The ups and downs of garage doors

"Darn it, Patrick, this is suburbia!” I complained. “I am not about to put barn doors on the shed in our front yard!” Patrick has been trying to cut costs — he’s already embarrassed to be spending money on a place to put stuff we can’t fit in our house. Barn doors come standard on the model we’re buying, but I want to be able to push a button and presto. I want a garage door. I promised to find him a deal.

John at San Diego Overhead Doors (800-407-6517; sandiegooverheaddoors.com) assured me that he could deliver on price, because “we have buying power all over the country. Our sales office is in Texas, but we have people in San Diego who can do the install. Just let me search my inventory. Okay, a 10-by-7-foot door from First United, made from 25-gauge steel, will run you $549. It’ll be made from four panels, 21 inches each. You can add windows for $100. It comes in almond or white; there’s a lifetime warranty on rust and corrosion and a two-year warranty on the hardware.

As for motors, “I have two options. First, a half-horsepower chain-drive motor from Liftmaster for $299. Second, a belt-driven motor by Guardian for $399. If you go with the chain-driven motor, you get a ten-year warranty on the motor and five years on the parts. But you need to lubricate and adjust the chain periodically. Most people don’t, and then they wonder why their door gets so loud. A belt-driven motor is generally quieter, and it doesn’t need lubrication. They put a nonevaporative grease on when they install it. With that one, you get a lifetime warranty on the motor.” John also noted that “with a virgin install, we will also do a perimeter seal. That keeps dirt, leaves, and debris out of your garage when the door is closed.”

For an additional $100, San Diego Overhead Doors will upgrade your hardware: “thicker hinges and cables and bearing-coated rollers. It’ll be super-quiet, and you’ll get a ten-year warranty on the hardware. And all our jobs come with a 30-day warranty on the labor, so you can make sure everything’s working right.”

Andrew at San Diego Door Pros (619-770-0300; sandiegodoorpros.com) offered short-panel or long-panel looks for the stamped metal doorfronts. “On a 16-foot door, you would get eight square stamps on a short panel or four rectangles for a long-panel look.” The company offers doors ranging from thick 24-gauge steel to handcrafted wood; I went for the value line. “That door isn’t insulated. You’ll want insulation if you’re concerned about temperature in the garage. The 10-by-7-foot Clopay-brand white long-panel would cost $565 and come with a ten-year warranty. We use Liftmaster brand openers. A chain drive costs $299. We have a screw drive for $30 more, but most people upgrade to the belt drive at $360, because the motor on that one has a lifetime warranty. It also comes with a remote and a wall button. Extra remotes are $29, and an installed keypad is an extra $39. Labor to install the door, motor, and tracks, plus trim and a seal, is $149 — and it comes with a one-year warranty.”

Finally, I called Art at Up and Down Garage Doors (619-464-0116; upanddowngaragedoors.com) because of his five-star rating on Yelp. “I have that rating because I’m honest and I don’t cheat people,” said Art. “We always do a good install, and not a lot will go wrong with a garage door if it’s installed properly.” Art quoted me $1050 for the whole job. “That includes a 10-by-7-foot Clopay steel door, a Liftmaster belt-drive motor with two remotes, a wall button, and an outside keypad. It also includes trim and sealing. Plus, we upgrade the wheels to ball-bearing wheels, which are quieter. The Clopay door has a ten-year warranty on paint, but it will last you 20 years. And the hardware is not going to go bad. The most important thing is to find someone you trust to do the install. I fix plenty of doors that have been installed poorly by others. And if there are any problems with the work I do, I come and fix it.”

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Eve Kelly has done the hard work for you. She has figured out who to call and what questions to ask about having a garage door installed. After calling several people, she found that Up and Down Garage Doors is the best buy based on quality and guarantee. Thank you for doing the leg work!


by Richard

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