performance of the garage door and opener.

Q. What is the best garage door for me?

A. Each homeowner has unique needs for a new residential garage door based on the desired styling, the level of care & maintenance required, the energy efficiency and the location of the garage in one’s home. Steps to determine which garage door best suits you are:

  1. Determine the material that best suits the care & maintenance that you desire. Garage Door Specialists Inc. offers garage doors made from steel, wood composite, wood and aluminum.
  2. Choose the door design that best complements your home, including window, color and decorative hardware options.
  3. Determine the level of energy efficiency and noise reduction that best suits your needs depending on if you have a room above or adjacent to your garage or have children that play in front of the garage. Most doors are available with insulation or no insulation options.

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Q. What is a carriage house door?

A. A Carriage House door is a type of garage door that replicates the look of doors found on carriage houses in the early 19th and 20th Centuries. Amarr distributes a variety of striking carriage house designs made from steel and wood. These Amarr garage doors look like they swing open, but they actually move up and over your car.

We offer stamped-steel carriage house doors in the Amarr Classica collection and Amarr Oak Summit collection that eliminates a homeowner’s concern of misaligned trim overlays. In addition, the Amarr By Design collection offers beautiful, natural wood carriage house doors.

Q. Are special size doors available? I have a custom-built garage that features an unusual size door.

A. Yes. We offer residential doors in widths between 6′ and 20′ in two-inch increments and in heights between 6’6″ and 12′.*
*Not all door models are available in this range of widths.

Q. My garage has very little space (headroom) above the door. What is the minimum headroom required to operate a sectional door?

A. Standard headroom applications require 12″ to 18″ of space between the bottom of the opening header and the unobstructed ceiling. However, Amarr specializes in custom-built applications. A variety of special track options is available and makes it possible for many unusual garages to be fitted with doors. By using low-headroom track, it is possible to install a door with a garage door opener in an area that has as little as 9-1/2″ of headroom.
Other special track applications include:

1) Vertical lift track, for use in situations where the ceiling is extremely high and the garage door has room to lift straight up.

2) Follow-the-roofline track, which is used when the ceiling of the garage is pitched at the angle of the roof, making it desirable for the door to follow the same angle, thus providing additional overhead room.

3) Hi-lift track, which is used when the ceiling is unusually high, but the door must still retract to a horizontal position.

Q. Do I need to have the windows at the top of the door?

A. Windows can be placed in any section of the door layout. Amarr recommends window placement in the top or second to the top door section for the most natural lighting and security.

Q. I’d like windows in my garage door, but I’m concerned about security.

A. We have designed DecraGlass™ to be safe, secure windows for your garage doors. DecraGlass™ windows are tempered, translucent windows that feature beautiful designs to complement the style of your home.

Q. The glass and insert broke in one of my windows. How do I replace the glass and window insert?

A. The glass in the window frame of your Amarr steel garage door can be replaced. Please contact your local garage door dealer for glass and insert replacement.

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Q. Do I need a lock on my garage door?

A. If an electric garage door opener has been installed on your door, it may not be necessary to have a lock. Properly installed, electric openers can function as the lock, making it improbable that an intruder would be able to lift your door from the outside. If you have an older opener, check to see if your door can be lifted from the outside. DASMA, the trade association for the garage door industry, discourages homeowners from attaching a lock when an opener has been installed because too frequently, a child or other family member will accidentally lock the door. If someone then tries to open the door using the electric opener, the opener will pull against the lock causing the door to be damaged.
If no opener is installed on your garage door, a lock is highly recommended. A standard Amarr residential steel door is sold without locks since most garage doors are used with garage door openers. Optional locks may be purchased from a garage door dealer.

Q. What type of spring is better…extension or torsion?

A. The two types of springs used on garage doors today are extension and torsion springs. Extension springs are attached on either side of the door and stretch along the horizontal track when the door is closed. Torsion springs are typically located just above the top section of the door and are mounted to the header. They are wound springs and do not expand or contract when the door is moved. Torsion springs are a better choice because they balance the weight of the door better than extension springs for smoother operation and safety. Watch the Amarr spring video to learn more.

