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Roll Up Garage Door Adjustment - Can It Be Done and How?

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  • Roll Up Garage Door Adjustment - Can It Be Done and How?

    Our barn has a large (16' or maybe wider?) garage type roll up door on one side that no longer meets the concrete at the bottom all the way across. I'm not sure if the concrete pad settled, or the wood framed barn has settled, or what, but the door used to come down and meet the concrete all the way across the bottom, and only in the last year or so have I noticed the gap on one side. So it sits on the concrete on the one side, but then there is a gap of maybe 1" between door and concrete on the other side. This is a bit of a problem because on a wet and windy day like today, a little water runs in under the door and I do store stuff there that I don't want wet. I also suspect the mice are finding it to be a handy access place. Door isn't bent or damaged. Are these things usually adjustable in some way? And do we need to call in an overhead door company, or can we do it? Or do I just need to come up with a curb of some sort on the bottom to seal the gap?

    It is driving me crazy and I just want to know what, if anything can be done. If these kind of doors aren't adjustable, I'll figure out something from the bottom side.

  • #2
    See if you can replace the rubber on the bottom with a thicker one, or add some to the concrete right behind where the door hits.

    Mice, well, those will chew holes in the rubber, sorry.


    • #3
      I owned an overhead company for many years in Dallas/Ft Worth market place.

      You need to have a professional look at this door.

      Without a working knowledge of how the doors works there is a very high risk of getting hurt


      • #4
        Does it have springs on both sides along the horizontal rails, or one spring along the top of the door opening. If the second type, call a pro. 16' wide garage doors require adjustments more often than 9' wide ones. It's not hard at all if you understand how it operates, but if you have to ask for help, you probably need it.
        Last edited by Tom King; Mar. 20, 2013, 10:16 PM.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Tom King View Post
          It's not hard at all if you understand how it operates, but if you have to ask for help, you probably need it.
          I think this says it all, doesn't it?

          I'm not actually sure about how many springs it has (as I sit here in the house), but given what you and clanter have said, I think we'll call the installer. Sounds like needing adjustment is not unexpected, then? I'll sure give them or my builder or the door maker (or all three!) credit - that door doesn't move when the wind blows up here, and we get some high winds. The few times I have heard it rattle, that's when trees start coming down around here!

          Thanks all!


          • #6
            in the fifteen years we operated our business, it was at least four times a year that we had calls to re-assemble or complete a repair that a home owner started...today those would be bio-hazard sites due to the blood on everything... the worst (other than the two that were killed) was the emergency call we received from the fire department to assist in the extraction of a home owner who thought he could adjust the spring tension on his door. He had one hand on the torsion spring as he released the set screws... the spring released wrapping his arm up as it uncoiled breaking his arm in about three or four places .... basically rolled his arm up ... we had to secure the other spring then took a plasma torch to cut apart the assembly to release the man

            The two deaths, one was electrical shock - guy brushed an open contact on a relay with his arm then fell off ladder hitting his head on the concrete (this occurred at a fire station and the injured man died while being hidden from view next to the EMS unit) .... the other was something from the Twilight Zone.... a home owner had stored a bag of fertilizer and a pick ax next to the overhead door for while, long enough for the bag to have been ruptured, the fertilizer corroded the steel attachment bracket for the door cable which broke dropping the door from 3/4 open. The door fell hitting the pick ax flipping the pick ax through the air striking the home owner in the chest... killed him.

            So do not try to service the door and do not store items next the door, please


            • #7
              Oh my clanter! I started to fix one once, went to Home Depot for a spring, and the guy there gave me a similar warning. As did the ovehead garage door guy when he came and fixed it. The repair guy was fast cheap and effective. I will NEVER try to mess with them!
              Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


              • Original Poster

                Without clanter's additional details, I was convinced not to try it ourselves. Now I'm quite certain of it! I think our installer went out of business (built during housing boom, so many have disappeared since the bust), but our general contractor will be able to recommend someone, I am sure.


                • #9
                  I had two overhead doors installed back when I built the garage at the old house. The installation wasn't quite completed, and the wires came off one side. The doors still sort of operate, but I wanted to fix them. I looked at the explanation on the youtube videos and decided it wasn't worth attempting. Look at the expense of the Overhead door repairman as insurance..


                  • #10
                    Adjusting the torsion springs in RV awnings, like are used on horse trailers too, are another one of those things on the list of "don't try this at home"-very similar situation.


                    • Original Poster

                      Just to follow up, it does have just the one big middle spring. I finally remembered to look up and check today.


                      • #12
                        DH has worked on ours a few time. When we first bought the house there were no safety cables through the middle of the springs. He installed those. Good thing since one broke and probably would have sliced the roof on my convertible if the cable wasn't in place. He replaced the spring.
                        He has installed a few garage door openers on doors that did not used to have them. I know that tends to mean changing the tension. He normally takes the opportunity to add the safety cables if they don't already have them.

