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When you take your car to a mechanic, it is most likely because you want to know what part your mechanic is talking about. The same can be said for your garage. If your garage should ever fail, and you need to talk to a garage door repair company, you might want to know and understand the terminology your repair expert will be using to describe your issues. Below, is a brief overview of garage door parts and terminology. As a bonus, we will also cover some of the most common garage door issues that our technicians most often see.

What is your garage door made of? –  The first thing to take note of is the material used to construct your garage door. Some of the most popular include:

  • STEEL (extremely durable and low maintenance)
  • WOOD (beautiful, expensive, susceptible to wear and tear and weather)
  • ALUMINUM (inexpensive but susceptible to damage and don’t help to regulate temperatures in your garage)
  • FIBERGLASS (expensive, won’t rot or warp, and the most durable doors)

How does your garage door open? – If your garage door needs to be replaced or repaired, the company hired to do the job will need to know a little about the functionality of your door including how it opens. There are several ways a garage door open and they include:

  • Swing out doors- These doors are hinged on the right side and you swing them open like a big fence gate.
  • Swing up or TILT doors- To open this kind of 1-piece garage door, you must swing the door out and up.
  • Roll-up doors- Roll-up doors bundle into a coil similar to certain types of window blinds.
  • Slide to the side doors- Usually providing a smaller opening than full-size garage doors, slide to the side doors roll on a track and slide over to one side to allow entrance to the garage.
  • Sectional or hinged doors- The most common type, sectional garage doors have several hinges and move up and back on a track system.

The components of your garage door– If something does happen to your door and you are forced to call a firm, such as Houston garage door experts Spectrum Overhead Door, LLC, knowing the individual components of your door will help ensure they know exactly what you are talking about and bring the correct parts to get the job done. Here are a few of the individual components that make up your garage door:

  • Panels- This basically refers to the main garage door itself or smaller sections if it is comprised of individual pieces or PANELS.
  • Vertical track– The track your door is secured in, will allow your door to slide up and down or left and right inside this track via tiny wheels or ROLLERS that are mounted to the garage door itself.
  • Hinges– These could be found between the sections of your door on a sectional door OR on the right side if your door is a swing-out model.

Garage Door Hinges

  • Astragal(weather seal)- Ever wonder what that piece of rubber at the bottom of your door that keeps out dirt and drafts is called? Now you know!
  • Window inserts- Simply put, if your door has windows, they are referred to as WINDOW INSERTS and can be made of glass or heavy-duty see-through plastic.
  • Torsion springs– Also known as garage door springs, they are designed to counterbalance the weight of the door making the door almost weightless for both manual and opener operation.

Garage Door Spring

Common Garage door issues.

Broken Garage Door Springs.

If the spring(s) is broken the door will become extremely heavy and difficult to open. This can lead to garage door opener motor damage as well, if not addressed quickly. Your torsion springs may build rust that can corrode the spring and may compromise and even break the spring

Off Track Garage Door

Above, we talked about rusty garage door springs. That can be one cause of your garage door being off track or opening in a tilted fashion. Some of the most common would be the door hitting an object on one side, old spring and/rollers, or door opening to high,  momentarily tilting the door and causing one of the side cables to become misaligned. The tangled-up cable will keep the door from moving on that side.

Damaged Garage Door Panel

Over time, slight bumps from cars or people, as well as storms can dent and damage a garage door panel. Damage to a panel will get worse and worse over time, causing the door to begin to sag severely when it goes overhead. This type of damage can cause the door to hang up and have trouble opening or closing.

Garage Door Opener Issues

There can be a time where the garage door opener itself can have problems. Some of the most common issues with garage door openers are a stripped drive gear or broken sprocket. It is also possible that the chain or belts need to be replaced or have tension added. The opener motor also has a capacitor for the motor to provide additional power to the motor and these often fail and need to be replaced.


Regular maintenance can prevent many of these common garage door issues. If you do need to call a Houston garage door repair expert, you will now have a better understanding of what your repair technician will be explaining to you and you can make a more informed decision regarding your garage door.

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