Garage Door Safety

Q. I want garage doors that are safe for my family. What garage doors are safe?

A. A garage door is the largest moving object in your home. Safety should be a concern when selecting a garage door. Practically all steel garage doors are built with the Safe Guard safety system to enhance overall safety for a homeowner. Safe Guard offers pinch protection sections and tamper resistant components. To further promote safety, please follow the garage door safety guidelines as outlined by the Door and Access Systems Manufacturer’s Association (DASMA).

Energy Efficiency

Q. Why should I choose an insulated door?

A. A garage door opening is very large. Insulated doors will help to reduce the transfer of heat or cold air into your garage. This is important for a number of reasons:

1) If your garage is attached to your home, air in the garage can travel through the doorway to your living area. An insulated garage door will reduce the transfer of air from the outside to the inside.

2) If you use your garage as a workshop, your comfort will be a top priority. An insulated garage door will help keep the temperature in the garage within a narrower temperature range as compared to the extreme range of the outside temperature.

3) If your garage is below another room in your home, air can travel through the ceiling of the garage into the floor of the room above. An insulated door will keep temperatures in the garage fairly stable to reduce the temperature fluctuation in the room above.

4) An insulated garage door is generally quieter and has a more attractive interior than a non-insulated door.

Q. I’ve been comparing R-values of various doors and am surprised at the variance among them. Can you explain this?

A. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry. Specifically, R-value is thermal resistance to heat flow.

The higher the R-value number, the better the insulating properties of the material. However, an R-16 value is not twice as good as an R-8 Value. R-16 does not offer twice as much thermal resistance or twice the energy savings of an R-8 value. A value of R-16 offers a 5% reduction in heat flow and a 5% improvement energy efficiency than a value of R-8, not 50%.

No matter the R-Value, an insulated garage door will reduce the amount of heat flow and improve the energy efficiency of a home.

Steel Garage Doors

Q. Why would I choose a steel garage door?

A. Steel garage doors offer strength, security, energy efficiency and the best value. Due to advanced manufacturing, steel garage doors are less costly than other types of garage doors and are offered in a variety of designs and colors to enhance your home’s curb appeal. Amarr steel garage doors are pre-painted in a variety of colors, providing homeowners peace of mind protection with multi-year to lifetime paint finish warranties.

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Q. Is 25 gauge steel thicker than 24 gauge steel?

A. No. The lower the gauge number, the thicker (and stronger) the steel.

Q. What are the benefits of a steel door versus a wood door?

A. Steel doors may require less maintenance than a wood door. Amarr steel doors are pre-painted with a factory-applied baked-on coating. We recommend an annual cleaning of the exterior of the door with a common household detergent and warm water at least one time per year. Amarr wood doors are unfinished and need to be primed and painted or stained on all six sides of the door before installation. Amarr recommends visual inspection of the paint or stain finish on wood doors one time per year to confirm if another finish application is necessary.

Q. What colors are available in Amarr steel garage doors?

A. Each Amarr collection of steel garage doors has a unique color palette. Each collection has different color options depending on the construction type. The overall color offering is: True White, Almond, Wicker Tan, Sandtone, Terratone, Dark Brown, Gray, Hunter Green, Golden Oak woodgrain, Walnut woodgrain, and Mahogany woodgrain. A price upcharge applies to the woodgrain colors.

Q. Can I paint my garage door once it’s installed?

A. Yes. All Amarr steel doors are pre-painted with a factory-applied baked-on coating that is suitable to be repainted. Amarr doors will accept a wide variety of commercially available latex exterior paints when applied in accordance with the paint manufacturer’s recommendations. Do not use oil-based paints. Painting of an Amarr steel door voids the Paint Finish Warranty.

