Making garage doors...

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Bill Ranck responds:

But what about all the hardware you need--rails, rollers, roller holders, similar stuff. All adds to the price of the door materials.
I think if I were doing it, I'd build a door similar to one on the first garage I recall, one where my father and I played catch when I was maybe 10-11. That was a double swinging door, with windows. Almost certain to be cheaper than the roll-up door, and easier to construct, with or without windows.
Charlie Self "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." Thomas Jefferson
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The doors are 10' wide by 10' tall, and sealing a double door like you're suggesting from the weather might be near impossible. But, I like those doors, but I think it's impractical for my needs.
Regards,
Austin
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Austin Franklin wrote:

I can't even image paying $4k - $6k per door. I found a web site that allows you to price out Copay doors on-line. A 10' x 10' steel door in my area is $467. The web site agrees with what I paid locally when I replaced mine. The site is:
http://homepage.steelbuilding.com/r_doors.htm
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Hi Jack,

Me either...

Thanks, but I don't want steel doors... The doors are going on this building:
http://www.darkroom.com/Images/EqualDoor/BarnFront_2003_1023.jpg
and I really believe wood is appropriate. It's an 1840-1860 Gothic Victorian barn (it's new, but I designed it in that style). Note the "middle" garage door. The blue tape is set-up for 4 panel vs 5 panel doors, and the 2nd from the top panel is a glass panel....and it looks silly IMO with it as the 2nd or 3rd panel using 5 panels, so I am going to try to make a 4 panel door. That means 30" sections...
Regards,
Austin
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If you want the doors to look appropriate for that style, they should be swinging doors, not a vertical rollup type. I think the latter would look out of place.
Mike
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I looked at this picture, and the openings said to me, "firehouse." I did a Yahoo search for pictures of firehouses, and sure enough that arched top door style is pretty common in firehouses. Mostly they seem to have dual swinging doors, though I found one that had bi-folds during my brief search. Of course, you probably don't have a bunch of young able-bodied fireman around to keep the snow cleared from in front of the doors, so probably means the roll-up is a better choice.
Bill Ranck Blacksburg, Va.
P.S. one of the pictures I found was of the firehouse used in the movie "Ghostbusters"
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All this talk about garage doors brings up a question that I've wondered for some time. Growing up in So. California all I can remember were one piece doors which rotated from a vertical (closed) to a horiz. position below the rafters when opened. When I moved to the east coast, FL then VA, all I see are sectional doors that roll up on a track.
Question is: Is it a geographical thing or is what I grew up with in CA just the old way?
Gene

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Hi Gene,
I think it's a sealing thing...how do you seal the single piece door well? Part of it is outside, and part of it is inside...so there is really no surface that you can seal against, unlike the rolling sectional ones, which are on a slanted track that can press against the opening (or at least a stop in the opening with some sort of seal on it). I guess you could devise something for the door you're mentioning...but I think it just wouldn't be as good.
That would be my guess...
Regards,
Austin
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The issue is snow. You CAN seal a one-piece door. It's a little bit of a pain, but I sealed mine fairly well, by placing the seals on the appropriate surfaces. The bottom half of the door has the seal attached to the door jamb. The top half has the seal on the door. There is a section at the pivot point that has an separate piece that bends out of the way. It's worked remarkably well for about a year now.
dave
Austin Franklin wrote:

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It's a snow thing. Ever tried to pivot a one-piece door against a 3 foot snowdrift up against the bottom of the door??
dave
Gene wrote:

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Right! Or...a door that swings out...

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That makes sense. I first noticed it when I moved from So Cal to Florida. Not a lot of snow to worry about down there.
Are they still using one piece doors in the west?
Gene

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It is pretty much a geographical thing. They are still used out west in some areas, but I don't hear much about them being used elsewhere. Taylor use to have a plant in FL & they were used alot in our areas in the 60's & 70's but as the demand for them dropped the plant was closed in the 80's.
Doordoc www.DoorsAndOpeners.com
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Hi Bill,
That's my understanding as well... Frame, with a routed top/bottom for middle sections (no route on the top of the top section, and no route on the bottom of the bottom section ;-), to mate up with the above/below panel, and not let weather in and help with panel alignment...plus each vertical frame piece gets mortise/tennon into the top/bottom frame pieces...and at least one middle vertical. There's obviously covering on the inside and outside, and insulation in be middle. The outside covering should be more substantial than the inside...and the hardware gets mounted to the solid portion... Not rocket science, which is why I think this is simply no big deal to make them. After the frame sections are done, simply add the cedar trim I want and voila, garage door sections. I plan on mounting the bolts before putting on the outer covering so they are blind.
This is basically the garage door I am talking about making:
http://www.darkroom.com/MiscDocs/GarageDoorDesign_2003_1111.jpg
There is a glass section, which I'll make out of two pieces of thermopane (one each side).
Regards,
Austin
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Austin Franklin wrote:

one too! :)
Tim
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wrote:

