Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Dangers of Replacing Garage Door (Torsion) Springs

Much like the shocks on your automobile, which are supposed to be replaced every 50,000 miles, garage door springs, or torsion springs, have a relatively short life expectancy. Garage door springs age in dog years and are meant to be replaced every five to six years. The potential dangers of failing to replace your garage door springs can have catastrophic consequences. Once the springs break, the massive weight of your garage door (typically upward of 250 pounds) crashes to the ground, crushing everything in its way.

In most garage doors, the torsion springs provide over 90 percent of the lift needed to make the garage door operate smoothly. And after years and years of lifting and going through drastic weather changes, the torsion springs tend to weaken and a break becomes inevitable.

So, the options seem pretty straightforward; responsibly replace the springs on your garage door to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, or keep the springs in place beyond their expected lifespan and hope your insurance covers the damages.

I think the choice is clear.

The problem is, when people want to replace the torsion springs on their garage doors, they think it would be easy, and cheaper, to replace it themselves.

Cheaper? Maybe.

Easier? No way.

Replacing garage door springs is a dangerous task and is a job best left to professionals. Torsion springs are tightly-wound heavy duty springs that, if detached incorrectly, could cause major and unnecessary injuries to yourself or anyone in close proximity.

To quote one online DIYer: “(Despite) many years of dealing with garage projects, I did not hesitate for a minute in determining that the springs on a garage door was something I did not want to handle. Why? It’s dangerous. Those springs are under an enormous amount of tension, and one slip up could easily cause serious injury.”

Furthermore, the massive size and weight of garage doors poses other dangers. If you aren’t able to lift a garage door by yourself, you should not attempt to replace torsion springs. And since lifting a garage door is a nearly Herculean feat, and few of us are professional body builders, handling garage doors is likely to cause serious injury.

Purchasing torsion springs is yet another problem. First, as a necessary preventative measure to stop potential injuries, it’s very difficult for the average Joe to walk into a store and buy torsion springs. Torsion spring providers have chosen to make it difficult to purchase torsion springs in order to avoid lawsuits with regard to accidents. Thus, many times, they refuse to sell to unskilled persons. Meanwhile, garage door repair companies have easy access to parts and really should be utilized whenever a garage door repair issue arises.

If it’s time to replace the torsion springs on your garage door, please avoid unnecessary, dangerous work and contact us at Jason Steich Overhead Doors.

Should I Convert My Garage Into Living Space?

That’s a really good question to ask before you jump right into construction.  There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself  before you begin a remodel of your garage space.

How Badly Do I Need the Extra Living Space?

If you are in a situation that requires you to find extra living space in your home, say there is a new baby in the family, or you need room for an aging parent,  and a garage conversion would save you from having to move to a new house, then converting your garage to living space might be just for you.  On the other hand if you would just like to have an extra room, one that won’t be in constant use, the conversion would not be so attractive.

How Will This Affect the Resale Value of my Home?

Normally a garage conversion will not increase the resale value of your home.  In many cases it will, in fact, decrease the value.  It depends on the style of your home, where your garage is located and how well you integrate the change into the overall style and design of your house.   We have all seen the conversions on the garage that faces the street where the homeowner simply fills in the garage door, usually with a material that doesn’t match the rest of the house, leaving the driveway as is.  It doesn’t really look so great.

The best layout for a garage conversion would be one where the garage doesn’t face the street.  If the garage is accessed from the side or in the case of a corner lot, from the side street the conversion will blend with the existing house.  Matching the homes materials is a must.  Even if these things are done, it won’t guarantee your home’s value will increase.  One thing you should consider is to contact your local real estate agent and get their advice about the conversion.  Of course if you don’t plan on selling your home, then the resale consideration wouldn’t be as important.

 Don’t Forget the Basics

Remember if you do convert the garage space, you will need to consider the extra heating and cooling necessary for the additional living space.  You will need to evaluate your existing HVAC system to see if it can handle the conversion.   You will also need to inspect your main electric breaker box to determine if it will allow for additional circuits to be run.

Converting your garage into heated and cooled living space could increase the property tax evaluation on your home. A 400 square foot increase can make a considerable difference.

If you plan on adding a kitchen or bath, a space that requires additional plumbing and electrical wiring, be ready for some pretty steep remodel costs, especially if your home is on a slab foundation.  In that case you would probably need an upfush toilet, for instance.   The most economic conversion would be to an office or gym, something that doesn’t require plumbing or an excessive amount of electrical wiring.

If you do decide to go ahead, good luck with your conversions.  Spend a little extra time before you begin to get all the information you need.  You want to be satisfied with the results when you are finished, not shocked by the costs and re-evaluation of your home

Call us at Steich Overhead Doors and we can give you some tips on this type of home remodel.  If you do decide on the conversion, we will be glad to remove your old garage door and haul it off for you.  If you home is the right style and you are looking for lots of light in your new room, we can show you some of our carriage house, aluminum and glass and wood garage doors that homeowners have used in a garage conversion.  It could save you a ton of money and increase the curb appeal of your home instead of decreasing it.