Classica Collection

Q. Why are carriage house garage doors so popular?

A. With garage doors taking up approximately 1/3 of a home’s front elevation, the desire to have more design in the garage door has become more important to homeowners, builders, remodelers and architects. The result is the increasing popularity of carriage house garage doors and the garage door becoming a design element of the home, rather than just a commodity.

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Q. What is so unique about the Amarr Classica Collection?

A. First to market with this innovative garage door, Amarr introduced the Classica Carriage House garage door in 1995. Made with 3-sections, rather than the traditional 4-section garage door, Classica garage doors convey a more vertical, authentic carriage house look with larger windows. Also, the 100+ Classica door designs are all priced the same unlike competitors’ carriage house doors made with plastic or composite overlays. Additionally, there’s no worry of the overlays shifting, warping or falling off with a Classica design. Available in a variety of colors, door designs and window options, there is a Classica door design to match your home’s architecture and enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Q. How many different carriage house designs are available in Classica?

A. Classica offers over 100 unique carriage house garage door designs that are all made with 3 sections for a standard 7’ or 8’ tall door, creating a more vertical, authentic carriage house look with larger windows.

Wood Garage Doors

Q. Why would I choose a wood garage door?

A. Since garage doors were first built, garage doors have been made out of wood because they offer the most personalized and decorative options. Wood doors provide security and insulation, but tend to be higher priced due to its individual customization in manufacturing. Wood doors can be painted or stained to match the exact look you desire. The challenge with wood doors is their tendency to expand and contract with changes in temperature. Wood garage doors are an excellent choice when you want the natural, warmth and beauty of wood to match your entry door and home.

Q. How do I paint a wood door?

A. Amarr manufactured wood doors have natural wood variations. Wood doors require special finishing prior to installation. To finish, preserve and protect your beautiful Amarr wood door, all six (6) sides of each garage door section must be finished within two (2) days of receipt of the door and prior to installation to validate the warranty.

Wind Load Garage Doors

Q. What is Wind Load? And how do I know if my garage door needs to be a Wind Load door?

A. Wind affects all homes. If you live in an area that is prone to strong winds, especially hurricanes and windstorms, you will need a garage door that is engineered to meet building code requirements. Your local professional garage door dealer/installer can determine the appropriate Wind Load door for your area.
Amarr distributes Wind Load approved garage doors for practically every door that we offer. A Wind Load door is simply an upgraded version of a door that has been structurally reinforced to meet the specific building codes in your area.

Q. Do you have impact windows available?

A. Yes, Amarr offers impact short panel windows in the Stratford, Heritage and Oak Summit steel garage door collections. The alignment of the windows and the stamp panels in the Oak Summit can be up to 1’1/4” misaligned, depending on the door size.

Energy Tax Credits

Q. Does Amarr have garage doors that qualify for the Energy Tax Credit?

A. No, effective 1/1/2011, garage doors no longer qualify for the Federal Energy Tax Credit since garage doors are not a product category that Energy Star rates. Only Energy Star building products qualify for the current tax credit. Amarr has insulated garage doors that had previously met the Energy Tax Credit qualifications, but the requirements were changed for 2011.

Garage Door Dealers

Q. Why should I use a professional garage door dealer/installer?

A. A garage door is the largest moving object in your home, and because of the large number of parts, the installation of a residential garage door is highly technical. Connecting the springs can be particularly dangerous, and proper installation is critical to the performance of your door.

Professional garage door dealers/installers can typically install a door in a few hours and are careful to make sure safety requirements are met. Installations by most homeowners typically span several days and cause much frustration. In addition, incorrect installation can void certain warranties, so we recommend a trained garage door installer to handle the job for you. One of the other services a professional garage door dealer can provide is the disposal of your old garage door if you are replacing a door.

Q. How do I find and choose a garage door dealer/installer?

A. Amarr provides a Dealer Locator on to find garage door dealers/installers in your area. Proximity, 24-hour service, or dealer showroom available may be a factor in determining the right dealer for you. Other factors to consider may be insurance, lead safety certification, warranties, professionalism, references, as well as dealer service and support.