I made my first post before the others appeared, but it sounds like you are on the right track. Some manufaturers use a ship lap & some use a tongue & groove between the sections. The tongue & groove will let will give you a better seal between the sections. On a 10' wide door I would recommend that you use at least two if not three middle verticals.
If you are going to use 15" radius track you should make the sections 2' tall or less. Anything taller will have a harder time going through the turns of the track.
Depending on the thickness of the door you will may need to get longer track brackets or space out the jambs to compensate for the door thickness.
Also it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to put a metal u-bar strut across the back of each section to keep them from sagging when open.
Before you buy the hardware you should know approximately what the finished door is going to weigh. There are different grades of hardware & track for different weights & the spring calculation is totally dependent on the weight of the door & the size of cable drums you are using.
If you are going to use an opener you may need to get it from a door dealer (installed or not installed) that has a rail long enough for a 10' tall door. Most retail openers will only open up to 7'6 w/ standard rail or 8' w/ an extension kit.
Doordoc
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Hi DD,

OK, I've heard this...but what is the origin of this info? Is it simply experience, or is there some calculation that can be done to see what track radius I'd need for 30" sections? Is track available with a larger radius?
Regards,
Austin
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Yes it is mostly from experience (25+ years) & don't know the exact formula but A squared + B squared = C squared comes close. Which means the radius would be close to 21". The theory being that as the section comes out of the radius (as it is going up) the bottom of the section should be going into the radius. Therefore the top of the section shouldn't be trying to pull the bottom section away from the wall while it is still trying to go straight up.
On 7' tall carriage house doors Clopay uses (3) 28" sections w/ 18" radius track & they have track up to 32" radius. I don't know about other mfgs but they would probably also have larger radius. Of course as the radius gets bigger the more headroom you need above the opening. Also the bigger the diameter of the drum will make a difference on the headroom requirement also.
As I stated earlier & another poster also stated the weight is critical. On doors this size & weight you may also want to use 3" track & rollers instead of the standard 2". The 3" track may be more limited in what radius you can get & is not inexpensive when you buy it separately. Also you will probably want to use 5" cable drums, since many of the 4" drums are limited to 500 lbs.
I also do not recommend you to wind springs if you have never done it before. No it is not hard but one slip can be very hazardous to your health. I've seen experienced techs & installers break fingers, wrists, noses, & collar bones when being careless, in a hurry, or when the unexpected happens. Simple theory, if you have to ask how to wind springs you shouldn't being doing it.
If done right your doors will look & work great. If done wrong they may look great but will work like crap.
Doordoc
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Hi DD,

Exactly what I figured...thanks for confirming that!

Er...what about using a top track that only the top of the top door section rides in? I believe that's called a low overhead track... Why would I need more headroom if I am using the 2nd track?

That I buy ;-)

Thanks great suggestions.

I will have someone do that for me.
Thanks again for all your help.
Regards,
Austin
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Didn't know you were using double low headroom track, I see it now in one of your later post, but I must have missed that earlier. You won't need more headroom but you will not be able to get a bigger radius on the lower track. The lower track on 2" will be approx 15" & approx 18" on 3" track so this will limit the height of the sections. How much headroom do you have?
I hope you are also aware that if you use the doors by hand the bottom of the door will naturally hang approx 6" below the header if you use the doors by hand. You would either need to prop the doors open manually or would have to use an opener to pull the door fully open.
Depending on the headroom the springs may also need to be mounted in the rear (behind the end of the horizontal tracks) & if they are not located properly the opener arm will run into the springs or shaft before the door gets fully open.
We never use low headroom track unless we have to, but w/ rear mount torsion the doors can be put in w/ 4" of headroom without an opener.
Doordoc
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