The top section on your garage door is under the most stress for a variety of reasons. This makes it prone to splitting, cracking and the center style pulling off the door. Garage door top section damage through normal wear and tear happens over the long term, however other damage may be preventable. Keeping the top panel on your garage door in good shape will ensure that your door operates efficiently. Here are a few precautions and measures you can take to protect the top garage door section from damage.
Top panels take on the most stress of any section on your garage door. At least three other panels hang down from the top section. Garage door operator arms also exert force on the top panel. Every time an automatic garage door opener runs it will pull up or push down on the top section. As garage door springs wear out or weaken the opener pulls and pushes even harder on the top section.
Install Struts & Reinforcement Brackets
Always install at least one horizontal brace on the top section. Struts can be installed on any part of the garage door but are best installed at the top. Punched angle iron or prefabricated garage door struts with self tapping screws effectively brace the top panel. In addition to horizontal bracing you will also need to installed vertical bracing for the operator arm to connect to. The small bracket provided with your garage door opener package is not enough. Always use an operator reinforcement bracket that measures between 18-24 inches vertically.
Test Garage Door Springs
As torsion and extension springs wear out over time they lose force. Since garage doors are balanced out by springs, a lack of force will put strain on your automatic opener. Always check to see if your springs properly balance out the garage door. Failing to do so will mean your operator arm will be pulling harder than it should have to. This weakens the center style and can cause the top section to split, crack or the style to pull off the door.
Check for Obstructions
Rakes, shovels and other common garage tools can get stuck between the rollers and track. Slide locks and key locks that are not disengaged prior to opener use will destroy the top section as the operator arms pulls against the top panel. For garage doors operating in colder climates, always be sure to check for snow and ice near the bottom of the door. Bottom seals often freeze to concrete pavement during winter months. This can also put a lot of stress on the top section.