Q. I want to replace my old door, but don’t know how to dispose of my old one. Will my Amarr garage door dealer take care of that?

A. Most garage door dealers will haul your old door away after the new door is installed for a small fee. Discuss this with your local dealer when you get an estimate on your new door.

Q. My current garage door is from 1977, and the garage door dealer is quoting me a Lead Safe charge for installation of a new door and removal of the current one? Why is there an extra fee?

A. Effective April 2, 2010, the EPA announced the Lead Paint Rule (RPP) that applies to any type of remodeling activity on pre-1978 built homes, childcare facilities and schools.� The RRP rule only applies to garage door installation and removal if the combined area of paint disturbed for the entire renovation exceeds the square footage in the definition of minor repair and maintenance [i.e., 6 square feet for interior space and 20 square feet for exterior space]. However, the EPA does recommend that garage door dealers need to have a trained and certified renovator on staff, and their firm needs to be a certified firm when working on pre-1978 built homes. Click to learn more about the EPA Lead Paint Rule.

Garage Door Service and Repair

Q. How do I know if my door is properly balanced?

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A. There are several tests you can perform to tell if your door is balanced. Before testing your door, disengage you electronic opener.
1) Raise your door in 1′ increments, and the door should stay in place.
2) When you lower the door, the door lowers in a controlled manner and doesn’t slam down.
3) When you raise the door, the door rises at a controlled pace.
4) When the door is fully raised in the open position, the bottom of the door should be aligned with the bottom of the header of the door opening.

Q. How do I know if my garage door can be repaired with a service call or if I just need to replace the garage door?

A. The best way to determine if a garage door can be repaired through service or needs replacement is to call a professionally trained garage door dealer near you. Depending on the issues, a door may just need servicing (like a 3,000 mile car oil service), a few new parts, a new section or a door replacement. Many times, the issue is not the garage door, but the garage door opener needs replacement or servicing. Click here request a garage door service!

Q. My children have dented my garage door. Can I replace just one of the sections, rather than the entire door?

A. Yes, you can replace just one section for most garage doors, depending on if the model of garage door that you are replacing is still in production and is not a custom-design. Also, paint matching may be an issue as color variations can occur over time.

Q. Why would my garage door need service?

A. A garage door raises and lowers with the assistance of springs. Broken and or worn springs will cause the door to be heavy and thus cause an extra load on the garage door opener. The extra load can be dangerous for reversing mechanisms and cause premature failure of the garage door opener. Having a technician check the garage door springs, rollers and garage door opener is good preventative maintenance for your garage door.


Q. What type of care and maintenance is necessary for my Amarr steel door and hardware?

A. We recommend that you wash your steel door a minimum of one (1) time per year with: (a) One cup of Tide® (or other common detergents which contain less than 0.5% phosphate), dissolved into five gallons of warm water. NEVER BLEND CLEANSERS OR DETERGENTS WITH BLEACH.
The use of a well-soaked cloth, sponge, brush (with very soft bristles) or low-pressure spray washer is recommended. Once the door is washed, thoroughly rinse with clean water to eliminate the possibility of residue.
In addition, lubrication of springs, rollers and hinges is recommended on a yearly basis with Amarr Super Lube or similar non-silicone based lubricant (e.g. 10W-30 motor oil). Visually inspect springs and cable for wear and binding once each year and contact a professional garage door dealer/installer if damage is suspected. Do not attempt to remove, repair or adjust springs. Do not attempt to remove or loosen any red fasteners found in high torsion areas, such as bottom brackets or spring plates. HIGH SPRING TENSION CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.

Q. What type of care and maintenance is necessary for my Amarr wood carriage house door?

A. Re-finishing of a wood door may be required each year to maintain its natural beauty. Click here for how to finish a wood garage door.