                        However he is very safety conscious and takes the time to understand how things work so he can effectively mitigate the risk. He is extremely handy and mechanically inclined. He has done work on car struts, which I think can be dangerous if not handled properly.

                        I guess I never thought about garage door springs and openers as being dangerous.
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                          Just to follow up, it does have just the one big middle spring. I finally remembered to look up and check today.
                          That's the kind you do not want to mess with. The springs along the sides are not much of an issue, but the guy that clanter was talking about who got his arm wound up by one, was trying to adjust the torsion spring like yours. RV awnings have two of those-one in each half.


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                            That's the kind you do not want to mess with. The springs along the sides are not much of an issue, but the guy that clanter was talking about who got his arm wound up by one, was trying to adjust the torsion spring like yours. RV awnings have two of those-one in each half.
                            Heck, it scared me just looking at it today. We won't be going near it! I looked at the gap at the bottom today and, funny, it didn't bother me so much after reading the horror stories. I'll be patient and get a pro out.


                            • #15
                              If all that is wrong is that little gap on part of the bottom, overhead doors have a track on the bottom you slide a rubber stopper into, from one end and pull it across over to the other and cut what is sticking out over that.
                              Anyone can do that.

                              Now, you may want the overhead door company look at your door anyway and be sure all else is working right, oil it, check the tension, etc.
                              If so, they will also do that bottom seal for you.


                              • #16
                                If you want to get an idea of what went wrong you need to start with a level. Preferably a 6 foot one. Pull the door down and set the level on top of the door and see if the door is level and not “raked” in other words crooked in it’s tracks. Though it would feel tight or harder to pull down then normal. If it is level then the grade, ground possibly settled. But if it is built on a concrete pad I doubt the whole pad tilted and if only part did drop it would be cracked somewhere.
                                In any case check the pad for level.
                                Check the header, the beam, that goes across the opening for level, by putting it on top or holding it across the bottom. If the bubble is not centered lift up the sloping end of the level until it is. Measure the gap and see if it corresponds to the gap in your door more or less. Possibly a support post dropped bringing the header down on the door contacts the ground first. You should also check the jams/side for plumb and the tracks. Check the tracks the door slide up on to. Take a 2X4 of appropriate length and lay it on top of the tracks and place your level on top. This will at least tell you if the structure is plumb and level. You can also check to make sure the opening is fairly “square”. That’s a little bit more detailed and a web search on how to measure for square is easily found.
                                How to go about fixing the door all depends what the above tells you the type of door and the type of hardware used. Pictures speak a thousand words. If the door is older it is possible the individual sections have started to split part on one side. A 16 foot door will have a lot of panels, 8 ?. If each one of those panels only slips down an 1/8 of an inch on one side you will have one side 1 inch longer. I don’t think the problem is with the spring. But again a pictures speak a 1000 words. If the door is raked or the building has shifted the door will most likely need to be re-hung. In that case and the door has some age on it you might as well replace the whole thing. It will cost $$$$ for someone to come out and re-hang it. I would get a quote for both preferably from 2 different places.
                                Now if you want to do it on the cheap and to eliminate the gap so water/snow doesn’t get underneath there are 2 ways. The easier way would be to take a 2X4 of sufficient length attach a garage door rubber gasket to the bottom pull the door down to with in a ½ or so of the ground and place the 2X4 against the inside bottom panel and attach it with screws. If you want a “cleaner” look from the out side pull the door down and measure the with of the gap. In you case it is 1” to 0. So take a 2X4 of appropriate length and cut a “triangle” out with a saw. But cutting to “0” is tricky and doesn’t leave you with “meat” to attach it to the bottom of the door so add a ½ inch or so to you measurements on both sides a bit more it like. Screw it to the bottom of the door and attach the gasket. Match the paint.
                                This is all a bit of guessing on my part without seeing pictures or in person. But it is how I have dealt with what seems like a similar situation.


                                • #17
                                  Whenever anything goes strange with a garage door, I get a trained pro to fix it. If you have to open the door manually during an outage, then it needs to be properly balanced or it won't stay up (in an emergency you can use a tall step ladder to prop it high enough to get the car in or out, or for people to get through. And they can check the closing safety mechanism at the same time. It doesn't cost very much, compared to getting someone hurt, or having a damaged door from a malfunction.
                                  You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                  • #18
                                    Until this thread, I never realized how unsafe garage doors can be...
                                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                                      Until this thread, I never realized how unsafe garage doors can be...
                                      Yeah, who knew, huh?

                                      gumtree has some good points on checking level, etc....we can do that to see what's up. Without endangering any lives! At least it might direct us toward what problem we need to deal with and who to call.

                                      And someone mentioned an opener but this is just a manual door. We don't open it often enough to merit an auto opener. It is used only when we need something big brought in or out (like hay on a pallet) or more direct access to that part of the barn.


                                      • #20
                                        A little something we used to point out during our safety training sessions: "Think of a coiled spring as a boiler under high pressure. The danger's not obvious, but it's there."
                                        The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                                        Winston Churchill