As a door expert witness, I'm called upon many times per year to judge garage door injuries. Garage doors can be found in many shapes and sizes. Their functions range from basic security of a place to cosmetic concealment. Most doors can be broken down into several basic styles or categories. Typical modern garage doors for residential applications are generally predominantly of the overhead sectional variety. That style of door comes in many configurations, materials, levels of insulation, and a wide range of appearance possibilities. They are available as a prefabricated kit, or built as a custom design to complement the decor of any building. Commercial warehouse type installations often dictate higher security requirements. The ideal choice with this security kind of door is the "roll-up" style that resembles a roll top desk kind of door. This door can be manufactured with a number of materials that is often as strong while the adjacent walls, making forced entry through this opening very difficult. Other common commercial installations include lightweight aluminum single or sectional panel doors. These doors function more for closing off a currently secured area than for assuring point security. raynor garage doors
In the past, the greatest concern with operating an overhead garage door was the potential risks associated with the springs employed for balancing the doorway weight. Pre mid 1960's garage door installations typically relied upon a couple of stretched (tensioned) springs to help the operation of the garage door pivoting hinges. These springs became loaded (tensioned) as the doorway was moved into the closed position. Unloading (releasing) of the stored spring energy occurred as the doorway was opened to the horizontal overhead position. One of the very most dangerous areas of these spring systems was that if a time frame, often without any maintenance or inspection, the points of attachment of these springs would rust or become weak. This weakening of the springs or points of attachment would often cause an inadvertent explosive failure flinging the broken spring components over the garage, embedding the spring or steel components into the garage walls, cars or other items in the path of travel. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals were in the path of travel of these explosive occurrences. As these springs failed, being an attempted safeguard, some manufacturers devised a "caging" system for the springs. These cages were retrofitted onto the stretched springs in an attempt to recapture the parts that would release if a failure occurred. While these caging devices were helpful, they were not completely effective. Many of these spring devices are still used today. Whenever this condition exists or the grade of garage components is questionable, a qualified professional service technician must be consulted. garage door troubleshooting
In a reaction to the inherently dangerous old style garage spring issues as above, a newer and safer system for opening the overhead garage door was created. The idea was to transfer the strain or weight of the doorway via a cable and pulley system to a straight rod now built with a torsion (twisted) spring. This kind of spring is installed with specialty hardware and bolts to a fixed plate at one end, while the whole spring is installed around an outside pipe. This load balancing device is usually installed directly over the header of the garage opening. Using appropriate cables, connectors and pulleys, the weight of the garage door is transferred into the torsion spring system. The difference involving the old style stretched spring and the newer torsion spring is just how that the spring energy is stored. With the old style stretched spring, the vitality is stored and released by pulling on the spring or returning the spring to its un-stretched condition. With a torsion kind of spring, the vitality is imparted or removed by rotating the spring clockwise or counter clockwise depending upon the direction of usage. With professional installation, the whole loading of the torsion spring is controlled by the garage installer, and is decided by the weight and size of the garage door that it is operating. When this type of torsion spring fails, it remains attached and intact to the place on the horizontal control rod where it had been mounted. I haven't heard of or seen any torsion spring fly across a garage, creating injury from failed components as with the stretched older style garage door springs. This really is not saying that injuries haven't occurred with the torsion style spring. The installing of this type of spring is generally safe when left to an educated garage door installation professional. Severe and serious injuries have occurred when untrained, unqualified individuals have attempted to install or service this type of spring.