Q. When I replace my existing door, can I keep my old track?

A. Amarr recommends replacing your track when you replace your door because each brand of garage door has been specifically designed to work with a specific type of track. In addition, replacing your track is an inexpensive way to ensure that your entire garage door system is as safe as possible. By replacing your track you also ensure that your door warranty will apply, in the event that you have a problem.

Q. Will my Amarr garage door dealer take down my old door?

A. Most garage door dealers will take down and haul away your old door after the new door is installed for a small fee. Be sure your estimate from your dealer includes taking down and removal of the old door and reconnection of your garage door opener.

Q. How long does the installation of a garage door take a garage door dealer?

A. Professional garage door dealers/installers can typically install a door in a few hours and are careful to make sure safety requirements are met. Installations by most homeowners typically span several days and cause much frustration. In addition, incorrect installation can void certain warranties, so we recommend a trained garage door installer to handle the job for you. One of the other services a professional garage door dealer can provide is the disposal of your old garage door if you are replacing a door.

Q. Do I need to reinforce my garage door if I am installing my own electric garage door operator/opener?

A. When installing an electric garage door opener, the top section of the garage must be reinforced with a strut or angle iron spanning the length of the top section.

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Garage Door Openers

Q. Should I purchase a new garage door opener or repair my old one?

A. Many garage door openers can be repaired and maybe a less expensive option. However, there are times when opener replacement is recommended. According to LiftMaster, one of the leading manufacturers of garage doors openers, all garage door openers manufactured prior to 1993 should be replaced, rather than fixed. This is to ensure the highest degree of customer safety and satisfaction due to a Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) law. Many garage door openers prior to 1993 are not equipped with infrared sensors or other external entrapment protections devices and do not meet today’s standards for garage door opener safety.

Q. What is required for installing an electric garage door operator/opener?

A. When installing an electric garage door opener, the top section of the garage must be reinforced with a strut or angle iron spanning the length of the top section.

Q. What is the difference between a chain drive, belt drive, screw drive, and direct drive?

A. Garage door openers have different systems that open a garage door. A chain drive uses a chain as the mechanism to help open/close a door; a belt drive uses a belt mechanism; a screw drive uses a corkscrew rod and a direct drive attached directly to the torsion bar to help open/close a garage door. Belt drive openers tend to be quieter than chain drive openers. Screw drive openers are known to require less adjustment over time. Direct drives take up less space in your garage.

Q. What is so unique about a DC garage door opener?

A. DC stands for direct current. This allows the opener to only run when it is in use opening and closing a garage door, resulting in additional energy efficiency for the home. Additionally, DC openers have soft start and stop features to help smooth the travel of the door and cut down on noise.

Q. I’ve lost a remote for my garage door opener. How do I purchase a new one?

A. Contact your local garage door dealer to purchase a new remote.

Q. Can I purchase a wireless keypad entry to my existing garage door opener?

A. Depending on the type of garage door opener and the year purchased, a keypad entry should be available for your garage door opener. Contact your local garage door dealer for purchase.


Q. I have a one-piece door now. Can I replace it with a sectional door?

A. Typically, yes. Your professional garage door dealer/installer can install a sectional garage door for you by installing track and springs to accommodate a sectional door. Depending on the construction of your garage, other modifications might be necessary. We would advise you to ask your dealer to evaluate the job prior to installation so that any required modifications can be performed.

Q. How do I claim a warranty? Do I need to register my garage door purchase to claim a warranty?

A. To claim a warranty, all you need to do is complete the Warranty Claim form. No product registration is required. For faster processing, please include all contact information and product detail, including pictures. Customer Service will respond to your claim submittal within 3 business days.

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Q. How can I lock my garage door when I’m away on vacation?

A. You can manually lock your garage door with slide bolt locks (available through your local garage door dealer). However, be aware that you must not operate your garage door opener when the slide bolts are engaged, as this will damage your garage door. Amarr recommends unplugging your garage door opener if you engage your slide bolt locks. Many garage door openers have a vacation switch that can be engaged when you are away.

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